first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on June 6, 2020 at 10:46 am Contact Danny: dremerma@syr.edu | @DannyEmerman The Daily Orange is a nonprofit newsroom that receives no funding from Syracuse University. Consider donating today to support our mission.After a thunderous, two-handed dunk last season, Benny Williams tapped the top of his head and extended his arm toward the gym ceiling, repeating the gesture as if to show he still has room to grow.His knees don’t hurt anymore, indicating the growth spurt might be over, but he’s not done growing as a player. The once 5-foot-9 freshman who wore size 13 Vans sprouted up to 6-foot-8 in two years and became the Class of 2021’s 47th best player. Since his junior season ended in March, Williams has added 10 pounds of muscle by lifting weights and training with the hoop at his Potomac, Md. home.“He’s not just sitting around on his couch all day,” said Kevin Jones, Williams’ head coach at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. “I wouldn’t expect anything less of him.”Last year, Williams was named first-team All-Met and was tabbed the best player on his high school’s best team in history by The Washington Post. For St. Andrew’s, which went 24-4 and won its second-ever conference title, Williams averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe still has one more year of high school before he arrives in Syracuse as the Orange’s first verbal commit of the 2021 class. The forward chose SU over Miami, Georgetown and Maryland, much to the dismay of hometown Maryland and Georgetown fans who have been “hating” since he announced his decision, he said. “I’m planning on coming in and making an immediate impact,” Williams told The Daily Orange. By maintaining the perimeter skills he developed as a guard growing up, Williams has become a versatile force. At the high school level — in a league that’s produced players like Josh Hart, Luka Garza and Saddiq Bey — Williams plays both inside and on the perimeter offensively while protecting the rim at the other end. He’s an athletic long wing who can put the ball on the floor and create shots for himself and others, Jones said. He knows he still needs to get stronger and improve his shooting stroke and handle. Since self-quarantine began in March, he’s worked out three days a week — one day for legs, one for upper body and one for both — and got up shots in his driveway. When he hit his growth spurt, Williams said he became slower and needed to work on more explosion drills by building up his leg strength. At 180-pounds, he still has work to do to fill into a frame similar to the 220-pound NBA wings he watches — like his favorite player, Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, who never lets defenses speed him up.“People try to push (George) around because they think he’s slow, but he plays at his own pace. He’s not really rushed,” Williams said. Pacing himself is something Williams tries to replicate in his own game. Defensively, Williams projects to play the bottom of the Orange’s 2-3 zone, and fill a similar role as former forward Oshae Brissett.During the recruiting process, Williams told Stockrisers that Syracuse coaches compared him to Carmelo Anthony and Jerami Grant. Jones is reluctant to make such lofty comparisons, but said there are some facets of each of their games — Grant’s athleticism, Anthony’s face-up game — that Williams can potentially replicate. “Certainly, there’s guys that look like him who have been there before and have been successful,” Jones said. Williams has known Grant since elementary school, and he played in the same Team Takeover AAU program as the former SU forward. Grant, as well as 2022 commit Dior Johnson, pitched Williams on Syracuse. But the primary recruiter was associate head coach Adrian Autry, who first met Williams in 2018. “Anybody would say this, (Autry’s) a really cool dude,” Williams said. “He’s a really cool dude, and he’s been on me hard since like two years ago. And once I got the offer, I pretty much knew I was going here.” Autry — also the primary recruiter for Frank Anselem — “did a phenomenal job” making a connection with Williams, Jones said. He was always honest with Williams and told him what he needed to improve on. “I hope (Williams) just develops into the player he’s going to be, which can be really scary,” Jones said.center_img Commentslast_img

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