To celebrate his birthday Friday, Phoebus High junior forward Troy Williams narrowed his college options to five. Coincidentally or not, the NCAA permits prospects five official campus visits, though in this era of early commitments, few take all of their officials.
Williams’ finalists include two schools each from the ACC and Big East and one from the Southeastern Conference. Four of the coaches have reached a Final Four, and four of the programs have won national championships.
Here’s a capsule look, in alphabetical order:
Georgetown: The Hoyas are family. Williams’ aunt, Terri Williams-Flournoy, coaches the Hoyas’ nationally ranked women’s team. Plus, two iconic alumni of the Boo Williams AAU program – Boo is Troy’s uncle – signed with Georgetown: Alonzo Mourning and Allen Iverson. They played for the elder John Thompson, whose son, JTIII, now guides the program. Troy attended the Hoyas’ Midnight Madness practice in October.
Kentucky: Lexington is an 8-plus hour haul from Hampton, and given how close Troy and his grandmother are, distance could be a factor. But Boo Williams has remarked several times to me how persuasive a recruiter Wildcats coach John Calipari is, and indeed his record of producing first-round NBA draft choices appeals to the most ambitious prospects. Troy is scheduled to attend Kentucky’s home game against Louisville on Saturday.
North Carolina: If anyone can trade recruiting haymakers with Calipari (Final Fours with Massachusetts, Memphis and Kentucky), it’s Roy Williams, who’s won two national titles for the Tar Heels. Like Kentucky, Carolina targets only the elite and can’t ever be underestimated. Troy’s former AAU teammate, James Michael McAdoo, is a freshman forward for the Tar Heels.
Villanova: The Wildcats are a late entry, and Jay Wright’s program, a Final Four squad in 2009, is struggling this season at 7-6. But there are connections here. Former Boo Williams star Scottie Reynolds of Reston left Villanova in 2010 as the school’s No. 2 career scorer. Plus, Boo Williams played collegiately at Saint Joseph’s, so Troy knows plenty about the power of Philadelphia’s Big Five basketball competition. And Troy is very attuned to Boo’s career – that’s why he wears No. 5.
Virginia Tech: Seth Greenberg has not coached a team to the Final Four, and the Hokies have not advanced to college basketball’s biggest weekend. But Tech is a player for Williams for two reasons: He’s close with freshman forward Dorian Finney-Smith of Portsmouth and assistant coach John Richardson, a former Boo Williams coach who took Woodside High to consecutive state championships.
Exchanged texts with Troy on Friday, and he’s unsure when he’ll decide. No need to rush, especially with such outstanding options.
Handicapping this race? Carolina, Kentucky and Georgetown seem inseparable; Virginia Tech is a tempting darkhorse, Villanova the longshot.
Stay tuned and follow Troy on Twitter @troywilliams_
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