Rashad Williams is a 6’3’’ guard from Wayne Memorial High School in Detroit, Michigan. Williams signed his National Letter of Intent to attend Cleveland State University, and will be playing for Head Coach Dennis Felton for the 2018-2019 season.

Touted as a Mr. Basketball candidate and one the best shooters in his state, Williams made a name for himself as one of Michigan’s most prolific scorers. His junior season, averaged 24 points and 6.7 assists his junior year, and helped lead his team to it’s first KLAA championship. 

I had a chance to talk to Eric Schafer, a writer for prephoops.com and founder of EricGetsBuckets on Youtube about the recruits coming to CSU out of the Detroit area. Here’s what he had to say on Williams:

It’s not just highlight tapes, Rashad’s shooting is the real deal

Williams’ highlight tapes showcase his suburb shooting, and Schafer said that he is one of the best shooters in the state, only behind Foster Loyer and maybe David Dejulius. Schafer said that Williams ability to shoot in almost any situation impresses him.

“The thing I like about Rashad is he can shoot both off the dribble, off the pick-and-roll, off the catch,” Schafer said. “He can do it all.”

Schafer also said that Williams has a shooters mentality, and doesn’t let cold streaks get to him. Williams is the type of player who can get hot and will make contested and NBA range threes, but when he gets cold, he has the ability to shoot himself out of slumps. Schafer said he’s seen Williams shoot poorly in the first half, only to come back and go almost perfect in the second.

Whether it’s his mentality, or just his shooting ability in general, Williams shouldn’t have any problem making shots when he’s at CSU.

Other facets to his offensive game

Williams is a shooter, but Schafer said he has the handles to create for himself, and his teammates. Williams can create his own opportunities, and won’t just be sitting at the top of the arc waiting for a pass. His ability to create improves his game, and stops him from being one-dimensional.

When I talked with Schafer about why Williams wasn’t a high major prospect, he said his explosiveness and athleticism were the reason. Williams won’t get a step on his defender the way a Tyree Appleby would, and doesn’t play above the rim. Williams is great at drawing fouls when he drives to the rim, and a lot of that comes from his strength as well as his basketball IQ, but he isn’t the type of player to drive into the paint to finish at the rim.

What Williams might lack in explosiveness, he makes up for with his shooting ability. Defenders will have to play him tight and respect his ability to shoot.

“With his shooting ability, he’s one of the guys that the defense has to respect at all times, and that’s going to make up for a lot,” Schafer said.

Moving positions

With the way Appleby has been playing this year, Kasheem Thomas’ great play off the bench and Shawn Christian waiting in the wings, I don’t see Williams getting significant minutes at point guard.

Williams will most likely play at shooting guard or even small forward at times, and Schafer said he would thrive in that position. Schafer said Williams is a score first player. He told me that in AAU when Williams played with better players, he did a good job at distributing the ball and finding the open man. But at Wayne Memorial, Williams is the number one option and looks to score. Williams can play the point, but being at another position could help his game.

It should help that on Wayne Memorial’s current roster, Williams is playing with two good guards in Terrence Williams and Isaiah Lewis. So playing in smaller, faster lineups shouldn’t be anything different for Williams.

Physicality

Williams is a strong player. According to Schafer, that strength helps him draw fouls when driving in the lane, but it also helps make up for other areas of his game.

“He kind of makes up for his lack of explosiveness and lack of verticality with that strength,” Schafer said.

Felton has hammered home that he wants physical players. While Williams hasn’t been described as a defensive stopper, he plays decent defense and could probably improve with coaching. But since Felton has been trying to teach a lot of his players to be more physical this year, Williams’ strength and toughness will be  a welcome add to CSU’s roster.

What will he do next season?

It’s hard to say if it’s ever a good idea to start a freshman, but Williams should at least be a contributor next season. With Kenny Carpenter and Bobby Word graduating, CSU will need more shooters on this team. I would think Williams and Christian would be the most likely players to fill Bobby Word’s role next season, unless Thomas or Dontel Highsmith start.

I still don’t have a gadge on how Felton likes to treat his younger players. A lot of seniors saw significant roles this season, but he also quickly recognized Appleby’s talent and put him in the starting rotation. Still, Christian, Devon Stover and David Payne all saw limited to no playing time this year.

Whether Williams starts is probably up to his effort level, as well as if Felton wants to turn the page and move on from “Gary Water’s players” to his own recruits. But with the hype surrounding Williams, I’d love to see him on the court this season.

Rashad Williams highlights courtesy of EricGetsBuckets

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Photo Courtesy Ryan Wright

Video Courtesy Eric Schafer

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