Fresh off an offer from the Bruins, one local prospect is ready to move on to the next step in his recruitment.
Class of 2023 power forward Devin Williams announced his top five finalists Saturday afternoon on Instagram, including UCLA men’s basketball on the list two days after picking up an offer from the Bruins. Williams’ other finalists are USC, Arizona, UNLV and Texas Tech.
Williams also had offers from Cal, Cal Poly, George Mason, Loyola Marymount, Nevada, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, Portland State, San Diego, San Diego State, Santa Clara, Washington and Xavier. He has not publicly announced an offer from Arizona, despite including them in his top five.
Williams is scheduled to go on an official visit with the Trojans on June 9. While he doesn’t have an official on the books for the Bruins, Williams was on campus Thursday.
The Southern California prospect is heading into his senior year at Centennial (CA), attended the same high school Ike Anigbogu and Jalen Hill. Anigbogu and Hill are also two of the eight UCLA players in the past seven classes who played for the Compton Magic, the same AAU program that produced TJ Leaf, Jaylen Hands, Jules Bernard, Johnny Juzang, Jaylen Clark and incoming freshman Dylan Andrews.
UCLA assistant coach Rod Palmer is closely connected with Etop Udo-Ema, with the two being fellow co-founders of the Compton Magic, and he has played a part in upholding the Bruins’ connection with the program into the Mick Cronin era.
Williams marks a potential extension of that Magic-to-UCLA pipeline, as the Bruins are squarely in the race for the local big man’s impending commitment.
Leading the way for Centennial down low as a junior, Williams helped the Huskies post a 33-1 record and CIF Open Division State Championship this season. The 6-foot-10, 200-pound forward has excelled as a shot-blocker and high-flying athlete, and he has also managed to develop an outside shot over the past year.
Centennial actually produced another Bruin this year, as incoming UCLA women’s basketball freshman guard Londynn Jones was a year ahead of Williams at the Corona, California, high school. Jones made U18 Team USA on Friday, and Williams was one of the many people who congratulated the longtime UCLA commit online.
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Williams is a four-star prospect according to 247Sports and ESPN, but a three-star prospect according to Rivals and the 247Sports Composite. The composite rankings appear to be lagging a bit behind – slotting him in at No. 18 in California, No. 28 among power forwards and No. 133 in his class overall – while 247Sports moved him up from No. 139 to No. 88 in its most recent update.
ESPN has Williams ranked as the No. 7 power forward in the country, the No. 6 recruit in California and No. 58 overall.
Looking past the lack of consensus on the fast-rising prospect, Williams is one of the lower-ranked prospects Cronin’s staff has targeted. Before Thursday, 11 of their 19 offers went to five-star recruits and seven went to four-stars.
Several of the five-stars have already committed elsewhere or trimmed UCLA from their list of finalists, and many hail from out-of-state. Williams, a local prospect, projects as more of a long-term, four-year player compared to the highly-ranked blue chips the staff has spent most of the past year targeting.
The Bruins do not have a single commit in their 2023 class, highly-ranked or otherwise. It is a pivotal class nonetheless, though, considering they could have as many as eight scholarships available to hand out.
UCLA’s post rotation may not need to be completely rebuilt like other position groups, but McDonald’s All-American center Adem Bona could go one-and-done and Mac Etienne is still recovering from a torn ACL.
Williams is now one of several bigs the Bruins are in on for the 2023 class, and the interest appears to be mutual.
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