To say that Jonathan Williams has the potential to be a high major basketball prospect is hardly a stretch. After all, the 6-foot-9, 250-pound Williams, who enrolled at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., this fall, signed with St. John's a year ago.
And there's little disputing that Williams had potential to play in the Big East, had not some academic obstacles gotten in the way.
When Williams didn't make it to St. John's this fall, the two parted ways. Williams is now open and recruitable, but the St. Cloud, Minn., native had some things weighing him down.
"He came in here really out of shape," said Bill Barton, head coach at Notre Dame. "He's lost 10 to 12 pounds already, but he needs to get down to 240."
Without competitive basketball to keep him fit and trim, Williams ballooned this summer, and was still not near tip top shape when we evaluated him last week against Army Prep.
That said, several Division I programs visited Notre Dame this fall and expressed serious interest in Williams. Among them were Minnesota, Auburn, Wisconsin Green Bay, Creighton and Toledo.
"Minnesota said it would offer Jon if he got closer on the test," Barton said. "If he loses the weight, he's a high major player."
Williams moved around quite a bit throughout his high school days, and the instability led to a spotty academic record. His mission this winter at Notre Dame will be two fold: get into shape and get qualified academically.
"He has soft hands and the ability to score with his back to the basket," Barton explained. "But he has limited range and doesn't run the floor as well as he should."
We plan on catching Notre Dame in action several more times this winter. Stay tuned for more progress reports on Williams as the season progresses.
Russ Blake is the publisher of Juco Junction