Grant Williams, a sophomore center at Providence Day, turned 15 less than two months ago.
But Williams, who is 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, not only has emerged as one of the top players on his team, but also impressed college recruiters enough to get offers from the Charlotte 49ers and Mercer, and he has growing interest from Davidson and several ACC schools, according to Chargers coach Brian Field.
Williams started making a name for himself as a freshman, averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game despite often giving up three or four years and as many inches to opponents.
Its tough when youre 14 years old and playing against 18-, 19-year-old guys on a regular basis, said Field, whose team hosts Hickory Grove on Saturday. But he handled it well, and I think it helped him grow up even quicker. Hes really matured a lot already and understands the level of focus and intensity it takes to play at a high level.
Williams is playing better as a sophomore, averaging 16 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and nearly two steals per game.
The last two years have flown by, Williams said. Last year it seemed like I made so much progress. This year has been slower, but I still feel like Im getting better. But Ive got a lot of things I need to keep working on, from getting stronger to my jump shot to being more aggressive. That keeps me motivated all the time.
The Chargers (12-3) are ranked No. 6 in the Observers Sweet 16 poll. They have shown they can play with some of the states top public- and private-school teams. Providence Day has wins against 4A public-school teams Hough and Independence and private schools Durham Academy, Greensboro Day and Forsyth Country Day.
Williams has held his own against the likes of Hough big men Luke Maye and Tucker Thompson, Independence forward Deion Lane, Forysth Country Days Corey Hanes, Durham Academys Alston Thompson and Christ School post players Lloyd Burgess and Alec Wnuk.
But playing against bigger, talented players is nothing new for Williams. He grew up in a basketball family, first learning the game from his 6-6 father, Gilbert, who played college basketball at Minnesota State.
The youngest Williams also learned from his older brother, 6-3 Gabon Williams, who recently played at West Charlotte and is a redshirt at Johnson C. Smith this season.
Close family friend and former West Charlotte High All-American Kennedy Meeks, now a freshman forward at North Carolina, also had a lot do with Grants development.
I learned a lot from Gabon and Kennedy growing up, Grant Williams said. His oldest brother, Gilbert, is 6-10 but didnt play basketball, and another brother, Neville Young, plays junior college basketball at Bishop State (Ala.). I basically learned all my inside moves from Kennedy and all my outside, perimeter stuff from Gabon. They definitely showed me what it takes to play at a high level.
Williams said he also learns a lot from working with teammates, among them senior guard Jordan Watkins (Davidson commit) and fellow sophomore forwards Josh Howard and Isaac Johnson.
Williams grew from 6-2 in eighth grade to 6-5 as a freshman, then to his current stature.
One of my doctors actually predicted I would grow to be 7-foot-3, Williams said. I dont think I will get that tall, but I would like to grow at least a few more inches, and I havent hit a growth spurt yet.
A few inches and continued development could be the difference in Williams becoming a major Division I recruit, Field said.
I think Grant has got a chance to be one of the best big men to come out of Charlotte, Field said. For now, hes just got to focus on getting better. We always emphasize that as a program. We dont want to ever look to far ahead. We want to attack the day and set small goals.
If you can continue to accomplish those goals, at the end of the day we believe we can reach our bigger goals.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less