Justin Williams, the talented but oft-injured 6-9, 240 pound power forward from Kankakee C.C. in Kankakee, Ill., has committed to Kansas State.
JUCO Junction confirmed the commitment on Monday afternoon with Kankakee Head Coach Dave Holstein.
Williams, who suffered a season-ending knee injury back on Jan. 15, picked Kansas State after taking late winter trips to both K-State and Iowa State. Williams visited the Wildcats on March 1 and the Cyclones on Feb. 22.
Ole Miss was the third school on Williams' list, but his relationship with K-State Asst. Coach Charles Baker proved too strong in the end.
Williams has fractured his kneecap three times within the past 12 months. The first two times, the injury was allowed to heal naturally. However, after the January injury, Williams went under the knife and is expected to be 100 percent by August, Holstein said.
The fact that Williams could be ready for fall practice at Kansas State is irrelevant, because he will sit out next year and won't be on scholarship. He could be placed on scholarship in 2004-2005, when he would be a junior with two years of eligibility remaining.
"I think there are two big advantages with Justin sitting out for the year," Holstein said. "He will be able to be with a Division I medical staff and continue his rehabilitation, plus he'll get a chance to look at the intensity of programs at that level."
Williams played in 10 games this year for the Cavaliers, averaging 11 points and seven rebounds. As a freshman last year, the Milwaukee, Wis., native averaged 9.8 points and six rebounds per contest.
"He's a classic power forward who can step out and shoot it," Holstein said. "He knows how to go down on the low block and bang -- he can hurt you physically."
On top of his physical attributes, Williams also has three patented low post moves and is blessed with great hands, Holstein said.
That said, he is far from being a finished product.
"He has a tendency to get into foul trouble, and his defensive positioning isn't always good," Holstein added. "He doesn't beat people to spots and at times allows his opponents to get position in the low post."
A lot, ultimately, will depend on how Williams recovers from the knee surgery. He's off crutches now but has had two screws placed in his knee to keep things in place.
"If he's healthy, Justin will be able to play in the Big 12 and contribute," opined Holstein. "
Williams is expected to graduate from Kankakee in the summer and enroll at Kansas State for the fall semester. His financial aid package is expected to cover him in 2003-2004, and he should occupy scholarships in the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons.