June 3, 2008

Williams turns heads with big-time play

Oh, what could've been. Kansas State fans had the opportunity to catch their first in-person glimpse at Latavious Williams, and 2009 commits Rodney McGruder and Wally Judge at the inaugural Kansasstatecars.com Manhattan Classic last weekend, an elite AAU tournament. Some fans licked their lips, pondering damage they could wreak if the trio wore the same uniform. That could soon change.

Actually, a former player for D.C. Assault got the experiment rolling a few weeks ago.

Williams, a 6-foot-7, 195-pounder who is listed as the No. 5-rated power forward and No. 13-rated player overall in the 2009 class, said he received a phone call from Michael Beasley prior to the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, which took place on the North Carolina, Duke and N.C. State campuses May 23-25.

"Mike's a pretty good guy," Williams said at the Manhattan Classic on Saturday. "When they were going to North Carolina, he wanted me to play with D.C. Assault that week, so I talked to him about it."

Damon Handon, assistant to the director of basketball operations for D.C. Assault, said those plans became a reality as Williams wore blue and gold for the 17-and-under squad that competed on the N.C. State and Duke campuses.

"Latavious played with us at Bob Gibbons and he will be joining us in July for Las Vegas and Cincinnati," Handon said.

The D.C. Assault 17-and-under team fell short in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, going 3-1 with a loss in the quarterfinals. Judge was named to the all-tournament team.

Williams played on the Louisiana-based Brandon Bass All-Stars in the Manhattan Classic and easily had the most dunks and jaw-dropping moments of any player during the weekend.

"His athleticism is unbelievable," said Brandon Bass All-Star head coach Scooter Owens. "He's going to be the next Bill Walker."

D.C. Assault is in the midst of a 13-tournament schedule in which it will visit 10 different states. The Manhattan Classic was its seventh tournament and it is scheduled to participate next in Rumble In The Bronx June 13-15. D.C. Assault will participate in Adidas It Takes 5 in Cincinnati July 5-7 and Adidas Super 64 in Las Vegas July 22-26.

Perhaps Beasley's phone call to Williams shouldn't come as a surprise. Williams said Beasley phoned him in early May to discuss basketball. Owens added later that Beasley flew to Manhattan to give Williams a tour of the school's campus during an unofficial visit later that month.

Williams currently has scholarship offers from K-State, Mississippi State, Xavier, Baylor and Clemson. He told GoPowercat.com's Robert Cassidy on Saturday, "Marquette, Memphis and Florida are recruiting me pretty hard, too."

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