Mick Cronin ventured into New York to land a key piece of his 2017 recruiting class in the form of a top-five guard from one of the most talent-rich basketball states.
Keith Williams made the decision to commit to Cincinnati on Tuesday night, giving the Bearcats a potential impact wing talent. The 6-foot-5 Williams rates as 247Sports.com’s No. 169 overall talent and as a three-star recruit.
According to 247Sports, Williams received 10 Division I scholarship offers — from the likes of Oklahoma State, Dayton, Minnesota, SMU and Rutgers — but the decision reportedly came down to the Bearcats, Cowboys or Flyers. Interestingly, the current Cincinnati roster does not have a New York-honed player, so Cronin went outside of his recent comfort zone to land Williams.
The newest Bearcat is expected to sign with the school on Nov. 9, when the early signing period begins, per Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Williams, whom 247Sports ranks as its No. 38 shooting guard in the country, averaged 15 points and 4.3 rebounds per game this summer while playing AAU ball. He comes from the same high school, Bishop Loughlin Memorial in Brooklyn, as decorated point guard Mark Jackson.
Cincinnati has re-emerged as a consistent NCAA tournament team under Cronin, who took over in the wake of Bob Huggins’ ugly exit. The American Athletic Conference team has won at least 22 games in each of the past six years. The Bearcats under Cronin are known more for their defensive prowess, but the coach did recruit the school’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer, shooting guard Sean Kilpatrick, years ago.
The Bearcats stand to lose guards Troy Caupain and Kevin Johnson after this season. The former led Cincinnati in scoring in 2015-16.