{{ timeAgo('2020-03-24 07:54:44 -0500') }} basketball Edit

Making the Case: Five-star wing Ziaire Williams

The top remaining small forward in America and the No. 6 ranked prospect overall, 6-foot-8 small forward Ziaire Williams is an elite prospect who is still just scratching at the surface of what he could be.

At times, the skilled and versatile swingman looks like the next Paul George and it's easy to see why his finalists Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Stanford and USC want him so badly.

While Roy Williams and the Heels made a tremendous early impression, it is looking like it's going to be next to impossible to pull Williams off the West Coast. Oregon hasn't been able to get a visit from him yet, which leaves Arizona, Stanford and USC as the three programs with the strongest chance to land Williams.

With that in mind, we sought the opinions of experts from across the Rivals.com network as we make the case for Williams.

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"This is one scenario where it has been made clear from the very beginning that there is one recruit that stands above the rest at top of the list for Arizona. Ever since Sean Miller and his staff decided to get involved with Williams, the intensity has been turned all the way up in their pursuit.

"He fits in well with what Miller is looking for, really every year, in a perimeter player considering he has the length and versatility to serve a variety of roles. The small forward position is one that has featured numerous future NBA players under Miller and that is something the Wildcats have on their side as they look to add Williams.

"When evaluating the overall picture, Arizona arguably has the biggest need for a recruit at Williams’ level. The Wildcats are not in play for any of the other available five-star prospects, so he would clearly be the jewel of the program’s 2020 class. It would be his show in Tucson next season and that is something that has certainly been stressed throughout the process.

"At this point, I believe Williams ultimately will choose to stay close to home and pick USC, but I will never count out Miller and Arizona in this type of situation." -- Matt Moreno, GoAZCats.com



"Stanford identified Williams as a top target for the 2020 class long before any of the national superpowers jumped on board.

"The staff, led by Jerod Haase and associate head coach Adam Cohen, have put in a tremendous amount of time and effort -- including daily written letters -- to convince Williams that The Farm is where he fits best.

""Will all that work be enough? That depends on whether he is admitted and that is still to be determined by the university. The fact that Williams is still considering Stanford is a public indicator that it's still possible he will be admitted." -- Jacob Rayburn, CardinalSportsReport.com



"With No. 3 overall prospect Evan Mobley, a 7-foot center, already signed, USC has made Williams its top priority as it fills out this class. Andy Enfield has significantly boosted the Trojans in recruiting as they have brought in three 5-star prospects in the last two classes (Kevin Porter Jr. in 2018, Onyeka Okongwu and Isaiah Mobley in 2019) and have the younger Mobley locked in to add to that list. Porter was one-and-done to the NBA as a late first-round pick and Okongwu is expected to follow suit, so the recent precedent is now established for top basketball prospects to make a pitstop at USC on the way to the draft.

"So USC can offer him the opportunity to join a talented roster with fellow elite Southern California products he's familiar with in the Mobleys but also a major opportunity to seize the spotlight. The Trojans might lose their four best players if Okongwu does indeed leave early -- along with seniors Jonah Mathews, Nick Rakocevic and Daniel Utomi. Williams and the Mobley brothers have totally different games, and more specifically, USC has a major need for perimeter shooting with 68.5-percent of the Trojans' 3-point shooting leaving the roster.

"Williams' recruitment has been hard to read at times, but he used his first official visit on USC and talked then about the comfort he felt with so many familiar faces on the roster and the advantage of staying close to home. So for those reasons and the wide-open opportunity to immediately become a focal point while being surrounded by fellow elite talent, it would make plenty of sense for Williams to become the latest 5-star addition to the Trojans." -- Ryan Young, TrojanSports.com



Ziaire Williams
Ziaire Williams (Matt Moreno/GoAZcats.com)

"Early on, Stanford was so far ahead of the game and Williams was under the national radar enough that it looked like the Cardinal would get a commitment before much of the country realized how special a prospect he was.

"However, they weren't able to squeeze a commitment out of him early and predictably, everybody in America tried to jump in.

"But, things have settled back down and at this point I don't see much of a chance that Williams leaves Pac-12 country which keeps Stanford in the game. Over the summer, Arizona seemed to be the team charging while all along USC has been quietly plugging away.

"From the very first time I spoke with Williams, he has mentioned how important his family is to him and he talked about how he had friends at USC. The Trojans have now proven they can showcase one and done type players and based on what I've heard over the last few months, I still give the Trojans the edge and my FutureCast remains with them." -- Eric Bossi, National Basketball Analyst