Three-Point Play: Ziaire Williams, Pitt, 2020 PGs
Five-star Ziaire Williams made his debut for Sierra Canyon on Monday night. In today’s Three-Point-Play, national analyst Eric Bossi discusses Williams return, Pitt getting an early start in 2022 and why there’s a heck of a debate starting to form with 2020’s top point guards.
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FIVE-STAR WILLIAMS MAKES HIS DEBUT
Five-star Ziaire Williams' debut for a loaded Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon didn't go completely as expected on Monday night.
Yes, the smooth 6-foot-8 wing looked like an elite player and did a little bit of everything while getting 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. But, he and Sierra Canyon fell to Temecula (Calif.) Rancho Christian -- who was led by Gonzaga-bound guard Dominick Harris (game high 30 points) and No. 1 Evan Mobley -- in an overtime thriller for the championship of The Classic at Damien.
I have gotten to see both Sierra Canyon and Rancho Christian plenty in person this winter, so the reason to tune into a live stream was to see Williams, who had been sitting out due to transfer rules. I will look forward to seeing him in person during January, but he easily backed up his No. 6 national ranking. He had some turnovers and a few poor decisions on shots, but for the most part he was pretty special on the offensive end. Deep threes, mid range shots, dunks in transitions and some high-level passes that you just don't see from many young wings with his size.
On the recruiting front, it continues to appear that Williams is likely to remain out West. Maybe, North Carolina still has a chance but it’s not looking great for the Heels at this point. Instead, it looks like either Arizona, Stanford or USC is going to end up winning the prize here. Williams recently told us he hopes to visit Oregon this winter, so the Ducks could get in there, but they’ve got to get Williams onto campus before they can be considered a huge factor. Sean Miller, Andy Enfield and an assistant for the Ducks were all on hand.
PITT GETS AN EARLY START IN 2022
On Friday, I saw Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel and his assistant coach brother Jason in Raleigh for the John Wall Invitational and now it’s clear why they were there. Late Sunday night, the Capels and the Panthers got an early 2022 commitment from guard Jalen Hood-Schifino and the Capels really tapped into connections on this one. Not only is Hood-Schifino a native of the Pittsburgh area, but Jeff Capel played summer basketball with Jeff McInnis, Hood-Schifino’s coach.
So, what kind of player is Pitt getting here?
Obviously, Hood-Schifino is just a sophomore and lots will change over the next few years. But, as things stand today he’s one of the top players in his class and it’d be hard not be excited about an early commitment from him. I like him as a versatile utility guard that can play all around the backcourt. Need him to initiate the offense for a bit? He can do some of that. Need him to score? He can do that. Need him to lock in defensively? He can do that too. His maturity really stands out.
A good athlete with a strong frame, Hood-Schifino is a tough and all-around solid guard. He is already pretty advanced in terms of physicality, so projecting a few more years ahead the transition to college shouldn’t be a tough one for him in terms of dealing with ACC athletes. Steadying his jumper and improving lateral quickness will be the keys over the next few years, but by any definition, he’s a really big and very good early pickup for Pitt.
GREAT DEBATE FORMING FOR 2020 POINT GUARDS
During the month of January, we’ll be doing a mid-season update to our Rivals150 rankings. Understandably, updating rankings is a fun but also tough process and as I’m preparing my notes and thoughts for discussion with Corey Evans, Dan McDonald and others, I’m wondering what we are going to do about the point guard discussion.
I don’t anticipate a lot of change at the top of the group where I believe No. 1 Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State), No. 2 Jalen Suggs (undecided), No. 3 Daishen Nix (UCLA), No. 4 Sharife Cooper (Auburn) and No. 5 Caleb Love (North Carolina) have opened up some separation from the rest of the pack.
However, beginning with No. 6 Devin Askew (Kentucky) and going through the rest of the top 20 or so, there could be a lot of change. For instance, No. 7 Jeremy Roach (Duke) has recently returned from injury and has been outstanding. I just got done watching No. 9 Andre Curbelo (Illinois) and No. 12 Dwon Odom (Xavier) put together monster outings at the Beach Ball Classic. I have watched No. 13 Deivon Smith (Mississippi State) be great via livestreams. No. 15 R.J. Davis (North Carolina) has been putting up huge numbers. No. 16 Dominick Harris (Gonzaga) was really good when I saw him and the list goes on.
I’m anticipating a pretty spirited debate with these guys and the fact is that there is little difference among them and I could see them in about any order depending on what somebody wants. Like scorers? Then Askew and Davis might rate higher on your list. Value athleticism? Then Odom and Smith could be higher for you. Do you like a vocal leader? Well then Curbelo could be the guy for you.
I’m looking forward to getting the input of the group on this one.