Its not often you find a player that exemplifies a professional attitude on and off the court at such a young age, and that is what you have in five star point guard Brandon Williams. I began covering Brandon in the summer of 2015, and with so much explosion I saw hunger in one of the youngest under the radar point guards at that time in Southern California. Though, the glimpse was short, and Brandon was off to compete for a State title run with teammate and friend Deanthony Melton in the Mission League which propelled Brandon onto the 2016 California Supreme 17U EYBL Roster the following year. With a supporting cast of division 1 notable prospects such as Deandre Ayton, Brandon McCoy, Jordan Schakel, Ethan Thompson, and a host of younger talent and division one players like Justin Sueing at Cal; all the way down to the late Ryse Williams who’s story will live on forever through this group of young men in the spring and summer of 2016. Brandon’s first taste of live action came early in the morning considering the travel from California to Brooklyn New York put the club three hours ahead, and their first competition being an 8:00am game against hometown team Albany City Rocks. Brandon got off to a impressive start showing range from the three point line, and the ability to run the offense and get teammates involved with no practices as a full group prior to this opening game. Brandon looked poised, and as hungry as the young man that I saw a year before in 2015. Still, not yet rated or receiving a lot of college attention. The very next contest was against Brooklyn hometown PSA Cardinals, that was loaded with Division 1A and professional talent for another midday showdown between New York and California. However, this games wasn’t like any of the others that I saw. The long range jumpers from Ethan Thompson held Supreme in most of the game, and a early surge by Brandon McCoy. Ultimately, PSA Cardinals would finish of with the win, and California Supreme would finish the weekend in Brooklyn loaded with talent 1-2. This of course played a huge role in the story of the season, as well as the growth of this group. I remember in between games I spoke with Brandon’s Father about the level of competition in the EYBL, and how Brandon faired in his first session on the road against great National competition. I remember the conversation, and it was very brief as the concerns came and faded as if Brandon should play his age group at 16U or stick it out with this monster of a season ahead of him to prepare for what was yet to come at the next level and beyond. I believe we both understood what was at stake in recruiting, and playing on that big of a stage, and going down to playing with guys in his class. The decision to stick it out and trust the process lead to one of the greatest single season runs as a point guard that I’ve seen in my time covering AAU basketball. Brandon exploded in Indianapolis Indiana in the EYBL Session #2 in the 2016 season and the rest was history. Competing against the top guards in the nation who many were a class ahead of him landed Brandon a slew of Division 1A high major offers, as well as a five star ranking. The team finished the season  in the Final four out of 40 plus Nike Programs Nationwide under his leadership at the guard position primarily playing on the ball and getting guys going all around him, and on any given moment being able to explode for 30 points. Brandon seemed to have turned a corner and his future looking bright.

As the season ended Brandon would soon find out that he would have to undergo surgery and restore blood flow to a particular part of his knees so that they would function properly in the long run and not cause of swelling. The disease is known as Adventitial cystic. This was the beginning of what would be Brandon’s turnaround story, and how to overcome through the hardships that an athlete may face around every corner of their athletic playing career. Brandon had already solidified on a national scale where he stood amongst the class, and eventually signed a financial agreement to commit to Arizona. Though, the scholarship was there, and Brandon had proven so much. The unfortunate side of rankings are they’re all done by numbers, and when you’re not producing them your rankings can often slip drastically. In Brandon’s case unjustifiably so as he watched from the sideline as a junior unable to compete in the spring and summer of 2017 as other touted prospects earned their keep by producing similar to the year he had prior. The patience it took for Brandon to finish his surgery, and enter a rigorous recovery process, while taking care of his academic commitments watching others in his class benefit from their offseason was the mark of a true warrior and champion. With anyone naturally frustration would settle in, and take over the mind. However, in Brandon’s case I believe it fueled it. As the recovery process ended, and Brandon entered his senior year I came out to visit his team in Cerritos and Brandon was very limited in minutes as the re introduction process to getting his feet back under him. The nigh it all switched in front of my eyes as a reporter was against league rival Alemany where Brandon looked like the hungry, humbled, and poised guard I saw back in 2015 almost three years later. Just like that Brandon was back in full swing, and finished with 37 points and a win. After the game I interviewed Brandon about the recovery process and he said “I wouldn’t trade my parents for anything in the world. They’ve really been by my side every step of the process”. This stood out to me because in a era where athletes are often times defined by rankings not Brandon Williams. Brandon Williams is defined by his work ethic, his story, his play, and his love for his family. Truly a standup individual. I believe I saw throughout this entire process Brandon’s ranking dropped down to many different things, and in my mind I knew that they made a mistake. Brandon went on to finish his senior year with 756 total points with many high scores:

52 vs Alemany

43 vs Chino Hills

37 vs Alemany

37 vs Harvard

36 vs Chaminade

32 vs West Linn

32 vs Southridge

31 vs St John Bosco

31 vs Chaminade

31 vs Loyola

30 vs Notre Dame

29 vs Santa Margarita

29 vs Jesuit

Brandon ultimately regained his place within his class post injury, and truly is an example of how young student athletes have to prosper even through the ranking rollercoaster. To not allow those factors to manipulate the process. After recently de-committed from Arizona Brandon is arguably the best point guard in the country pound for pound, and back in high demand for the class of 2018.