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Stanford lands top-10 recruit Ziaire Williams

Top-10 senior Ziaire Williams committed to Stanford on Sunday, becoming the Cardinal‘s highest-ranked recruit since at least 2007.

Williams picked Stanford over a final group that also included Arizona, USC, North Carolina and UCLA. He took his time throughout his recruitment, taking an official visit to USC last summer and following that up with trips to North Carolina and Arizona in the fall.

Coming out of the fall, it appeared Arizona and USC were the favorites because of his perceived preference to stay in the West. Over the winter and into the spring, Stanford’s effort ultimately paid off.

The Cardinal have been involved as long as anyone in Williams’ recruitment, as the talented forward first took an unofficial visit to Stanford’s campus in 2017 as a sophomore. The Cardinal were considered a favorite early in his recruitment and stayed in the mix even as blue bloods and Pac-12 powerhouses became involved.

A 6-foot-8 small forward, who played alongside Bronny James and Kentucky signee B.J. Boston for Sierra Canyon High School (California) last season, Williams is ranked No. 7 in the ESPN 100 for the 2020 class. He is the No. 2 small forward.

Already considered a potential top-five pick in the 2021 NBA draft, Williams is a versatile offensive player who can score in a number of ways. He’s also an adept playmaker who crashes the glass at both ends of the floor. He played for the Oakland Soldiers on the Nike EYBL circuit last spring and summer, averaging 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

Williams also represented USA Basketball at the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, playing in all seven games en route to winning a gold medal.

Williams is Stanford’s first five-star recruit since Reid Travis committed in the 2014 class, and the Cardinal’s first top-10 recruit since the ESPN recruiting database was created in 2007. He joins a 2020 class that includes ESPN 100 guard Noah Taitz and three-star forwards Max Murrell and Brandon Angel.

Jerod Haase was expected to bring back nearly his entire rotation from a team that won 20 games last season and was in contention for an NCAA tournament bid. However, star point guard Tyrell Terry entered his name into the NBA draft earlier this month. If Terry withdraws from the draft and returns to Palo Alto, Stanford could push toward the top of the Pac-12 standings next season.

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