When Williams committed to Georgetown in July, he cited Coach Patrick Ewing’s rebuilding efforts and a homelike feel on campus. But he reopened his recruitment Dec. 5, during the same week Georgetown announced James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc would no longer play for the Hoyas after the revelation of allegations including sexual assault and harassment against three players.
“I think seeing them play was the biggest factor,” Williams said in a phone interview Wednesday. “With Coach Howard coming in new, I didn’t know how he was going to transition to the college game. But seeing a couple games, especially [seeing them] win the Battle 4 Atlantis [in the Bahamas on Thanksgiving weekend], how they played down there, that actually made my decision easier.”
After Williams reopened his recruitment, he strengthened his relationship with Howard’s staff and took an official visit to Michigan over the weekend for the Wolverines’ game against the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
“Playing in the Fab Five, he showed some highlights, said I reminded him a little bit of him when I was going into college,” Williams said. “Going to Michigan, that’s even better because he’s been through this experience before.”
Michigan has emerged as a power player in the local recruiting scene, picking up Williams and DeMatha senior Hunter Dickinson, the four-star center who committed to the Wolverines on Dec. 20.
Those two additions make Michigan’s 2020 class the fourth best in the country, according to 247sports.com.
“I think what Juwan talked about was seeing himself in [Williams] a little bit,” Gonzaga Coach Steve Turner said. “ … When you saw Juwan play with the Fab Five, he wasn’t always the big name, but he found a way to make his mark, and that mark led to a long NBA career, then a big-time coaching career in the NBA and now the head coach at Michigan. I think for him it’s just seeing that same work ethic.”
Williams was a first-team All-Met as a junior, when he averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. He has returned as the best player on a Gonzaga team ranked No. 5 in The Washington Post’s Top 20.