BLOOMINGTON — Summer is a time for camps and vacations for Ron Rose.
Yet the Illinois Wesleyan basketball coach didn’t mind in the least mixing in a little recruiting news this week.
Three months after announcing an eight-player recruiting class, Rose confirmed that number has swelled to nine with the commitment of 6-foot-3 Round Lake High School guard Hakim Williams.
“We didn’t put any pressure on Hakim. If Illinois Wesleyan was the right spot for him, we wanted him to come to that conclusion when he was ready,” Rose said. “He’s been accepted (academically) since the fall. Everything lined up. He makes an incoming freshman class that was already really strong even better.”
Rose attributed Williams’ late decision to a “really close connection to his AAU program. He wanted to compete with that program and those teammates this summer. That was important to him, and he was able to do that. Once their season was over, he was ready to shift gears and start planning for his college career.”
Williams averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds in his final season at Round Lake. As a junior, he posted similar marks of 19 points and 10 rebounds.
“One of the things that jumps out at you about this class is the versatility the players have. Hakim is that kind of guy,” said Rose. “He can play multiple positions because of his size and strength.
"He’s 210 pounds, a really big, strong guard. In high school, he would bring the ball up and then go post up. There’s really not a spot on the floor he’s not comfortable with.”
Rose characterized Williams as more of a penetrator than a perimeter shooter.
“He’s a stat stuffer,” said the IWU coach. “He rebounds the ball and handles and passes the ball exceptionally well. He has a really nice, natural feel for the game. He’s a player who does a lot of things that help your team win.”
Previously announced as Titan recruits were 6-3 Trey Bazzell of Prairie Central, 6-0 Parker Wolfe of Effingham, 6-5 Minnesota State transfer and Parker’s older brother Landon Wolfe, 6-7 Nick Roper of St. Louis Country Day, 6-9 Harrison Wilmsen of St. Louis Priory, 5-11 Nathan Valentine of Geneva, 6-1 Shane Miller of Springfield and 6-6 Marko Anderson from Maine South.
Schedule announced: IWU has released its schedule for the coming season beginning with a Nov. 7 opener against Lake Forest at Shirk Center.
The Titans will then play host to the first Sikma Hall of Fame Invitational with Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Hope and St. John’s of Minnesota completing the field for the Nov. 12-13 event.
IWU also has nonconference games at Alma, at Calvin and at Washington University as well as a home contest against the University of Chicago. The Titans will travel to New York City to take on Mount St. Vincent and Yeshiva on Dec. 29-20, respectively.
The College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin schedule starts with a Dec. 4 home contest against Carroll.
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