Dallas County’s Lee being recruited hard by top schoolsPublished 7:42pm Thursday, July 4, 2013
By Daniel Evans
The Selma Times-Journal
College basketball’s offseason evaluation period is underway and nobody knows it better than Dallas County power forward William Lee.
During the month of July, colleges are given three evaluation periods to look at players they are hoping to recruit into their program. With tournaments all month featuring the nation’s top prospects, this is a month where a great performance can help a player’s stock rise to new levels or force it to fall to new lows.
The 6-9, 210 pound Lee is ranked by ESPN as the No. 65 player in the class of 2014. Lee has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Houston, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt and he’s drawing interest from dozens of other programs. UAB is among those showing interest.
Later this week, he will be among 80 high school players and 20 college players in Las Vegas for the annual Lebron James Skills Academy. The camp starts on July 5 and ends July 9. He just left the Anthony Davis/Amar’e Stoudemire big man camp, which is part of the Nike Skills Academy.
“Basically, they worked on skills and development. They taught you to space the floor and take your time when you are doing your move,” Lee said. ‘The camp was run by NBA coaches. “
After coming back from the Lebron James Skills Academy, Lee’s Alabama Challenge team will take part in the Nike Peach Jam tournament. According to the website D1Challenge.com, Lee is averaging 7.5 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, and 2.2 blocks per game in 25.2 minutes per game during 18 games on the Alabama Challenge in 2013.
“I think William is the top player in the state of Alabama, eleventh grader. As time goes he will get stronger and bigger,” Jerry Barley, the Nike Director for the Alabama Challenge, said. “He will put on weight. His attitude, his grades, his work ethic–It’s all plusses. I know he is the University of Alabama’s No. 1 recruit. “
Bartley warns that Lee’s “best is yet to come.”
“He is a team player. He will give the ball up. He is not one of the guys that demands the ball 90% of the time, not at all. He is going to be a very valuable college player. He’s tremendous on defense,” Barley says. “He doesn’t quit. That is one of his strengths. He is going to help on defense. Weakside help, you wouldn’t want a better partner.”
Lee was named the class 4A player of the year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He was also selected to play in the AHSAA All-Star game July 17 at Alabama State University’s Dunn-Oliver Acadome.
He has played against ESPN’s No. 1 recruit, Jahlil Okafor, and No. 2 Cliff Alexander, multiple times this summer and will likely run into them again.
Lee started playing the game around 15 years old, meaning he is really entering his fourth season of being completely committed to basketball.
Lee is known at Dallas County as a blocking machine. He averaged double-digit blocks per game during his junior season to go along with around 19 points per game and double-digit rebounding numbers.
Although he is already a defensive presence inside, the forward is working on his ball handling and shooting skills so that he can become a more well-rounded player. Many scouts see his height and believe he is a center or power forward, but Lee believes he has the type of game that will allow him to play small forward in stretches.
Last offseason, he hyper-extended his knee and sat out all of July. This July he is staying busy and staying on the basketball court. He says college programs are wearing out his cell phone.
“It is crazy. It is every day,” Lee said. “Every two hours, some college coach is calling or texting me.”
If the power forward knows what school he is going to attend, he is keeping it quiet right now. At this time, it seems fair to say that there is no frontrunner in his recruiting.
“No school sticks out. I view everybody the same. If they like me, I like them,” Lee said.
Dallas County High School head coach William Moore says Lee has been pretty quiet during the recruiting period. He says his power forward is not a big fan of the recruiting process.
“William has been pretty quiet as far as recruiting and he doesn’t talk much about it. He has handled it with a lot of class and he has been real humble,” Moore said. “I’m excited about that. Certainly, there are a lot of schools that have offered him. He has a long list of schools to choose from.”
For anyone wanting a hint on where he might go, he did say that right now his preference is not to move too far way. Of course, he also said he doesn’t want to be too close to home either.
“I would rather stay close, but not too [close],” Lee said. “Not too far, not too close.”
Lee plans to start taking his five official visits in September, but he is not sure what schools he is going to visit just yet.
“From my conversation with him, he is just looking for a place where he can feel at home. That’s going to be the biggest thing, where his comfort level is and it is going to be his decision,” Moore said. “I told him my job is to support his decision because at the end of the day if he goes to a place and has those freshman slumps and bumps, he needs to know that he made that decision and not a coach.”
Lee is paying attention to where fellow in-state recruits go. He admits that he has discussed joining the same college program that Justin Coleman, from Wenonah, or Isaac Haas, from Hokes Bluff, chooses. Haas plays with Lee on the Alabama Challenge team, so the duo has had a lot of time this summer to discuss the idea.