Dallas County’s William Lee Signs with UABPublished 2:35pm Wednesday, November 13, 2013
PLANTERSVILLE — Dallas County High School’s William Lee took his time signing the necessary paperwork to officially become a University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazer Wednesday afternoon, but perhaps he was just relishing the moment after months and months of recruiting phone calls and interviews.
With his family surrounding him in the gymnasium at Dallas County High School, Lee eventually leaned forward and signed a national letter of intent to officially become a Blazer, strengthening a UAB recruiting class that currently has four players committed.
“I’m very excited. I think UAB is the right place for me to go to college,” Lee said.
The power forward is ranked by ESPN as the nation’s No. 65 overall recruit nationally. Numerous recruiting websites list Lee among the state of Alabama’s top three basketball players.
Lee wanted “to do something different” and he said nobody thought he was going to pick UAB, including himself, until a recent drive that gave him some alone time to think about the choice he had to make.
“It feels good because nobody — and I mean nobody — knew I was going to UAB,” Lee said. “I didn’t really know myself until yesterday.”
He said while driving down the road, it hit him that UAB was the right place for him to go to college. Lee said the UAB staff, including head coach Jerod Haase, were shocked when he told them his decision.
“Coach Haase, he was so surprised when I called him,” Lee said. “He was in his room watching TV with his kids and he was like ‘Are you kidding me, are you serious?’”
Lee made numerous trips to UAB during the recruiting process and said he regularly keeps up with how the Blazers are doing.
His decision really came down to UAB and Southern Methodist University, but Lee decided the distance between Plantersville and SMU was too large and that it would likely prevent him from seeing his family during holidays.
Other schools in the mix included Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi State.
Now with the “hardest decision of his life” behind him, Lee and his teammates can focus on trying to win a state championship.
“It feels good. It feels like I’ve got rid of a lot of stress,” Lee said. “I can just concentrate on winning high school basketball games and doing something at Dallas County that has never been done before and that is win a state championship.”
During his junior season, Lee was named the Class 4A Player of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. He averaged a triple double.
Lee’s senior season will begin Friday when the Hornets host John Essex. Games start at 1:30 p.m., and the varsity boys game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
Other UAB commitments include Lewis Sullivan, Jarvis Calhoun and Chris Cokley.