Boys Basketball: Marist’s Lexus Williams picks Valparaiso

Story Image Lexus Williams, of Marist, takes a shot against Brother Rice for the Class 4A Regionals at Marist High School, Monday, Febuary 27th, 2012 in Chicago, IL. l Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media

A lot of recruits want to stay close to home. Lexus Williams, however, was looking for a place like home.

The Chicago product found both at Valparaiso. From the coaching staff, to the emphasis on academics to the small-school feel, Williams — a 5-11 point guard out of Marist, a Catholic school on the South Side — couldn’t believe how similar the two schools were.

“It’s actually kind of scary,” he said with a laugh. “It’ll be a seamless transition from high school to college. And that’s what I’m looking for, a place just like home. I think I’ll be very comfortable at Valparaiso.”

Williams, a senior-to-be at Marist, became the third Class of 2013 commit for Valparaiso, joining fellow point guard Nick Davidson (Andrean) and swingman Clay Yeo (Triton).

Bryce Drew was one of the first coaches to reach out to Williams last spring, and instantly shot to the top of his wish list, ahead of Western Illinois, Oakland and Green Bay. He was further sold after seeing the Crusaders play in person, and then learning about VU’s academic reputation.

“Valpo was always the school I wanted to go to,” he said. “What really stood out to me was the 98 percent job placement rate after graduation. It’s good to know that when you graduate, you basically have your future set.”

Williams carries a 4.15 GPA (on a 5.0 scale) at Marist. And his coach, Gene Nolan, says that intelligence carries over onto the cour.

“He’s certainly a good student and a high-character kid, but he’s also got a really, really high basketball IQ,” Nolan said. “He’s a worker and a winner.”

Williams has started since he was a freshman, running the Princeton offense and leading Marist to 12 wins his first year, then 19, then 26 last season. As a junior, he averaged 12.2 points and 5.2 assists while making 43 percent from three-point range and 77 percent from the free-throw line.

“I’m a facilitator first,” he said. “But if Coach Drew needs me to score, I’ll score.”

He might even do a little more for his new coach.

“I know I’m looking forward to playing with Nick Davidson and Clay Yeo,” he said. “And I’m going to try to get some other guys to come with me and jump on the train.”

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