Pro Insight: What were the main factors in your decision?
Brandon Williams: Well, the main factors in my decision were connections to take me to the next level.
PI: Take us back to when you were a freshman entering Christ the King…what were some of the goals that you had? Both some of the goals that you've achieved and those that you still want to.
BW: My mindset, when I first suited up for Christ the King, was very goal-oriented. I had things I wanted to achieve. Some, I’ve been able to, but I still have stuff I’ve still got to accomplish. I feel like every two years, I take a jump. So, if you put in the work, you’re gonna take a jump every two years.
PI: Who were some people that you consulted with heavily in making this important decision?
BW: In terms of this decision and throughout the whole process, I would have to say my mom, my aunt, my coach C.J. (Steed), my grandmother, and my coach (Joe) Arbitello, my Christ The King head coach.
PI: Now, for the biggest question, which college program have you decided to attend?
BW: I’ve decided to attend UCLA!
PI: Congratulations! You had a lot of options, but what set UCLA apart from all of the others?
BW: Thank you. Well, I had a lot of options, but what set UCLA apart was that they felt like a really, really big time program with a lot of history and great players who’ve come through there. They’ve been a big-time winning program. They’ve got a lot of great connects. I mean Peyton Watson averaged like two points a game and he was still a lottery pick in the draft.
PI: When you went out there for your visit, what did you get to see and learn about UCLA?
BW: When I went there for my visit, I learned but their guys’ work. They like to keep their guys tight. Everybody is cool. They just have a California vibe. It's a California chill. It’s a vibe.
PI: You obviously liked it a lot. When you were on your visit, did can you get a chance to spend any time with Mac Etienne, who also came out of the PSA program?
BW: We went to dinner a couple of times. He was in my photo shoot. He was basically my tour guide.
PI: What did Mac have to say about the program?
BW: He obviously must’ve spoken highly of the Bruins. Yeah, he was very high on UCLA. He came out of New York, like me. He’s just making the best of it.
PI: What was the message from Coach Cronin and the staff?
BW: They were very excited to have me on the visit and to be recruiting me.
PI: For people that have never been out there, what was it like on UCLA’s campus and the Westwood area of LA?
BW: The campus was huge. I haven't seen a campus like that. It was beautiful. It was like a California type of area. It was just nice. There’s just so much opportunity in California.
PI: Did you get a chance to spend time with any of the other players?
BW: I met with a bunch of them because I was there at practice. The first time I went there I met with Tyger and this time I met with the whole team.
PI: Who’d you get a chance to connect with?
BW: I really just hung out with the PSA kid.
PI: Oh, ok. Well, what role did Coach Cronin say that you could help bring to UCLA next year?
BW: Well, next year, my role will mostly be to be that versatile guard or wing that can guard every position and run the offense. You know how sometimes you need to switch it up from a small regard to a bigger guard…well, sometimes those bigger guards can make those tough passes and help run the offense. That’ll be my type of role.
PI: Use your versatility. One thing I wanted to check on…you’re obviously young for your class. You’re technically younger than some guys they have ranked two classes below you…did you ever seriously consider reclassifying?
BW: I was never seriously considering re-classing. It was thought of, but I really wasn’t ever interested in re-classing. Other people would bring it up, but not me. I feel like I’m ready.
PI: For fans who may never have seen you play, what do you hope to bring to UCLA?
BW: I hope to bring an improved body and even better skills to them.
PI: What has prepared you for what you’re bringing to UCLA?
BW: I mean, PSA prepared me. They put me on a platform where I could play against other kids I’ll be playing against in college, so that kind of got me prepared in EYBL this last summer, playing against the best competition. There are so many other opportunities to play against those kids, like Pangos and a whole bunch of stuff like that.
PI: You did very well there.
BW: And Christ the King put me on a platform like, Hoop Hall Classic, playing in the Staples Center, it’s been good.
PI: What are you going to be working on skill-wise to get ready for next year?
BW: I mean, physically, I’ll just be working on my upper body and just getting myself stronger. Skill-wise, making my three ball, making it more consistent.
PI: Just tighten it up?
PI: And how do you feel about your handle right now?
BW: I think for my size, I think I have a pretty decent handle for my size and being able to like beat little guards off the dribble and beat bigger defenders easily off the dribble. I think I have a decent handle.
PI: What do you think you’ve improved on most over the last year?
BW: I think I mostly improved on maturity. I think that’s what it really was. Being so young and having to mature quicker and so I had to understand the game better to make it easier. I think that’s what it was. I think that played a big part in my development.
PI: And your processing. Was there a moment or a game where it all started to click or was it gradual?
BW: I mean, around the end of my school season, that’s when everything started to click, and over the summer, everything just came together.
PI: What are your goals this year for Christ the King, both individually and as a team?
BW: My individual goal for Christ the King is to bring my team to the championship, help us win, and my goal is to win Mr. New York and prepare for college, and just bringing the championship back to Christ the King.
PI: Absolutely. You guys are loaded this year.
BW: Yeah, we are.
PI: Were there any former players that you modeled your game after?
BW: Not former players, but now, Jayson Tatum.
PI: Because he’s a big wing who can play-make and can shoot?
PI: Anyone else you like currently?
BW: I like Ja Morant. I like the way he attacks physically.
PI: Are you done growing?
BW: I don’t know, I’ve been having knee pains lately.
PI: I am sorry to hear that, but that could be a good thing. (laughs) Can you share for the audience a little bit about your background?
BW: Well, I’m from New York. I’m sixteen years old. I have a little brother. I have a little sister. I’m really family-oriented. I spend a lot of time with my family. They’re at a lot of the games. I’m a hard worker. I like to be in the gym a lot. Even when I’m not in the gym working on my game, I’m somewhere playing basketball.
PI: So it is truly a passion for you?
PI: Did you have any family that played D-I basketball or are you going to be the first one?
BW: I’m going to be the first one. I’m going to be the first one in my family to actually go to college.
PI: Wow, congratulations! That’s tremendous.
BW: Thank you.
PI: What would you like the audience to know about you away from the court, in terms of your interests and stuff like that?
BW: Off the court, I’m really just laid-back. I don’t do too much. I play games, I play 2K.
PI: Are you good? (laughs)
BW: Yeah, I’m good at 2K.
PI: Do you like music, movies, anything?
BW: Yeah, I like music. I listen to R&B and just regular stuff. Regular stuff kids normally listen to.
PI: The final question I have for you today: do you have a message to UCLA fans about what you’re hoping to bring to the program and why they should be excited?
BW: I’m hoping to bring a winning spirit, give the fans energy. I want them at every game, just helping us win, so we can keep up that energy. Go Bruins!