By Joe Henricksen
Valparaiso and coach Bryce Drew saw what they liked and didn't waste any time. Marist junior Lexus Williams, who put together a solid junior year for coach Gene Nolan and has continued to play well all spring on the AAU circuit, committed to Valpo on Wednesday after receiving an offer on Tuesday.
Both Drew and assistant Roger Powell have been intrigued with Williams this spring, especially after he played so well in Merrillville in the Spring Showcase this past April. The Valpo offer was the first that Williams received, but the talented point guard didn't feel a need to waste any time.
"The offer was a bit of a surprise to me," said Williams, who averaged 14 points a game this past season for a team that fell to Simeon in the sectional championship. "But both coach Drew and coach Powell have been recruiting me and I realized how perfect of a fit it was for me. It's such a similar situation at Valpo as it is here at Marist. In a lot of ways I think it will be a seamless transition."
Williams is a pure point guard with speed and quickness who pushes tempo, sees the floor, brings off-the-charts character and leadership qualities to the table. Plus, his perimeter jumper continues to improve.
"He's high character, dependable and has a way about him that players, classmates, teachers and coaches enjoy being around him," says Marist coach Gene Nolan. "As a player, he's just really, really smart. He thinks a step ahead. He has a feel and knack for playing the point guard position."
While Drew, Powell and the Valpo basketball program made quite an impression on Williams, the school itself and the feel he had while on campus on an unofficial visit was the single biggest aspect that jumped out at him.
"I wasn't just looking at basketball," Williams pointed out. "The academics stood out to me. That was very important. The school's job placement after graduation is incredible. That was something I really looked at. And like I said, it did feel like Marist. It felt like family."
Williams was a stock riser in the Hoops Report's blog on players whose stock rose the most this spring and is among the top 30 prospects in the Class of 2013.
Valparaiso won the Horizon League regular-season championship a year ago and finished 22-12 overall. The Crusaders reached the NIT, where it fell to Miami in the opening round.
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