Stagg’s Connor Williams is just now starting to open some eyes and attract some attention from scouts and observers throughout the area.
But the senior guard’s teammates, according to junior forward Domas Narcevicius, have long known what he is capable of doing.
“I feel like he’s the best player on the court whenever we play or at least one of them,” Narcevicius said. “Scoring-wise, he gets us going. He’s a great point guard, moving the ball and getting us running our sets and getting us open shots.
“He’s a great guy to play with.”
Williams, who made more of a name for himself with a big performance in the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York, continued his surge Friday by scoring 12 points — 10 in the second half — as the Chargers shook off a slow start and rolled to a 54-38 SouthWest Suburban Red win over Lincoln-Way West in New Lenox.
Last week, Williams received an offer from North Central College. He’s hoping more recruiting interest is coming his way, but it’s not something he wants to get too wrapped up about in his mind.
“I’m just trying to keep playing well, keep winning games and see where it goes in the future,” he said. “It’s pretty important to me, but whatever happens happens. Just keep winning games and I can get some more recognition.”
On Dec. 27, Williams made six 3-pointers and scored 18 points in a Jack Tosh second-round game against Downers Grove North, which finished fourth last season in Class 4A and is considered a major title contender again this winter.
The Chargers led that game most of the way before losing 55-54 on a heartbreaking buzzer-beater. But Stagg coach Marty Strus was glad a big crowd got to see Williams, who missed the tournament last season with an injury.
“It’s a big stage,” Strus said. “It’s good competition, and when we have guys that are capable of playing at the next level, it’s a good showcase for those guys.
“Downers Grove North has some guys, but anyone who watched that game couldn’t argue that he didn’t belong with those guys.”
Strus has seen Williams develop into an all-around force.
“His rebounding has come so far, his defense has come so far, his ability to get others involved has come so far,” Strus said. “He’s going to be a really good college player, and I know he’ll find the right spot to do it.”
On Friday, the outside shots weren’t falling early for Williams. They certainly were for Bereza, who hit five 3-pointers in the first quarter and scored all 17 of the Warriors’ points on their way to a 17-10 lead.
Stagg recovered to take a 30-26 halftime lead, and Williams then went to work attacking the basket in the second half.
“Just being a three-level scorer, it does help a lot,” Williams said. “If the threes aren’t falling, just go to the basket. Even the midrange game, I think that’s a good part of my game.”
Williams played baseball as a freshman at Stagg but gave it up to focus on basketball.
“It was just my love for the game and me growing and seeing that development in my game,” he said. “I’m going to take this to the next level and probably play in college, so I think I made a good choice.”