USA TODAY High School Sports is publishing a series called “The Class of 18,” highlighting 18 members of the Class of 2018 whom we will be watching in the coming year. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff.
Name: Christyn Williams
School: Central Arkansas Christian (North Little Rock)
The bookshelf in Christyn Williams’ living room in her Little Rock, Ark., home has the trophies from a basketball career that has seen her become the top-ranked player in the Class of 2018.
That shelf might need additional reinforcement given the last few of months she’s had around the world. The display already had a bronze medal from last summer’s FIBA U17 World Championships and her Gatorade Arkansas Player of the Year award from 2016. She has since added a gold medal in the FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup for Women in China, a gold medal as the only high school player on Team USA at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Italy and another Gatorade Arkansas Player of the Year award.
Perhaps the scary thing is that all this international experience has made Williams a better player and that’s after coming off a season in which she averaged 26.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals for Central Arkansas Christian. She repeated as American Family Insurance ALL-USA Arkansas State Player of the Year.
“Most definitely. That’s not even in question,” said Williams, a 5-10 lefty combo guard. “These experiences in and of themselves have raised my basketball IQ. Getting the chance to play with college players helps my game.”
It also has forced her to play a different role as is always the case when elite players move to what essentially are all-star teams. She also has gotten a potential approximation of what college basketball will be like with the travel, training camps and practice.
“I’ve been learning how to get my teammates involved in every way possible,” she said. “I’m continuing to work on my game individually and also getting me ready for college and high school ball.
“I’ll take some time off before I start training again. I’m a little exhausted mentally and physically.”
And that doesn’t take into account recruiting. Because of her international commitments, she has not played on her NIKE EYBL team in the July evaluation periods, although at this point she has narrowed her nearly 30 offers to a top six of Baylor, Tennessee, Notre Dame, UCLA, Connecticut and Texas.
“I’ll be taking my official visits in the fall. It hasn’t been really stressful yet— I’m just chilling. Just taking it day-by-day,” Williams said. “I haven’t really been thinking much about schools since Team USA took up most of my summer. I’m trying to look at the players at these schools as people and friends, and that has been a mutual thing.”
Here is a scouting report on Williams from Dan Olsen, the director of ESPNW HoopsGurlz, and owner and director of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.
“Williams brings consistency to her game. A left-handed mid-range scorer capable of putting up big numbers. Williams can carry a team offensively, scoring inside 15 feet off the dribble or attacking the basket, yielding results. A solid defender as well, Williams can score from her defense tactics as well. The Class of 2018 has a number of stars that challenge Williams for the top spot, but for now, it’s hers.”