The Branson High School senior took her first official visit last weekend, of the five planned for her list of finalists. She won’t be taking the other four.
Williams announced her commitment to Syracuse University on Twitter on Monday afternoon.
She talked about the decision and process in a phone interview later Monday.
“I’m very relieved,” she said. “It feels like there’s been a big weight lifted off my shoulders, and now I can just enjoy the rest of my senior year.
“I’m very excited to have this decision behind me and I can’t wait to get up to Syracuse.”
Williams drew colleges from across the country to Branson since arriving before her sophomore season. The 6-foot-3 guard is ranked as the No. 11 player in the country by ESPN.com, and the No. 3 guard nationally in the Class of 2020. She is the top-ranked player in the state of Missouri.
Williams announced earlier this summer her list of five finalists – Syracuse, Louisville, Mississippi State, Florida State and Southern Methodist.
Once she spent some time on the Syracuse campus, with the coaching staff and her future teammates, she knew it was the place for her.
“It just hit me that this was the place for me,” Williams said. “My parents are very happy with the coaches, and they trust the coaches to take care of me for the next four years.”
She fell in love with the environment at the Clemson-Syracuse football game on Saturday, even though it ended with a loss for the Orange.
It was the people involved that made the difference, she said.
“They are all so real, and it’s not an act, where they will just tell you what you want to hear to get you to commit,” Williams said. “They were really straight-up with me, and that’s important, I like that. It was organized, but the coach was not always with us. I was able to see how I would interact with the players and get along with everybody.
“It was very natural, nothing was forced.”
Syracuse plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference and has reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the last seven seasons. The Orange reached the championship game in 2016, losing to perennial powerhouse Connecticut.
Syracuse went 25-9 last season and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest in program history. Quentin Hillsman is entering his 14th season as the team’s head coach, and he has four starters returning.
The comfort level Williams felt with the staff throughout the visit was a big factor in ending her recruitment early.
“The feeling I had with the coaches there was very natural,” she said. “They are amazing people and have an amazing staff. They will look out for me and help me in so many ways.”
Williams averaged 27.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game for the Lady Pirates as a junior, making 52 shots from 3-point range and adding 77 blocked shots.
She scored a school-record 51 points in a loss to Camdenton early in the season and reached the 1,000-point mark for her career at Branson, just barely over playing the equivalent of a full season at the school.
She said she contacted all of her other finalists on Monday before making the announcement on Twitter.
“The other coaches understood and appreciated me letting them know and not wasting their time,” Williams said. “It was best to tell them up front and not waste their time on a visit when I already know where I’m going to go.”