Whitney Young’s Lucas Williamson experienced it all during his time at Young, which included being the clear leader of a state championship team this past season.
The experience of winning has always been the focal point of Williamson’s basketball career, whether it was being a part of two state titles at Young or doing the little things and all the dirty work for a big-named Meanstreets team on the club circuit.
The 6-4 senior wanted to find a future college home he believed was on the verge of doing some special things as well. As a result, Williamson committed to Loyola and coach Porter Moser on Monday.
“I feel like they are on the cusp of doing some outstanding things going forward,” says Williamson, one of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 20 prospects in the Class of 2017. “I want to be a big part of that.”
Williamson said Loyola turned up their recruitment and attention following his state championship run in March.
“When I met with coach Moser face-to-face, I could tell he wanted me and wanted to finish off this really good recruiting class,” says Williamson. “I had such a strong feeling about Loyola and so did my parents, both from an academic standpoint and athletically. It felt like a great fit for me, and I really believe they are about to win big.”
What Moser and the Ramblers are getting is a true winner and ideal leader. Williamson won big at Young and played his best when it mattered most, winning the prestigious Proviso West Holiday Tournament in December where he was named tournament MVP, and then leading the Dolphins to a Class 4A state championship in March.
In a semifinal win over Fenwick at Proviso West, Williamson dropped in five three-pointers and scored 25 points. He then had 27 points and nine rebounds in the championship game win over Morgan Park.
In wins over Fremd and Simeon in Peoria in the state semifinals and championship game, Williamson scored 36 points while pulling down 17 rebounds and adding five steals.
Williamson takes a mature and refreshing approach when asked about why he places such an emphasis on team over individual.
“There is no feeling like winning,” says Williamson. “There is nothing like it. You always try to be a winner in life and in all the things you do in life, so I took that approach when playing basketball. It doesn’t have to be about me, me, me. If I become a winner, I will get what I want.
“This season I wanted my teammates to have that feeling of winning a state championship, because I almost felt selfish having had that feeling as a freshman when we won state. I wanted to win this one with my brothers. I wanted them to have that feeling, to share that excitement with them.”
All season long when coach Tyrone Slaughter needed a play to be made, Williamson provided it as a jack-of-all-trades wing.
“Everyone kind of thinks this was a one-year run for Lucas, but it’s been two years of him being a stable force for us,” says Slaughter of his star senior. “When things got tough it felt good knowing the consistency of Lucas and all that he brought were always there.”
Williamson showed throughout his senior year an ability to score in a variety of ways while still doing plenty of the little things to help a team win. He brings size on the perimeter and a strong basketball I.Q. As a senior he provided toughness and leadership to a team loaded with young, talented players.
Now he joins a Loyola recruiting class that includes three of the top players in the Chicago area. Loyola already had signed 6-9 Cameron Krutwig of Jacobs, a unanimous all-state selection, and Larkin’s Christian Negron, who sat out this past season with a knee injury. Krutwig, Negron and Williamson are all standout students, high-character kids and among the top 20 prospects in Illinois in the senior class.
When Moser took over the Loyola program in 2011 there wasn’t a single player from the Chicago Public League on the roster and just one player from the Chicago area. This recruiting class alone brings in three coveted Chicago area recruits.
Williamson joins a roster that has had an influx of Chicago Public League players. Former Marshall standout Milton Doyle graduates this year after playing at an All-Missouri Valley Conference level, while Simeon product and returning starter Donte Ingram will be one of Loyola’s top players next season.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport