Syracuse basketball signee Benny Williams moved up more than 20 spots in the final SI99 rankings for the 2021 class. SI All-American unveiled the final rankings, the first update since December. Williams is 28th in the final rankings, an improvement of 22 spots as he was 50th in December. Only four ACC signees were ranked higher than Williams.
That is quite a jump for Williams, but one that should have been anticipated. By all accounts, Williams' game has grown tremendously over the last six months.
"What I really liked about him is the growth in his game across the board," SI All-American Director of Basketball Recruiting Jason Jordan said. "Covid really showed who's going to work for it and who's going to say, 'oh man I didn't have any competition' or 'I couldn't get in this tournament.' What I've learned is that the elite guys have really found what it means to go out and work on their game. How beneficial that has been. He's obviously one of the guys that has done that. I just really like how he's a do it all guy, yes, but I feel like as a playmaker, he's grown substantially.
"Benny's on a traveling all-star team with Efton Reid, we'll start with him, and then Charles Bediako. It's just a traveling all-star team. Let's just be honest. You'd probably make the intelligent case that he's the best player on the team. I hate to say positionless because that's become a little bit of a cliche, but he really is. He's best when he's a playmaker, making plays from the wing. As he's improved his ball handling, I could see him at the point forward position. He's such a great playmaker, so heady, great basketball IQ, great passer. He can score when he wants to, but he has just a great feel for the game. And you can tell that's grown year over year."
Williams is already on the Syracuse campus, participating in workouts and other team activities. He is preparing for a big role this season.
"Honestly I didn't know that literally everybody at my position was going to leave, but it's a blessing," Williams said last month. "I hope they do well with where they're going, especially Woody since I've known him since I was six or eight years old, something like that. They're really just wanting me to come in and be productive. I'm really just trying to come in with the mindset that I'm not a freshman. That's what coach Red has been preaching to me."