Emmitt Williams, a five-star high school basketball prospect in the Class of 2018 according to ESPN, withdrew from Lehigh Senior High on Tuesday, his father, Emmitt Williams Sr., confirmed Tuesday.
Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward, is the No. 11-ranked sophomore in the nation according to ESPN and the 25th by 247 Sports. Williams Sr. would not confirm where Williams will be taking his talents.
Williams, who has offers from Louisville and LSU according to 247 Sports, averaged 15.3 points, 11.2 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game a season ago for a program that went 27-2 and reached the Class 6A Region final, where it lost to Tampa Jefferson.
Following the season, the Lightning were selected to represent Southwest Florida in The Culligan City of Palms Classic, a national tournament hosting some of the country’s best high school programs.
“Emmitt or no Emmitt, Lehigh is in the City of Palms Classic,” tournament director Donnie Wilkie said.
On Wednesday, Lehigh head coach Dawn McNew will be present for a news conference releasing the tournament field and schedule. McNew did not return calls seeking comment.
The withdrawal marks a huge blow for a team that had emerged in recent years under McNew. While the Lightning will be competitive moving forward, Williams is considered an elite talent with the potential to play major college basketball in the future.
“I think we’ve all been operating under the idea that this is probably the most anticipated local team for us in probably 20 years,” Wilkie said of the tournament’s inclusion of the Lightning.
Williams is an emerging prospect who has traveled the nation over the past summer showcasing his ability with an array of traveling teams. He competed in the early spring with Nike Team Florida, which is based in Clearwater. But during the July period, a time for major college basketball prospects to gain exposure, he transitioned to Orlando-based Each 1 Teach 1.
Williams Sr. said the majority of his son’s exposure came through his play in E1T1 this summer.
An IMG Academy spokesperson confirmed the enrollment of Emmitt Williams with the school on Wednesday. The former Lehigh student, a top 25 high school basketball prospect, will begin classes Thursday at the Bradenton campus.
Emmitt Williams is indicating through social media Wednesday his interest in IMG Academy.