Sports Women's Sports

Arizona commit Jada Williams is redefining what it means to be a high school athlete

By Carley Crain

A point guard in basketball is the director of the game. Someone who was born to lead. A player who knows how to lift others up while remaining focused and poised. Headline after headline, she is often labeled as a “basketball prodigy” or a “natural-born leader.” 

Her bright smile and confidence that is noticeable from a mile away, paired with the ability to dominate on the basketball court, make La Jolla Country Day School (CA)’s Jada Williams the perfect point guard. 

Williams’s laser-focused look sends her competitors into a frenzy. She isn’t afraid to get in opponents’ faces and make them nervous. She makes her presence felt from the moment she steps foot in the arena – and that was exactly what happened at the 2023 Spalding Hoophall Classic on Friday night.

Williams’ ability to think quickly on her feet – while simultaneously being able to control the offense both vocally and physically – helped La Jolla Day Country School defeat Christ the King High School (NY) 64-47. Williams earned the game’s most valuable player award, posting 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

She’s been criticized by the media for having an “attitude” and a “big mouth,” but Williams sees her personality as one that breeds confidence. Silence simply isn’t in her DNA.

“As a point guard, you can’t be out there hesitant or not believing in yourself,” Williams said. “My godfather taught me from a very young age that if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will for you. That has always been something I have lived by on and off the court.”

Williams’s faith has helped her develop a greater purpose outside of basketball. Before every game, she says a quick prayer, putting trust in God that everything will work out. 

“I know I am built for this moment. I have been on millions of big stages, so I know I am prepared,” Williams said. “God gave me this platform to use it, so I have to do so in a positive way.” 

Williams has proved time and time again that she is one of the best high school girls basketball players in the country – and that her name should be discussed among the game’s elite. But aside from basketball, Williams has a verified blue check mark next to her Instagram handle, and casually has over 600,000 followers at just 17 years old.

Gymshark, Spalding, and DICK’S Sporting Goods are just a few businesses that Williams has partnered with, earning her a six-figure salary while still in high school. After she finishes her senior year at La Jolla, she is headed to the University of Arizona next year to continue her basketball career and pursue a Bachelor’s degree in communications. 

Williams also recently started her own foundation, Greater Purpose, which incorporates her passion for God through mission trips and encourages individuals to find a deeper meaning in their lives.

“Basketball and God have always been two things I can fall back on and have stayed consistent in my life,” Williams said. “They have never left me and I know that all the trials I go through in life, I am a strong warrior.”

Williams bet on herself at a young age and capitalized on numerous Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities after California became the first state in the country to allow high school athletes the opportunity to pursue NIL deals. Young women like Willams are helping grow basketball tremendously, as The Gist reports that women’s sports are currently outpacing men’s sports in regard to NIL deals. 

Female athletes being able to profit from marketing deals based on their student-athlete status has been transformative for women’s representation in basketball, and in all sports overall. Williams is re-writing the narrative of what it means to be a high school athlete, and she is certainly not afraid of taking risks in order to enhance her career.

She’s the first to high-five her teammates after a basket, but not the last to offer them advice on how to improve. Williams holds herself accountable too – and at times can be her biggest critic. But Williams’s intentions are always to improve and be the best basketball player – and person – she can be. 

Williams will rely on her strong sense of self-esteem and confidence to help handle the large spotlight and take care of her mental health.

“I think it is important to know my worth,” she said. “I just understand my body and when to do what.”

Photo: Carley Crain / The Student


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