Citing “changes that’s gone on in the program,” guard Nigel Williams-Goss says he will transfer after two years at Washington. Gonzaga, Texas, UNLV, Michigan State, Georgetown, Arkansas and Providence are among the programs interested in him.
Listen to Nigel Williams-Goss explain why he’s transferring after two years at Washington, and you’ll notice a common theme among his explanations.
“There’s just a lot of changes that’s gone on in the program the last two years and continuing,” he said. “Just for the stability aspect and really just kind of looking for a fresh start for my last two years of eligibility.”
The sophomore guard said the constant roster upheaval during his two-year tenure was one of the reasons that precipitated his decision to depart.
“When it came down to it, I just felt like with all the changes in the program … I (was) most comfortable with choosing a different school,” said the UW co-captain.
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On Friday, Washington confirmed previous reports that junior center Gilles Dierickx is transferring while also announcing Darin Johnson is leaving the program.
The sophomore backup guard joins a list of eight players (Martin Breunig, Desmond Simmons, Tristan Etienne, Jahmel Taylor and Robert Upshaw) who left or were booted off the team in the past two years.
The recent exodus trims the roster to 10 scholarship players, including four returners (Andrew Andrews, Jernard Jarreau, Quevyn Winters and Donaven Dorsey) and six incoming freshmen (Dejounte Murray, Matisse Thybulle, David Crisp, Marquese Chriss, Malik Dime and Devenir Duruisseau).
Washington, which has three open spots, reportedly has interest in sophomore center Matt Atewe, who played at Auburn.
Last week, the Huskies also lost T.J. Otzelberger, their lead assistant and recruiting coordinator, who returned to Iowa State after two years at UW.
Admittedly, the spate of losses at Washington also bothered Williams-Goss.
The Huskies were 17-15 during his freshman season and 16-15 last season, which is more defeats than the Happy Valley, Ore., native accumulated during a decorated high-school career at Findlay Prep, in Henderson, Nev., where he was a McDonald’s All-American in 2013.
After Washington’s 71-69 season-ending loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament opener last month, Williams-Goss contemplated entering the NBA draft. He also considered returning to the Huskies.
However, he felt unsure about the future of UW basketball.
“I wasn’t opposed to look at the option of transferring just because I am pretty close to graduation within the next year or so,” said Williams-Goss, the program’s first Academic All-American who is majoring in communications and psychology.
He’ll have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules, but there’s still plenty of interest in the second-team All-Pac-12 guard who led the Huskies in scoring (15.6 points per game), assists (5.9) and minutes (36.8) while averaging 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals.
His list of suitors includes Gonzaga, Texas, UNLV, Michigan State, Georgetown, Arkansas and Providence.
Despite his departure, Williams-Goss maintains what he described as a “great relationship” with coach Lorenzo Romar and a close-knit bond with teammates.
Meanwhile, it’s an important offseason for the Huskies.
Romar has to replenish the roster with summer additions, hire an assistant while simultaneously fending off critics who believe it’s time for a coaching change after a four-year NCAA tournament drought.
“I have nothing bad to say about coach Romar,” said Williams-Goss, who sidestepped a question about if Romar is capable of leading UW out of its downturn. “I’m thankful for the opportunity that he’s given me.”