When he announced his decision to leave the Huskies, Nigel Williams-Goss said he was uncomfortable with changes in the program.
Washington sophomore star Nigel Williams-Goss is transferring to Gonzaga.
“I feel that their track record of winning at a high level, developing players during their redshirt year and their up-tempo offense that includes a ton of ball screens is an overall good fit for me,” Williams-Goss told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman who first reported his decision.
The 6-3 point guard chose the Bulldogs over UNLV and Providence. He was scheduled to visit Ohio State next week.
Williams-Goss will have to sit out next season, per NCAA transfer rules.
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Last season, he starred on a Washington team that finished 16-15 and was 11th in the Pac-12 at 5–13. Williams-Goss, a second-team all-conference pick, led UW with 15.6 points per game and 5.9 assists. He also finished tied for third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game and became the program’s first academic All-American.
When he announced his decision to leave the Huskies, Williams-Goss said he was uncomfortable with the changes in the program. He also said finishing the season in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament the past two years played a role in his decision.
Williams-Goss joins a Gonzaga team that has made 17 straight NCAA tournament appearances. Last season the Bulldogs finished 35-3 and 17-1 in the WCC. They lost to eventual national champion Duke in the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight.
Williams-Goss is the first Husky to transfer to Gonzaga since Erroll Knight left UW in 2002 and played three years at Gonzaga.
“The first thing he has to do is develop a thick skin,” said Dan Dickau, a former UW standout who left the Huskies in 1999 and became an All-American point guard under Gonzaga coach Mark Few. “I’m sure a lot of people in Seattle and UW supporters are going to be bashing him. For one deciding to transfer and two going to Gonzaga. Unfortunately, between the fan bases, there’s a lot of animosity back and forth.
“I personally, for his development as a player, think it’s a great situation and a great fit. He’s a talented player. In the past I wasn’t 100 percent sold on him and one of the reasons was he couldn’t shoot the ball as well as I like to see a point guard. Now he has a year and half before it matters again. So he can rep that thing out and get comfortable with it. He can dial in his footwork. He can take 18 months and develop as much confidence in that jump shot as he can.
“If he wants to play at the next level, which I know he does, and you look at the point guards in the league and what they’re able to do, then you have to be able to shoot the ball from range now. If he can’t, it’s a huge strike against you. And I think Gonzaga will put him in a situation where he’s going to rep that thing out. He’s going to improve and I also think if you look at the makeup of Gonzaga’s roster it gives them the flexibility to not have so much burden on him. There was a lot of burden on him last year to make plays and keep them in games.”
After a 10-year hiatus, Washington and Gonzaga will renew their cross-state rival during the 2016-17 season when Williams-Goss regains eligibility. Both teams are also scheduled to play in the Nov. 25-27 Battle 4 Atlantis and could meet in the nonconference tournament in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Williams-Goss is one of four Huskies who left the team during the offseason. The others are Jernard Jarreau, Darin Johnson and Gilles Dierickx, who will play at Division II powerhouse Seattle Pacific next season.