PULLMAN — Kyle Smith and his vision for the Washington State basketball program have apparently struck a chord with one of the top players from Seattle’s highly regarded Metro League.
Noah Williams, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound point guard from O’Dea High School, signed with Smith and the Cougars, he announced on Twitter Tuesday night. A three-star prospect according to ESPN.com and 247Sports.com, Williams had previously been committed to Buffalo — a top-10 program in 2017-18 — until April 3, when he reopened his recruitment, citing a desire to locate “a system both academically and athletically that is the right fit.”
Williams’ decommitment came not long after Buffalo coach Nate Oats left the Bulls to take the vacant job at Alabama. The Seattle native also had one other Pac-12 offer listed, from Mike Hopkins and the Washington Huskies, but rather than stay home, Williams ultimately selected the program his father played for nearly four decades earlier.
It was also reported by multiple outlets, including Cougfan.com, that Williams had attracted some late interest from Big 12 program Kansas State.
Williams announced his commitment to the Cougars in a video, unzipping a pullover and displaying a white Nike T-shirt with “Washington State basketball” script.
“Now that high school is a wrap, it’s time for me to let everyone know that I officially committed to Wazzu, Washington State,” Williams said. “Go Cougs.”
An All-Metro League Second Team selection, Williams will wear a crimson uniform some 40 years after his father, Guy “The Fly” Williams played for George Raveling’s Cougars. Guy Williams averaged 18.8 points per game and 8.9 rebounds for WSU as a senior before sustaining a season-ending knee injury.
Ironically, both he and Smith, the first-year Cougars coach, also have ties to the University of San Francisco. Guy Williams, a stalky 6-foot-9 point guard, played two seasons with the Dons before transferring to the Palouse. Smith, of course, coached at USF for three seasons, before taking the job in Pullman two months ago.
“We are excited to have (Noah) join our program,” Smith said in a school news release. “He has been a priority for us since we were hired. Noah brings a winning pedigree as he was a State champion this past season at O’Dea High School. He is a big lead guard who can disrupt opponents with his length and size. We hope he can be a building block for our future.”
An All-Metro League honoree all four years at O’Dea, Noah Williams averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists as a senior and led the Fighting Irish to a Washington 3A state championship. He was named the most valuable player of a 70-39 title game rout of Mt. Spokane, scoring 19 points to go with six rebounds and two assists.
Williams was a two-sport athlete at O’Dea, also starring for the school’s powerhouse football program as a wide receiver. A two-time All-Metro League player, he helped the Irish win the 3A football championship in 2017 and led them to the title game in 2018.
Under former WSU coach Ernie Kent, the Cougars struggled to bring in talent from the Metro League, only signing one player — Cleveland High graduate CJ Elleby — in Kent’s five years. Williams’ addition signals Smith’s commitment to scouring the Seattle area for prep players and it’s likely assistant coach Jim Shaw, a longtime aide for former UW coach Lorenzo Romar, was instrumental in recruiting the O’Dea product.
Williams becomes the second player to sign a letter of intent with the Cougars, joining Colorado State graduate transfer forward Deion James, who inked last week. Williams’ addition comes at a good time, with Chance Moore leaving the basketball program Tuesday and Marvin Cannon placing his name into the NCAA transfer portal the same day.