Mike Hopkins gets many miles out of Husky homecomings.
Last year, Washington’s men’s basketball coach happily welcomed back a quartet of former high school stars in the Seattle area, who switched to UW and led the revival of a repressed program that ended 17-15 and finished fifth in the Pac-12. last season.
Once again, the Huskies began an influx of what are expected to be a handful of 2022 transfers with a familiar name… Noah Williams.
The former O’Dea High standout has spent the past three seasons in Washington State, averaging 9.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals, while starting 65 out of 91 matches.
Williams, a 6-foot-5 junior guard, will have two years of eligibility given that the NCAA has given players an extra year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, Williams announced he would be leaving WSU via Instagram.
“First of all, I want to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity and ability to wake up and play the beautiful game of basketball every day,” Williams said. From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank Coach (Kyle) Smith and the entire WSU Cougar family for showing me nothing but love and supporting my last 3 years out here in Pullman.
“A huge thank you to all my family, friends and teammates for the unconditional love and support you have given me from day uno! That said, I’m writing my name on the transfer portal. ”
Back in 2019, Williams was a four-star recruit and the state’s No. 5-ranked prospect behind Jaden McDaniels, Anton Watson, PJ Fuller and RaeQuan Battle.
Washington’s very popular recruiting class in 2019 included McDaniels, Battle, Isaiah Stewart and Marcus Tsohonis, while Williams chose WSU, where his father Guy Williams played for two years.
Over the past three years, Williams plagued the Huskies while averaging 11.6 points and a record of 4-2 against UW.
His most notable Apple Cup moment was during a 78-74 WSU victory in 2020, when he scored 15 points and hit the game’s fine penalty throw with five seconds left before shouting to the crowd at the Alaska Airlines Arena: “This is my city ! “
After the game, Williams said, “We had to tell them who’s running the city, and Pullman’s running it. Washington State, we’re driving this.”
It was a crucial moment for Williams, who established himself as a defender like a true freshman and had a breakout second season as he averaged 14.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.6 steals, while he shot 38% on three-pointers and started all. 27 games.
There was plenty of buzz about Williams harvesting all-Pac-12 honors on his way into his junior season, which began with him presumably serving a team suspension as a result of an alleged altercation with bouncers at a Pullman bar last September year.
Williams, then 20, had tried to use a fake ID to get into the Valhalla Bar and Grill and faced two charges of fourth-degree assault and two misdemeanors.
Whitman County Prosecutors recently refused to prosecute offenses and ruled Williams should perform eight hours of community service, pay a $ 500 fine and maintain good behavior for eight months for trying to enter a bar using false identification.
On the field, Williams’ production declined, leading to a reduction in minutes and a minor role. He averaged 9.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals, while shooting 26.2% from long range and starting 25 out of 35 games last season.
Williams is the second high-profile addition for Washington, which on Sunday signed four-star recruit and Garfield High-guard Koren Johnson.
The addition of Williams and Johnson will help the Huskies mitigate the loss of outgoing seniors Terrell Brown Jr. and Daejon Davis.
Washington still has two to four open spots on the list depending on whether seniors Jamal Bey and Emmitt Matthews Jr. will return for an extra year. Assuming everyone stays, UW’s starting lineup looks to be Fuller, Williams, Bey, Matthews and possibly striker Langston Wilson.
Weeks ago, Hopkins acknowledged that the Huskies would search the transfer portal for big men, and the coveted Utah Valley center Fardaws Aimaq, considered one of the best available transfers, reportedly visited UW last week.
The spokesman’s review contributed to this report.