"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, May 09, 2011

Thoughts on the Erik Williams transfer

Last week Marquette confirmed that 6'8" sophomore Erik Williams will transfer after the spring semester. According to Todd Rosiak, Williams will likely land up at a school closer to his home in Texas. A consensus top-100 recruit following his senior season at Cypress Springs high school, Williams never got on track at MU. Williams suffered a Jones fracture in high school and while many insisted he completely healed from the injury, he never displayed the freakish athleticism that so many expected on the college level.

After only sporadic appearances as a freshman, Williams was the quintessential role player during his sophomore season, though it must not have been the part he envisioned. Following appearances in Buzz Williams' rotating starting lineups early in the season, Williams logged a DNP in 11 of the team's first 14 Big East contests. The bench time ended only when Buzz Williams decided to start Williams at the beginning of each half in nine of MU's final 10 games to reduce Jae Crowder's penchant for foul trouble. During that stretch, only once did Williams log more than 10 minutes -- the home blowout of Providence -- and he failed to score in half of those contests.

Some fans have groused about the loss of a baseline player, claiming that Williams showed flashes of being a solid rebounder and contributor next season. That is just not the case. Williams had two full seasons to contribute, was unable to breakthrough and was recruited over when Jae Crowder matriculated to MU. Still, credit Williams for persevering through a coaching change (he verballed when Crean ran the program), recovering from a debilitating injury, and finally for working diligently for two years before making his decision to move on.

Ultimately the transfer makes sense for the player and the program. Erik Williams will find a program he is more comfortable with and take full advantage of a redshirt season to emerge as a major contributor elsewhere in 2012-2013. Meanwhile, MU will be able to retool the roster with a player who might be a better fit, while the the key contributors for next year's Warrior squad remain in tact. Also, Buzz Williams now has two scholarships available as the spring signing period winds down later this month.

Williams is the second Cy Springs player to transfer from Marquette in the last decade. Guard Karon Bradley, a member of the 2003 Final Four team, left MU for Wichita State after his sophomore season. In the WayBack Machine, Williams' high school coach John Harmatuk shared his thoughts about Williams after his commitment to MU.

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