Less than a week after Noah Williams announced he’d be transferring from Washington State, the Seattle native has announced his new basketball home: the University of Washington.
There are few things more shocking than someone switching allegiances in this rivalry — the list is real short! — but Williams has always been his own guy, and through his three years in Pullman, he has remained a Seattle kid at heart. In that sense, it’s not really that shocking that he’d end up at UW. It’s also worth noting that fans’ concept of “loyalty” isn’t the same as players, who — as they should — act in their own best interest when choosing where to play.
To that end, Washington would appear to have a lot of minutes — and shots — available for a guard after Terrell Brown and Daejon Davis graduated from the 17-15 Huskies.
Still, it’s going to be very weird seeing Williams in such dreadful colors. And the chatter that this somehow reflects poorly on WSU is really strange when you consider that Williams left a team on the ascendency after he finished the year on the margins of the team’s plans, playing less than 20 minutes in four of the Cougs’ five NIT games.
To put it bluntly, Williams was going to have to play himself back into a starting role next season, having been passed by TJ Bamba, who had a much better season than Williams, playing much the same role. While it stung to see him leave, it also was pretty easy to see how the Cougars might upgrade on his spot with someone from the transfer portal.
Which is what makes this move sort of puzzling, beyond the fact that he’s transferring to the other side of the rivalry. To be honest, when Williams’ development was looked at objectively, it was easy to wonder if he’d even get a Power 5 offer. Yes, he’s a defensive stalwart — when he’s motivated, anyway — but (with the exception of two games in his sophomore year) his offense was really only ever passable, and it took a massive step backward this year, to the point where he was borderline unplayable at times for WSU. Fighting his way back into becoming a major piece on a team that has designs on the NCAA tournament was going to be a challenge.
But, as the saying goes, it only takes one, and Williams got an offer from the school that seems to specialize in collecting Seattle-area transfers. Whether it works out for him remains to be seen.