Noah Williams, the Washington State Cougars guard best known for his feistiness on the court and his ability to come up big against the Washington Huskies, has entered his name into the transfer portal, according to Verbal Commits.
Williams — whose father, Guy Williams, played at WSU under George Raveling — was one of coach Kyle Smith’s first recruits in the spring of 2020, and he had been on an upward trajectory within the program through his first two years. As a freshman, he established himself as a defensive stalwart; as a sophomore, a revamped jumper allowed him to take a huge step forward offensively. There were big expectations for his third season.
But that development stalled out this year as he suffered through offensive struggles that followed him all over the floor: He made just 26% of his 103 threes (after hitting 38% last year) and his two-point percentage dipped to a career-low 36%. Thought to be an indispensable piece coming into the year, his role diminished as the year progressed, bouncing in and out of the starting lineup before finally coming off the bench for the NIT run to average just 19 minutes and 5.5 points over those four games.
Williams’ departure is a bummer for a couple of reasons. As a legacy and a Seattle native, his presence on the roster was unique, and there’s a definite sentimentality to that. Additionally, there were real hopes he could become an above average scorer who also contributed rebounds, assists, and his trademark lockdown defense — this team’s Kyle Weaver.
There was no greater fuel for that hope than the magical weekend near the end of last year where he stepped in as a primary scorer to lead the Cougs to a sweep of Cal and Stanford, scoring 72 combined points in one of the more remarkable two-game performances in program history. Nobody expected him to sustain that level of production long term, but it was believed he was on track to take another step forward this season.
Instead, his offensive efficiency plummeted, and he fell behind both TJ Bamba (who Smith called his “best perimeter defender”) and Tyrell Roberts (“best on-ball defender”) in the defensive pecking order. He even struggled to produce against the Huskies; after having big games for two years against his hometown program, he scored just 12 points combined in the two games this season.
As the season went on, he found himself increasingly marginalized in terms of minutes and touches, and it’s not a huge surprise that Williams concluded his best path forward, developmentally, was elsewhere.
Still, we’ll always have this:
We've all had our moments of maybe doing a bit too much as a fan @TheCraigPowers took it to a whole new level this wkd, partially tearing his Achilles celebrating @noahwilliams44's three that sent WSU to OT vs. Stanford.https://t.co/VD7MfZoaDw pic.twitter.com/PZ3TFGEZGc— Brenna Greene (@BrennaGreene_) February 25, 2021
Williams’ departure continues an exodus of guards from the roster, as he joins Jefferson Koulibaly and Ryan Rapp as players who will be continuing their careers elsewhere. WSU already has reached out to a number of guards in the transfer portal, which you can learn more about here. Additionally, there’s a sense around those in the know that Myles Rice, who redshirted this season, is actually quite good.
One thing is for sure: Roberts is going to be playing a lot of minutes next year next to someone who isn’t on the roster right now.