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When Noah Williams announced last April that he was transferring away from Washington State after three years in Pullman, it wasn’t exactly a shock.
When Williams announced less than a week later that he was heading back to his hometown to play for the Washington Huskies, it was ... a bit more surprising.
Now, Williams returns to town for the first time since making the move as the Huskies clash with the Cougs on Saturday in Pullman.
The move to Seattle definitely hasn’t gone as Williams envisioned. An injury in his first game that caused him to miss nearly two months. Inconsistent play since returning. Getting benched last weekend at UCLA for a “coach’s decision.” Scoring two points and committing four fouls in 18 minutes on Sunday in a six-point loss to USC.
But if there’s one thing we know about Williams, it’s that he lives for moments like this: Taking the court against a team that he’ll be desperate to prove wrong. He did it for years against the team he now plays for, famously shouting “THIS IS MY CITY” when the Cougs beat the Huskies in Seattle in his freshman season. The environment is sure to be hostile at Beasley Coliseum. Chants of WA-ZZU RE-JECT are likely to reign down from the student section.
For his part, WSU coach Kyle Smith is being diplomatic about it — speaking on his coach’s show this week, Smith credited Williams for his accountability during his departure, but you also don’t have to read too far between the lines to conclude that Williams had been a destructive force in the locker room and might have been asked to leave, anyway.
Oh, and by the way: Both teams really need a victory, having lost nine of their last 11 games combined.
It sets up a fascinating dynamic. How are you feeling about Williams’ return? How should he be received? What should we expect? We’ve got thoughts:
Additionally: Women’s basketball got whooped again by Stanford. Sigh. But they did rebound to beat Cal, and now they face an incredibly tough finish to the season.
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How are you feeling about Noah Williams’ return to Pullman as a Husky?
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