OXFORD – When word of Nick Williams’ break from Indiana basketball became known, Ole Miss men’s coach Andy Kennedy was the first to contact him.
That quickness paid off Sunday when the paperwork came through, and the Rebels have locked up another impact transfer.
He will sit out the coming season and will be eligible in 2010-2011. As a true freshman the Mobile, Ala., native averaged 8.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 26.5 minutes. He appeared in all 31 games for the Hoosiers, starting 29.
“I saw what coach Kennedy did with that team last year. He did a great job,” said Williams, the country’s 30th-rated prospect by ESPN in 2008. “That was a young team, and I want to be part of that growing program.”
Williams was the Alabama player of the year as a senior and scored a career-high 19 points for the Hoosiers at Wisconsin last season.
Indiana coach Tom Crean was one scholarship player over the limit when he told the Bloomington Herald-Times that Williams had expressed concern over his role with the team and that the player would not return.
Williams said he also had contact with the University of Alabama, but that a relationship between Kennedy and Williams’ high school coach was important in his decision.
“Nick is a very talented, versatile wing player, and we’re excited to have him join our program,” Kennedy said. “The experience he gained at IU coupled with an outstanding prep career make him exactly what we’re looking for.”
The versatile Williams could play shooting guard, small forward or power forward at Ole Miss.
“I can get better in every facet of my game,” Williams said.
“They were the first to call when I got my release. They said they really wanted me, and I want to be somewhere that wants me.”
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal