The Washington Huskies men’s basketball team might be losing its best player.
Two Internet reports — one from a basketball camp organizer, the other from CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb — indicated on Thursday that Huskies point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, the team’s leading scorer and a second-team all-Pac-12 selection, plans to transfer from UW.
A UW spokesperson said “nothing is official,” and that Williams-Goss is “evaluating his options as of right now.”
Text messages seeking comment from Williams-Goss’ parents were not returned.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
The idea of Williams-Goss leaving Washington is not altogether surprising, though it seemed more likely that the 6-foot-3 point guard would prefer to pursue a professional career rather than transfer to another Division I school and sit out the 2015-16 season.
After a productive freshman season in 2013-14, Williams-Goss explored his NBA options before deciding to return for his sophomore year. He led the Huskies last season with 15.6 points and 5.9 assists per game, and played an average of nearly 37 minutes per game.
He said after UW’s season-ending loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament March 11 that he wasn’t yet thinking about next season.
“I’m not even thinking about that right now. My focus was 100 percent on the season,” Williams-Goss said then. “There was no reason to look past the season when you have games still to play. I try to go out every night and play to the best of my abilities, and give my team the best chance to win. And when you’re thinking ahead, you’re not as focused or locked in as you need to be. Like I said, I haven’t put too much thought into it right now, so I’m not thinking about down the road.”
Williams-Goss was a heralded, four-star prospect out of Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada, though he grew up near Portland in Happy Valley, Oregon. He was named a McDonald’s All-American following his senior year at Findlay, and chose Washington over Harvard.
On Thursday morning, Clay Dade, the creator of the Fab Frosh Camp, which Williams-Goss attended in 2009, tweeted that Williams-Goss had informed him of his plans to transfer. Gottlieb tweeted later that Williams-Goss’ decision was based upon a “lack of cohesion” with the team, and that “change (is) needed for both sides.”
If Williams-Goss does transfer, it would leave UW with 11 scholarship players, including its highly-rated, six-player recruiting class. Seven-foot reserve Gilles Dierickx has also reportedly decided to transfer.
Washington also lost respected assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger, who returned to Iowa State — his previous employer — to assume an assistant coaching position there.
Christian Caple: 253-597-8437