Washington men’s basketball adds WSU replacement guard Nova Williams

With early backcourt comrades Dajon Davis and Darrell Brown Jr. disqualified, it became clear that the Huskies were going to look for a guard on the transfer portal. The face they found was very familiar as Washington State Transfer Nova Williams changed the pages of the Apple Cup match today and promised to play for the Huskies. Last season 6’5 Williams averaged 9.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He still has 2 years left to qualify with Kovit Mulligan and is currently rated the # 94 exchange on the portal of this cycle according to the latest analysis on evanmiya.com.

For Williams it was a rollercoaster of college experience. As a true newcomer, he showed great defensive prowess, but made 4/27 3-pointers (14.8%) on a broken jump shot. Last season Williams appeared at the conference with an average of 14.1 points in 37.9% 3-point shooting. That includes a Bay Area trip, where Nova scored 32 and 40 points in consecutive games on the road. The Cooks brought in a pair of transfer guards but Williams was expected to be an integrator. The Integrated piece. In contrast, his numbers in 2-BT and free-throw shooting dropped and his 3-BT percentage dropped more than 10% across the board.

After enjoying excellent chemistry with Isaac Ponton, the fact that Michael Flowers and Tyrell Roberts did not fit in perfectly with the transfers may have been part of the struggles. There was also the unfortunate incident in September when Williams was prevented from having a fake ID at Pullman Bar and Grill. Video evidence later showed that Pullman recommended the PD assault charges but Williams did not do what was alleged and prosecutors refused to pursue the charges. He eventually completed 8 hours of community service with a $ 500 fine. Williams has been plagued by that incident all season, and he missed some time in the previous season due to team discipline that emerged from the initial offense.

Williams, who dropped out of high school, split combo guard duties with Marcus Sohonis on the Rotary AAU team in Seattle. The Huskies eventually accepted the pledge of the Portland native Sohonis, while they found no place for O’Dia graduate Williams. Nova, who received a low 3-star recruitment, ended up moving to Buffalo in cross country, but head coach Nate Oates was relieved of that promise when he got the job in Alabama. Instead, a place was opened in the state of Washington, where his father played in college, and he moved to Pullman.

With this move Husky fans have 2 big questions: 1. Will Williams regain his second year form and 2. Will Williams be capable of playing point guard? Those questions are somewhat interrelated. When Williams had their best season in 2021, the Cooks had only 2 real guards on their list: Williams and Ponton. There were also 6 games that Ponton missed, and Williams was the only ball handler on the team. How did Noah do in those 6 games? 44/41/82% 2-pt / 3-pt / FT shooting averaged 22.5 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.8 thefts. Those numbers are more than double the 3-point percentage, the same as what Terrell Brown Jr. did this year.

We can not expect Williams to magically replicate what Terrell Brown Jr. did last year, but it’s nice to know that even limited extensions are possible somewhere. Williams played more off the ball this year with both Roberts and Flowers on the team, and as a result he had both a lower support rate and a turnover rate in his career. Some of those games that took place when Ponton was out in 2021 showed that Williams could certainly pass the ball, but I still don’t know if keeping him a full-time point guard is a plan.

Upon entering college, high school and AAU statistics suggested that Williams was a below-average shooter. If you take his life as a whole, he is a 30.7% shooter in over 250 attempts. It may be reasonable to expect basics rather than highs or lows. Unsurprisingly Williams was 50% open catch and 20.7% as a junior from Shoot 3. It swings in the wrong direction like a Jamal Bay, and it is hard to imagine that it would be somewhat unhealthy and could be helped by a change of scenery.

One area I don’t think there is any question is how Williams will make an impact on the defensive end. At 6’5 with Williams ’slender frame, he could be a complete monster jumping on trails passing through the Mike Hopkins zone. Williams has already been in the top-15 in the pac-12 at theft rate for the past 3 seasons, and I fully expect him to be in the top-3 on this defense. We hope this will lead to a much easier transition opportunity for Williams, which will help his 2-pt% and get him into games.

Washington will continue to add an attack player or 2 to the hub through the transfer portal in this cycle. They have shown interest in players such as Fordaws Imak of Utah Valley, Frank Kepnong of Oregon and Isaiah Cottrell of West Virginia. Imac and Cottrell both visited campus this weekend. It’s almost certain that Dawgs will add at least one of them, but for now, here’s how I see some options for the starting lineup:

6’5 Williams, 6’4 Fuller, 6’6 Bay, 6’7 Matthews, 6’9 Wilson

6’5 Williams, 6’6 Bay, 6’7 Pajama, 6’7 Matthews, 6’9 Wilson

If an extra real hub (Aimaq or Kepnang) is added to the mix, Wilson 4 may switch to playing for a few minutes. I expect there will be a few minutes when Fuller will only be the primary ball handler. Despite the injury to Dajan Davis, Mike Hopkins tried to avoid it last season. There is also the possibility that Goren Johnson or Keon Manfield will come as real newcomers and immediately carve out a bigger role, although predicting that it will happen is not a very viable scenario.

There are those who do not know how to bring Williams into the fold. At worst, he gives you a plus defender. At best, he looks like the player in those 6 games without Isaac Bonton, and rises to become an all-level two-way player. As for my general conservatism, I think the former is more than the former, but the list is in a better place today than it was yesterday. Come home, Noah.

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