UH hoops recruit confirms pledge
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
Prized recruit Dwain Williams confirmed his commitment to play for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team yesterday amid Internet reports that he might be undecided.
"I am coming to Hawai'i and I am very happy with the decision," Williams said. "I read some of the stuff people are writing about me and I don't know where it's coming from. Me and my mom sat down and really thought about this, and we feel like Hawai'i is the best place for me."
Williams is an exciting 6-foot point guard with sharpshooter skills. He was a starting point guard for Providence in the Big East Conference, but left the program after his sophomore season in 2007-08 after head coach Tim Welsh was fired.
Williams tried to transfer to Oregon State for the 2008-09 season, but one of his classes from Providence was not accepted and so he was not admitted to Oregon State.
Instead, Williams is attending a junior college in California to maintain his academic eligibility. He did not play basketball during the 2008-09 season.
"I really want to come out with a vengeance at Hawai'i," Williams said. "Not being able to play organized basketball for a year and having all these people say stuff about me ... I just want to come out and show what I can do, and help take Hawai'i to the next level, the NCAA Tournament."
Ohio newspapers reported last week that Williams had made commitments to both Hawai'i and Kent State for the 2009-10 season. Williams, however, said he never committed to play for Kent State.
"You won't find any interview out there of me actually saying I was going to Kent State because I never said it," Williams said.
Williams said he knew about Hawai'i's program because of his familiarity with the Nash family.
He said he first met Hawai'i head coach Bob Nash almost 10 years ago while playing with Bobby Nash Bob's son on AAU teams in the early 2000s.
"Bobby was actually my roommate for four years when we were on the same travel team," Williams said. "I was the youngest guy on the team and Bobby was somebody we all looked up to. He's like family to me. We've stayed in contact through the years."
As long as Williams completes his current junior college courses, he will be eligible to play for Hawai'i as a junior in the 2009-10 season. He will have two seasons of eligibility.
Williams, who weighs 175 pounds, averaged 11.0 points and 2.2 assists during his sophomore season at Providence. He led the Friars in free-throw percentage (.902) and 3-point percentage (.407). The highlight of his season was a 23-point performance in an upset of Connecticut.
He went 48 of 118 from 3-point range, and is expected to make an immediate impact on a Hawai'i team that finished last in the Western Athletic Conference this past season in 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage.
"I think you're going to see an intense lead guard," Williams said. "For the most part, I can shoot it from anywhere, so I think you'll see a scoring point guard who's not afraid to do what ever it takes to win a game."
As a true freshman at Providence, Williams averaged 7.5 points per game and had a .440 percentage from 3-point range (37 of 84).
"I played against some of the best guards in the Big East for two years, and people doubted me the whole time because of my size," he said. "I'm ready to prove myself again."
Although he did not play organized basketball this past season, Williams said he trained on his own in Southern California.
"I've been running hills and stairs in Santa Monica, and some days I run the sand dunes at Huntington Beach," he said. "And it's not like I stopped playing basketball. I still get in a gym when ever I can. There's some good (pick-up) competition here."
Williams said he will complete the official paperwork with Hawai'i later this week. The signing period for recruits starts Wednesday and runs through May 20.
Williams is one of two players verbally committed to play for the 'Bows.
The other is Jeremy Lay, a 6-foot point guard at Northern Oklahoma College at Enid. He averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 assists as a sophomore this past season.
Hawai'i has four scholarships available for the 2009-10 season.
The Hawai'i coaches are not allowed to comment on specific recruits until paperwork is completed.
2010 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
|Sept. 2||USC||5:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 11||at Army||TBA|
|Sept. 18||at Colorado||TBA|
|Sept. 25||Charleston Southern||TBA|
|Oct. 2||Louisiana Tech *||TBA|
|Oct. 9||at Fresno State *||TBA|
|Oct. 16||Nevada *||TBA|
|Oct. 23||at Utah State *||TBA|
|Oct. 30||Idaho *||TBA|
|Nov. 6||at Boise State *||TBA|
|Nov. 20||San Jose State *||TBA|
|Nov. 27||at New Mexico State *||TBA|