Shaun Williams is looking for a new place to call home.
Williams, a sophomore guard on Kansas State’s men’s basketball team, entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal. He all but confirmed his departure himself on his personal Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.
“My recruitment is 100% back open,” Williams tweeted.
For head coach Bruce Weber, Williams’ transfer brought a “disappointing” end to his year and a half in Manhattan.
“When somebody doesn’t make it and leaves, it’s like a child for me,” Weber said following Wednesday night’s 86-41 victory over Alabama State. “You want everyone to be successful; not everyone is. Today’s world of basketball, guys, they think it’s always greener on the other side, and they think they’re going to be able to do this or that.”
The transfer reminded Weber of a draft analysis he received from an NBA talent evaluator. The analysis detailed approximately the last decade of NBA draft date. Weber noted that the analysis bore out that in that stretch, only 4% of players who transferred wound up being selected in the draft — 19 players total. The only high picks came from college basketball royalty like Duke and Kentucky.
“We had Scott Howard from the Denver Nuggets talk to our guys a couple years ago, and he said, ‘Why not transfer at the school you’re at and get better?’” Weber recalled, referring to Howard, the Nuggets’ manager of player personnel. “But that’s not what kids want to do.”
A St. Louis native, Williams sat out the Wildcats’ two preseason exhibitions as well as the first three contests of the regular season while serving a suspension. (The reason for the suspension wasn’t disclosed.) Williams took the court for the first time this season in Game 4, checking in with 2:20 remaining in K-State’s eventual 62-51 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 19. He launched two field goals, both from behind the 3-point line, in that victory.
In his five appearances this season, Williams averaged 9.1 minutes, 3.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Upon Williams’ return against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, fellow guard Cartier Diarra couldn’t contain his excitement.
“He can create plays for people. You’ve seen in the past last year, he’s had good games,” Diarra said. “I remember one game he had 10 (points) and six assists in like nine minutes, so he’s really capable of doing good things. I’m looking forward to that and him getting in the rotation.”
Williams leaves K-State with career averages of 7.4 minutes, 1.7 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. He totaled 25 assists and 10 steals in 35 games overall.
Those numbers a far cry from what Williams or the coaching staff had hoped from Williams.
With the graduation of senior guards Barry Brown and Kamau Stokes off last year’s co-champion Big 12 team, Williams was expected to take on a larger role this season.
“He’s got the size. He’s got the body,” Weber said in September of Williams, who is 6-foot-3 and 170 pounds. “He’s a great passer.”
The day before the Wildcats lifted the suspension, Weber said he hoped the Williams would use it as a learning experience.
“It hasn’t been a pleasant situation for him, but the whole thing is he’s got to learn and grow,” Weber said. “That’s the most important thing in the long run.”
Even if Williams has to put those lessons to use at another school.
“I feel bad,” Weber said. “He had to go through the suspension. I thought he was making some strides, but it wasn’t what he wanted. So we’ve got to move forward.”
It won’t be easy, at least initially, for Xavier Sneed. The game’s leading scorer Wednesday, pouring in 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, Sneed and Williams grew up together. Played on the same team at Hazelwood Central. Sneed wouldn’t say whether he tried to talk Williams out of it, to try to work through the adversity and make the most of his time with the Wildcats.
He believes Williams will excel wherever he goes.
After all, Williams will have to live with it.
“He’s a man and he’s got to make his own decisions,” Sneed said. “Of course I wanted to see my brother stay, but at the end of the day, he’s a man.”