Williams' ends difficult decision process

Marcus Williams pulled off a minor surprise when he made it known that he was returning for his sophomore season and skipping the NBA draft. As recently as 48 hours before the press conference, many around the program were preparing for life without Williams.

It has been a fairly crazy process getting to decision day. In fact a lot seems to have changed in the days leading up to Thursday's press conference. On Wednesday night a source close to the team said "a lot has changed in the last 24 hours" and that the odds of Williams returning got a lot better.

That was obviously the case.

It wasn't long after Arizona's season ending loss to Villanova that reporters were asking Williams if he was returning to the team. His response in Philadelphia was that he was leaning towards returning, but that nothing was definite.

Over the next few weeks Williams and his family began investigating his draft stock. Without an agent the best they could do was make contact themselves and have the Wildcat coaching staff call their various NBA contacts.

"You can talk to people with ties, but you can't talk to general managers as an underclassman," Williams said at the press conference. "People around the program helped me contact (people). This program is definitely well connected with the NBA with all of the stars who are in the league now. They just collected the information as they knew and kind of fed it to me. They were great about it."

At first there were very few assurances that Williams would go high enough to warrant ending his collegiate career, but as the process went on it seemed that there was an outside chance the Williams could go in the first round, and a guaranteed contract.

Although there seemed to be some interest in Williams, early last week it seemed as if Williams was leaning towards coming back.

By the weekend that changed. A few media outlets, including FoxSports, indicated that Williams had either decided to leave or was seriously leaning that way. Wildcat Insider was told that if Williams did indeed declare, that he would likely hire an agent, thus ending his career at the University of Arizona.

We now know that did not happen. Williams called a press conference but announced that he would play at least one more year at Arizona. Williams said that it was not a case of where he would be drafted, but a matter of playing time. Williams indicated that he'd rather spend more time playing at Arizona in an attempt to improve his draft stock than sit on the bench in the NBA and collect a pay check.

Williams has indicated that playing time was one deciding factor, but so was future playing time. He maturely noted that he could further improve under Olson rather than be a bench player in the NBA.

"I knew that maybe I could go through a year and sit on the bench," Williams said. "But I wanted to come in and be the man. I've been an underdog enough in my career. I want to go in and have those high stakes. I want to be well established. I don't want to be a mystery guy in the draft."

How up in the air was the situation? Even his friend did not know. Fellow freshman Fendi Onobun indicated that he was not sure what was going to happen and that sentiment was echoed by the coaching staff. In fact, at the press conference Williams said that he hadn't even told Olson at that point.

Obviously, this is a huge gain for the program. Williams gives them very nice depth at the wing, and can actually provide minutes at point guard. They get a reliable scorer and a veteran presence, despite being just a sophomore. Williams showcased his ability to be a big time performer at season's end when he picked up the scoring load during Hassan Adams' suspension.

A topsy-turvy couple of weeks have finally come to an end. Williams will spend at least one more year in a Wildcat uniform. The NBA will always be there for Williams, but next year Williams will be there for the Wildcats.


Wildcat Authority Top Stories