After an historic season that saw the Gonzaga program cement itself as one of the elite in the country, there was an expectation that next year could look different. Earlier tonight, Wooden Award finalist, Nigel Williams-Goss, officially declared for the NBA draft. We were able to catch up with the Gonzaga star to discuss his decision and the incredible past year that he had.
As he has done with every key decision in his career, Williams-Goss spent the past two weeks examining all of the different pieces that would factor into his decision.
“Right after the Final Four, I went to LA for the Wooden Award,” the Academic All-American explained. “After LA, I went to Vegas for three days to begin the conversation with my family. I talked to Coach Few the day between the championship game and the Wooden Award ceremony as I wanted to give him an idea of what I was thinking and talk about my thought process. We talked, and I told him at the very least, I wanted to test the waters, and he said that of course, that is what I should be doing.”
Following the initial set of conversations, the Wooden Award finalist started to narrow in on his final decision over the past couple of days.
“I sat down and talked to my parents again and we met with an agent and talked with him to get feedback on what he was hearing. When I got that, I kept having conversations with Coach Few, and we just had constant conversations before I made my decision. It was probably about four days ago when I really said this is what I want to do. Even though that’s when I first decided, I wanted to make sure, and see if I woke up everyday feeling this was still the right decision.”
Now that the next step of his career is coming into focus, Williams-Goss has been able to look back on his incredible journey over the past four years.
“Honestly, I was able to look back at it and see how hard work paid off every step of the way,” he explained. “Year-to-year, I was able to really see how I improved and got better. It was a testament to sticking to the course and I was able to look at the year I redshirted as an opportunity to look at my game and get better.”
In just a couple of days, the Cousy Award finalist will begin training and preparing for the NBA draft circuit.
“The agency that I signed with is the Wasserman group and they are based in LA. So, on Sunday, I will go down there, and on Monday, I will start working with their strength and conditioning coaches and being training.”
While he has been spending the past two weeks figuring out the next step in his career, that time has also allowed some reflection on the historic season that just finished.
“I think by sitting out a year and redshirting, it’s such a tough process, you are forced to mature and evaluate the situation. You can get restless during that year and think that transferring and redshirting wasn’t part of your plan, but I think I matured a lot during the redshirt year. I was able to see the game from a different perspective and the game slowed down for me. Every year that you get older, you have more experience, and I was really able to use that year to reflect on my time at Washington. Not only did I look at the success, but I also was able to look at the things I was doing that were holding me back.”
As he takes the next step in his journey, the one thing that he made clear to us was the impact the Gonzaga community had on him and this team.
“I would just tell them, (the Gonzaga community), that the words ‘Thank You” aren’t enough,” he told us. “There are no words to do it justice and I wish they could all see the smile on my face as I am talking about it. And from the bottom of my heart, I just appreciate this community. As a team, we were always talking about how important it was that we were bringing all of this joy to the community and to the alums. We saw everything we were doing, and the effect it was having, and we knew we didn’t want to let them down. It was so special how in sync we were the fans and everyone that was a part of Gonzaga.”