Darien Williams and Bryce Dejean-Jones have in common that they committed to Iowa State the same weekend, prepared to enter the program as transfers, but the two will never play together at Iowa State.
Dejean-Jones, a transfer from UNLV, has a year of eligibility left. After he leaves Ames, Williams — an Iowa Western JUCO product by way of Tustin, Calif., — will roll in, with three seasons to play.
They'll miss out being teammates under Fred Hoiberg, but the two collectively represent the continued surge of momentum for the program.
"Oh, definitely," Williams said Sunday evening. "Obviously we went to the Sweet Sixteen this year and that's just us barely tipping what we can do. This is a national program. We've got to get to the top. We can definitely win a national championship. Two of the past three years we've lost to the national champion in the tournament, with Kentucky and UConn, so that's what I want to help Iowa State do."
The 6-foot-9 Williams committed to Iowa State on Saturday. News became public Sunday, a little after Dejean-Jones tweeted his commitment.
As a freshman at Iowa Western C.C., Williams scored 16.1 points per game and shot three-pointers at a 41.1 percent clip. He also pulled down 6.7 rebounds a game.
Williams was offered by ISU in February and attended several games at Hilton Coliseum this year.
"Over these past few days, I've just been thinking about what I want and I decided not to wait [to commit]," said Williams, who had interest from Creighton, Oregon, Louisville and others. "[ISU] really wanted me."
Williams won't play basketball this upcoming season as he plans to undergo shoulder surgery in late May or early June back in California. He's not sure if he'll attend classes at Iowa Western yet. The surgery means Williams will take a redshirt and arrive in Ames for the 2015-16 campaign with three seasons of eligibility.
Iowa State will be nursing the losses of Dustin Hogue, Dejean-Jones and Daniel Edozie, opening up room for Williams at one of the forward spots.
"Iowa State is big on versatility, so I'll work on my ball-handling, my defense and everything," he said. "I feel I can be an impact player, an all-around player.
"From the style of play, to the fans, to the location, to the Big 12, everything was right for me."