Texas transfer eyes pair of Big East programs

Mike Williams, a former McDonald's All-American, was released from his scholarship at the University of Texas on Monday and it now appears a two horse race between a pair of Big East programs to land the 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward's services. Williams' former AAU coach, Mark Komara, gave InsideTheVille.com the scoop Tuesday morning.

Mike Williams, a former McDonald's All-American from Camden, Alabama, is planning to visit Cincinnati and Louisville in the next week after obtaining his release from the University of Texas on Monday.

"He's going up to Cincinnati either Thursday or Friday this week," said Williams' former AAU coach Mark Komara. "I'm almost certain he's spoken with (Louisville assistant) Kevin Willard and I think he's going to visit Louisville sometime next week."

Williams, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound power forward, played in 58 career games at Texas. As a sophomore last season, Williams played a key role off the bench for the Longhorns, averaging 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds to help Rick Barnes' team advance to the NCAA Elite 8.

With several key players departing Austin, Williams figured to see increased playing time next season. But the prospect of more minutes wasn't enough to entice him to stick around for another year.

"His grades were good – he got the team academic award, so that wasn't the issue," said Komara. "He wasn't happy with his role and he didn't feel like his role would change much. He just felt he needed a fresh start. He wants to get with a team and get more involved."

Rick Pitino and Mick Cronin will duke
it out for Texas transfer Mike Williams.

Though Komara mentioned Birmingham Southern and Alabama as possible destinations for Williams, it appears to be a two team race between the Bearcats and Cardinals.

"Louisville and Cincinnati are the two schools he's really interested in," Komara said. "He really likes Coach Pitino and what he was able to do for Marvin Stone. He also has a good relationship with Mick Cronin and he needs players."

Ironically, Cronin recruited Williams for Louisville three years ago when he served as an assistant on Pitino's staff at Louisville. Louisville's connections with Williams don't end there. Komara also coached former Cardinal center Marvin Stone, and played a key role during his transfer from Kentucky to Louisville in 2002.

"I know he has high interest in Louisville," Komara said.

Williams averaged 28 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocks per game as a senior at Wilcox Central High School, and posted 26 points and 14 rebounds while helping his team to a 29-3 mark and the Class 5A state title as a junior.

Williams will have to sit out the 2006-07 season and would have two years of remaining eligibility.

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