Jonathan Williams III became one of the best transfers on the market when he decided to transfer from Missouri at the end of March. The Tigers’ leading scorer and rebounder in 2014-15, Williams is considering SMU, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Georgetown and Oregon. He will have to sit out the 2015-16 season per NCAA transfer rules, but will have two season of eligibility remaining after that.
The Memphis, Tenn. native and former Southwind High School star has set visits to three of the five schools. He will visit Gonzaga the weekend of May 1, SMU the weekend of May 8 and Georgetown the weekend of May 15. He said he plans on visiting Michigan State and Oregon, but has not set a date for them yet. Michigan State and Georgetown both offered Williams when he was in high school, and he picked Missouri over those two.
Williams is taking a careful approach to his decision, but he won’t drag the process out too long. He wants to decide by June so he can enroll in summer classes at the school he picks.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time, talking to each school and seeing what’s the best fit for me academically and athletically,” Williams said.
SMU head coach Larry Brown and assistant coach K.T. Turner reached out to Williams soon after his decision to transfer. Williams said both are selling him on the athletic and academic side of SMU.
“Larry Brown is a legendary coach, and he can change your life,” Williams said. “And also that he’s a great coach because he just wants what’s best for his [players]. And, SMU is great academically; it’s a great school.”
Williams said he will also pay close attention to little details when he visits SMU.
“Just to meet the players and coaches, and see what ways they can help me become the person I want to be in the next couple of years,” Williams said. “I want to be a part of a winning program. I’m going to see who will work me out, how their workouts go, and see how the team acts around each other. Just little things like that.”
Williams said he knows SMU guard Jonathan Wilfong, since both are Memphis natives and graduated high school the same year.
Williams’ father, Jonathan, detailed his son’s decision to transfer from Missouri in recent interview with the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune.
“He never did fit in with the other players that came there. He didn't fit in with them,” the elder Williams told the Daily Tribune. “He fit in real good with Coach (Kim) Anderson, but he and the players never did really get along…There was no chemistry on the team. Not only myself, the audience saw that, too — the crowd whenever they came to the games. So it was just difficult.”
The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Williams was Scout’s 34th-ranked player and ninth-ranked power forward in the Class of 2013. He averaged 11.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for Missouri last season as the Tigers went 9-23, including a 3-15 mark in SEC play. According to the Daily Tribune, Williams is restricted from transferring to any SEC or Big 12 school (because of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge), plus Arizona and Illinois (who are on Missouri’s 2016-17 schedule).