Williams signs with Indiana

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Nick Williams, a 6-4 shooting guard from Mobile, Ala., has committed to Indiana.

Otis Hughley, the coach at LaFlore High school, told The Herald-Times today that Williams has faxed his signed letter of intent to the university. They are now awaiting confirmation.

Hughley coached Williams, a physical guard who has played plenty in the paint, through a historic four-year run. Williams played varsity as a freshman, and was a star on a team that went to three state final fours and won a state championship. LaFlore was also at one time ranked the No. 1 team in the country by USA Today.

Hughley credits much of the program’s success to Williams’ dedication.

“You can’t find him, you go to the nearest basketball court,” he says. “That, or the library. There he’ll be. He’s all character, all class.”

Williams, who is ranked by Rivals.com the 34th best shooting guard in the class of 2008, becomes the second player to join the class since Tom Crean took over as head coach of the Hoosiers. The other, JUCO transfer Devan Dumes from Vincennes, gave a verbal over the weekend and plans to sign his letter of intent tomorrow in Indianapolis. They join Matt Roth, a guard out of Illinois, and Tom Pritchard, a forward from Ohio.

Williams originally signed with Marquette, but was let out of his scholarship when Crean left. He was considering several schools, including Arkansas, but chose to stick with Crean.

“Ultimately, he built a relationship with a coach over two years,” Hughley said. “That’s hard to leave behind.”

UPDATE (4:27) — Here’s the official press release from Indiana, which includes quotes from head coach Tom Crean:

Indiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean has announced that Nick
Williams, a 6-5, 205-lb. combo guard from LeFlore High School in Mobile,
Alabama has signed a Big Ten Tender of Athletic Financial Aid to attend IU
and play basketball for the Hoosiers beginning next fall. He was named
Alabama High School Player of the Year earlier this spring.

“Nick really addresses a need for us and gives us a big, strong presence in
the backcourt,” said Crean. “He is a winner who is tough and physical and
he boasts a work ethic that has helped him improve his game in a variety of
ways each year. He has done a wonderful job at making the transition as a
perimeter player after beginning his career as an inside performer. He
comes from an outstanding high school program and has been well coached
throughout his career.”

Williams chose Indiana over Arkansas, Kansas State, Wake Forest, Georgia
Tech and Alabama. He had originally signed a national letter of intent with
Marquette earlier this fall, but was let out of his commitment when Coach
Crean took over the IU program.

“Bennie Seltzer deserves a lot of credit for the being the one who
recognized that Nick was a player who would be a great fit for our system,”
said Crean. “I think Bennie’s efforts and his relationship with everyone
involved proved instrumental in Nick becoming a member of the Hoosier
basketball family,” Crean added.

Williams, who played for Coach Otis Hughley at Leflore, averaged 21 points
in earning All-State honors as a senior as he led his squad to a 30-3
record, a #32 national ranking and a berth in the Class 6A state semifinals
where his team lost to Hillcrest, the alma mater of IU All-American D.J.
White.

As a junior, he helped lead LeFlore to a 32-3 overall record and a state
championship. He averaged 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a junior
and is ranked No. 34 at his position and No. 145 overall by Rivals.com in
his recruiting class. He was ranked No. 32 among 2008 shooting guards by
Scout.com. He also was tabbed No. 35 on the ESPN 150 and is the ninth-rated
shooting guard on ESPN.com.

He was a member of the Alabama Challenge AAU team, Williams participated in
the LeBron James Skills Academy last summer and was invited to the NBA
Top-100 Camp at the University of Virginia.

37 comments

  1. This is a huge get for Coach Crean. Williams is a big bodied guard that will be a four year collegiate.

  2. great news! Time to move on from Ellis and Bassett, this is what happens kids when you disrespect a program, coach and Univ! Rebuild with new talent

  3. Jon. I have to agree with the great addition however I think we should be fine with Holman and Taber if both play at the level they can should.

  4. Agree, great addition! Coach Crean has really done a great job in a short amount of time.

  5. Yes, please…good riddance Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis. No more Dro in IU athletics, please. You’re getting a free ride for goodness sakes!

  6. A good recruit but before you say what a great recruiter he is (such as got this one without even leaving campus), this is just swiping of a recruit that previously committed to Marquette and now following Crean… no new recruiting here,

  7. We got this kid because he committed to a coach more than a school (Marquette). Boy, didn’t we hate it when players did that a few months ago. But now it’s wonderful, huh?

  8. I think it speaks volumes of Crean that this young man would come here to play for him given the uncertainty with what’s transpired that past 3 months.

  9. I’m not quite ready to shove Bassett out the door quite yet fellas. Can anyone tell me where we are with scholarships now? Dumes and Williams account for the Ebanks and Holloway de-commits.

    So do we have only 11 slots for next year?

    I’m counting Dumes, Crawford, Roth, Williams, McGee, Thomas, Taber, Pritchard and Holman as 9 current scholarship players.

    If we only have 11 and pick up another recruit does this mean Bassett or Ellis is out? If so….wow!

    I really hope it’s Josh Harrellson. If you add this big man to the mix, we aren’t nearly as bad as many hoped. Which I think is quite hilarious.

    Someone let me know if my math is correct because this is getting interesting.

  10. 12 available scholarships for ’08.

    Nine current scholarship players (including Dumes and Williams):

    Jordan Crawford
    Devon Dumes
    Eli Holman
    Brandon McGee
    Tom Pritchard
    Matt Roth
    Kyle Taber
    DeAndre Thomas
    Nick Williams

    If Bassett and Ellis return, IU has one available scholarship for 08-09. If Bassett and Ellis don’t return, then there are three available scholarships.

    A front court player is a definite need, IMO.

  11. Anyone here really know anything about this player, or are we all just drinking the kool-aid ’cause he’s coming to IU? No disrespect to Coach Crean, but he had already recruited this guy to Marquette…not usually a big competitor with IU for recruits.

    And to those who say “good riddance” to Bassett and Ellis…Do you really know anything about that situation, or are you just talking out of your *ss as usual?

  12. At worst, we’re already on solid ground with our 2009 recruiting class, and it should only improve. Crean is doing a fine job making his best efforts to try to prevent 2008 from being a huge disaster of a season while setting a precedent for very competitive recruiting in the years that follow. Kudos on phase one Coach Crean. Let’s hope you can match Kelvin’s in-game coaching with a level of honor, of course.

  13. With parity as it is today in college basketball. I say goodbye Ellis and Bassett. If they question our program, then GOODBYE. I love the way you both play and will miss you both. BUT college basketball has talent out the butt and if you want to cause drama, then go cause drama somewhere else. We have been watching IU ball since the 70’s. You will be forgotten about by next year. Choice is your guys.

  14. We are better off is Bassett & Ellis stay. Besides the fact that they are both quality players, the pool of recruits is drying up. We offer the two scholarships they currently occupy to 2 players that we would normally not recruit, and we have someone taking up a scholarship for the next 4 years who wouldnt under normal circumstances. I hope they stay.

  15. I don’t know how people can be saying good riddance to Bassett and Ellis!! These are the same people who are gonna be complaining next year when we are near the bottom of the Big Ten.

    I mean you dont know anything about the situation really, other than what the media has been saying. And the media isn’t saying much of anything. How can you turn your backs so fast? They are our only 2 returning starters. We need guys with Big Ten/Tourney experience.

    All you old timers talking about the 60’s and 70’s need to wake up. This is 2008. We need these guys.

  16. Is Ellis good enough to help us compete at the top of the Big 10 next year? I don’t think so. This is the same guy who was quoted as saying “I didn’t get kicked off the team, I quit.”
    So, do you want to bring back a guy who quit on his team? Now he wants back on the team? The only reason he wants to come back is because he has nowhere else to go. Nobody is gonna give a JUCO with one year left a shot, unless they are a top-level player, which he isn’t.
    The guys we are recruiting are guys who will be solid 4 year players. There is nothing wrong with that. It will work out good for Purdue this year.
    BTW–I’m not an old-timer. I’m 30 years old. I’ll be happy with sub-par record next year, rather than have guys play who quit on their team.

  17. Travis, we don’t know how good Ellis can be… In interviews last year Ellis was quoted as saying his role was to get the ball to DJ and EJ, not to go out and try to score… This guy was the National JUCO player of the year. He is also a good rebounder and passer based on the fact that he was the team’s leader in assists, and second to only DJ in rebounding. What are you basing your statements on?

    I say give him a chance. The team was unorganized last year, and it seems like Sampson had no control over the players, and neither did Dakich. I’m pretty sure Crean isn’t going to let anything slide.

    And I love the way our team is looking based on the fact we had all this negative publicity. I like the 4 year player approach. I never insisted there was something wrong with that…

    Also, what about Bassett? You didn’t say anything about him.

  18. I agree with you Steve O. Bassett could very possibly be first-team all Big Ten next season. You are not going to replace that quality of a player this late in the game. Ellis is very talented as well. I’m not saying that these young men couldn’t have done things differently. But give them the support and environment to succeed that Crean is going to offer, and I’m sure things will be different. There was obviously a general lack of guidance and support under the previous coaching staff.

  19. I’m basing my comments on the fact that I don’t care how good Ellis is, his lousy attitude and willingness to give up on a scholarship to play for IU, makes him someone you do not want around when trying to rebuild a program. We already took a shot on a coach with a history who broke the rules and look where we are now. Why take a shot on a player who has 1 year left and has a history of not respecting authority or being a leader?

    Without DJ next year to lead and mentor the young players, who will fill that void?? I sure don’t want it to be Ellis. I don’t care what talents he has. We need a leader and he isn’t one. Who will lead this team this year?

    As far as Bassett goes. I’d be more inclined to work with him because he’s got 2 years left and is an Indiana kid and has a history of being recruited by Crean. But, I’m more inclined to say “see you later”, because we don’t need any bad apples to ruin the new bunch. Why should Crean mess with old news?

  20. Absolutely John. It seemed like the coaching staff had no control and the team lacked discipline. I think Crean brings a completely different attitude, and some much needed discipline to the team.

    The development of the younger players suffered because of this as well. Especially since we ran the dribble, drive, and turn the ball over 50 times a game offense. Tom Crean is looking like he will be a huge breath of fresh air.

  21. Travis, I agree that based on what everyone has heard, Ellis can’t be considered a leader. But I mean, you aren’t in the locker room or at practices, and you are judging his character based on media speculations.

    Sampson was hardly in control of the team this year, and Dackich was in wayyy over his head.
    I can’t believe you are ready to write this kid off after playing a crazy, controversey filled first year. Get him on the court with a guy who can coach and also discipline.

  22. This is a college player, not a high schooler. A team that lacked control and discipline, why should we just blame the coach? Why can’t the players be held accountable?
    Why do we want players who need someone to discipline them and control them??
    Sure players are going to need some guidance & direction, I understand that, but should we have to walk these guys to class and babysit them?

  23. Travis, these are kids, thats why. Why do you think IU spent 18 million on Tom Crean? Because they like his hair? NO!! Because he is a good leader, a good motivator, he graduates players (89% last year), and can coach his a** off.

    The players do need to be held accountable, but the coach has to accept some responsibility for the players as well. He recruited and got these pguys their free rides. When you see players arguing with coaches on national tv, and people getting suspended, there is obviously a problem with discipline. It’s both on and off the court.

    I guess we should throw Jordan Crawford off the team too since he was suspended this year. Come on man. These are kids making dumb mistakes. I’m not saying walk them to class, but there needs to be some way to make sure they are doing work and getting the grades. If that were the case last year, you wouldn’t hear about all of these academic problems now.

    What did you do your first year on campus???? Sip tea and sleep through the weekends?

  24. I hope DJ White (hint, hint) will call Devin Ebanks as well and tell him how he could be THE MAN in the mid/low post now that the program is moving in the right direction.

  25. I read online that we offered a scholarship to Maurice Sutton… 6’10.” Also read that he was interested in playing for Kentucky but they don’t currently have a scholarship available. He’s one of the few quality big guys remaining for next year.

  26. Steve O-
    Kids?? Jamarcus Ellis is probably 22 or 23 years old. I don’t consider that a kid. He’s old news. We are working on the future, don’t waste time with the past.
    Did Jordan Crawford quit on his team?? No, that was Jamarcus Ellis. Why let a “young man” back who walked out on you and then had the nerve to say that he would only play if Dakich wasn’t around to coach? This guy apparently thinks he’s bigger than the program. Plus, Crawford’s a freshman. I would expect a freshman to make some judgement mistakes, not a senior.
    DJ White, Lance Stemler, Kyle Taber, Mike White weren’t out screwing up. They were all upperclassmen and getting the job done.
    This guy has a full-ride to play b-ball for IU. He’s got 1 year left to play and he’s gonna walk-out on the program all because he doesn’t get along with Dakick. Everyone and their brother knows Dakich wouldn’t be around next year to coach. All he had to to was suck it up and deal with things for another week, but no, he had to quit on his team. Please…good riddance.

  27. Travis, I guess we can agree to disagree… My thought is that with Tom Crean, Ellis and Bassett can both be “salvaged”. And again, all the facts about the whole situation are conveyed by the media, so don’t think you know the whole story. Neither player has had any firm ground to stand on since they got to IU. Give them a second chance, with a new coach. Part of being a coach is developing these young men into better, more well rounded people, so why not let Tom Crean do what he does?

    If not, I hope you aren’t gonna be whining like alot of other “IU faithfuls” because we are in the basement of the Big Ten next year.

  28. I posted Nick was coming to IU on and I see now it was not an April Fool’s Joke 🙂

    Welcome to the Hoosier Nation Nick!

    • Mark K | April 1st, 2008 at 11:19 pm |

    Marquette recruit Nick Williams who signed a Letter
    of for Marquette has reportedly(Fox News in Milwaukee) asked out of his LOI and I wonder if he might follow Crean to IU? We may need a shooting guard like him, especially if Bassett and Ellis don’t return to the team.

    http://rivalshoops.rivals.com/viewprospect.asp?pr_key=46800&Sport=2&SR=TSN

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