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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / December 18.
  • Latavious Williams Headed Overseas; Lance on Campus at UC

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    Latavious Williams is the latest American player to head overseas to play hoops.

    The 6-foot-8, 205-pound native of Starkville, Miss. had committed to play for Memphis head coach Josh Pastner, but will pursue a pro career instead.

    “It was a difficult decision,” Williams said in an official press release that appeared on Rivals.com. “But after consulting with a number of people, and taking my family situation into consideration, playing overseas is the best move for me.

    “It will not be an easy transition, but I have surrounded myself with a core of very competent people who I trust and who have my best interests at heart, so I am confident that things will work out very well.”

    Williams, who has yet to qualify academically, has yet to officially notify Pastner of the decision.

    “Obviously if a kid has a chance to play professionally and have a chance financially to better him and his family, again, you have to support the kid because that’s No. 1,” Pastner told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “For us, you can’t cry over spilled milk. We have to deal with what we have to deal with and the squad we’ve got. We’ve got a good core group, and we have to coach them up and be extremely positive.”

    Trey Godfrey, an advisor to Williams, said the young man has yet to hire an agent and that he hasn’t determined which country he’ll play in.

    “It’s a done deal,” Williams told Jerry Meyer of Rivals. “We’re trying to work something out in China.”

    Brandon Jennings, an American high school star, skipped college last year to play professionally in Italy and ended up being the No. 10 pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

    Jeremy Tyler, a 6-10 junior from San Diego, will play professionally overseas for two years before entering the 2011 NBA Draft.

    And two American college guards, Nick Calathes of Florida and Terrence Oglesby of Clemson, are also headed to Europe to play professionally.

    **Here’s a good story on Lance Stephenson arriving on campus at Cincinnati from the Cincy Enquirer. Stephenson still hasn’t spoken to the media since SNY broke his commitment on June 30.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • Maybe if he can’t work something out in China …he’ll go to KY. I think Cal has a scholarship open .

    • i really hate to see these kids going to europe. it is not good for college basketball at all. they are better off going to college and getting the national exposure.

      the reason is fairly obvious though, He wasnt going to qualify. big blow to pastners first recruiting class.

      • According to his statement …he had the test scores and hours completed to qualify …..I think he ‘s being influenced by other sources …..but I agree …playing in frigging China doesn’t help him like playing college ball ..exposure wise ….

    • Much like Jennings, Williams’ borderline talent will be exposed by more fundamentally sound, seasoned players. At worst, on his return to the states Williams will take back a healthy dose of basketball humility with him – not such a bad thing, right? Even Jennings admitted he was schooled over there – best form of teaching for their young careers imho

      • What is borderline talent ? LOL The kid may not be one and done talent but he’s very talented ….and will do well wherever he plays ….most any high school kid will fail to dominate in the pros at any level ….the pro scouts factor that in …and Jennings “being schooled” certainly didn’t hurt his career in that he was the 10th pick.

        • Borderline lottery pick Rasta.

          I think Jennings will be a good pro. It was good for him to see how many talented players there are all over the world. It will fuel his desire to improve his game. I can see him being an all-star one day. Williams – nope.

          • WOW …amazing how you can predict the potential career of a high school kid ….he’s 6’8 and still growing …jumps out of the gym and dominates the glass on either end …. this kid is the type that after he’s taught a few offensive moves in the NBA has definite all star potential …. he may or may not make it …but for you to express such an ill informed opinion this early in his career is buffoonish .

    • i would bet that jennings would have gone higher if he would have gone to Arizona instead of Europe. i wasnt under the impression that LW was a one and done talent, so there is no way his draft stock is helped by going to europe and not playing alot of minutes.

    • Good luck to this kid. Wow, China is a WHOLE lot different than Starkville Mississippi.

    • How long before Will Barton decommits? My guess is it’s sooner rather than later.

      • Barton’s Mom has prayed on her boys going to Memphis ….sorry …but that’s a done deal in the recruiting world …. there will be no decommit there .

        • The way the recruiting world is nowadays there is no such thing as a done deal.

          • You can forget about the Bartons decommiting ……. you can get better odds on the Detroit Lions winning the super bowl

          • I agree. The way this past recruiting class played out there is no such thing as a done deal. Hell, look no further than Josh Selby. Lots of people thought he was a done deal to UTenn two months ago and now look. Barton to UM looks like a good bet right now but by no means is it definate.

    • There needs to be a change in the rules on these decommits imo …..its getting out of hand …… if a school ie. is looking for a PG …signs one …they then lose out on other PG’s they may have been pursuing ……

    • If coaches are free to leave at any point why should the players be held to different rules.

      • Players should be allowed “outs” if the coach leaves …but Pearl didn’t leave …Pastner didn’t leave …I think you miss the point .

        • No the point is a coach CAN leave at will but if a player decides to leave he his penalized by the NCAA.

    • Damn, that sucks 4 Memph

    • 6’8″ and still growing – how do you know how big he’ll be Rasta. We can name lots and lots of 6’8″-6’10” talents who didn’t do much in the pros. It can be an in between size depending on the player. All your hyping on LW means nothing. He’s still has to show it at every level.

      Heck, Marcus Pfizer and his type of tweeners have trouble in the NBA. And he was player of the year. The list goes on – let’s see what he does. I view prospects in the larger context of the past 20 years. There’s no way any of us can really tell what LW – work ethic, maturity, desire also are needed alongside his ability. Who knows if he has the right stuff?

    • will Barton decommit after UM goes 12-6 in CUSA w/ its 1st year coach?

      • you’re an idiot ….. I have no comprehension of your gibberish …and I doubt you do either

    • The days of Memphis going 12-6 in C-USA ended when Louisville, Cincy, Marquette, etc. left for a better conference. They could play their walkons & win that crappy league by 5 games…

    • Memphis is now down to 9 scholarship players again …..if Garcia doesn’t make his grades and Elliot Williams is not granted a waiver …… one injury in preseason and its a 6 man squad …..boy wonder is starting to remind me of Rip Scherer .