Friday, July 31, 2009

UCLA withdraws offer to Kendall Williams

Over the past week, there has been a lot of negative talk about Josh Selby's decision to de-commit from Tennessee. Dana O'Neil even wrote a piece that came damn near criticizing recruits who change their minds.

Sometimes, it goes the other way as well.

Kendall Williams, a rising senior from Rancho Cucomunga Los Osos High School, committed to UCLA after a stellar freshman season. But he never quite developed into the player that Ben Howland thought he would turn into, and this past week Williams ended his commitment.

Kendall Williams committed to UCLA after his freshman season.
(photo credit:

Now, the article does not specify exactly how the commitment ended. Ben Howland could have told Williams that he did not want the 6'3" PG anymore, or Williams could have figured out on his own that he was not talented enough to be the Bruin's PG of the future. Williams went on record saying that there are no hard feelings between him and Coach Howland. Howland was on the road during July recruiting some of the top PG's in the class of '10 (namely Ray McCallum of Detroit Country Day).

And its not like Williams will end up without a scholarship. Fellow Pac-10 schools Stanford and Cal (among others) are still recruiting Williams.

For the record, this isn't the first time Howland has parted ways with a committed recruit. Taylor King committed to UCLA after his freshman season at Mater Dei, but ended up going ot Duke under similar circumstances (maybe Kevin Love?).

But the belies the point. This is precisely why it is not a good idea to recruit kids that are that young. Boys grow and mature physically so much between the ages of 14-18. If a kid is a star when he is 14, you really don't know how he is going to develop.

Is he really that much more talented than his peers? Did he just happen to hit puberty and a growth spurt early? Will he still be as dominant when everyone else catches up with him in size and athleticism?

The other issue that arises is work ethic. If you are a recruit and you have yet to commit to a school, there is always going to be that motivation to improve. If you are getting letters from the SoCon, you want teams like East Carolina and Charlotte to take notice. Once those schools start sending coaches to games, you want ACC schools to notice. If NC State offers a scholarship, you want UNC and Duke to offer.

Once you commit to a school, it is only natural to feel a bit of relief, and the danger is that a kid can become a bit complacent, feeling that he has "made it". When you are 17 or 18 you should be mature enough to understand that in order to succeed at that level, it is going to take hard work.

But a 15 year old committed to UCLA?

When I was 15 I thought I was the man when I made varsity. The risk is that the recruit becomes too complacent, too cocky, and believes that he does not need to improve anymore.

I'm not saying that this is what happened to Williams, but you never know.

The best advice I could give any elite prospect is this: take your time. If the offers are there at 14, they will be there at 16 and 17.


Anonymous said...

i don't think it was that kendall just wasn't improving but he had a tremendous attitude he never listened too coach's and always got t'd up great player though just commited too early.

Anonymous said...

Could it be the Pump Brothers? Kendall refused the Pump Brothers Demand to leave his High School Team before his Junior Season was finished to play for the Pump & Run Elite. Could "they" be the reason he was decommitted? Politics! Politics!

Anonymous said...

I heard the Pump Brothers went to Marquette right before Kendall's visit to insure that he would not be given a scholoraship. Hmmm!

Anonymous said...

Williams work ethic is impeccable.. He will do just fine

Anonymous said...

One of the most talented, dedicated and coachable kids I ever coached. A "can't miss" in college. Any coach that wouldn't want Kendall doesn't have much of an eye for talent.

Anonymous said...

Good News for Kendall, New Mexico Lobo's coach Steve Alford has made the offer, who would guess that 12th ranked Lobo's would be so much better than the PAC 10 Schools.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how the comments on the Pump brothers suddenly disappear!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Deserves what he gets! This is a very arrogant low-life with b-ball skills. Character counts! He does not have that. He constantly disrespected a Latin teacher, who sadly is now gone, at Los Osos High School, an overrated high school with an awful principal. The principal and everyone were interested in the LOHS name attached to him as he went to UCLA. Well, what a waste of effort. He is just going to New Mexico and for an unknown team. He'll do fine basketball wise, but as far as academics? God love him.

Anonymous said...

Kendall Williams has done amazing things as the starting combo guard for the University of New Mexico. He has been nothing but a pleasure on the court (although sometimes he is so fast it scares me he can't control himself) and been nothing but a good teammate/student for the Lobos. Good luck to Kendall and ALL the Lobos for their upcoming run in the NCAA Tournament!
2012 MWC Regular Season Co-Champions and MWC Tournament Champions!