Marc Maggard has this post (free subscription required) about Kentucky's latest verbal, Donald Williams, over at his new site called True Blue Kentucky. What happened to Kentucky Ink? Well, Maggard and some others at Kentucky Ink parted ways, and now we have two sites. Be sure to visit both.
OK, now to the particulars. Maggard tells us that Donald Williams, the surprise commitment of the summer, will be on the Wildcat bench this year:
First, there is almost NO chance that Donald Williams will redshirt. He was brought in to add immediate depth at the shooting guard position and he will be called upon to do just that.
This makes supreme sense to me. I cannot imagine him coming to UK with the holes we currently have in the backcourt and redshirting unless he is a severe academic risk. I don't get that impression, so what Marc is telling us jibes with my perception of reality. But after that, things get just a little ... uh ... weird, I guess:
The most amazing part of this story is that Williams has already agreed that this will be a one year deal. Yes, that's right. He is on scholarship for 2008, but will NOT be on scholarship in any subsequent years. Donald Williams passed up four year offers from Marquette and St. Johns for a one year deal to the University of Kentucky!
This does not mean that Williams will be transferring after one year. His intentions are to make as big an impact in 2008 as possible and remains as a key member of this squad as a non scholarship player.
This does not make sense to me. That doesn't mean it isn't true, it just doesn't make sense to come to Kentucky for one year on a full ride, then surrender it. Maggard tells us that Williams was not considering walking on to any school, and there is certainly no reason why he should have with scholarship offers from Marquette and St. Johns. So now we are being told that he is accepting a scholarship at UK for one year only, and then will do what he refused to do this year "...due to talent"?
While this may be true as written, it is supremely illogical and makes no sense whatever to me. Kentucky is a great school with a great tradition, but why would anyone turn down an offer from two schools with solid traditions of their own to get a one-year ride to UK? I'd love to believe it was because Kentucky is such a legendary program, but if so, this is an extraordinary departure from what we have seen from the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley.
I have seen arguments put forward like "He thinks Gillispie can get him to the NBA" and "He is making a sacrifice to play for UK." Any or all of them may be right, but I am highly skeptical. It just doesn't square with what young players are and have been doing. That doesn't mean it isn't true, but if it is, it is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever heard of, and I desperately hope we one day get the young man's reasoning for this approach. It could be either an inspiration or something of an embarrassment, but either way, I present this for your review and comment. I am confident that Maggard is not making this up, and that he was actually told this by someone. But it is a strange tale, to be sure.
While we are on the subject of Dondald Williams, Jerry Meyers of Rivals has this article which suggests he could have been ranked as high as a 4-star if Rivals had seen him prior to establishing rankings.