The Kentucky Wildcats have a new transfer target, and it’s someone UK fans may remember.
On Sunday, Evansville forward DeAndre Williams revealed the list of schools he’s considering a transfer to via Rivals’ Corey Evans, and UK was surprisingly one of the schools along with Baylor, Memphis and Arkansas. Evans added that Williams will pick a school later this week.
To this point, UK wasn’t a school publicly mentioned to be in the running for Williams, who is also testing the NBA Draft waters, but Jake Weingarten reports John Calipari has been heavily involved.
Arkansas, Baylor, Memphis and Kentucky make up the finalists for Evansville transfer Deandre Williams, he told @Stockrisers.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) May 3, 2020
As far as UK’s interest goes, John Calipari has spoken with Williams and they’ve been heavily involved.
The 6-9 Williams averaged 15.2 points and 7 rebounds per game this past season. Against Kentucky, Williams only had 9 points and four rebounds. He also had games of 37, 28, and 26 points last season.
If Williams had played enough games to qualify, his 31.9 Player Efficiency Rating would have ranked 8th nationally, right behind behind Obi Toppin and just ahead of Carlik Jones. His 7.9 Offensive Box Plus-Minus would have ranked 8th, right behind Mason Jones.
Being in the same company as the National Player of the Year, the No. 1 graduate transfer, and an SEC Player of the Year candidate shows just how good Williams was when healthy.
Unfortunately, a back injury cost him much of January and February, so he was unable to put a full season together while playing at such a high level. Evansville was 9-6 before he got injured, then went 0-17 the rest of the way, even though Williams tried to make a late-season return.
Williams is not a grad-transfer, so he will not be immediately eligible, and unless the NCAA one-time time transfer rule is passed, he won’t be eligible regardless. But because his coach, Walter McCarty, was fired, that means Williams has a good shot at getting a waiver to play next season anyhow.
Either way, Williams is someone that Kentucky could and should go after, even if it’s for the 2021-2022 season. With one more year of development under his belt, Williams could be a true force down low.
And if Williams ends up eligible next season, he could make a massive impact for a program like Kentucky.