UVA Basketball: Did ‘Hoos miss out on Kenny Williams?

chris jpjThe sentiment in UVA Nation was that the Virginia basketball program missed out on a golden opportunity when former VCU signee Kenny Williams decided to sign with ACC rival North Carolina.

Williams, a four-star recruit, asked for and was granted his release from VCU when coach Shaka Smart bolted for Texas, and narrowed his choices to Carolina and UVA, visiting both schools before signing with the Tar Heels.

Was it a big loss? Ask Virginia AAU legend Boo Williams. Kenny Williams, no relation, played for the Boo Williams travel team last summer.

“I don’t want Carolina folks to think they’re getting J.J. Redick, but he’s a good shooter,” Williams told the Fayetteville Observer.

How a 6’2”, 165-pound true freshman two guard would fit in with the 2015-2016 Cavs is a good question. Two-time All-ACC first-team guard Malcolm Brogdon returns, along with two-year point guard starter London Perrantes. Second-team All-ACC guard/forward Justin Anderson is gone a year early, but returnees Evan Nolte, a senior, Marial Shayok, a sophomore, and Devon Hall, a redshirt sophomore, will compete with Tennessee transfer Darius Thompson, also a redshirt sophomore, for JA’s minutes.

Heralded 2014 recruit B.J. Stith looked at what coach Tony Bennett had coming back and decided to transfer out, and while he made that move before Anderson decided to forego his senior season to insert his name into the NBA Draft pool, you have to think that Stith would have factored the strong likelihood that Anderson was leaving into his decision.

There was really nowhere for Stith to fit in, and the same is true for Williams, who grew up a Carolina fan, but still gave Virginia a close look-see, taking an official visit on Grounds before deciding to sign with the Tar Heels.

It was a good move for Williams, who has a chance to compete for significant playing time at North Carolina. It was also a good move for Virginia, which doesn’t tie up a scholarship on a player who would have been more a luxury than a need, and doesn’t appear, from watching the tape, to be a good fit in the UVA system anyway.

– Column by Chris Graham

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
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