Wisconsin Basketball continues to explore its options on the transfer market, most recently reaching out to Duquesne transfer Eric Williams Jr.
In this day and age of college basketball, transfer players have become a key cog in the machinery of many programs year in and year out. This is a trend that is not likely to fade anytime soon, either, as more and more players each year are deciding to leave their current squads in search of new opportunities. The current list of transfer players now sits at 573, and it will only continue to balloon over the coming weeks as the offseason gets underway in earnest now that the college hoops season has officially ended with Virginia’s victory over Texas Tech in Monday’s national championship game.
Though Wisconsin has generally never been all that active in the transfer market throughout the program’s recent history, that is beginning to change a bit under Greg Gard’s leadership, and the Badgers have been linked to a handful of players over the last couple of weeks. At this point, we know that the staff has reached out to grad transfer forwards Justin Pierce (William and Mary) and Jeantal Cylla (UNC-Wilmington), and junior college forward Daniel Oladapo. In addition, it’s possible that they have had interactions with others that have yet to be made public.
The most recent option that Wisconsin has kicked the tires on his Duquesne guard Eric Williams Jr.
The 6’6, 205-pound wing is coming off of a solid sophomore season in which he led the Dukes in both points (14.0) and rebounds (7.6) per game, shot 37.1 percent from three and 74.8 from the charity stripe and averaged 1.1 steals per contest. As a freshman the year before, Williams put up 14.3 points and 8.8 boards per game.
After announcing his intention to transfer from Duquesne on Monday via Twitter, Wisconsin wasted little time in contacting Williams, as did Houston, Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska, Seton Hall, Xavier, and UConn. Wherever he lands, he will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out next season.
The Badgers would be well-served by adding a grad transfer player to help fill out the frontcourt depth for next season now that Ethan Happ, Khalil Iverson, and Charlie Thomas are gone, and Ohio State transfer big man Micah Potter will likely have to wait until December to be eligible. Though the addition of Williams would help solve this problem-he has the size and physical playing style to play the 3 in addition to the 2 for Wisconsin-as mentioned, he will not be eligible until 2020-21.
Regardless, thanks to the scholarship Tai Strickland left behind once he decided to transfer, Wisconsin can afford to both fill a future need on the roster by adding Williams and pick up an instant-impact grad transfer if it so chooses, while still maintaining two additional scholarship vacancies in the talented recruiting class of 2020 as the Badgers continuing searching for additional players to join point guard commit Lorne Bowman.
Williams would be an excellent addition to the program with his standout size on the perimeter, physicality on the boards, solid three-point stroke, and proven ability to stuff the stat sheet against fairly stiff competition coming from the Atlantic 10. The 2020-21 season is certainly a long way off, but, at worst, he would likely be one of Greg Gard’s first options off the bench.
Stay tuned for further developments on this situation.
All stats courtesy of Sports-Reference.com