I have held onto this story for quite some time. I must admit that when I first heard this story nearly three years ago, I assumed it was untrue. It seemed like the type of thing that comes about when people have axes to grind and are considering finding ways to brandish their weapons for their rhetorical goals. But over the last three years, I have heard this story from enough people to now assume that it is either the truth….or very close to it.
Recently, Adam Williams transferred from the University of Kentucky. Williams committed to Kentucky at the beginning of his junior season, far before the time that virtually any player had ever committed to Tubby Smith and strikingly before the time that he usually even offers players a scholarship for the school. Thus many, myself included, heard of this commitment and were shocked…..it simply didnt seem like Tubby.
When Adam got here, I truly hoped for his success. Here was a kid who was a lifelong Kentucky fan and who wanted to come to the school so much, that he even spent a year in prep school, in order to be able to attend with a scholarship. Yet the few times Adam hit the court, things seemed amiss. Beginning at Midnight Madness when he put forth a brutal performance in the slam dunk contest, Williams always seemed just a bit out of sync…..culminating in his performance in the rout versus Ole Miss, when he had more turnovers and fouls in seven minutes, than most thought possible.
So how did Williams end up at Kentucky? I first heard nearly three years ago from a reliable source, and have since been affirmed multiple times that the “offer” to Adam Williams by Tubby Smith, which was then accepted, was never really an offer at all. Apparently Smith, in a conversation wtih Williams, told him something to the effect that he would love to have Williams at Kentucky (the wording of this has always varied, so I cant be for sure the exact language). This is the type of comment made to recruits all the time early in the process and is meant to convey interest at this early stage of the game. Williams and his father took the comment to mean that an offer was being given and they then “accepted” to Smith. At this point, the coaching staff….even though they never intended to give such an offer…..did nothing to back out of this “offer” and commitment, and over the course of the next year, decided to honor it. Thus Williams, who was never really offered by Smith…..ended up a Cat.
This story of course gives a number of questions. First and foremost, can this really be true? Can a kid truly “accept” an offer that didnt come and then have the staff actually uphold hat offer? At first, I admit that I was, like you certainly are….lets say skeptical. But I now have been told by those who would know that this is how the situation unfolded. When Williams told Smith he would come to Kentucky, Smith had yet to offer….yet this acceptance was upheld.
So why did this happen? Did Smith decide that Adam was good enough to take, mistake and all? Did Smith not officially offer, but was going to anyway and decided to just take one solid recruit in his back pocket? Did he simply not want to confront the issue? No one really knows the answer to this. But I think it is fair to say that Adam williams ended up a Cat in a fashion, heretofor not seen by anyone in the Blue and White.
While many likely wonder the veracity of this story, I have come to accept that it is more than likely true. Over the course of the past three years, most of those who I trust on this subject have relayed the story to me and when Williams transferred, a source intimately connected with the process relayed it to me yet again. I dont tell it to criticize anyone involved (I am the biggest Tubby supporter on Earth as most readers know), but only to relay some oddities of the Kentucky recruiting process in recent years.
Regardless, the Adam Williams era is a bit baffling….but no more baffling than how it began.