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DeAndre Williams’ mentor breaks down the latest in the Evansville transfer’s recruitment with KSR

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Evansville transfer DeAndre Williams and his recruitment have been discussed in-depth on the site, including quotes and interviews with the likes of Kenny Roy, Jerome Sherman, and Bryant Vann, the 6-foot-10 forward’s former head coach and mentor, associate head coach, and lead trainer, respectively, over the course of the week.

With news of Kentucky picking up momentum over the last 24 hours, though, KSR got back in touch with Roy – Williams’ direct mentor and point of contact in the recruiting process – to find out the latest regarding the Wildcats’ chances.

What’s the latest in Williams’ recruitment? When is a decision coming? How consistent has the communication been between Kentucky and Williams’ camp?

Read the entire Q&A session below.

The last time we talked, DeAndre was working to get home to Houston where he would sit down with his family and sort through a decision. What’s the latest on DeAndre’s end in terms of inching closer to that announcement?

He’s going to make his decision on Sunday, on Mother’s Day. If not Sunday, it’s going to be Monday morning. We’re going to get together and talk about things, sit down and hear him out. With his mom, we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of each school. Once we lay all the groundwork out, then he’s going to make his decision. And when he makes his decision, we’re going to back him 100%.

Regarding the schools left on his list, has anything changed? Is he planning on cutting it down from there even further or will he decide between that four?

He’s just going to decide between the final four, there’s no need to cut it down to two or anything. No need to cut guys out, that’s not a good idea. He’s just going to go in and pick a school out of the four. He’s going to pick one where he wants to go play.

What went into the conversations between DeAndre and his mom back home? How much closer is he to choosing a school?

Everything that he’s looking at, and will continue to look at, is the situation going into that institution and program.  How does he interact with the coaches? What is the relationship like with the head coach? How is he going to fit on the basketball team? Where is he going to be utilized best?  What team are they going to have? Those are some of the criteria that he’s looking at. He wants to know that whenever he arrives on campus, he’s going to be able to make a championship run. That’s his goal, to go to one of these elite teams and be able to make a championship run.

So the last time we talked, Kenny Payne called for the first time, and Coach Cal followed it up with a call Sunday evening. What’s the latest on Kentucky’s end? What’s the level of communication between both sides?

I haven’t talked to Calipari since Sunday, just that once, the initial conversation. I know he’s had conversations with DeAndre. I’m planning on reaching out to Coach Calipari today. If I can’t reach him today, at least by tomorrow at the latest. Just to see how things are going and feel out the process a little more. I have any concerns, I’ll express those. But I will be talking to him in the next day or so.

He talked to DeAndre last night. DeAndre texted me last night indicating Coach Cal had spoken with him, and I told him that we would all talk tomorrow, which is today. We’ll talk today on how that conversation went.

After Olivier Sarr’s commitment, how does that change things for DeAndre? Or does it not change things at all?

We haven’t really pondered much on it yet, but it is a consideration or concern to think about. When we talk today, we’ll talk in depth about that situation. Whatever concerns that come across, then we’ll reach out to Calipari about that to clarify any concerns we might have and what’s on DeAndre’s mind. Right now, I don’t know if it’s any, but we’ll talk more about it today.

There were several positive reports regarding Kentucky’s position with DeAndre last night, including one that indicated UK was feeling optimistic about their chances and pushing for a commitment. That went hand-in-hand with reports that UK and four-star center Frank Anselem have decided to go their separate ways. Do you believe there is anything to Kentucky’s optimism?

You know, I didn’t even know that young man [Frank Anselem] was even in the running as far as looking at him with DeAndre and Sarr. I knew about the kid from Wake Forest and I knew about DeAndre, but I didn’t know about this third athlete at all until I heard it mentioned to me by a reporter. So them focusing on DeAndre and cutting ties [with Anselem], hey, Kentucky is going to do what they do. They’re Kentucky, they know what they’re doing. I’m not certain if that makes it positive or better, whatever the case may be. My only concern is if DeAndre has any concerns. That’s what we’ll express from this point on.

Kentucky already has their elite guards signed in BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke, and Sarr is now anchoring the middle. Does Kentucky see DeAndre as that missing piece to their puzzle?

That’s a great possibility that he’s the missing piece to that puzzle. But you also have to look at the fact that there’s a lot of guys fighting for that four spot on that roster. You look at the point guard, [Devin] Askew, you look at the two five-star wings he brought in. Somebody’s got to be a two, and someone’s got to be a three. Sarr is at the five. So the way I see it is that there are a lot of guys fighting for that four spot.

That’s not saying DeAndre won’t fight for that spot, I’ll never take away his competitiveness and how he can play. Like I said last time we talked, DeAndre comes in and takes what he wants. But it’s still worth mentioning that there are a lot of guys at the four spot, I didn’t know there were that many.

Is that challenge something DeAndre would welcome? How much competition is too much?

Calipari does a very good job at what he does in who Kentucky gets. He has the blueprint in making teams special. What year was that when he ran the [platoon system]? That five in, five out? Honestly, I kind of see it like that, that sort of team. He has so much talent, he might have to platoon these guys and let them just go for it.

Is DeAndre’s commitment more focused on Mother’s Day being Sunday or the fact that he’s just ready to get the recruiting process over with and make a decision?

I think he wanted to do it because it was Mother’s Day, you know? He’s there with his mom, he’ll be there with his family. He wants to do it as a family thing, a celebration. It’s a big decision for his life, so why not do it with his mom on Mother’s Day? It’s a special day.

He’s enjoyed the fact that he’s had over 30 schools recruiting him. He’s enjoyed the fact that he’s narrowed it down and developed good relationships with all the coaches, it’s been fantastic. He feels honored by that. But now it’s time to cut it loose and commit to the school he wants to go to, take care of business from that point on. He’s ready to make the next step forward in his life.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

22 Comments for DeAndre Williams’ mentor breaks down the latest in the Evansville transfer’s recruitment with KSR

  1. dave1964
    2:45 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    I think he picks Baylor.

    • CJKAssassin123
      9:13 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      I agree

  2. BMT
    3:18 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t know who he picks but I’m not sure it’s gonna be Kentucky. At least from this interview, anyway, it sounds like this mentor really does want what’s best for the kid and that’s more than you can say for some people involved in these recruitments. I’m not confident at all that the NCAA will grant Sarr a waiver so if this young man opts to go elsewhere, we’re right back where we started a few weeks ago. At least we won’t have to wait too long to find out, I guess.

    • BobbyBlue
      3:40 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      This kid will also have to receive a waiver, due to his coach being fired, and I suppose his injury could come into play.

    • BobbyBlue
      3:43 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      With Emmerts Ky bias, dating back to his days as Washington U presidency, there is no way to predict a positive result for Ky.

    • BMT
      4:05 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      Ahhh, crap. You’re right! I completely spaced on the fact that Williams would need a waiver, too. Oh well. Small ball it is, then. 🙁

  3. VirginiaCat
    4:40 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    I didn’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling from the interview; sounds like there is concern about the number of players competing for the 4 spot. I hope I’m wrong, but I am getting the sense that DeAndre is going elsewhere.

    Jack, what we don’t get from your interview is the tone. What was your got feeling, not just the words, but the “feel” of the interview?

    • Jack Pilgrim
      6:45 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      The coach is a big fan of the Kentucky program, glowing reviews every time I’ve talked to him. But he has been very hesitant to show his hand regarding favorites. There’s a lot of positive momentum on Kentucky’s side behind the scenes regardless. I’m not close enough on officially predicting the Cats as others I’ve talked to in recruiting circles, but things are looking pretty good going into the weekend.

  4. UKFanSC
    5:10 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Not sure he’s sold on a final season of 14 mins/game……we better hope the big kid gets eligible

  5. RoarFor22
    5:17 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Doesn’t sound too promising for Kentucky. Would love to add him to the roster but I think having maybe too many guys will push him away in the end. Hope I’m wrong but he wants to win and Baylor will be good again next year and he’ll probably have a bigger role on that tram than if he came to Kentucky so I think that’s where he’ll end up going. Hope I’m wrong but whatever happens I like our tram if Sarr gets legible with or without Williams

    • dcforuk
      7:02 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      I lean toward agreeing with you; however, Coach Cal has always said that he goes after guys that believe they are the best players that don’t worry about how many other guys they are fighting with for minutes. If this guy thinks that he’s the best player at the four position and if he is then coach can’t keep him off the court. I think there is some competitive appeal to that element if he’s an alpha dog.

    • CJKAssassin123
      9:15 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      Plus Baylor is right in his backyard.

    • friendsofcoal
      1:51 am May 9, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah and he can just hop on the tram to get to class at Baylor.

  6. Aar
    7:28 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Chemistry is the key for me. Will this team have better chemistry with or without him? Going in to transfer season, I was comfortable that the incoming players would mesh well together with the addition of a solid 5 or two. Would Williams add a needed 4 or create too much friction at the position? To a degree, I suspect the current roster has a logjam at the 3 and don’t know how adding an experienced, competitive 3/4/5 with near-term NBA aspirations would impact relationships. That’s for Cal to determine and manage.

    • dcforuk
      8:06 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      I don’t disagree. There is a wild card regarding Sarr’s waiver status. Although there is a strong case for the approval of Sarr’s waiver, if Kentucky loses out on both of them, It’s going to be a long season. With Sarr, everything changes. With both, there is a crowd But isn’t that a good problem to have even if it does result in a player impatiently transferring mid year or after the year?

    • JASUN74
      8:19 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

      I agree 100% dcforuk. If he believes he’s a future NBA player and has confidence in himself, Kentucky is the choice. If not, it’s been fun! Lol. Go Cats

  7. CJKAssassin123
    9:17 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Cal has reclassifcation options in Kaminga,Cisse,, and Banchero if worse comes to worse.

    • JLP
      1:11 am May 9, 2020 Permalink

      I don’t know about that with the way schools are now. To get in enough courses over the summer might be tough, and I know Banchero doesn’t want to reclassify.

  8. Bluehender
    11:16 pm May 8, 2020 Permalink

    Well it seems he wants to play for a championship, so that bodes well for us…I mean, how many has Baylor won?

    • JASUN74
      8:07 am May 9, 2020 Permalink

      That’s the way I see it Bluehender. We’ll see tomorrow I guess, if what they’re saying about wanting to go somewhere and take his spot and compete for a championship, Kentucky has to be a serious contender.

      Hopefully he sees that coming here with all the guys that Cals puts in the league, it doesn’t matter if you start or even play 20 minutes, we just teach kids how to play next level Basketball, and the exposure is unmatched other than maybe A couple other schools. None that he has listed though.

      He’s definitely a guy I’d like to have this coming season an believe he could play a huge roll for us. It’s a big time decision in his life and he’ll have to live with it good or bad, I truly hopes he makes the right decision for him and he has a great career no matter what. I’d sure rather that be in Lexington Kentucky. Ha.

    • Bluehender
      8:24 am May 9, 2020 Permalink

      I’m with you JASUN. Go Cats!!

  9. jim tom
    8:38 pm May 9, 2020 Permalink

    Won’t matter. Andy won’t let any sports happen