Kansas State Wildcats land junior college point guard Rudi Williams

Tribune Content Agency

When Kansas State began recruiting Rudi Williams two weeks ago, associate head coach Chris Lowery had a simple question for the junior college point guard.

Is it too late?

Williams was already being recruited heavily by a number of other teams like Arizona State, Memphis and New Mexico, so Lowery would have understood had Williams said he wanted to focus on those schools when he reached out three weeks ago. But Williams had too much respect for the Wildcats to do that.

“You can’t turn down a school like Kansas State,” Williams said Sunday in a phone interview. “You have to hear them out. They said they needed an experienced guard and we started building a relationship. Once I told him I was seriously considering K-State he passed me along to Coach (Bruce) Weber. I liked his vision. We had matching goals. Why not commit? I took a leap of faith, and I’m really happy that I did.”

Williams, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Northeastern Oklahoma Q&M, followed through and orally committed to K-State with a social media announcement on Sunday.

Williams averaged an impressive 21 points, 8.9 assists and 6.7 rebounds while making 29 starts for his junior-college team last season. His team went 25-7 and ranked No. 23 in the final NJCAA poll.

K-State has been on the lookout for a new guard since Cartier Diarra announced plans to transfer to Virginia Tech after testing the professional waters as an early entrant in the NBA Draft this spring.

For the second straight year, Kansas State basketball coach Bruce Weber has tapped into the junior college ranks to land a point guard that could potentially help the Wildcats immediately after he arrives on campus.

“Every time I spoke with Coach Weber he told me that he thinks I am a really good lead guard,” Williams said. “He thinks I’m tough and I remind him of Barry Brown, one of his former guards. He broke down what he wants from me and what it is going to take for us to turn things around and win. It’s going to take toughness, energy and competitive fire. I feel like I bring all of those things.”

On the surface, this commitment comes as a surprise considering the Wildcats are still in the running for four-star wing Donovan Williams, who will reportedly announce his college destination between K-State, Texas and Oklahoma State on April 13. With Rudi Williams in the fold, K-State currently has a balanced roster of 13 scholarship players.

As it stands, the Wildcats won’t be able to add anyone else during this recruiting cycle unless one of their returning players unexpectedly opts to transfer. But that is always a possibility in today’s transfer-happy climate.

Williams’ commitment actually suggests that K-State coaches are expecting a current member of the team’s backcourt to transfer, potentially senior-to-be David Sloan. Williams said he didn’t speak with Sloan during the recruiting process. Mike McGuirl, DaJuan Gordon and Kaosi Ezeagu were the returning players that helped sell him on the Wildcats.

“I will have an opportunity to go in there and make an immediate impact,” Williams said. “They stressed to me that point guard was a position they kind of needed to fill, and they told me they needed an experienced guard to come in and help lead the offense next season.”

Williams could certainly help K-State in many ways next season.

He will arrive in Manhattan as a junior with two years of eligibility remaining, which is a welcome thing for the Wildcats as they don’t project to have any other juniors on the roster next season.

Williams will join incoming freshman Nijel Pack in the backcourt, and perhaps Sloan if he returns as a senior. However, the addition of Williams raises some questions about Sloan’s future with the team. Sloan transferred to K-State last spring after spending his first two seasons of college basketball at a junior college.

Sloan averaged 5.3 points and 2.3 assists as a junior with the Wildcats.

Williams led all junior-college players in assists last season and also has the potential to create his own shot. Williams is both a gifted shooter and finisher around the rim.

Williams is rated as the No. 29 junior-college prospect by JucoRecruiting.com.

“I will fit right in with the guys in K-State’s back court,” Williams said. “I bring toughness, I bring competitiveness and I feel like I make teammates better. I’m easy to play with. Pretty much all you have to do is run with me. Once we develop chemistry and I find out everyone’s tendencies and strengths I will get my guys the ball, make them look good and we will just build off that.”


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