When Findlay Prep star point guard Nigel Williams-Goss committed to UNLV as a sophomore, the timing was a bit surprising.
So was the timing on Wednesday, when he, out of the blue, ended his recruitment before the summer AAU circuit kicked into high gear. He chose Washington over UNLV, Oklahoma, Harvard and UCLA.
“I told everyone that I had no timetable of committing, it was just going to happen when I felt 100 percent comfortable about a decision,” said Williams-Goss, a Portland, Ore., native who took an unofficial visit to Washington not long after his junior season ended in April. “Over these last few weeks, I came to my conclusion that this is what’s best for me. I went ahead, stepped up and made the decision.”
Williams-Goss’s commitment to UNLV lasted about four months, as he de-committed roughly a week after Dave Rice was hired to replace Lon Kruger early last April.
UNLV made a push for Williams-Goss, but it apparently was too little, too late. While Washington and others pushed hard for him during this past season, most of UNLV’s focus was on piecing together its massive 2012 recruiting class — and understandably so, with so many spots to fill.
He said his relationship with Rice and his staff was “definitely a good one.”
“I spoke with coach Rice today, and he congratulated me on my commitment,” Williams-Goss said. “He was a first-year coach, and had to worry about getting his team right for this season. Basically, not knowing what they needed (in the future), they almost took a year off when it came to my recruitment because they had so many other things to worry about. Even though they made a strong push at the end, I didn’t feel comfortable with making that decision again.”
Along with passing up on the school in his backyard, he also turned down a chance to commit to Kruger again, leaving Oklahoma in the dust.
“That was tough, too, just knowing the relationship I have with coach Kruger and his whole staff,” he said. “But at the same time, I had to do with what felt right, and at the end of the day, my heart was with Washington.”
The Williams-Goss family moved to Las Vegas before Nigel’s freshman season at Findlay Prep, and when he graduates next spring, he’ll do so as the first four-year player in the program’s six-year history. He said that his family will likely continue to live in Henderson full-time, while traveling back to the Pacific Northwest frequently to see him play.
The 6-foot-4 Williams-Goss is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 39 overall prospect in the 2013 class. One attractive aspect of Washington for him is the ability to potentially start right away. That might not have been the case at UNLV, as the program is loaded at guard moving forward.
The UNLV staff will hit the road for 12 days of evaluation next month, and is likely looking to add at least two more players in its 2013 recruiting class. Currently in the fold are 6-foot-8 forward Chris Wood — Williams-Goss’s fellow senior-to-be at Findlay Prep who Rivals.com ranks as the No. 55 prospect in the class — and 5-foot-11 sharpshooter Dantley Walker — a rural Nevada high school scoring legend who signed a letter of intent as a member of the 2011 class, and is currently in the middle of a two-year mission being served in Spokane, Wash.