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#pounditSaturday, February 4, 2023

Articles tagged: Nigel Williams-Goss

Nigel Williams-Goss’ girlfriend Kirstyn Thomas is Washington softball player

Nigel Williams-Goss Kirstyn Thomas

One of the stars of Washington’s softball team has been Kirstyn Thomas, who also has another sports tie.

Thomas, who has been a key contributor during the Huskies’ Women’s College World Series run, is the girlfriend of Gonzaga star Nigel Williams-Goss:

Scooped her up like a ground ball

A post shared by Nigel Williams-Goss (@nigelwg5) on

The two have been together for nearly three years. Williams-Goss attended Washington from 2013-2015 before transferring to Gonzaga. Thomas was a freshman during Williams-Goss’ sophomore season at Washington.

Williams-Goss posted this photo of them together on his Instagram page back in 2015: (more…)

5 players making a mistake by leaving school early for NBA Draft

Nigel Williams Goss

It’s difficult to begrudge any young player who chooses to forego additional time playing as an amateur when they could cash in on their talents by heading to the pros. Judging the financial standing of any young man or the motivation behind his decision to turn pro can get dicey.

Making the choice to begin playing professionally is a huge proposition, and the timing of that decision can have serious repercussions for the player’s chances to succeed as a pro and potentially affects their future career earnings.

Any player has the right to choose to use their skills to earn money, but some choose to cash out too soon and hurt themselves in the long run.

The new draft system allows players to test the waters and play out the draft process, receiving feedback if they don’t hire an agent. Some players forego that safety and hire an agent right away, jeopardizing their career before it even starts.

Here’s a look at five players who are making a mistake by leaving school early.

1. Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

Players can often misinterpret a run through March Madness as a rise in their draft stock. Williams-Goss may be doing just that.

He was excellent for the Zags this season, earning first-team All-American honors. The point guard showed himself to be a lockdown defender, floor general, and capable shooter after transferring from Washington.

Projecting those skills to the next level, however, can be tough. Williams-Goss’ defense could diminish, since he doesn’t have true NBA size or speed. He shot 36 percent from the college three-point line, but rarely showed NBA range.

Williams-Goss will likely hear his name called during the second round of June draft. Had he returned to Spokane, bulked up his body and refined his shot, we may have seen him as a first-round pick in 2018.

2. Dillon Brooks, Oregon

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Nigel Williams-Goss leaving Gonzaga for NBA Draft

Nigel Williams Goss

Nigel Williams-Goss is leaving Gonzaga, and he is not looking back.

The Bulldogs guard announced on social media Tuesday that he will be leaving college and hiring an agent as he prepares for his future as a professional basketball player.

Two years ago I transferred to Gonzaga University with three main goals: earn my college degree, improve my game and help Gonzaga reach its first ever Final Four. I’m proud to say all three of my goals were met. In the classroom, I earned my degree in Psychology and have begun work on my Masters. On the court, my teammates and I made school history winning 37 games, advanced to the Final Four, and played in the National Championship game. Coming to Gonzaga is the best decision I ever made. What I was most surprised by this season was not the wins, awards, or recognition, but rather the genuine love I felt with our fans in Spokane. Since arriving, everywhere I went, I have been surrounded by love from the Gonzaga community. I cannot describe the incredible relationships I have formed in my time here and would not trade my experience for anything in the world. I could not be more grateful or humbled to call myself a Zag for life! After many discussions with my coaches and family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft with representation. I am 100% confident in this decision and believe I am prepared both mentally and physically to take this step in my career and my life. As always, I give all glory to God for granting me this opportunity. I will continue to represent the entire Gonzaga community to the best of my ability. To all my teammates, coaches, fans, supporters, and believers…I love you and thank you! Forever and always… #GoZags

A post shared by Nigelwg5 (@nigelwg5) on

The key with Goss’ announcement is that he will sign with an agent, which means he is losing his final season of eligibility.

Williams-Goss transferred to Gonzaga after playing his first two seasons at Washington. The transfer couldn’t have worked out better, as Williams-Goss improved his play and became part of the best team in Gonzaga’s history. He helped lead the Bulldogs to the finals of the NCAA Tournament, as he averaged 16.8 points, 6 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game last season.

Williams-Goss played well throughout the tourney, which likely helped his stock among interested NBA teams. He is projected by some to be a second-round pick.

Nigel Williams-Goss shrugs off ankle issue ahead of championship

Nigel Williams Goss ankle

Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss turned his ankle pretty badly in Saturday’s national semifinal against the South Carolina Gamecocks. A day later, he admitted that it doesn’t feel great, but it’s not going to stop him from playing.

In his Sunday media availability, Williams-Goss admitted that his ankle, which he twisted badly the day before, was still on the sore side.

The star guard added, however, that there was no chance the issue would keep him out of Monday night’s title tilt against North Carolina.

One of Gonzaga’s opponents has been dealing with an ankle problem since early in the tournament. The hope for Gonzaga is that Williams-Goss will be more effective on his bad ankle than his counterpart has been.

Nigel Williams-Goss determined to play despite ankle injury

Nigel Williams Goss ankle

Nigel Williams-Goss twisted his ankle during Gonzaga’s Final Four victory over South Carolina on Saturday, but he is not about to let that keep him out of action.

Williams-Goss played 36 of a possible 40 minutes, leading his team with 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting. He rolled his ankle as he drove for this layup, but he did not let it knock him out of action.

After the game, Williams-Goss told CBS’ Tracy Wolfson that he was determined not to let the ankle keep him out of the game.

“I had to go back and adjust some things, tighten my shoes. But there was no way I was going to come out of the game. Last two games of the season — now we’re 40 minutes away from the national championship,” Williams-Goss said.

Based on that attitude, there’s no way Williams-Goss is going to miss any action in Monday’s title game. The only question is whether his ankle will limit him in any way.

Top 7 National Player of the Year candidates

Frank Mason Kansas

Even though college basketball doesn’t have an award as prestigious as the Heisman, finding and recognizing the most noteworthy performances across the nation is just as important as it is for football. With more than 350 teams, it can be difficult to separate the good from the truly great.

We have identified seven players who have been good enough to not just attract interest and acclaim, but also to potentially receive college basketball’s most important individual awards. Here’s a look at the top 7 candidates for National Player of the Year in college hoops.

1. Josh Hart, Villanova

No player has a better shot at collecting national individual honors than Villanova’s senior swingman. Not only is Hart the best player on one of the nation’s best teams, he does absolutely everything for his club.

Hart is averaging 18.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game for Villanova, while playing super efficiently on both ends of the floor. He’s making 50 percent of his field goals and 40 percent of his three-point attempts.

When watching the Wildcats, it can certainly feel like Hart takes a backseat to the ball-dominance of Jalen Brunson or the volume shooting of Kris Jenkins, but at the end of the game, his line in the box score always stands out.

He’s been a silent killer this season, always waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Against Creighton this weekend, he was quiet offensively for most of the game, while rebounding and playing great team defense. Then in crunch time he exploded and finished with 16 points. It was the perfect Josh Hart game.

2. Frank Mason, Kansas

The Kansas point guard has also received some recognition as the most productive player on a good team, but Frank Mason is so much more than that. His 20 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds per game are what make the Jayhawks go. He’s 5-foot-10 on his best day and plays 36 minutes per contest, all with an intensity and ferocity that drives the Jayhawks.

It’s difficult to find a flaw in Mason’s game.

He’s lightning quick and can get by any defender, drawing the fourth most fouls per game in the Big XII. But any opponent who gives Mason a step will regret it, with the senior sinking more than half his threes this season. He averages only 2.4 turnovers per game, despite handling the ball for the entire game and facing harsh Big XII defenses.

Any coach facing Kansas in March will have a tough time finding an answer for Frank Mason, especially in the fast-paced world of tournament play.

3. Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga

Before we allow the power conference and East Coast bias to cloud anyone’s thinking about Nigel Williams-Goss’ play this season, let’s just debunk both right away. Not only has Williams-Goss been the catalyst of Gonzaga’s march of destruction through the West Coast Conference, where the Zags finished with the highest scoring margin in conference play since 1999 per Ken Pomeroy, but he’s shown his ability against the best teams on the Bulldogs’ schedule.

He notched 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists against Florida. He finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in the Zags’ win over Iowa State. He added 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists against Arizona.

Mark Few has never had this much talent at Gonzaga.

Williams-Goss, Johnathan Williams, and Jordan Mathews are transfers from power conference programs. Freshman Zach Collins is the Zags’ first ever McDonald’s All-American. Przemek Karnowski is 290 pounds of Polish dominance in the paint. Meshing all of those pieces together is easier said than done, and Williams-Goss has been a maestro orchestrated the perfect balanced attack. He’s scored when he’s had to, topping 30 points three times, and facilitated other times, recording six or more assists in eight games.

4. Caleb Swanigan, Purdue

If National Player of the Year voters stick to players on the top 10 teams, Hart, Mason, or Williams-Goss likely takes home the award. If they truly look to recognize the best individual performance this season, Purdue sophomore big man Caleb Swanigan deserves the award.

While Purdue has been the best team in a struggling Big Ten this season, it has been Swanigan leading the way. The monster in the middle has recorded a double-double in 23 of the Boilermakers’ 29 games this season and is chasing the all-time NCAA record of 31, set by David Robinson at Navy.

It’s easy to be enamored by scoring and assist numbers, but Swanigan’s ability to attack and control the glass can change a game. He grabs the third-highest percentage of available defensive rebounds in the nation, and has more boards than any player in college basketball. That ability to force opponent’s into a one-and-done possessions makes the Purdue defense so tough to crack.

Meanwhile, his offensive game has flourished. He’s a beast on the block at 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds, but has improved from a 29-percent outside shooter to a 46-percent shooter. Last season Swanigan’s tendency to drift to the three-point line and hoist jumpers was a flaw, but he’s turned that area of his game into a weapon.

5. Luke Kennard, Duke

If you were picking a National Player of the Year candidate from Duke’s roster at the beginning of the season, you would have had a bevvy of options. Maybe you would have taken Grayson Allen, a returning 20 point per game scorer. Maybe you’d have preferred one of their super freshman and likely lottery picks, Harry Giles or Jayson Tatum. Few would have expected that from Luke Kennard, a sophomore who had a good but not otherworldly first season in Durham.

He’s been spectacular, posting the 2nd best offensive rating, 6th best effective field goal percentage, and fourth best true shooting percentage in the stacked ACC. Analytics aside, good things have happened for Duke when the ball has been in Kennard’s hands.

Without a traditional point guard in the lineup, Kennard has had to adjust and not only be a primary playmaker on offense, but also the lead ball handler against pressure and in crunch time. He is averaging only 1.6 turnovers in 35 minutes on the floor and sinking a 84 percent of his free throws. That is the kind of player who you want with the ball in a tight game.

6. Dillon Brooks, Oregon

Brooks has been the heart and soul for Dana Altman’s Ducks this season.

No player shoots a higher percentage of his team’s field goals in the Pac-12 than Brooks, but he’s not wasting those opportunities.

Brooks has hit 45 percent of his threes, and 52 percent of his field goals. Most notably, Brooks has been huge in the clutch for Oregon this season.

Look no further than his two game-winning shots in the final second of games against UCLA and Cal for perfect examples of his contributions in the biggest moments.

7. Marcus Keane, Central Michigan

A guy from a 16-13 team in the Mid-American conference isn’t going to win any national awards, but Marcus Keane has damn sure tried.

He leads the nation in a litany of categories: points, field goals, field goal attempts, threes attempted, threes made, and total points produced. He has put on a show across the midwest. He’s the king of the isolation offense, finding shots from everywhere on the court. He’s dropped more than 30 points in 15 games, more than 40 five times, and even hit 50 against Miami (OH). That game included an absurd 10 for 15 from outside the arc and a perfect 10 for 10 from the free throw line.

If you haven’t observed the Marcus Keane experience yet, you need to change that. Tune in during the MAC Tournament, where Keane will be trying to shoot the Chippewas into the Big Dance.

Shane McNichol covers college basketball for Larry Brown Sports. He also blogs about college basketball and the NBA at Palestra Back and has contributed to Rush The Court, ESPN.com, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain.