On Tuesday afternoon, Nigel Williams-Goss announced on his Instagram page that he was leaving Gonzaga to enter the NBA draft. He will sign with an agent and forego his final year of NCAA eligibility.
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
After two weeks of anxious waiting following the end of the season, the news that most Gonzaga fans were bracing for finally came. Williams-Goss will join fellow teammate Zach Collins in the NBA draft pool, and leaves the Zags with two key roles to fill on next season’s team. Of course, the impact of Williams-Goss (and Collins) on and off the court cannot be easily replaced.
The Oregon native led the Zags in scoring (16.8), assists (4.7), steals (1.7), free throw percentage (86.7%), and was second on the team in rebounds (6.0). His leadership on the team was unquestioned. And let’s not discount his fashion cred either based on the outfits he put together while he sat out his transfer year and on the team’s flights throughout this past season. Regardless of the criteria, there’s no getting around the fact that life A.N.W.G. (After Nigel Williams-Goss) will not be easy.
Making these types of decisions isn’t easy, and the fact that Williams-Goss took two weeks after the season’s final game to announce his intentions suggests just how much he wrestled with the decision.
Spoke with Nigel Williams-Goss' Dad Virgil. Very tough decision. This year was the most fun NWG had in terms of bball/community in a while.— Darnay Tripp (@DarnayTripp) April 18, 2017
Williams-Goss played phenomenal basketball throughout the season and his NBA draft stock probably was not going to get any higher. Coupled with the fact that he would be 23 in next year’s draft—a negative in the eyes of NBA teams—entering the draft this summer made the most sense for the point guard.
Though fans will be left to wonder “what if” with respect to his final year of eligibility, he leaves behind a sterling legacy after helping elevate Gonzaga to another level in its status as an elite national program with its first appearance in the national championship. Additionally, his transfer from Washington serves as another positive signpost for future recruits that Gonzaga is a place you can leave a power conference program for and improve your fortunes.
As he pointed out in his Instagram post, Williams-Goss leaves Gonzaga having accomplished his three primary goals when he traded in Seattle for Spokane. We wish him well with whatever new goals he sets for himself as a professional. Good luck, Nigel!