Today, Evansville transfer DeAndre Williams has picked the Memphis over Baylor and Arkansas. He’s a 6’9 wing/ stretch- 4 player, who averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. He only played 18 games last season so he missed a good chunk of the season, but with how much Evansville’s seasons fell off the rails after Walter McCarty was fired, it probably wouldn’t have mattered whether he played or not. The Purple Aces went 9-23 and lost every single conference game. Their last win of the year came on December 21st of 2019 when they beat Murray State 78-76 for their 9th and final win of the year, in the 2020 calendar year they have yet to win.
Coach McCarty was fired before conference play began due to a Title IX violation. The program cited “Inappropriate Behavior,” as the reason for his firing. This leads into my next point, as Williams will have a reasonable argument for a waiver. I think given that the coach who recruited him getting fired during the season, plus the team not winning another game is helpful to his case. While being on a terrible team isn’t how you get a waiver, but your coach being fired and the player having no control over it should.
I think Penny Hardaway knew he had a good chance of getting Williams eligible to play this year or he probably wouldn’t have went after him this hard. Williams is also in the NBA Draft at the moment and while many transfers enter the portal and the draft, not many stay in once they transfer. One exception for one name that comes to mind, Little Rock transfer, Rayjon Tucker last season, he “Transferred” to Memphis also as a Grad Transfer and ultimately stayed in the NBA Draft and never enrolled into the Memphis program. I think this is a different situation so I’m expecting Williams to withdraw his name from the Draft soon.
Now assuming he gets a waiver what does this mean for the Tigers in 2020-21
PG- Boogie Ellis
SG- Damion Baugh
SF- Lester Quinones
PF- DeAndre Williams (Needs Waiver)
C- Malcolm Dandrige
Penny Hardaway got exactly what he needed here, a bigger player. Lance Thomas and Malcolm Dandrige wouldn’t get the job done themselves they needed a legit scoring threat with size and that’s what Williams provides.