Michigan State Could Get Missouri Top Scorer Jonathan Williams III Via Transfer
Michigan State figures to have a lot of guys competing for the minutes left in the wake of Branden Dawson's graduation.
And the Spartans may have one more.
Missouri sophomore Jonathan Williams III says he's transferring from the Tigers and MSU is a potential landing spot. He told the Detroit Free Press that he spoke with MSU coaches on Wednesday and that there is mutual interest.
"I'm definitely looking at Michigan State. I'm looking at all my options right now," the Free Press quotes Williams. When a reporter asked Williams if MSU is interested in him, he said: "Yes, they are."
Williams is a 6-foot-9 sophomore out of Memphis, Tenn. The forward led Missouri in scoring (11.9) and rebounds (7.1) per game this past season. While in high school, Williams ultimately chose Missouri over Michigan State and Georgetown.
If he does transfer to MSU, Williams would likely have to sit out one season due to NCAA rules. He would then have two years of eligibility left.
The Spartans will need to replace Dawson's production of 11.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game from the past season. Head coach Tom Izzo figures sophomore-to-be Marvin Clark will be a strong candidate for those minutes, as will incoming McDonald's All-American Deyonta Davis, of Muskegon.
MSU has had good fortune with transfers of late. This past season, Cleveland Strate transfer Bryn Forbes contributed immediately (thanks to an NCAA hardship waiver that allowed him to play right away instead of sitting out for a season) with 8.5 points per game. The Spartans also figure to get impactful play from Eron Harris, a guard who transferred form West Virginia, where he averaged 17-plus points per game as a sophomore.
Michigan State's interest in Williams could also indicate the coaching staff may believe they will lose out on highly touted recruit Caleb Swanigan. The 6-foot-8 Fort Wayne, Ind. prospect is expected to make his college choice soon, and multiple media reports indicate he will choose the University of California.