After a relatively quiet start to the offseason, emerged late Tuesday morning that Duquesne transfer Eric Williams Jr. told Rock M Nation he intends to visit Columbia this weekend.
The leading scorer for the Dukes would have to sit out this season and have two years of eligibility remaining, but he represents the first concrete step by coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff to fill a pair of roster vacancies.
“I’m taking my time,” Williams said of his recruitment, “but Mizzou is definitely high up there.”
Duquesne guard Eric Williams Jr. tells me he's working on plans to visit #Mizzou this weekend after speaking with Cuonzo Martin and Cornell Mann.— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) April 9, 2019
The move also hints that the focus of the spring period is adding an athletic wing to the mix, one who might bring more size, finishing ability at the rim and consistent rebounding to the table. A quick review of Williams’ advanced metrics hints that he could fit the parameters guiding the Tigers’ search.
Perused Williams' numbers in Synergy.— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) April 9, 2019
He shot 42% on spot-up jumpers last season and finished with reasonable consistency (53.5%) when getting to the rim. He's also active on the glass, posting a 10.3 OR% and 16.9 DR%.
Checks some boxes you could imagine #Mizzou wanting.
The link to Columbia is also obvious: assistant coach Cornell Mann, who Williams said recruited him heavily when Mann was a part of Greg Kampe’s staff at Oakland. Since joining Mizzou’s staff, Mann’s worked diligently to build a pipeline back to his home state of Michigan. Last fall, he flipped top-100 prospect and combo forward Tray Jackson from Minnesota, and landing Williams, a New Haven native, would give the Tigers two products from the Mitten.
In recent weeks, it’s been reported the staff reached out North Florida combo forward Noah Horchler, UMass guard Luwane Pipkins, Western Michigan guard Bryce Moore and explored the interest of Jake LaRavia, a fast-rising combo forward who is garnering high-major interest after a coaching change at SIU-Edwardsville freed him to find a new home. Over the winter, the staff also offered wing Myron Gardner, who the program had tracked for a while and wound up on a loaded roster at Spire Academy.
In early February, a source told Rock M Nation that Mizzou and Georgetown were shaping up as early favorites for Gardner, a 6-foot-6 prospect out of Detroit, with Xavier and Cincinnati also in the mix. Whether he remains a major target, though, is unclear. Instead, it appears Williams is the first recruit to make a trip south.
Eric Williams Jr., Wing, Duquesne
Watching the above video a few things about Williams jump out. He’s not an elite level athlete but looks comfortable around the rim, and has a bit of Kareem Rush to his game. A smooth-shooting lefty who can be crafty around the rim, and an underrated rebounder, Rush was a fixture for Mizzou for three seasons before turning pro. While it’s not fair to compare Williams to a guy who spent eight seasons in the NBA, the comparison seems accurate for style of play. With the Tigers looking at a bigger and better rebounding wing who can stretch the floor, Williams seems like a natural fit.
With two slots likely opening up next season — we still anticipate Jontay Porter stays in the draft and turns pro, despite his recent knee injury — Williams would fit nicely into the roster and be eligible for the 2020-21 season as a redshirt Junior. The other scholarship could go back to Ronnie Suggs, or Parker Braun if the Tigers don’t fill their needs the rest of the spring.