In this current era of college basketball it’s uncommon to see a freshman decide to take a step down from Division I to Division II.
In most cases this happens with rising seniors who don’t want to have to sit out a year per NCAA transfer rules.
But in the case of former West Virginia guard Paul Williamson, he’s making the decision to do so after taking a realistic look at his prospects down the line.
According to the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail Williamson, who is the all-time leading scorer at Logan (WV) High, will transfer to the University of Charleston.
Williamson scored nearly 2,000 points in high school before deciding to walk on at WVU, only to come to the realization that at the Division I level playing college basketball is akin to having a job.
“I’m not going to the NBA or anything, so it’s not like I need to play Division I,” said Williamson, who was urged by Huggins to remain at WVU. “Coach Huggins said I had something special that not many guys have with my shooting, but I wanted to be close to home so that my friends and family can see me play.”
Williamson, a 6-3 guard, played just 4.6 minutes per game for the Mountaineers with a season-high of 19 (seven points) in West Virginia’s 97-62 win over Alcorn State on November 17.
Williamson played 15 minutes in WVU’s 71-44 loss at Notre Dame on February 22, but he didn’t see more than four minutes of action in any Big East games.
Another aspect that Williamson noted in discussing his decision with the Daily Mail was the increase in travel with West Virginia moving to the Big 12.
“Traveling to Baylor and Texas, with layovers, that would be just too much and then getting up early after trips and going to class, you never get any time off,” he said.
For a player who isn’t on scholarship (and this doesn’t receive all of the benefits afforded to scholarship players), it’s easy to see how this would have the potential to have a negative impact.
Instead of having to navigate that issue Williamson will get to play close to home, and University of Charleston head coach Mark Downey will get to coach a player he hoped to land a couple of years ago.
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.