When Tennessee Vols forward Grant Williams announced his intentions to enter the NBA draft, he made it clear that he wasn’t closing the door on a possible return to Knoxville for his senior season.
At the time, however, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Williams’ career at Tennessee was over. While players sometimes opt to test the waters and return to school, most of those players aren’t coming off back-to-back SEC player of the year honors.
A big decision awaits
Williams is currently participating in the NBA combine, which means taking part in interviews with teams. Analyst Andy Katz recently said on NBA TV that Williams has made a good impression in interviews, noting “he is so impressive wherever he goes…..NBA cities and teams are going to love him”.
But just because Williams is making a good impression, doesn’t mean he’s all in on the NBA draft.
Katz mentioned that Williams hasn’t decided if he’s 100 percent decided on staying in the draft, saying “he is going to wait until Saturday to see what happens with all these interviews, if he is going to stay in this draft and get some sort of guarantee if he is high enough”.
I think Williams wants to stay at Tennessee. I think his desire is to play one more season for Rick Barnes and do everything he can to bring a championship to Rocky Top.
But a potentially lucrative NBA career complicates those desires. Williams is a smart kid. He knows this is a huge career decision that will have a massive impact on his life. And he also knows his worth. For now, he’s trying to balance what I believe he truly wants against the best business decision — which is completely understandable.
At this point, I think Williams will end up staying in the NBA draft, but I don’t feel extremely confident in that prediction. If teams don’t guarantee that he’ll be selected in a certain range, then I could easily seem him returning to Tennessee for his senior season.
It wouldn’t be a shocking move at all.
If Williams decides he wants to come back for one more season, it would be akin to Peyton Manning’s decision to come back for his senior year in 1997.
And the same expectations — championship or bust — would be placed on Williams and the Vols.
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