Coming into his freshman season at the UW, Nigel Williams-Goss was one of the most highly rated recruits of the Romar era. One of just five McDonald’s All-Americans to sign with the Huskies, he had a resume only a few recruits could surpass. Ranked the No.19 player by ESPN for the class of 2013, Williams-Goss was the first ever four-year player and three-year starter at national powerhouse Findlay Prep. He compiled a 124-8 record during his high school career, including a 35-1 record his senior season. His lists of accomplishments before playing a minute in college were already something to get excited about.
Unfortunately Williams-Goss was unfairly compared to his predecessor, McDonald’s All-American and five star recruit Abdul Gaddy. Both Gaddy and Williams-Goss had similar rankings coming out of high school, and were evaluated as having similar skill sets. Many Husky fans brushed off the chance of Williams-Goss having an immediate impact on the UW’s record as a freshman, merely because Gaddy was never able to break through during his four years with the Huskies. Deemed "Gaddy 2.0," Williams-Goss was unfairly being compared and analyzed before ever donning the purple and gold.
Yet just 21 games into his young career, Williams-Goss has already proven he will start his own legacy at the UW, not continue Gaddy’s, and that he can be considered among the top freshman in the nation. He is currently the highest scoring freshman (21st overall) in the Pac-12 at 13 points per game, and second (9th overall) among freshman in assists at 4.1 per game. With a floater that is among the prettiest shots in basketball, he has become one of the Huskies go-to scoring options alongside C.J. Wilcox.
Williams-Goss caught the attention of the entire nation when he broke a UW freshman scoring record, previously held by Tony Wroten, with a 32 point performance in an 87-81 win over the Oregon State Beavers last Saturday. His record breaking performance, the most points by a Husky since Terrence Ross scored 32 in 2012, rallied the Huskies from a 12 point deficit and sparked a 31-17 run on way to the Huskies fifth Pac-12 victory. His 32 point outing is tied for sixth in the Pac-12 for highest scoring game this season, and the Huskies needed all of it improve to 13-8 on the season.
Seen previously as just the aftermath of a highly touted 2013 class, Williams-Goss is playing at a level few Husky fans believed the young freshman would reach in his first season. Even Lorenzo Romar called it the best performance at Alaska Airlines Arena since Brandon Roy’s back-to-back 35 point outings against ASU and Arizona in 2005.
Fortunately for Husky fans, Williams-Goss holds the qualities that may make him a four year player at the UW. Having never held below a 4.0 GPA, Williams-Goss plans on double majoring in psychology and communications. He clearly puts an emphasis on academics and is proving what it means to be a student-athlete. Williams-Goss also shows maturity on the court and is not afraid to be the team’s leader as a freshman. His maturity has earned him the trust of his teammates, which has showed during the Huskies success in conference play.
Now that more and more fans are appreciating the effort and output Williams-Goss is bringing to the floor so early in his career, the young freshman is finally earning the respect and attention he deserves. Having previously been casted in the shadow of Gaddy, Williams-Goss is beginning his own legacy with the Huskies. Fans need to enjoy what he brings to the floor night in and night out. Besides skill, Williams-Goss brings maturity, leadership, and a winning passion Husky fans have grown to love in past UW greats. With his freshman year just over two thirds finished, Williams-Goss already has me excited for what the rest of his career has to offer.