Sunday, April 17, 2011 | 10 p.m.
When Findlay Prep sophomore point guard Nigel Williams-Goss made an earlier-than-expected commitment to UNLV back in December, it felt like the right thing to do.
He'd become fond of Las Vegas since moving to the desert from Portland, Ore., two years ago with his family, he'd developed a solid, trusting relationship with then-UNLV coach Lon Kruger and liked the idea of staying in town to be a potential local hero.
And when he officially de-committed over the weekend, it also felt right.
"I just decided to re-open my recruitment and just take everything in and look forward to developing a new relationship with coach (Dave) Rice and everybody over there at UNLV," Williams-Goss said by phone from an AAU tournament in Denver. "I'm literally wide open right now. I have no leaders at this point. I'm taking it all in and I'm excited to get to know the new coaching staff from UNLV."
Williams-Goss stressed that in no way is he writing off UNLV as a potential destination, but he made it pretty clear upon committing that he was giving his pledge because of Kruger and his staff more than anything.
With that said, he added that Oklahoma — where Kruger left to take over just over two weeks ago — is now a school he'll be considering.
Plus, with two years of high school ball remaining, it's hard to fault Williams-Goss for taking his time, doing his due diligence and seeing where UNLV, with its new regime, now stacks up against the others sure to start courting him again.
Once Williams-Goss committed to UNLV, he said he stopped talking to the schools that were pursuing him up to that point. But expect the family's phone lines to be tied up again very soon. Those who he said came at him the hardest before he went off the market included the Pac-10's upper crust — Arizona, UCLA, USC — along with several others.
Williams-Goss said he has yet to speak to Rice directly, but that his father, Virgil, has done so a couple of times in the week that has passed since he became the 15th head coach in program history.
"He said I was just as important to the program as when coach Kruger was there," Williams-Goss said. "He said that I was definitely still a key guy to them, and they want to recruit me hard and develop a new relationship.
"From what I've heard, he said the two things they were gonna do is guard and run — I definitely like to do those things."
Williams-Goss played a key role for the Pilots off the bench this season, as the team went 28-4, but was upset earlier this month by Dwyer (Fla.) High in the quarterfinals of the ESPN Rise National High School Invitation in Bethesda, Md. He's primed for a big summer on the AAU circuit this summer on a team that also features Bishop Gorman senior wing Rosco Allen, and will likely parlay that into a breakout season of sorts as Findlay's starting point guard and unquestioned leader next year.
UNLV's second commitment in the 2013 class — Lincoln County guard Dantley Walker, who graduates this spring and will go on a two-year Mormon mission — was again offered a scholarship by UNLV last week, and immediately told Rice that he'll still honor his original commitment.