REBELS BASKETBALL:

Findlay Prep sophomore Nigel Williams-Goss officially de-commits from UNLV

Dave Rice and UNLV still a potential suitor for Portland native, who will start his recruitment over from scratch

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Leila Navidi

Nigel Williams-Goss, left, drives past teammate Nick Johnson during Findlay Prep basketball practice at Henderson International School in Henderson Thursday, March 25, 2010.

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Do you think Nigel Williams-Goss will end up a Rebel when his recruitment is all said and done?

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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.

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  1. As I said before, I think this is the right move for Goss. He still has two years in high school left and he will continue to work on his game both in basketball and academics. I would like him to join the Rebels in the year 2013, but he's only a kid still and with Coach Kruger moving to Oklahoma; it was a blow for him. I think we should, support all Las Vegas area high schools and say we want you to stay here to wear the scarlet and grey, supporting these young men in their high school programs will only add to the pleasure to continue playing in their home town of Las Vegas.

  2. Committing to a college when you are 16 years old is pretty early. I still hope he considers UNLV, and takes his time in growing up.

  3. You two are either not very big fans of unlv or just have a low expectations of what unlv is and will become. To acknowledge his choice as a good one is retarded. That's like saying I'm glad my girlfriend broke up with me cause there is probably a better guy out the for her, I just hope she comes back to me when she sows her oats. Goss, really. I thought you wanted to be the home town hero. I thought this was a whole leadership thing. I remember you saying These things. Your showing Lon Kruger leadership right now, run while you can. Go out there, see what there is, then come back to what you know is right and the biggest fan base on the west coast. We still love ya even though your making a wrong choice.

  4. @djk, I'm just as big of a fan as the next UNLV alum, but you can't discount that the kid is 16 years old! He really enjoyed Kruger's style, and probably has no idea what Rice brings to UNLV yet. Like I said before, I HOPE he still decides to come to UNLV.

  5. This is only the beginning of what Dave Rice brings to the table as far as recruiting goes. You think Lon was a bad recruiter wait until you see this guy in action. Mike Peck was the right choice for this job, but why would you expect UNLV to get this hire right?!

  6. The Mike Peck comment is hilarious to me and 99.8% of the real world.

  7. It should be expected, when you are recruited by a coach and that coach leaves, for you to want to find out more and take the oppertunity to de-commit and explore your aptoins to include joining the coach you like at his new school. That being said I hope Rice and staff can do the job and prove to Goss that this is the place for him.

    On another note, I hope Peck is hired as an assistant, then we can see this recruiting magic canes speaks of so highly. http://www.lvrj.com/sports/rice-might-br...

    As his team is no longer with funds nor a place to play it would make since for him to move on. He could bring Anthony Bennett a long with him. http://www.lvrj.com/sports/rice-might-br...

  8. Count me in the real world, JerryWayne.

  9. I hate to say it...But Ill CRY when the BIG MEN start decommiting.....Another Guard lost is like SO WHAT???? Theres twenty 5'10 speedy point guards down at Chuck Minker right now. Thats just another scholarship to get some legit big men up in here!!!!!!!!!!!111 Good job...clean house of all these Guards Lon saturated us with!!!!!!

  10. I don't think Nigel is the type of guard we are "saturated" with. Also, by the time 2013 rolls around, how many guards will we have on our roster?

    At just a sophomore, NWG is already a legit four-star guard (he's 6'2" and still growing, by the way). He's the youngest player ever to start for Findlay and if you don't think we should care about him, you obviously haven't seen him play.

  11. canes - how'd your hoyas end up doing in the tourney this year?

  12. Even if Phil Jackson were named HC of UNLV, I'd bet the young man would have taken back his commitment after a summer on the AAU circuit, should he play to his potential.

    A lot happens to motivate kids of his caliber to choose where they play in college. And I place focus on the word play. For them, it's all about what school gives them the best chance to get to the NBA. If he plays well, the amount of people in his ear making promises will be ridiculous.

    If UNLV gets a few non-conference breaks, they could have a SDSU type season/record next year. If they do, the recruiting will be just fine.

  13. I bet Daniel Jackson is 40 years old, lives in his parents basement, and sits on a lawn chair in the basement in his underwear looking for stories to comment on. It's time to do something with your life Daniel other than reading and commenting on sites that don't pertain to you. As for Goss, Don't go to OU cause Lon just proved that he is not actually trying to win a championship. Lon is looking to add to his resume as the best turn around coach ever. It's OU now and in three years he will leave to the last school before he retires. So if you want to be part of a rebuild that makes it to the tourney then go. But, if you want to be part of the biggest bball school on the west then stay. How many times have we all been told, when making choice or doing a test always use your first answer and don't second guess yourself.

  14. When the offers come...choose wisely.

  15. Dont doubt the kid is good...but unless he is John Wall...Derrick Rose, Jimmer Fredette, "good", then he is basically a dime a dozen right now, and guards are everywhere....Kinda like Running backs in the NFL....Fact is we could have 8 players like him in three years, but without a couple of legit big men, with a little toughness to boot, then we can only hope for first round exits,and on hot shooting nights to get to the second round. This is pretty much indeniable.

  16. Is this kid better than Wink Adams...Tre'von Willis...Trevor Diggs, Mark Dickel, Marcus Banks( dont think so...dont think so. Dont even know that he's better than the Dantley Walker kid, or even Oscar Bellefield for that matter.......Those players didnt get us to the promised land.....Their pieces to the puzzle, but its a hell of a lot easier to find hidden gem GUARDS, than it is legit beig men...you see big men kinda standout...There Rare.......And there what seperate the men from the boys.

  17. If Im Dave Rice then I clean some room out for multiple big men..projects even.....Take some chances there.....Its the only way to make the jump...look at Gonzaga over the last 12 years...they came into prominence when they got a few skilled bigmen....and have kept it up....you think there a 6'4 and under team!!!! Hello.....To make the jump Rice is going to have to land a couple of stud big men......then when yo win and get back on TV then it its easier to attract the top tier recruits........But to get that WINNING he's going to have to take a chance on some players.....Kruger did with Adeife , and Hamga....both had some issues, and apparently Kruger couldnt fix them....so he kicked them outta here.......Gotta manage the people....Im all for setting the tone with discipline...maybe kick a few guards off the team to get your point!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go Reb's!!

  18. PS...all this current group needs to winn big is ONE lousy shot blocker.......And well do good the next two years........When anthony Marshall is the only one blocking shots thats a proble,.....I can recall about 3 blocked shots this year...and they were lucky......i dint see anyone getting their shot adjusted out of fear!!!!!

  19. Paul - Do you have memory problems? Read your comment on the article featuring Demetris Morant from Bishop Gorman that was posted a few days ago:

    more players that can dunk, but not shoot.......UNLV seems to love to sign them.........Tweeners....not tall enough to really block shots........yet no real offensive moves........In my opinion ost just take up space on the bench....KID...spend a summer doing nothing but shooting one handed free throws......

    I totally agree that guards are much easier to find than big men. A good big man is hard to come by these days in college. But why then do you dog the kid from Gorman who is a post player? You just don't make sense. I watched quite a few times when Quintrell Thomas blocked shots this year. In fact, Marshall was 4th on the team this year with 14. Lopez(25), Thomas(24), Stanback(21), Marshall (14), according to http://www.unlvrebels.com/sports/m-baskb... Yes we need more blocked shots, but Marshall wasn't the only one blocking this year.
    Also, Jimmer wasn't a big name til his senior year. Don't get me wrong, Jimmer was amazing this year. But Wall and Rose were amazing their freshmen year. They were both one and done.

  20. Is it necessary to post 4 different times within 10 minutes? Paul, you fail at the interwebs.

  21. Is it necassary.... to put 7 periods....... betweeen every.....thought Paul?

  22. come on Paul, come on!

  23. Truth is i dont kow the Kid from Gorma..Point is Im hoping for them to get some LEGIT big men....If you read my post you saw that it appeared to me he was a TWEENER...not big enough to be a interior force in D1...but not SKILLED enough to be a small forward type..thats how it looked to me.....and the fact is thats kinda where we have been.......as for the stats on this years Rebs blocking shots, any team gets blocked shots..but I dont see players AFRAID to drive in, or changing their shots ...Dont get me wrong....I love the Rebs....really liked this years team...a very good team....I just want to see a couple pieces of the puzzle put together to get back to prominence.

  24. PS Jimmer was a top player in most of his Sophomore year, and definitely his JUNIOR year...where he lit it up in
    the tourney....

  25. and the backtracking award for the week goes to RealityReb!

  26. This is just the beginning. The hiring of Rice is not going to bring in any better recruiting than Coach Kruger did. If Theus had been hired, this wouldn't even be a story.

  27. Backtracking???? I think not. I stand by my position 100% I couldnt care less what guards we lose....Their like running backs....show me the Legit big man....I like Lopez a lot...but we need a shotblocker, "put back" garbage man type player...with some toughness......guards are a dime a dozen and theres three or four right now at Chuck Minker, or 24 hr fitnes, tearing it up!!!!....Funny though, there isnt any 6'10 guys there. Dave- Get a Big man! Now!!!!!!

  28. This isnt shocking...NWG was more committed to Kruger than UNLV so of course he is going to leave his options open now. Walker already had a relationship with Rice so that was an easy call for him. NWG still has 2 more yrs left so where's the fire? I think once he sees us play we'll be in the thick of it again.

    Rice is sharp. He knows our TV deal sucks, knows we are exposure challenged, but also knows the antidote for that now......as it was 30yrs ago... is word of mouth aka "style of play." He is tapping into & advertising the linkage his teams will have with the modus operandi of Tark's teams. And he's boldy embracing the tradition & top tier expectations too. I think its an awesome & almost arrogant strategy....but isnt that vintage Runnin Rebel modus operandi anyway?

    He sent out a letter to RAF members emphasizing style of play and that we already are one of the best defensive teams in the country which "cannot & will not change." Then he signs it "Let's Run...Dave Rice." I'm usually a cynic but I'll admit it.....it fired me up! So far, he's pushing the right buttons. All he's gotta do now is get the future pieces in place to deliver his message. NGW would def help.

  29. I'm not sure why there is some backlash against Nigel Williams-Goss because he decommitted. Players commit to coaches more so than they commit to schools. It isn't as if Nigel is a local kid who grew up here; he's from Oregon. For everyone putting off the "who cares" and "good riddance" attitude, I'm not sure you know what you are talking about. Nigel is a very good player and still has two years at Findlay to hone his skills. He's already listed as a Top-50ish player in his recruiting class. I agree that there are a lot more guards out there than big men, but let's not pretend like landing a very highly rated player out of Findlay, guard or not, is important, especially since we haven't landed the "top" players like Findlay had hoped we would when he founded the program.

    I think Lopez will flourish under Rice's style of play. The aggressiveness needed to be a feared shot blocker was frequently absent because, I think, of the questionable substitution patterns Kruger was known for the last couple of years, especially with big guys. First, its tough to really stay aggressive when you don't get long stretches of playing time. The 3-headed monster crap prevented any of the big men to get into a rhythm. Second, the 4 guard lineup meant that we were usually undersized when compared to most other teams as it related to personnel on the floor at any given time. Playing a more traditional lineup (i.e. Thomas at PF and Lopez at Center) will dramatically increase our "shot-blocking potential." Third, the rotation also created a sense of hesitancy among the bigs because they were almost always yanked as soon as they committed a foul. Therefore, they didn't play as aggressive for fear of being taken out. It will be interesting to see how the big guys play under Rice, but I'm really expecting big things out of all of them next year.

  30. I sure hope Lopez flourishes, and that QT gets to play the four.

    The "three-headed monster" thing has always been a euphemism for "no one is good enough to be THE center."

  31. I understood why Kruger developed a sporadic substitution pattern with the bigs early last season, since prett much all three were hack-a-sauruses. He pretty much had to. The problem was that as the year went on, the bigs became much better at not fouling, where foul trouble was NEVER a problem. At that point he should have swtiched things up, played more of 2 bigs at once, but maybe he felt that they were too deep in the season to change things. Still I though it was a mistake.
    I have no doubt that Rice will play 2 bigs, he'd be an idiot not to. There is too much depth down low. Lopez and Massamba can stay at the 5. Thomas, and Glaze can stay exclusively at the 4 (with Thomas moving down if needed), Chace, Moser, and Mashour can play the 3 with Moser, then Chace moving to the 4 if needed, then of course all of the guards. What rational coach will look at this roster and think, I think we need to play 4 guards at all times? (besides Kruger, of course).