Louis Williams decided unequivocally Wednesday morning that he will not go to college and will pursue a pro career with the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that selected him with the 45th pick in Tuesday night’s NBA Draft, said BDA Sports Management agent Merle Scott, Williams’ representative.
That decision was based on “a combination of the information that I have compiled from the team and where he stood with regard to Sixers and what they are looking for from him,” Scott said. “He’s going to have an opportunity to compete for a spot (on the team), and that’s all you can hope for is a shot.”
Williams was very confident heading into the draft that he would be selected in the first round, however he slid 15 selections into the second round.
“Surprised and disappointed is all relative after the fact,” Scott said. “The experience is over as far as that. Now his concentration is, ‘What does he have to do to prepare?’”
Williams -- who will sign with the 76ers after the July 4 holiday and begin workouts then, according to Scott -- is not guaranteed a place on the team’s roster. If he doesn’t make the team, he could be sent to the NBDL, the NBA’s developmental league.
Williams, who made conflicting statements Tuesday night about his future plans, did not return two messages left on his cell phone Wednesday.
Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton has been confident for some time that he would never see Williams in a UGA uniform, he said Wednesday.
“I know he’s intent on going pro,” Felton said, adding he hasn’t spoken to Williams in “a couple weeks.”
Even if Williams wanted to come to Georgia at this point, it seemingly wouldn’t matter. After a representative of BDA Sports Management in California told The Telegraph on Monday that Williams had signed with the agency, Scott and Williams denied the report. However, ESPN.com analyst Andy Katz also reported Tuesday that Williams had signed with an agent before the draft.
After discussing high school draftees Williams, Martell Webster, Andrew Bynum, Gerald Green, C.J. Miles, Ricky Sanchez, Monta Ellis, Andray Blatche and Amir Johnson, he wrote, “of that group, only Miles hasn’t signed with an agent.” Later he continued, “Webster (was headed to Washington), Green (Oklahoma State), Sanchez (Memphis, Ellis (Mississippi State), Williams (Georgia), Blatche (unsigned) and Johnson (Louisville) are all with agents and are ineligible for NCAA play.”
Scott said Wednesday that the he and Williams merely have “a gentlemen’s agreement.” Scott contacted NBA teams to gauge interest in Williams and also set up workouts for Williams with pro teams, he said. That alone is enough to keep Williams out of a college uniform, according to NCAA regulations.
“An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if he or she enters into a verbal or written agreement with an agent for representation in future professional sports negotiations that are to take place after the individual has completed his or her eligibility in that sport,” the NCAA bylaws read.
Kent Barrett, the NCAA’s associate director for media relations, said even if Williams had decided to come back and could prove he hadn’t signed with Scott and BDA Sports, he still would have had to clear some major NCAA hurdles due to the actions Scott took on his behalf.
“That’s all the type of thing that would require our enforcement staff to look into,” he said. “He’d have to make a determination he wanted to come back and someone would have to look into it. It’s kind of a moot point until that would happen.”
Williams seemingly was undecided late Tuesday night about his future. He told the Gwinnett Daily Post that he sent a message to former South Gwinnett teammate and current Bulldog Mike Mercer expressing interest in returning to Georgia.
“I text-messaged him and said, ‘Call Coach Felton right now and tell him I want to be your roommate,’” Williams told the paper. “It’s far from being over. We’ll see. There are going to be a lot of conversations tonight to see what’s right.”
However, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday night that he was headed to the NBA, the paper reported.