Noah Williams, once a staunch Washington State Cougar who was outspokenly anti-Washington Huskies, is switching sides.
After three seasons in Pullman, the Seattle native has become a WSU rival. Williams, who entered the NCAA’s transfer portal last week, announced his commitment to Washington on Monday afternoon over Instagram.
Williams’ role shrank and his productivity dipped this season, his third year as a Cougar after emerging in 2019 as a fan-favorite and impactful piece in coach Kyle Smith’s rebuild. The 6-foot-5 guard’s decision to explore opportunities elsewhere wasn’t terribly surprising, so Coug fans wished him well. Of course, they were much less supportive Monday.
Williams, the son of 1980s WSU standout Guy Williams, broke out immediately as a disruptive perimeter defender and added a sometimes-explosive scoring touch as a sophomore, erupting for 72 points in a weekend sweep of Cal and Stanford.
He started 40 of 56 games played in his first two seasons, earning an All-Pac-12 honorable mention nod after averaging 14.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game as a sophomore. Williams entered his junior year as a preseason All-Pac-12 pick but disappointed offensively. He was at times a liability on that end, shooting a career-low 33.2% from the field on the season and 26.2% from 3-point range. Williams averaged 9.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.
His minutes declined as the season progressed and sophomore guard TJ Bamba eventually replaced him in the starting lineup during WSU’s four-game NIT run.
“Respect his decision!” Bamba tweeted. “Love you bro can’t wait to see u twice a year!! FYI: He’s absolutely food.”
Williams struggled in an Apple Cup split this season, but some of his best performances and most memorable antics of his first two years came in the rivalry series with UW – the Cougs went 3-1 versus the Huskies from 2019 to 2021. As a freshman, Williams endeared himself to the WSU faithful when he silenced “U-Dub reject” chants in Seattle with game-clinching free throws and told the hostile crowd, “This is my city.”
He has never shied from adding fuel to the in-state feud, and his decision to return home certainly spices up next season’s Evergreen State series.
A Class 3A state champion – and championship game MVP – as a senior at O’Dea, Williams has spoken often about his close attachment to the city of Seattle. He presumably chose UW for that reason, and because the Huskies could use an experienced guard after losing two backcourt starters to graduation.