IOWA CITY, Iowa – A rumor that junior point guard Christian Williams wanted to transfer from Iowa has persisted for months and now we know why.
Matt Weitzel from the Iowa Sports Information Department confirmed on Thursday that Wiliams is leaving the Iowa men's basketball team. Iowa also confirmed it in a release.
"Christian informed me today of his decision," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said in the release. "Christian is a terrific young man with tremendous character. We are disappointed that Christian will no longer be a Hawkeye, but the players and coaches wish him the best in his future endeavors."
It was rumored throughout the summer that Williams, a native of Decatur, Ill., would transfer from Iowa, but the chatter cooled after Williams enrolled for the fall semester and began practicing with the team.
"After careful consideration and discussions with my family, I have asked for my release from the University of Iowa," Williams said in the release. "I would like to finish my athletic and academic goals closer to home. I would like to thank coach McCaffery and my teammates for their understanding and support with this decision."
Williams' timing is somewhat odd, considering Iowa will play the first of two exhibition games on Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Williams will finish the fall semester before transferring to another school..
It is unclear what Williams plans to do, but he said at media day as a freshman in 2016 that he would consider switching to football where he was a standout dual-threat quarterback through his junior season in high school. Williams didn't play football as a high school senior in order to focus on basketball.
There is speculation that Williams' departure might cause freshman guard Connor McCaffery to change his mind about redshirting this season in basketball.
Connor McCaffery is the son of Fran McCaffery, and is also a member of the Iowa baseball team.
Connor McCaffery said at Iowa's media day event earlier this month that he still planned to redshirt in basketball in order to focus on his freshman season in baseball. However, that could change now that Williams is leaving.
Connor also could be put on scholarship for the spring semester.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Williams started the first six games at point guard last season, but then lost the starting position to Jordan Bohannon, who is now a sophomore.
Williams appeared in 54 games over two seasons at Iowa. He averaged two points per game, mostly as a backup to Mike Gesell during the 2015-16 season and to Bohannon last season.
This could be one of Fran McCaffery's deepest teams with as many as eight frontline players competing for minutes. But the backcourt is now thin with Bohannon, Connor McCaffery, sophomores Isaiah Moss and Maishe Dailey and junior Brady Elligson the only scholarship guards still on the team.