When asked whether the allegations involving the Georgetown players were the reason for Williams’s decision, his mother, Melanie Williams, said in a phone interview: “After much discussion with his parents and prayer, Terrance decided to reopen his recruitment because it’s what’s best for him right now. He’s going to focus on finishing his senior year strong averaging almost a 4.0 GPA and his final Gonzaga basketball season.”
Williams’s decision to reopen his recruitment is another significant blow for Patrick Ewing, Georgetown’s third-year coach. Williams, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound senior, is the top-rated recruit in Washington. He became Ewing’s first 2020 recruit when he verbally committed in July.
Georgetown announced Monday night that starting guard James Akinjo and reserve forward Josh LeBlanc are transferring. A subsequent public records search by The Washington Post showed a temporary restraining order had been issued in D.C. Superior Court against LeBlanc and junior forward Galen Alexander after two complaints alleging burglary, sexual harassment and assault were filed last month. The complaints also mentioned freshman forward Myron Gardner, though neither complaint mentioned Akinjo.
Alexander and Gardner remain with the team and played in reserve roles Wednesday night in the Hoyas’ 81-74 victory at Oklahoma State.
Even before this week’s turmoil, the visit to the previously undefeated Cowboys was viewed as a sizable test for Georgetown, whose inconsistent play and unreliable scorers careened the team from a win over Texas at Madison Square Garden in late November to a home loss to UNC Greensboro on Saturday. Before Wednesday, Oklahoma State (7-1) had lost just nine nonconference games at home since 1987.
While the off-court allegations loom large over Ewing’s program and Williams’s decommitment is another hit, Wednesday’s game may have at least given a hint as to how Ewing plans to reconfigure his roster in the short term.
The Hoyas (5-3) succeeded against the Cowboys on the backs of sophomore guard Mac McClung, the only remaining member of Ewing’s first full recruiting class; graduate transfer guard Terrell Allen, who started in place of Akinjo; and another transfer, senior center Omer Yurtseven.
While McClung easily was the standout with a season-high 33 points (including four three-pointers) in 34 minutes, Allen’s steady hand at point guard may have been the more significant performance for Georgetown.
Allen had 15 points, five assists and two turnovers in just over 33 minutes in his first start for the Hoyas. The Maryland native and graduate of DeMatha High just outside Washington spent his freshman season of college playing for Drexel before transferring to Central Florida. In Orlando, he helped guide the Knights to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season, which makes him one of the few players on Georgetown’s roster with March Madness experience.
A capable point guard is crucial to the turnover-prone Hoyas, and on Wednesday, Allen stepped up.
So, too, did McClung, who looked more like the dazzling freshman of last season than the inconsistent sophomore he has been thus far. His 33 points against Oklahoma State followed a nine-point performance against UNC Greensboro and a six-point night against Duke. Before that, he scored 19 points against Texas and 25 against Georgia State.
Without Akinjo, who was the team’s second-leading scorer after Yurtseven, McClung will be asked to carry more of the offensive load night in and night out. He will need to be a supporting scorer for Yurtseven, who had 19 points and nine rebounds and, critically, stayed out of foul trouble to play more than 35 minutes in the much-needed win Wednesday.
But any excitement from Wednesday’s victory was tempered by Thursday’s recruiting loss. Williams would have been a welcome addition next season, especially after the departure of LeBlanc.
Williams averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds last season against some of the area’s best competition. He was named a Washington Post first-team All-Met as a junior and third-team All-Met as a sophomore. He chose Georgetown this summer over Notre Dame and Michigan.
The Hoyas now have two players committed in the Class of 2020: four-star Jamari Sibley, a 6-8 forward from Oak Hill Academy who is the eighth-ranked recruit in Virginia, and Dante Harris, a 5-10 guard from Morristown, Tenn.