Coach Josh Pastner secured a solid recruiting class for Memphis in the aftermath of John Calipari's exit to Kentucky. But he is losing the jewel of his 2009 class Latavious Williams to a professional career overseas.
"It was a difficult decision," Williams said in an official press release. "But after consulting with a number of people, and taking my family situation into consideration, playing overseas is the best move for me.
"It will not be an easy transition, but I have surrounded myself with a core of very competent people who I trust and who have my best interests at heart, so I am confident that things will work out very well."
Williams is now the third American-born player - along with Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler - to forego college for a professional career overseas in recent years.
Speaking directly with Williams this morning, he had this comment on the situation.
"It's a done deal," said Williams. "We're trying to work something out in China."
Williams, the No. 17 ranked prospect in the class of 2009, had not yet been cleared academically to play at Memphis next year.
At 6-foot-8, 205-pounds, Williams is a combo forward with the athleticism to dominate around the rim. He is a strong finisher and exceptional shot blocker. On the perimeter, he is making solid progress.
A Starkville, Miss., native, last season Williams starred at Humble (Texas) Christian Life Center.