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Williams forced to pass on draft COLLEGE BASKETBALL

May 15, 2007 12:35 am

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A gaffe over the filing of paperwork means Caroline native Reggie Williams can't circulate his name to NBA teams.

By TAFT COGHILL JR.

Reggie Williams was shooting hoops in the Virginia Military Institute gym when an athletic department secretary told him a representative from the NBA called.

That wasn't immediately a concern because a week earlier the 6-foot-5 VMI standout junior forward and Bowling Green native had declared for the NBA Draft.

Or so he thought.

The league was calling Williams to let him know he failed to formally file the paperwork required to enter the draft.

Williams, who was the leading scorer in Division I this past season, said he provided Keydets head coach Duggar Baucom all the necessary paperwork, but Baucom didn't send it in.

"I was real mad and disappointed, but I take responsibility for it," Williams said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I put it on myself for not doing it. Mostly I'm mad at myself."

Williams submitted his paperwork to Baucom and announced his decision to declare for the draft on April 24, five days before the deadline to do so.

He didn't hire an agent, which left the door open for him to return to school for his senior season if the feedback from NBA scouts wasn't positive.

Williams said he e-mailed a letter declaring his intentions to Baucom.

He said he also sent Baucom a signed NCAA compliance form that stated he understood the rules of declaring for the draft.

"I thought [Baucom] was going to send it altogether, but he thought I was going to send it," Williams said. "So it was just a miscommunication."

Baucom said in a VMI press release on April 24 that "We support Reggie in his decision to test the waters in the NBA." But he didn't return several calls seeking comment for this story.

A VMI athletic department spokesman released a statement from Baucom that said: "Due to a paperwork-related issue, Reggie Williams will not participate in this year's NBA Draft process.

"Even though Reggie will not be able to test the waters of the NBA Draft right now, we feel confident that his best basketball is ahead of him and he will continue to make himself an attractive pro prospect."

Williams, a Prince George High School graduate, averaged 28.1 points per game this past season.

He was named first-team all-Big South Conference and led the Keydets to the league title game where they lost to Winthrop.

Williams said he and his father (also named Reggie) made the decision to apply for the draft. He said he did so to "get my name out there."

He was hoping for an invitation to the Orlando, Fla. pre-draft camp so he could showcase his skills to NBA scouts.

He said if he made enough of an impression to believe he would get selected, he may have decided to stay in the June 28 draft.

"It depended on the feedback from scouts and things like that," Williams said.

"If it was real good and real positive and it looked like something was going to come out of me trying the draft, then yeah. But if it didn't, I just would've left it alone and stayed in school."

Williams said just by having his name associated with the draft last month, it may have "opened eyes up for some people."

His father said he doesn't blame anybody for the paperwork mishap.

"If it's meant to be, he'll make it to the NBA," his father said. "He's a determined young man."

Williams desperately wanted to show scouts that he can play in a half-court offense. He said many observers have chalked up his gaudy scoring numbers to the Keydets' frantic full-court offensive and defensive systems, which Baucom installed this past season.

They led the country in scoring at 100.9 points per game.

But Williams points out that he excelled for two years and was named to the conference's all-freshman team while playing a conventional style.

He averaged team-highs of 15.5 and 19.0 points per game as a freshman and sophomore.

"I think people write my scoring off because of our offense," he said. "I wanted to show I can play in a half-court offense as well. It's disappointing I won't be able to do that, but I take responsibility for it. It's my fault."

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526
Email: tcoghill@freelancestar.com



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