FORT MYERS — FGCU men’s basketball coach Joe Dooley did it again.
FGCU got a commitment from transferring 6-foot-6, 200-pound Texas Tech combo guard/small forward CJ Williamson, a rising sophomore who will sit out this season per NCAA rules, Monday afternoon after arriving in the area for his official visit late Sunday night.
A former FloridaHoops.com 4-star recruit from Orlando-Evans, Williamson chose FGCU over Virginia Tech. He was scheduled to continue his visit Tuesday. Classes start Wednesday, so this process came down to the wire for the Eagles.
Williamson did not visit Virginia Tech.
“I wanted to come back home and do what’s best for my family right now,” Williamson said. “They won’t have to travel to see me play. They can come home to all my games in Florida and I feel like Coach Dooley and his staff have a great system.”
FGCU will now have seven scholarship players who played high school ball in Florida on its roster.
“I know everybody on the team,” Williamson said. “There’s nobody I don’t know.”
After being granted his transfer on Thursday, Williamson turned down Ole Miss and UNC Wilmington.
FGCU coaches cannot comment on commitments until their National Letters of Intent paperwork have been completed.
Williamson joins 6-10, 250-pound rising junior center Ricky Doyle of Michigan — a former 4-star recruit from Bishop Verot who was a part-time starter for the Wolverines for two seasons — as a recent transfer. Doyle picked FGCU in May and worked out with the Eagles over the second summer school session and in preparation for the three exhibitions games won against local pro teams in the Bahamas Aug. 6-8.
“Ricky Doyle’s a big-time player from Michigan and I can’t wait to sit out with him this season and get better,” Williamson said.
Defending Atlantic Sun tournament champion FGCU, which opens its season againt Florida in Jacksonville on Nov. 11, loses just two seniors after this season.
“I’ll kill in this league — the Atlantic Sun,” Williamson said. “I want to help my team get back to the tournament, that’s all.”
FGCU beat Fairleigh Dickinson by a First-Four, Play-in record 31 points last season before losing by 16 points to eventual national runner-up North Carolina after trailing by just a point at the half of an NCAA tournament first-rounder at Raleigh.
As mostly a point guard, Williamson helped lead Orlando-Evans to the Class 7A final as a sophomore and the Class 8A final as a junior. ESPN and Rivals rated Williamson a 3-star recruit and 247Sports.com called him a top-200 national player. Hoop Scoop named him Florida’s 15th-best recruit.
Williamson — who can play the point, off-guard and small forward (even the power in a pinch) — played in 21 games last season, averaging 1.7 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.4 assists in 6.6 minutes as Texas Tech went 19-13 and lost its first-round NCAA game against Butler. Williamson chose Texas Tech — and coach Tubby Smith — after visits to Clemson and Missouri out of high school.
FGCU was in this position on purpose. Under Dooley, especially, the Eagles have been here before. Had Williamson gotten his transfer from Texas Tech well before Thursday, FGCU — which recruited him lightly out of high school — probably would not have had a chance.
But by now, most programs are out of scholarships.
Dooley got former Miami-South center Antravious Simmons at the semester break of 2014 right after he decided to transfer from VCU. He averaged 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds as a sophomore last season.
The Eagles got junior Brandon Goodwin –a likely starter at the point this upcoming season — from Central Florida about this time last year because Jonathan Milligan (now at Pitt) did not qualify. So the Eagles had the leftover scholarship to toss out to Goodwin.
The Eagles — who had 10 practices before playing in the Bahamas — resume preseason practice next week.