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Men’s basketball: Kam Williams refutes report he has withdrawn from NBA draft

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Ohio State redshirt junior guard Kam Williams attempts a shot in the first half against Maryland at the Schottenstein Center on Jan. 31. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports Director

Ohio State guard Kam Williams is refuting a report from CBS Sports that said he was returning to Columbus for his redshirt senior season.

In a tweet early Monday afternoon, Williams said “I have not withdrawn anything,” a clear response to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, who reported Monday morning that OSU coach Thad Matta told him Williams planned to withdraw from the 2017 NBA draft.

A team spokesman was unable to confirm CBS Sports’ report at this time.

Williams’ name had previously been on the list of early entrants for the 2017 NBA draft, which was released early last week. Since Williams has not hired an agent, he is able to return to school after receiving feedback from teams about his draft prospects.

Williams, who averaged a career-high 9.4 points per game last year on a career-low 39 percent shooting, is unlikely to be drafted if he turns professional. He has not received an invite to the NBA combine.

If Williams’ does return to school, it would provide a boost for Matta and the Buckeyes, who struggled last season. They finished 17-15 and missed both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. OSU lost redshirt junior forward Trevor Thompson to the NBA draft, as well as senior forward Marc Loving to graduation.

A 6-foot-2 guard known for his ability to catch fire offensively, Williams would provide the team with an experienced player and a scoring threat. Consistency on both ends of the court has been one area during his career where he has struggled.

Williams, who typically came off the bench during his first two seasons, started 29 games in the 2016-17, mostly in place for the injured Keita Bates-Diop.

The public rebuttal from Williams calls to mind a saga which took place earlier in the offseason between Oregon forward Jordan Bell and Yahoo! Sports’ Shams Charania. Charania reported that Bell intended to enter the NBA draft, but Bell — much like Williams — took to Twitter to say  he had yet to make a decision and that Charania’s report was “#fakenews.”

One day later, on April 18, Bell officially declared for the draft.

Editor’s Note: The original article posted said Williams had withdrawn from the NBA draft. The updated article includes Williams’ refuting comments.

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