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Arizona guard Brandon Williams will ‘definitely’ play next season, ‘it’s just a matter of where’

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Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona guard Brandon Williams is confused by the rumors that suggest his basketball career is over because of his well-documented history of knee injuries.

“I don’t know where this stigma (comes from) where people get that I’m not playing ever again or playing next year,” Williams said in an Instagram Live interview with Zach Schumaker. “But I’m definitely gonna play.”

Williams then made an interesting addendum.

“It’s just a matter of where at this point,” the redshirt sophomore said. “I’m not sure.”

Williams said there are “a lot of paths I can go,” which suggests his time with the Wildcats could be over.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller indirectly hinted at that possibility in his interview with Brian Jeffries last week. Miller analyzed every player on the roster except Williams, and said Arizona could add two more recruits to its 2020 class, that only being possible if the Wildcats clear a scholarship.

Williams said his relationship with Miller has “grown a lot” over the past two years, and didn’t provide a reason why he’d leave Arizona, but it could be due to the fact the Wildcats have added similarly-skilled players to their backcourt, like Georgetown transfer James Akinjo and Seattle U grad transfer Terrell Brown.

“Obviously college is one (path), but I gotta do my homework, get my information, but I’m definitely gonna play,” Williams said.

The former four-star recruit sat out the 2019-20 season after undergoing knee surgery to correct a congenital condition called osteochondritis dissecans, in which bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies due to lack of blood flow.

It was the second time Williams has undergone that procedure. The first time was in high school when he had to miss his junior season at Crespi.

Williams said he is not 100 percent healthy yet, but will be “soon.”

Since he redshirted last season, it’s doubtful he would have to sit out the 2020-21 campaign if he decides to transfer to a different school.

“(My knee) doesn’t really affect me now. I’m moving past it,” Williams said. “I don’t want to just keep playing every game thinking about my knees, so it’s just something that I just got done and I’m glad to say is behind me. Hopefully I won’t think about it ever again.”

Williams said he has “a lot of game left in me.” The combo guard was one of Arizona’s best players as a freshman in 2018-19, when he averaged 11.4 points and 3.4 assists while shooting close to 40 percent from 3 in Pac-12 play.

Williams said he started experiencing knee pain after Arizona’s road trip to Los Angeles in late January, which forced him to miss a month. Williams returned in late February but was slowed by his injury.

“I feel like I was getting into my groove and starting to feel myself better playing basketball every single game,” he said. “And the injury that happened, it wasn’t really a special event. It’s just something that happened over time with overuse and just wanting to play basketball every time. So I wouldn’t regret it for anything. I’m happy I went through those injuries. They made me the man I am now.”

Williams said his goal is to stay healthy for the entire 2020-21 season, wherever he spends it.

“I just need to get on the court at this point,” Williams said. “So once I do that, hopefully I can show what I can do to everybody, because I feel like the part of me is missing right now is having that game feeling and being nervous before games. That kind of stuff is missing in my life right now. And once that gets back, I think my life would be going in a better direction. I’ll feel a lot more positive with myself, being around a team a lot more often. Those are the things that really mean something to you.”