Memphis' Willis to come West
Ex-Washington star undecided as to which school he'll attend
By Bryant-Jon Anteola / The Fresno Bee
Tre'Von Willis, the all-time scoring leader in Central Section basketball history, is transferring out West.
To which school, the former Washington High star said he doesn't know yet.
But as of Thursday, Willis received his release from Memphis after one season and said he has been in contact with "a few" West coast schools.
"The main thing is I'm coming back West," said Willis, who is back in town for the summer and helping coach Washington's summer team. "It's going to be a Mountain West [Conference], Pac-10 or WAC [Western Athletic Conference] school.
"The process has just started. So I really don't know yet where I'm going. Don't have a timetable when I'll know. I just know I'm not going back to Memphis."
Willis, a former top-100 recruit who finished his freshman year, said he has enough credits and the grade-point average to be eligible to play immediately. NCAA rules, however, would require Willis to sit out a year if he transfers to another Division-I program.
Willis still has a redshirt season to burn, giving him three years of eligibility.
Willis said he has not spoken to anyone at Fresno State and wasn't sure if he would. He added there has been no family or peer pressure to play for the hometown program.
Fresno State has one scholarship available with the early departure of Dominic McGuire to the NBA. Willis' half-brother and former Washington teammate, Dwight O'Neil, also plays for the Bulldogs. O'Neil is a junior.
If Willis came to Fresno State, the brothers would have one season to play together.
"Not sure," Willis said when asked what the chances were of him playing at Fresno State.
Willis said he informed Memphis coach John Calipari in mid-May that he wanted his release, then citing family issues. Willis added Friday that he was unhappy with his playing time and living two time zones away.
Memphis (33-4) won the Conference USA title and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
But Willis contributed little, appearing in 17 of 37 games and averaging 6.1 minutes. He shot 13 of 33 from the field (39.4%) and 12 of 17 from the free-throw line (.706) for 2.6 points per game.
And with most of Memphis' rotation returning, it appeared unlikely Willis' role would change.
"There wasn't enough room for me in Memphis," Willis said. "And with the family situation, it was just best for me to head back West."
Willis described his year in Memphis as a "roller coaster" and said he didn't think he received a fair shot at playing time.
"I do well at practice then come gametime, I'm stuck on the bench. I played in less than half the games, and a lot of them were 2 to 3 minutes or last minute of the game. It was just embarrassing."
In his final season at Washington, Willis averaged 23.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists. He finished with a section-best 2,842 career points, which also was the fifth most in state history.
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