Kansas State University

Williams at KSU ahead of schedule

MANHATTAN — When he learned Dominique Sutton was leaving Kansas State, Nino Williams was hesitant to accelerate his college timetable.

For the past nine months, the Leavenworth High School product had intended on joining the Wildcats in 2011 after spending a year in prep school. It was a plan he liked.

But when K-State coach Frank Martin called Williams on Sunday and said he wanted him in Manhattan, ready to begin summer school within the next 10 hours, Williams decided waiting was overrated.

He hopped in a car and enrolled Monday morning.

"He's moved out there to Manhattan, and he's ready to go," said Derek Zeck, Williams' legal guardian. "It's been a whirlwind these last few days."

Williams, a 6-foot-5 swingman, will have the opportunity to play as a freshman.

As a high school senior, he put on nearly 20 pounds of muscle and significantly improved his outside shot. When he verbally committed to K-State in October, he was a mildly recruited three-star player. Today he sports four-star status and is the No. 89 ranked recruit in the country, according to Rivals.com.

His grades, which were in question after Williams briefly attended Milestone Christian Academy in Kansas City, also soared.

Zeck said Williams took a number of credit recovery classes at Leavenworth, and raised his core GPA to 3.2.

Williams did not return messages left on his cell phone Monday, but before the holiday weekend he said academics were no longer an issue.

"At first, nobody thought I was going to be a qualifier," Williams said. "Then I started taking a lot of classes, then I qualified. I'm good to go. If I wanted to go to K-State right now as a student without basketball I could."

Zeck said Williams will have no problems adjusting to life in Manhattan.

"Every aspect of his life has improved in the last year," Zeck said. "He took advantage of the opportunities presented to him. From improving his body mass to getting his grades up and improving his self esteem, he has made a 180-degree turn."

Williams hopes to continue those improvements in college, a year ahead of schedule.

"It was tough for him to change his mindset at first," Zeck said. "But as we talked it over it was pretty easy to change his mind and get excited about the opportunity. It's a perfect fit all the way around."