PITTSBURGH -- Morakinyo Williams, a 6-foot-11 center who was one of Kentucky's top recruits a year ago, is transferring to Duquesne.
Williams, who played sparingly at Kentucky last season and wanted a chance to play more minutes and make a bigger impact, signed his scholarship papers Monday and faxed them to Duquesne. He also considered Tulane and Penn after deciding recently to leave Kentucky.
Williams, a native of Solihull, England, whose middle name is Michael, was recruited by former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith only to get caught in a coaching staff change when Billy Gillispie was hired before last season. Williams played 19 minutes in Kentucky's season opener, but played only 11 more minutes the rest of the season, averaging 0.8 points and 1.0 rebounds.
"I had a lot of fun here [at Kentucky], but I was ready to get out of here," Williams said Monday in a telephone interview. "I want to play a lot more minutes -- I just wanted to play a lot more. Hopefully when I do start playing at Duquesne, I can be an impact player."
Williams, who must out the 2008-09 season as a redshirt transfer, is a center who plays mostly with his back to the basket and has strong post moves.
Asked what he knows about the Dukes' fast-paced style, Williams said, "I know they like to get up and down the court, everyone gets some touches and they like to get a lot of shots."
The Dukes, 3-17 two years ago, won 10 games under first-year coach Ron Everhart in 2006-07 and 17 games last season.
Everhart was forced to do far more recruiting than most Division I coaches after 6-10 center Shawn James, one of the leading shot-blockers in NCAA history, and 6-0 guard Kojo Mensah decided to pass up their final season of eligibility and enter the NBA draft.
Duquesne has added six players since the season ended, including Williams.
The Dukes also recruited standout shooter Aleksandr Milovic, a 6-6 swingman from Centje, Montenegro who was considering several large-conference schools; 6-8 Rodrigo Peggau, a strong rebounder who played at the Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C.; 6-5 Melquan Bolding, who initially committed to Louisville; 6-5 B.J. Monteiro, Connecticut's high school player of the year, and 6-3 Chase Robinson of Huntsville, Ala.
Williams played at Bishop Ireton H.S. in Alexandria, Va., averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds as a senior.
Everhart was not available Monday to comment on Williams. Everhart recently hired assistant coach Scott Rigot, a Pittsburgh-area native who coached at Kentucky under Smith.