Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway still has spaces to fill on his 2023-24 roster as June nears.
That led to local media speculation recently that the Tigers are exploring the idea of bringing back all-conference forward DeAndre Williams. But that notion was shot down by his mother Tuesday afternoon.
"He's not coming back," Samantha Williams wrote in a message to The Commercial Appeal. "He played three years. He won't be back."
Williams apparently had a recent workout with the Toronto Raptors, according to a post on his Instagram account late Wednesday morning.
Williams' unconventional path to Memphis, which made him the oldest player in college basketball last season at 26 years old, is why there seems to be a possibility he might still have eligibility left.
MEMPHIS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE: Tigers add Clemson, others as 2023-24 non-conference schedule nears completion
In 2020, the NCAA gave all winter sports athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning basketball players enrolled then can play up to five seasons. Williams has only played four seasons of college basketball: one at Evansville and three at Memphis.
But Williams' case is more convoluted than most. Williams, who enrolled at Evansville in 2018, was ineligible to play for academic reasons. That season was classified as a "year-in-residence," and it counted against his five-season clock.
Williams is eligible to apply for a hardship waiver for an additional season if he chooses, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, but it would be highly unlikely the waiver would be approved. The school had not applied to the NCAA for a waiver on Williams' behalf as of late Tuesday afternoon, an athletic department official with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Commercial Appeal.
Williams helped lead Memphis to a 26-9 record in 2022-23, an AAC tournament championship and a second-straight NCAA tournament berth. He averaged 17.7 points and 8.2 rebounds a game on his way to all-AAC First Team honors and a spot on the AAC all-tournament team.
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @munzly.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis basketball: DeAndre Williams 'not coming back,' his mom says