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Chaz Williams returns, Javorn Farrell leaves UMass basketball program

  • AP FILE PHOTO<br/><br/>Javorn Farrell, left, and Chaz Williams went in different direction Monday. Farrell has opted to leave the University of Massachusetts. Williams, who thought about entering the NBA draft, will return for his senior season.

    AP FILE PHOTO

    Javorn Farrell, left, and Chaz Williams went in different direction Monday. Farrell has opted to leave the University of Massachusetts. Williams, who thought about entering the NBA draft, will return for his senior season. Purchase photo reprints »

  • University of Massachusetts junior point guard Chaz Williams announced late Sunday night that he will return for his senior season. Williams was thinking about entering the NBA draft.

    University of Massachusetts junior point guard Chaz Williams announced late Sunday night that he will return for his senior season. Williams was thinking about entering the NBA draft. Purchase photo reprints »

  • AP FILE PHOTO<br/><br/>Javorn Farrell, left, and Chaz Williams went in different direction Monday. Farrell has opted to leave the University of Massachusetts. Williams, who thought about entering the NBA draft, will return for his senior season.
  • University of Massachusetts junior point guard Chaz Williams announced late Sunday night that he will return for his senior season. Williams was thinking about entering the NBA draft.

AMHERST — Chaz Williams will remain part of the University of Massachusetts men’s basketball program, but Javorn Farrell will not.

Farrell has received his release and will take advantage of the NCAA’s fifth-year transfer rule. The rule allows players, who have completed their undergraduate degrees and still have athletic eligibility remaining, to transfer without sitting out for their final season.

Williams tweeted during the day Sunday that he was considering declaring for the NBA draft before Sunday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline. But at 11:57 p.m. Williams tweeted: “Thank God For Allowing Me 2 Have This Opportunity!! After A Long Month Of Thinking & Talkin 2 My Family, I Decided 2 Return For My Sr Yr!!”

Williams, who isn’t considered a likely draft choice at 5-foot-9, was a first-team All-Atlantic 10 point guard.

The junior made a statement through the athletic department Monday.

“I just want to thank everybody around the community and at UMass, from the coaches to the fans for allowing me to do the things I do,” Williams said. “Coach (Derek) Kellogg was nice enough to allow me to have the opportunity to get feedback from NBA scouts. It was a tough process. I was thinking about taking care of my family, especially my daughter.

“I love this program and coach Kellogg, and I love all the guys on the team,” he added. “The pieces we have coming back next season was a big reason I decided to stay in school. We are trying our hardest to have the arena filled each and every game and the student support we have makes college basketball so exciting.”

Kellogg was glad to have Williams back.

“We’re excited that Chaz has decided to come back for his senior season,” Kellogg said. “We spoke with the folks at the NBA level and discussed the possibilities for what would be best for Chaz and his future, and ultimately he made the decision to return and help get UMass back into the NCAA tournament while working towards getting his degree.”

While Williams said the decision was hard, Farrell said leaving was easy.

“I’ve been here too long. It was time to start fresh, experience something different, play with different players, get a change of scenery, all of that,” Farrell said. “My time is up here. Two of my closest friends (Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson) are graduating. They’re moving on and I thought it was time for me to move on as well. Four years, especially in Amherst, is a long time.”

The 6-foot-5 guard/forward from Woodbridge, Va., sat out the 2012-13 season after offseason ankle surgery. He graduated in December making him eligible for the fifth-year rule. During his tenure at UMass, Farrell was asked to play a variety of roles. He was a starter early in his career playing shooting guard, small forward and even a fair share of point guard.

His points (8.5) and minutes (25.5) per game peaked as a sophomore in 2010-11, but his playing time and production dropped off as a junior with the emergence of Raphiael Putney and Jesse Morgan.

Farrell said he was looking for a place where he could play and the team would win. He said both of those things would have happened if the stayed at UMass, but he was ready for a fresh start.

Farrell, who contemplated transferring earlier in his career, said he didn’t regret choosing UMass.

“It was a roller-coaster ride. I thank God for the experience. Coming here helped me grow as a person and as a player. It helped me grow up. I became a man here,” Farrell said. “It wasn’t a bad experience. I met some good people here, played with some good players and built some relationships with people I’ll call friends for the rest of my life. I don’t wish I went somewhere else, but I wish the experience turned out a little differently. We came in with a certain expectations and intentions and everything didn’t turn out that way.”

Kellogg said he wished Farrell well and has recommended him to other programs.

“We appreciate what he’s done at UMass, both academically and on the basketball court,” Kellogg said. “He’s been a good ambassador for our program and he helped get the program to a certain level during his time here. He’d be a good fit for a lot of programs for a lot of reasons.”

Farrell said he’s looking at Marshall, Texas-Pan American and Florida Atlantic. He didn’t expect to make a decision until after graduation next month.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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