Did ESPN's Scott Van Pelt tell Jordan Williams to go pro?

After a workout with the Washington Wizards on Tuesday morning, former Terps big man Jordan Williams said that ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, a Maryland grad, was among those who advised him while he mulled over entering the NBA draft. Van Pelt “was a big factor in helping me make my decision,” Williams said.

“Just giving me feedback, what he thought about it. Just trying to make me make the right decision,” Williams told The Washington Post’s Steve Yanda. “He did a great job, and I give him a lot of credit for going out of his way. … He's a really busy guy, so for him to go out of his way to do that is unbelievable.” 

If Van Pelt really did steer Williams to the pros -- even if he was doing it in the player’s best interest -- it won’t go over well with Maryland supporters. It also raises an ethical question about the role of the media.  

Van Pelt, who was on the air when the story broke, denied the claim and said that he would sort things out after his show. “I certainly had nothing to do with choice he made,” he Tweeted.

What are your thoughts on this?

Update: Williams has emailed my colleague Jeff Barker to clarify that Van Pelt did not steer him towards the NBA. "He was just giving me advice to help make my decision the best one," he said.

Another update: Van Pelt has responded to The Post.

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