Malik Williams considered testing the 2020 NBA Draft waters, but the uncertainty amid the changes due to the global pandemic led him to returning for his senior year for Louisville men’s basketball. The 6-foot-11 forward averaged 8.5 points and 6.1 rebounds while being a vocal leader for the Cardinals in 2019-20.

He thought about the opportunity to play professionally throughout the season, saying he looked forward to taking another step in his basketball career. Before an ankle injury, Williams’ best stretch came in February when he averaged 13.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in six games.

“I feel like at the point prior to my ankle injury I really began to pick up my play,” Williams said. “My confidence was building. I was feeling better about myself. I believe I would have kept on taking off and we would have done a lot of things in the tournament, which would have been better for all of us.”

Louisville’s season abruptly ended prior to competing in the ACC Tournament and NBA teams couldn’t host individual workouts for players with professional aspirations. Williams said his decision might have been different if things weren’t altered so much due to the coronavirus.

“After the season and how things went, just once the process broke down, seeing how teams finished up, seeing those teams wouldn’t be working players out,” Williams said. “How everything is now, I decided it would be better for me finish out my last year.”

Williams wants to earn his degree and continue to be a leader for Louisville during his senior year.

“I feel like every night for the past three years, seeing senior night, it makes me want one more and more,” Williams said. “Having a chance to have a senior night, a lot of things drew me back to not testing the waters.”