Mark Williams’ decision to return to Duke for his sophomore campaign looks better every day.
The former Blue Devil improved in every statistical category across the board and established himself as a dominant force down low in college basketball. While playing just 23.5 minutes per night, Williams averaged 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He was also third in the NCAA in field goal percentage, shooting an impressive 71.5%.
Williams helped himself out at Wednesday morning’s weigh in’s, too, giving himself an extra inch vertically. He checked in at 7-foot-2, 242 pounds, with a 9-foot-9 standing reach. His standing reach was the longest in the draft by nearly four inches.
He gained a reputation for being one of college basketball’s premier lockdown defensive posts with 2.8 blocks per game. His potential as a defensive stopper in the NBA is extremely high. He was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2021-22.
Along with his interior defense, Williams doesn’t look lost when switched onto guards. He’s athletic enough to get a good shot contest.
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While his offensive game is somewhat limited, he’s shown major flashes. Williams can be a true threat in the pick-and-roll and could be a great rim-running center in transition. He has such an effect on every aspect of the game, making him one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft.
As the games got bigger and the lights got brighter, Williams continued to elevate his play. He was a key contributor to Duke’s deep tournament run.
For a dominant big man, Williams also has a surprisingly smooth touch from the free-throw line. He improved nearly 20% from his freshman season, shooting 72.7% from the line. Williams’ shooting stroke, from the free-throw line and even in the midrange, will only continue to get better.
Right now, most mock drafts expect Williams to be selected in the late-lottery or mid-first round.