Mark Williams makes NBA draft statement

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DURHAM- Duke in second year Mark Williams announced that he would enter his name in the 2022 NBA draft. The ACC Defensive Player of the Year and NCAA All-West regional selection intend to hire an agent.

“The last two years have been great,” Williams said. “Having the opportunity to play in front of the best fans in the world and receiving that support on the road and at home has been great. I want to thank Coach K and the rest of the staff for pushing me every day to be the best possible player I can be. This year has been amazing. We had a historic run in Coach K’s last dance and made it to the Final Four. I want to congratulate Coach K on his retirement and I’m thrilled to see Coach Scheyer lead this new era of Duke Basketball. I want to thank my teammates because without them the season we had wouldn’t have been possible. Playing in the NBA has always been one of my dreams. Duke has groomed me for this next step and I am thrilled to announce that I will be declared for the 2022 NBA Draft.”

A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Williams established himself as one of the nation’s premier rim protectors in his second campaign. He led the ACC and ranked 12th in the NCAA in blocked shots per game (2.82), while his 110 total discharges were fifth nationally. On the glass, Williams recorded 7.4 rebounds per game, good for sixth in the ACC, and his 7.9 rebounds in conference play alone ranked third in the league. He is one of only two players in Duke history to record more than 100 blocks in a season, joining Shelden Williams who did it three times.

“Mark was a joy to coach,” the head coach said Mike Krzyzewski, who retired after the season. “It’s such a special time for him and his amazing family, and we will miss having the Williams on our program. Mark was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best shot blockers in the country, but that doesn’t change anything.” tell the whole story of the type of player he is. He is gifted on both sides of the pitch and is determined to improve every day. The NBA team drafting Mark is obviously getting a talented player, but an equally impressive young man off the court who will represent their organization with class. I can’t wait to see it at the next level.

The 7-foot-1 center also had one of the most effective offensive seasons in Duke history, as his .721 field goal percentage (191 of 265) trailed only by Christian Laettner .723 in 1989 on the Blue Devils single-season roster. Williams was the only player in the nation that season to shoot .700+ from the floor and .700+ from the free throw line (minimum 100 field goals).

A constant lob threat, Williams threw 97 dunks, becoming the second Duke player with 90 or more in a season (Marvin Bagley III, 98 in 2017-18). The third-team All-ACC selection improved their scoring average by 4.1 points (7.1 to 11.2) from their first to second seasons, while their field goal percentage rose to .664 at .721 and his 4.5 rebound per game at 7.4.

In five NCAA Tournament games, Williams averaged 13.2 points on .806 shooting (29 of 36) with 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks to help Duke advance to the Final Four. His .806 field goal percentage set a Blue Devil record for a single NCAA tournament (minimum 25 field goals), while his 16 blocked shots were tied for the most by a Duke player in a single. tournament.

He was also named to the USBWA All-District III team, was a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year, and earned his second consecutive All-ACC Academic selection.

The Blue Devils have had at least one player selected in 34 of 41 NBA drafts under Krzyzewski. Coach K has framed 68 draft picks since taking over the Duke program, including a draft-record 42 first-round selections.

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