Former Maryland center Jordan Williams was chosen in the second round by the New Jersey Nets in last night’s NBA Draft. Williams, a 1st-team All-ACC performer last season, was selected with the 36th overall pick. The junior-to-be for the Terps, who hails from Torrington, CT., has said that his dream has always been to be an NBA player. It looks like he may have realized that dream. Or has he?
There are no guarantees that a second round pick will make an NBA roster. Even a roster as talent depleted as New Jersey’s. Most importantly, as a second round pick, there are no guaranteed contracts. And with the league’s CBA set to expire on June 30th, there are no guarantees that there will even be a season in 2011-12.
Williams has great hands and is a fine rebounder. However, he is not very athletic and does not shoot the ball well from beyond 10 feet. He did not score well on a variety of tests during a draft prospect camp in Las Vegas. That being said, Williams is only 20 years old and is a hard worker. There is still time for him to work on the weaknesses of his game.
If Williams had stayed at Maryland , he would have been a lock for 1st-team All-ACC and a strong All-America candidate. Williams’ presence alone would have made Maryland a team capable of returning to the NCAA Tournament. Having a strong junior season probably would have improved his draft stock for 2012. Williams, of course, knew all of this and decided that leaving was still the best option for him and for his family.
His decision to leave may also have impacted the long-term future of the basketball program. If Jordan Williams had stayed, Gary Williams may still be the coach at Maryland and Mark Turgeon would still be at Texas A&M.
You can never root against someone who chases a dream. But you can second guess a decision. Did Jordan Williams make the right decision by leaving the University of Maryland with two years of eligibility left?
Only time will tell.