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Mark Williams On His Decision To Return To Duke

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It seemed pretty obvious at the time: he wasn’t really ready and was smart enough to know it

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Pittsburgh
Jan 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Duke Blue Devils Duke Blue Devils center Mark Williams (15) warms up before playing the Pittsburgh Panthers at the Petersen Events Center. 
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The way Mark Williams finished the season last year it seemed obvious that he could declare for the NBA. Matthew Hurt did and he wasn’t a sure-fire prospect and so did DJ Steward, in a truly poor decision, at least if he was serious about making the NBA. If he just didn’t want to stay in school it was the right decision but otherwise? Poorly reasoned.

For his part, Williams had a basic reason for not leaving even though he could have and would probably have been drafted: “I felt like coming back, I could really show what I can do over the course of a whole year,” Williams told the News & Observer. “My body of work last year, I don’t think, would have been enough. I mean, it could have been, obviously, if I’d have tested the waters. But I didn’t want it to be a question. So I wanted to come back, show what I could do, dominate for a whole year and see what happens from there.”

That’s about right.

He has a chance to be a truly special player and not just because he’s 7-0 although that helps. He’s a really talented, smart athlete. He consistently makes good decisions and is a skilled passer and has good fundamentals. If, as Chris Carrawell says, he can be an elite defender and rebounder, and also put on some muscle, he’ll be a lottery pick whenever he decides to go.