Williams announces NBA draft, may return to Arkansas

Fayetteville – Arkansas forward Jailin Williams will test the NBA draft water this spring.

Williams, a Fort Smith native who set a single-season program record for rebounds in 2021-22, is declaring a release for the upcoming NBA Draft. He will continue his college qualification without hiring an agent.

Williams can step down from the draft on June 1 and play his junior season in Arkansas.

“I look forward to learning from the upcoming process, through interviews, gathering feedback and developing relationships with NBA coaches and front office staff,” Williams said in the release. “I can’t thank the coach (Eric) Musselman and the staff for helping me stay in this position.

“I’ll keep all my options open and after going through the process and talking to my family, my support group and the Arkansas coaching staff, I will make an informed decision when the time is right.”

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According to top draft analysts, who were not on NBA radar before last season, Williams is expected to be anywhere from the early-late second round pick. ESPN’s Jonathan Givoni and Mike Schmidt Williams were ranked 45th overall, and The Athletic’s Sam Veseni was ranked 35th in his MacDraft on April 1.

Vecenie placed Williams 58th on his top-100 big board in early March.

“What Williams brings is tremendous rigidity at both ends, a feature that will help him earn a place in the NBA,” Givoni wrote on March 28. Becoming a more versatile defender on the perimeter will help strengthen his position as a draft prospect.

Williams averaged 10.9 points in 46.1% shooting and 9.8 rebounds per game. He ended Derek Hood’s 23-year-old single-season program record with 364 total rebounds – 308 defensive and became the first razor back in 2008-09, averaging 9.8 a season after Mike Washington.

The forward changed his star turn as Arkansas bounced back in the final two and a half months of the season. He scored 6.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in the team’s first 13 games.

In the last 18 seasons of the regular season, his numbers rose to 13.7 points and 10.6 rebounds, and the razorbacks to 14-4.

During the Arkansas run for the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, he averaged 14.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists.

All-SEC First-Team and Defensive Team Selection, No. 1 in Williams Sweet 16 and Elite Eight Games. 1 overall seed gourd and no. He averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds over 2 seed duke.

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“He has many skills that NBA teams have an interest in from their seniors,” Wesney wrote. “The only issue is whether he’s as athletic as he does everything at the NBA level. He can bend over and stand up to get into better shape. If he does, it may add to his ability to protect the edge. Currently, Williams is increasingly gaining the ability to position and charge.

Williams January. Reached a double-digit score in scoring only twice until 4. He did so in 20 of the team’s last 23 games, adding 22 points on February 12 in Alabama and 19 points against South Carolina, LSU and the Duke.

He recorded 16 doubles-doubles, including seven in a row between February 8 and March 2.

Defensively, Williams led Arkansas with 54 charges, 41 blocks and was second with 48 thefts. When he was the closest razorbox defender to the shot, opponents made 37.2% two-point attempts during the regular season, including 36.4% in SEC play.

“I’m worried he’s just able to finish on top of him in the center position because the NBA teams are only 6-10,” Vecenie added. “But there’s enough value in every other angle of basketball, and I’m willing to bet on Williams to some extent to figure it out.”

Williams joins JD Note, the second razorback declared for the upcoming draft on the 2021-22 roster, saying he will hire an agent on Sunday and relinquish his remaining college qualification.

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