Sophomore big man Mark Williams has been one of the most pleasant surprises powering the Duke Blue Devils’ run to the Final Four.
Among a number of Duke players who might be first-round selections in the NBA draft, Williams has been a consistent force in tournament play. Duke (32-6) wouldn’t be in the Final Four without Williams, a 7-foot-1 anchor in the paint.
After showcasing his upside as a two-way weapon at the NBA level, the 20-year-old is now a potential lottery selection. ESPN NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony praised the Duke big man:
“He is a game-changer on both ends of the floor with his combination of size (7-foot-1) and length (7-foot-8 wingspan), providing a steady offensive presence with his excellent hands, finishing ability and rim protection thanks to his mobility, timing and reach.”
Duke sophomore Mark Williams has impressed
The Duke Blue Devils are oozing with confidence as they prepare to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Final Four.
Duke, a No. 2 seed, will face UNC (28-9), a No. 8 seed, on Saturday in the second national semifinal in New Orleans, Louisiana. Duke finished the regular season ranked ninth, while North Carolina was unranked.
Although fans have been watching Duke closely due to the ability of potential first overall selection Paolo Banchero, another Blue Devil has started to draw attention. Sophomore center Mark Williams has been one of college basketball’s most impressive two-way bigs this year. He’s one of the most intriguing prospects remaining in the tournament.
The ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Williams has shown the ability to be a dominant force around the basket on both ends.
After showing some flashes at the end of his freshman season, Williams has seen his game take off this season. Throughout tournament play, Williams has averaged 14.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game while shooting 80.6%.
Williams’ older sister, Elizabeth, played for Duke from 2011-15. She was the No. 4 pick in the 2015 WNBA draft. A 6-foot-3 forward-center and a six-year pro, she was signed by the Washington Mystics in February. She was named to the WNBA All-Defensive first team in 2020. She’s also played internationally.
Duke freshmen Banchero and AJ Griffin are expected to be locks as lottery picks.