- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Maryland sophomore Jordan Williams left College Park in March, he had every intention of returning. But timing is everything.

“I was going to work hard and come back. That was my goal,” Williams said. “But what happened was I just felt my confidence build up. I felt myself making drastic changes right away, and I felt it was my time to go.”

Williams declared for the NBA draft, and although he called the decision hard, he hasn’t looked back.

“It was very, very tough,” Williams said Tuesday after working out for the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center. “Maryland was huge for me. They took me in right away. It was so hard for me to just get up and leave.

“People think I just woke up one day and said I’m going to leave, but it was a long process to really think about what I wanted to do. But sometimes, the tough decision is the best decision.”

Williams is preparing for life in the NBA by taking better care of his body.

He’s watching his weight, dropping from 260 pounds to around 245, then putting a few pounds back on to add muscle. He also did the hardest thing for most college-age students - he gave up junk food.

“In college, I didn’t eat that good,” he said. “Whenever you’re traveling all the time, you just eat whatever’s fastest. I took the time to eat smarter.”

The 6-foot-10 forward is drawing a lot of interest around the league. His workout with the Wizards on Tuesday was his eighth or ninth, he said, and he has another eight or nine scheduled before the June 23 draft.

“The workout [with Washington] went really good. My shots were falling today. I felt real comfortable,” Williams said.

Williams followed the Wizards during his days at Maryland and believes he’d make a good addition to a team looking for post players.

“They have a great coach and a great staff,” he said. “I’m excited about the about being here and excited about the whole process. I think I could definitely fit in with this team.”

Joining Williams for Tuesday’s workout were Keith Benson, a 6-11 center from Oakland; Jordan Hamilton, a 6-7 swingman from Texas; Charles Jenkins, a 6-3 guard from Hofstra; Kawhi Leonard, a 6-7 forward from San Diego State and Darius Morris, a 6-4 guard from Michigan.

“They are good people off the court, and it makes their game even better on the court,” Williams said of his fellow draft prospects.

Williams has been projected as a late first- or early second-round pick.

“I’m just trying to put myself in the best position to move up higher and get with the right team so I’ll play right away,” Williams said. “I need to show the coaching staff what I do best, rebounding, finishing on the low block. I also have to step my game up a little bit when I shoot. I think I did that today.”

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