Maryland’s Williams will remain in the NBA draft

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Jordan Williams will remain in the NBA draft and not return to Maryland, a source familiar with the decision said Wednesday.

Williams initially entered the draft March 29 without signing with an agent. He is the first Terrapin to turn pro while giving up two years of eligibility since Chris Wilcox did so in 2002.

The sophomore averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds, setting a school record for rebounds by a sophomore (388) and earning a place on the All-ACC first team. It capped a significant rise for the once-unheralded Williams, who was the No. 85 player in the class of 2009 according to Rivals.com.

Williams set a Maryland record with 13 consecutive double-doubles, a run achieved mostly in the first half of the season. But as the year unfolded, more opponents opted to double- and even triple-team Williams to limit his effectiveness.

Coach Gary Williams declined to comment through a team spokesman since there was no formal announcement of the 6-foot-10 forward’s plans to sign with an agent.

In some ways, Jordan Williams‘ choice was anticlimactic. A source said Williams remained in Las Vegas to train instead of returning to College Park for Maryland’s season-ending banquet last month, a sign he already had moved on from his college career.

Williams enters a draft devoid of some notable eligible players. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, Baylor’s Perry Jones and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Tyler Zeller all opted to remain in school rather than turn pro this spring. Williams also will face uncertainty, since the NBA is expected to institute a lockout when its collective bargaining agreement expires June 30.

The departure is a substantial blow to the Terps, whose path to making the NCAA tournament looked far more manageable with a star big man averaging a double-double. Instead, Maryland’s frontcourt will have a dramatically different look with Williams and senior Dino Gregory leaving the program.

Rising junior James Padgett, who has averaged 3.2 points in 9.1 minutes over his first two seasons, is the most experienced frontcourt player in the program. Hauk Palsson, who at 6-foot-6 was used as an undersized power forward as freshman, made three starts last season and averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds.

Maryland also has 6-foot-10 senior Berend Weijs, who averaged 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds but was used sparingly once conference play arrived. Freshman Ashton Pankey played only three minutes last season before surgery on a recurring leg injury shelved him for the season. The Terps also signed 6-foot-9 forward Martin Breunig last month.

Combined, those five players own 318 points and 229 rebounds in 985 career minutes. Williams had 557 points and 388 rebounds in 1,073 minutes last season.

Williams leaves Maryland with 684 rebounds and 77 blocked shots. Both figures rank 19th in school history.

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