The first step of Maryland’s basketball offseason unfolded Tuesday when Jordan Williams declared for the NBA Draft without signing with an agent.
Williams, who has until May 8 to decide whether to remain in the draft, is one of 10 ACC players since 1996-97 to average a double-double for a season (Shelden Williams did it twice).
While past performance is not indicative of future results all the time, it is intriguing to look at that group (which also includes current North Carolina forward John Henson) and see exactly how things shook out in each case.
1997: TIM DUNCAN, Wake Forest
Duncan averaged 20.8 points and 14.7 rebounds as a senior, the third straight season he averaged a double-double. Twice the conference player of the year and three times an all-ACC pick, Duncan was the No. 1 overall pick and helped San Antonio win four NBA titles. He averaged a double-double in his first 13 seasons as a pro, a streak in jeopardy this year. In short, Duncan has done rather well for himself.
1998: ANTAWN JAMISON, North Carolina
The 1998 ACC player of the year and a three-time all-conference pick, Jamison bolted Chapel Hill after averaging 22.2 points and 10.5 points as a junior. And really, who could blame him? He was the No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft and, while not a star on Duncan’s level, proved to be a durable and consistent upper-tier pro for more than a decade.
2001: ALVIN JONES, Georgia Tech
The 6-foot-11 Jones became a dramatically more efficient player as a senior under first-year coach Paul Hewitt, averaging 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds to secure the final spot on the all-ACC team that season. Best known in college for his shot-blocking (425 in four seasons), Jones was picked with the penultimate pick of the 2001 draft and appeared in 23 games with Philadelphia as a rookie. It was his only NBA experience.
2003: TRAVIS WATSON, Virginia
A forgotten man on the double-doubles list, Watson averaged 14.3 points and 10.4 rebounds as a senior on a .500 squad. The 6-foot-8 Watson was a capable college player —- averaging 13.0 points and 9.4 rebounds for his career while earning second-team all-ACC his final three years —- but he went undrafted and never played in the NBA.
2005: SEAN MAY, North Carolina
A great case of getting while the getting was good, May averaged 17.5 points and 10.7 rebounds as a junior, earned all-ACC first team honors, caught fire in the NCAA tournament and bolted for the pros. He went to Charlotte with the No. 13 overall pick in 2005, but injuries limited him to 119 career games over five seasons (one of which was completely lost) before he headed overseas this season. May’s career averages in the NBA: 6.9 points and 4.0 rebounds.
2005: SHELDEN WILLIAMS, Duke
The junior averaged 15.5 points and 11.5 rebounds, earning a spot on the all-conference first team. Unlike the big man less than 10 miles down US 15-501, Williams remained in school for his senior seasons. And that led to …
2006: SHELDEN WILLIAMS, Duke
… an even better year as a senior. Williams was simply dominant in his final season, averaging 18.8 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks. He was also announced as a unanimous all-conference selection. The No. 5 overall pick in the ‘06 draft hasn’t turned out to be the greatest pro (4.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game) while averaging more than a team a season (six teams, five seasons). It’s still safe to say he didn’t hurt his draft stock playing in Durham for a fourth year.
2008: TYLER HANSBROUGH, North Carolina
Statistically, Hansbrough had his best season as a junior, averaging 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds. Rather than turn pro, the center remained in Chapel Hill and led the Tar Heels to their second national title in five seasons with a strong but not quite so insane senior season (20.7 points and 8.1 rebounds) that began with an injury scare. Hansbrough, a four-time all-ACC selection, wound up going No. 13 overall to Indiana, and he’s averaging nearly 11 points a night as a second-year player with the Pacers.
2010: AL-FAROUQ AMINU, Wake Forest
Aminu’s averages of 15.8 points and 10.7 rebounds got him a place on the all-ACC second team as a sophomore. He also took it to mean it was his ticket out of the Dash. The good news? He was a lottery pick, the eighth overall selection last June. The bad news? He was off to Clipperville. He is averaging 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds and has played in all but one game as a rookie for Los Angeles’ second team.
2011: JORDAN WILLIAMS, Maryland and JOHN HENSON, North Carolina
Williams (16.9 points, 11.8 rebounds) has already declared for the draft without signing with an agent. Henson (11.7 points, 10.1 rebounds) has a decision to make in the coming weeks.
As for reading trends, there isn’t much history of sophomores turning out to be double-double machines in the ACC.
Aminu was the first sophomore to do so since Duncan, and he bolted Winston-Salem after last season. Of the five sophomores and juniors on this list, two stayed (Shelden Williams and Hansbrough) and three departed (Jamison, May and Aminu).
At the very least, most of the recent ACC players to average a double-double wound up going off the board quickly in the NBA Draft. But not all. Jones and Watson are evidence such statistical feats are not guaranteed to mean much to pro scouts.
—- Patrick Stevens