Former Duke Stars JJ Redick, Shelden Williams Set to Meet in the East
Four years of college basketball together and helping propel coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils to three Sweet Sixteen appearances and one Final Four (yet coming up short of a title), former Cameron Crazies’ hardwood heroes JJ Redick and Shelden Williams are set to meet up again.
And four years after graduating from the beautiful campus in Durham, North Carolina (along with four years under the helm of the greatest leadership ever in Coach K) in 2006, the two hoops stars have taken separate paths in the NBA.
However, Redick and Williams will once again cross paths beginning this afternoon on ABC when the Orlando Magic host the Boston Celtics for Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals.
According to Williams via Twitter messages, he and Redick really don’t keep in touch much any more; but that bond and rivalry will reunite and converge on the hardwood in Florida come Sunday afternoon at Amway Arena.
For now, let’s take a quick look back at both Redick and Williams’ days at Duke as well as their ongoing journeys through the pros…
2002-2003 Season: JJ Redick
As a freshman, JJ Redick averaged a modest 15 points per game, draining 39.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc while shooting an impressive 91.9 percent from the charity stripe for the Blue Devils.
Redick and Duke compiled a 26-7 overall record that season (going 11-5 in the ACC), tying for second-place in conference standings and reaching the Sweet 16.
2002-2003 Season: Shelden Williams
Shelden Williams entered the walls and halls of Cameron Indoor Stadium as a fish averaging just 8.2 points per game (while playing 19.2 minutes per game) for Duke.
As a freshman, Williams also averaged 5.9 rebounds per game and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field.
2003-2004 Season: Redick
Redick made improvements in almost every category when he entered his sophomore season at Duke, averaging 15.9 points per game while draining 39.5 percent from three-point range and shooting 95.3 percent from the free-throw line.
The Blue Devils went 31-6 that season (13-3 in the ACC), taking home first-place in conference standings and reaching the Final Four.
2003-2004 Season: Williams
Williams immediately began making an impact on the hardwood during his sophomore campaign with the Blue Devils, increasing his playing time to 26 minutes per game while averaging 12.6 points per game.
In 2004, Williams also made major strides both defensively and under the glass, as his blocks per game average jumped to 3 per game while pulling down 8.5 rebounds per game (he also increased his field goal shooting to 58.6 percent).
2004-2005 Season: Redick
By the time Redick was a junior, he was well on his way to stardom both in Cameron Indoor and beyond; as the sharp-shooting Blue Devil averaged 21.8 points per game (playing 27.3 minutes per game) while draining 40.3 percent of his shots from beyond the arc and shooting 93.8 percent from the charity stripe.
As a junior, Redick also improved in the “other” categories, averaging 2.6 assists per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, and 1.1 steals per game for Duke in 2005.
The Blue Devils compiled an overall record of 27-6 that season (11-5 in the ACC), picking up a third-place finish in conference standings and reaching the Sweet 16.
2004-2005 Season: Williams
Williams became a beast by the time he walked onto Coach K Court as a junior in 2004, averaging 15.5 points per game (playing 33.6 minutes per game) and shooting 58.2 percent from the field.
Defensive intensity also became apparent in Williams during his 2005 campaign, as he averaged 11.2 rebounds per game, 3.7 blocks per game, and 1.3 steals per game as a junior at Duke.
2005-2006 Season: Redick
Redick’s senior season as a Blue Devil was nearly picture perfect (and would have been if he and Williams had won a title that season); in 2006, the Duke co-captain averaged 26.8 points per game (playing 37.1 minutes per game).
As a senior, Redick had a 47 percent field goal percentage, shot 42.1 percent from beyond the arc, and was 86.3 percent from the charity stripe; he also averaged 2.6 assists per game, 2 rebounds per game, and 1.4 steals per game for the Blue Devils in 2006.
Duke went 32-4 that season (going 14-2 in the ACC), taking home a first-place finish in conference standings and reaching the Sweet 16 before bowing out a final time for the duo of Redick and Williams.
2005-2006 Season: Williams
As a senior, Williams became a co-captain alongside Redick as the Blue Devils became an almost unstoppable force in college basketball, and he averaged 18.8 points per game (playing 33.3 minutes per game) for Duke in 2006.
Williams also pulled down 10.7 boards per game, had 3.8 blocks per game, stole nearly 1.7 passes per game, and averaged 1.1 assists per game as a senior.
Going Pro: JJ Redick, Orlando Magic (Drafted 1st Round, 11th Pick)
As a newbie to the NBA, JJ Redick averaged 6 points per game and 1.2 rebounds per game (playing 14.8 minutes per game and seeing action in 42 games) for the Orlando Magic.
Redick also shot 90 percent from the free-throw line in 2007 and drained 38.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Going Pro: Shelden Williams, Atlanta Hawks (Drafted 1st Round, 5th Pick)
Shelden Williams entered the NBA stage averaging 5.5 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game (playing 18.7 minutes per game, seeing action in 81 games, and starting 31 games) for the Atlanta Hawks.
In his first year in the NBA, Williams also shot 45.5 percent from the field while shooting 76.4 percent from the charity stripe.
NBA 2008: Redick (Magic)
During the 2008 NBA season, Redick averaged 4.1 points per game and 0.7 rebounds per game (playing a mere 8.1 minutes per game and seeing action in 34 games).
Redick also shot 44.4 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from three-point range, and 79.4 percent from the free-throw line for the Magic in 2008.
NBA 2008: Williams (Sacramento Kings/Atlanta Hawks)
Williams split time between Sacramento and Atlanta during the 2008 NBA season, averaging 5.2 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game (12.9 minutes per game, 28 games played) for the Kings while averaging 3 points per game and 3 rebounds per game (11.5 minutes per game, 36 games played) for the Hawks.
NBA 2009: Redick (Magic)
The former “most hated played in college basketball” truly bulked up by his third year in the NBA, and his numbers steadily seemed to improve as well, as Redick averaged 6 points per game, 1.7 rebounds per game, and 1.1 assists per game (playing 17.4 minutes per game, seeing action in 64 games, and starting five) for the Magic in 2009.
Redick also shot 39.1 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from three-point range, and 87.1 percent from the charity stripe for Orlando that season.
NBA 2009: Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves/Sacramento Kings)
The 2009 NBA season was once again on split-time for Williams, as he spent time with both Minnesota and Sacramento that season, averaging 4.9 points per game and 5 rebounds per game (13.8 minutes per game, 15 games) for the Timberwolves while averaging 3.7 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game (10.2 minutes per game, 30 games) for the Kings.
[Photo Courtesy of Google Images Search]
NBA 2010 - Present: Redick (Orlando Magic)
In the 2010 regular season, Redick averaged 9.6 points per game, 1.9 rebounds per game, and 1.9 assists per game (playing 22 minutes per game, seeing action in 82 games, and starting nine) for the Magic.
The 2010 regular season also saw Redick shoot 43.9 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, and 86 percent from the free-throw line for Orlando.
In this year’s playoffs, meanwhile, Redick is averaging 4.8 points per game, 1.4 rebounds per game, and 1.1 assists per game (playing 14 minutes per game and seeing action in all eight of the Magic’s postseason games).
NBA 2010 - Present: Williams (Boston Celtics)
Williams posted some significant numbers in 2010 for Boston, especially early in the season, averaging 3.7 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game (playing 11.1 minutes per game, 54 games) for the Celtics.
In addition, Williams shot 52.1 percent from the field while shooting 76.5 percent from the free-throw line for the Celtics during the regular season.
In postseason play, meanwhile, Williams is averaging 2.8 points per game and 2 rebounds per game (playing 7.3 minutes per game and seeing action in four playoff games).
Postseason Puzzle: Orlando’s JJ Redick vs. Boston’s Shelden Williams
So who will win in these battle of Dukies?
Will JJ Redick and the Orlando Magic win again, currently riding an undefeated streak in this year’s playoffs; or will Shelden Williams and the Boston Celtics pull a shocker in Game One?
Only time will tell, but with Orlando currently on fire and riding home court advantage, it will be tough to derail that Magic in this year’s NBA Playoffs as coach Stan Van Gundy and company aim to return to the Finals and reach their ultimate goal of bringing home a championship…
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com
[Photo Courtesy of Google Images Search]