Terps in Trouble, Jordan Williams Not Returning to College Park

Alan ZlotorzynskiCorrespondent IIIMay 4, 2011

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 10:  Jordan Williams #20 of the Maryland Terrapins looks on while playing against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first round of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 10, 2011 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Maryland Terrapins NCAA men’s basketball program was dealt a serious blow for next season today.

Star forward Jordan Williams hired an agent, making official his intent to remain in the NBA draft and not return for his junior season at Maryland.

Maryland Terrapins forward Jordan Williams declared for the 2011 NBA draft back on March 29 but did not hire an agent. Today, he hired agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports, whose clients include NBA players Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups, to represent him.

Williams confirmed on his Twitter account this afternoon the reports that he has hired an agent and is going pro.

"Thank you for all the support...it really means a lot!! It's been a dream to play in the NBA and now I finally have the opportunity!!” he Tweeted around 3 p.m. “I wanna thank #TerpNation for the support over the past 2 years I hope yall continue to follow me on my journey to the top!!”

Williams averaged 16.9 points and an ACC-best 11.8 rebound per game for the Terrapins in 2010-11 and set a single-season school record with 25 double-doubles.

As a freshman, Williams started 31 games for the Terps. He was an All-ACC rookie team selection, finishing second in the conference in rebounding.

Last season, Williams was considered the key puzzle piece for a Maryland team that missed playing in a postseason tournament for the first time since 1993.

Gary Williams, who has been considered by many to be a coach on the hot seat following last season, had this to say in a statement released by the school.

“We wish Jordan well as he pursues his dream of playing in the NBA.” 

Coach Gary Williams has been criticized for his lack of recruiting local DC and Baltimore area talent. However, Williams went out this year and recruited a top-notch class for college park next season.

The incoming class will be led by 6'6" shooting guard Nick Faust from Baltimore and 6'1" point guard Sterling Gibbs from Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey. Both were expected to contribute mightily next season while helping Jordan Williams lead MD back to the promise land.

Martin Breunig, a 6'9" forward from Leverkusen, Germany, will join Faust and Gibbs. Breunig played last season for the post-graduate team at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wis., where he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game

The move by Williams to the NBA leaves the Terps short a big man and short a star player. 

According to the Washington Post, it is possible that 6'9" forward Wally Judge, who quit Kansas State’s team in January, could transfer into College Park. Judge would probably be required to sit out the 2011-12 season under NCAA rules.

A former McDonald’s All-American from Landover, Judge has reportedly narrowed his choices to Maryland, Rutgers and Washington.

Now, without Williams, there are gaping holes and the embattled coach Williams may be in trouble if he cannot produce results next season regardless of today’s events.

Coach Williams has slowly turned the corner in his recruiting, but it may be too late if this class cannot produce immediately without Jordan Williams.

What makes Williams decision to turn pro, a puzzling choice, is the impending NBA lockout. One league rep was quoted as saying that he was 99 percent sure the lockout would occur in July.

Player representatives have told their clients that they should prepare for a lengthy work stoppage.

The 6'10" Williams has been projected anywhere from a late-first round to mid-second round pick in this year's draft. Another year in College Park would have most assuredly made him a top 10 pick in next year’s draft.

Gary Williams must be sick in his stomach. I know I am. As many of you know, I am not fond of Coach Williams, but even I feel bad for him today.

This could be the start of the end for Coach Williams at Maryland, but coach does have top talent headed to College Park next season.

Williams can coach and a great year of sweating and swearing could make everyone forget about today.

Unfortunately, at least for now, what was once considered a promising season has now turned into one that will again produce more questions than answers.