Duke's Mark Williams Declares for 2022 NBA Draft After Winning ACC DPOY

Doric SamApril 18, 2022

Duke center Mark Williams (15) celebrates after his team defeated Arkansas in a college basketball game in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA men's tournament in San Francisco, Saturday, March 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Duke Blue Devils center Mark Williams made a major jump as a sophomore last season, earning the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award.

Williams is hoping to build off his success when he gets to the next level, as he announced with a video posted on social media that he will be leaving Duke to enter the 2022 NBA draft.

Mark Williams @MarkWi1liams

Thank You, Duke. Forever Grateful.πŸ’™πŸ˜ˆπŸ™πŸΎ <a href="https://t.co/6DyvJM8stu">pic.twitter.com/6DyvJM8stu</a>

Former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who retired after 42 years of coaching after the Blue Devils' loss in the Final Four, released a statement reacting to Williams' decision.

The statement said, in part, "Mark was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and one of the best shot blockers in the country, but that doesn't tell the entire story about the type of player he is. He is gifted at both ends of the floor and is driven to get better every day."

Brendan Marks @BrendanRMarks

Coach K on Mark Williams heading to the NBA: <a href="https://t.co/DGbX0ibZQ5">pic.twitter.com/DGbX0ibZQ5</a>

As a starter for all 39 games for a Duke team that finished 32-7, Williams averaged 11.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game while shooting 72.1 percent from the field. He anchored a defense that blocked 5.5 shots per game and limited opposing offenses to 41.3 percent shooting from the floor and 30.2 percent three-point shooting.

Williams is considered as a potential lottery pick, with B/R's Jonathan Wasserman predicting he'll go No. 13 to the Charlotte Hornets in his most recent mock draft.

"For most of the year, [Memphis' Jalen] Duren has widely been considered the center to target," Wasserman wrote. "But Williams has made it a debate with his 7'7" wingspan, shot-blocking, touch flashes and impact on winning."

Williams is one of many Duke players expected to be first-round picks this year, including Paolo Banchero, A.J. Griffin, Wendell Moore Jr. and Trevor Keels.