Freeman Williams, No. 2 Scorer in NCAA Men's Basketball History, Dies at Age 65

Adam WellsApril 20, 2022

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND - FEBRUARY 25: The NCAA logo on a basketball before the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Indiana Hoosiers at Xfinity Center on February 25, 2022 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
G Fiume/Getty Images

Former Portland State star and NBA player Freeman Williams has died at the age of 65.

The Utah Jazz, who Williams played for during the 1982-83 season, announced his death on Twitter on Wednesday:

Utah Jazz @utahjazz

We are saddened by the news that Freeman Williams, former Utah Jazzman, has passed away at the age of 65.<br><br>The Utah Jazz family sends its love to Freeman's family, loved ones and fans as they grieve his loss ❤️ <a href="https://t.co/vUrqvmZwwO">pic.twitter.com/vUrqvmZwwO</a>

Williams is best-known for his four-year college stint at Portland State from 1974-75 to 1977-78. His 3,249 career points in college ranks second in NCAA history, behind only Pete Maravich (3,667).

The California native averaged more than 30 points per game in each of his final three college seasons. He had four games with at least 59 points, including an 81-point outing against Rocky Mountain in February 1978.

Williams was named to the All-American team as a senior in 1977-78, alongside Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Mychal Thompson. He led the NCAA in scoring average as a junior (38.8) and senior (35.9).

After leaving school, Williams was the eighth overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics. He was traded to the San Diego Clippers shortly after the draft.

Williams spent three-plus seasons with the Clippers before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks in January 1982. He played in just 50 more NBA games after the deal, including nine in 1985-86 with the Washington Bullets.

In between stints with the Jazz and Bullets, Williams had a stint with the Tampa Bay Thrillers in the CBA. He averaged 14.7 points per game in 323 appearances with four different NBA teams.

Williams was inducted into Portland State's athletics Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1997. The school also retired his No. 20 jersey.