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NEW ORLEANS — Duke big man Mark Williams has been perhaps the biggest NBA Draft riser in the NCAA Tournament. He was projected to go late in the first round on many big boards to start the season. After averaging NCAA Crewneck Sweatshirts 11.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks during his sophomore season, he’s now considered closer to an end-of-the-lottery talent.

It’s pretty easy to understand why Williams has been rising so quickly. What he does well, he does really well. Some popular NBA comps for him include Jarrett Allen, Mitchell Robinson, Robert Williams and Clint Capela. In other words, he’s an athletic shot-blocking force, a great above-the-rim finisher and somewhat limited in other areas of his game. That is the recipe for a solid NBA career at worst. Best-case scenario, he could be an All-Star like Allen.

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Willia Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry shirt ms’ athleticism really does leap off the screen when you watch him. He has been one of the best rim protectors of the tournament, blocking shots out of nowhere. He was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, ranking 11th in blocked shots per game. Teammates Wendell Moore Jr. and Paolo Banchero both called him the best defensive player that they’ve ever played with. 

"I know if I get beat off the dribble, he'll be there to have my back,” Moore said. 

"He gets a lot of credit for the blocks, but I think more the effect that I see is the shots he changes and the fear he puts in the offensive players," noted Banchero. 

What makes Williams such an elite defender? North Carolina center Arma Dayton Flyers clothes ndo Bacot gave his scouting report to The Sporting News:

““His [7-7] length. He’s got great timing, so you've got to be smart.” 

"He’s a big dude," UNC forward Brady Manek told The Sporting News. “He’s 7 foot tall. Really good around the rim, blocks shots, gets rebounds. It’s hard to guard a 7-footer in general and for him to be athletic, good hands, that’s why he’s so good.”

Williams has gotten most of his offense this year off lob passes and dump-offs when teammates break down defenses for him. He has been a monster finisher when he catches close to the basket. But his self-creation off post-ups hasn’t been quite as impressive. Those weaknesses have prevented him from rising further in the draft. He's more mechanical and predictable in those situations. 

"He loves the le Emporia State Hornets Jerseys ft shoulder in the post," UNC forward Leaky Black told The Sporting News. 

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Williams relies mostly on a righty hook off that left shoulder spin. He has hit only 7 of the 16 hook shots tracked by InStat scouting services, and he will need to improve that touch in the NBA. 

Williams is also a very limited jump shooter. He has shown some touch, drasti Bethel Wildcats Jerseys cally improving his free throw percentage from 54 percent as a rookie to 75 percent as a sophomore. But he wasn’t particularly close on the one 3-pointer he has taken this season. His results on practice shots during Friday’s open practice weren’t very impressive either. 

He does look a little bit better shooting jumpers from the free throw line and elbows. He has hit 5 of only 6 attempts from that midrange area this season. During the team’s open practice, he hit 13 of 20. There is some hope that he could learn to hit those reliably during the first few years of his NBA career, but don't expect him to stretch out to the 3-point line any time soon. 

Williams' intangibles also rate well. He's an extremely high-energy player who gets along well with others off the court. He described himself to The Sporting News as "pretty funny, pretty laid back, pretty chill," and his teammates agreed.

"Mark is one of the biggest personalities on the team," Banchero said. "He's always talking, always dancing. He's the biggest dude, but he's also the most active. Funniest. He's just a funny guy. Every time he dunks, he’s tapping his head. He’s a ball of energy, which is something you wouldn’t expect." 

"Mark is for sure a character," Moore said. "He’s 7-foot-1 but he acts like he's 6-foot-3. He'll try to crawl into small spaces. Even in the locker room back there, he was sitting in the locker room, he ha Florida vs. Georgia Rivalry Shirts d his legs all the way stretched out past Bates [Jones]. Mark's one of those people, he’s comfortable wherever he is."

Williams exuded that charm during his press conference, always smiling and answering the various questions directed at him with confidence. Perhaps the most serious moment came when he was discussing religion. 

"Faith’s really important," he said. "I pray before every game."

Williams is a high-floor prospect who is a safe bet for any team that doesn't want to swing on huge upside. He will probably ne NCAA Spirit shirt ver be a top-10 player in the league because of his offensive limitations. But he won't be a bust, either.  He has endeared himself to the Duke fan base and will likely do the same for whatever team ends up drafting him.

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