A Year to Remember for Jordan Williams
The date was March 29, 2011.
On that day, the University of Maryland issued a press release stating its star forward, Jordan Williams of Torrington, Conn., decided to forego his final two years of eligibilty and test the waters of the NBA Draft. Since making that decision, Williams has been on a ride that the word 'memorable' may not be strong enough to describe.
Let's take a look back at the past 14 months for the former Torrington High basketball star and what also the future may hold:
June 23, 2011: Despite hopes of being selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, Williams slips to Round 2 (36th overall), but finds himself taken with a team that needed someone with his skill set - the New Jersey Nets.
July 1, 2011: Barely a week after the draft, the NBA locks out its players and rookies such as Williams are forced to miss important offseason programs, including the Las Vegas and Orlando summer leagues.
September 14, 2011: Williams goes to Las Vegas and joins other NBA players in a series of exhibition games. Amongst his competition included Chauncey Billups, John Wall and Mo Williams.
November 20, 2011: With the NBA lockout dragging on and no end in sight, Williams takes the floor in the I-95 Pro Jam charity game at Webster Bank Arena, playing with the likes of former Wilby star Ryan Gomes of the Los Angeles Clippers. Williams also announces, via Twitter, that he signed a deal to play in Poland until the end of the lockout, if that day would come.
November 25-26, 2011: In the middle of the night, an agreement is reached between the NBA and the Players Association to end the lockout and start a 66-game season on Christmas Day. Having just arrived in Poland, Williams boards a plane and heads back for training camp with the Nets.
December 8, 2011: On the first day of training camp, Williams signs his first NBA contract. Although it was just a formality for the Nets, this was a huge moment for Williams as his NBA dream was made official.
December 14, 2011: Williams suffers from what head coach Avery Johnson calls "severe dehydration" during practice, causing him to miss the rest of training camp and the start of the regular season.
January 2, 2012: In the Nets' sixth game of the season, Williams makes his NBA debut against the Indiana Pacers at the Prudential Center, registering three minutes of playing time. Two days later at Boston, Williams nets his first NBA basket with a jumper over Kevin Garnett and finishes with four points and five rebounds in an 89-70 loss.
January 18, 2012: Due to lack of playing time, the Nets assign Williams to their D-League team in Springfield, Mass. Williams takes advantage of the situation, averaging 10.5 points per game and nearly eight rebounds in six contests.
February 1-6, 2012: Just two days into his return to the Nets, Williams averages nine points and five rebounds over a four-game stretch against the Pistons, Timberwolves, Knicks and Bulls.
March 23, 2012: After seeing little playing time for a month, Williams is inserted back into the Nets' regular rotation, seeing double digits in playing time in each of his last 17 appearances.
April 6, 2012: Williams scores a career-high 14 points in the Nets' 110-98 victory over the Washington Wizards in Newark.
April 14, 2012: Williams records first his double-double with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds against the Celtics. Two days later, Williams makes his first NBA start in a loss to LeBron and friends.
April 26, 2012: In the Nets' season finale, Williams starts, plays a career-high 39 minutes and notches 10 points and 10 rebounds.
To say Williams' season saw a lot of highs and lows would be an understatement. From the draft to the lockout to Poland to the NBA, Williams received a crash course in professional sports and what it brings from business to competition. In the end, Williams perservered, fought and proved there's a place for him in the NBA. Going forward, the days look even brighter for Williams and the Nets, as they begin their endeavor next season in Brooklyn.