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"The Decision" will have to be made soon by Jordan Williams

POSTED February 08, 2011
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia

The crowd was chanting his name, the defending National Champion had no answer for him and the ESPN crew was drooling all over him as if he was Brett Favre.

Needless to say, Torrington’s Jordan Williams is doing pretty well for himself.

Williams, a sophomore center for the University of Maryland, notched his second 20-point, 10-rebound performance against Duke this season last Wednesday in the Terrapins’ loss to the Blue Devils. And for good measure, he followed that up with a career-high 27 points and 15 rebounds in a victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.

In total, Williams is averaging 17.7 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a contest. He leads the Nation with 20 double-doubles. Maryland’s opponents know he is the Terps’ biggest threat, but still can’t stop him.

You know where we’re heading with this.

Is Jordan Williams ready for the NBA? It’s pretty obvious this answer is a yes.

However, leaving school early for the league is a little more complicated than one may think.

One major factor Williams will need to weigh in this decision is the NBA’s current labor mess.

Like the NFL, a lockout is a huge possibility unless major strides are made between the league and the players union in the next few months. With that uncertainly, any player that leaves school early for the NBA faces the possibility of sitting around doing nothing for a year and not getting paid.

The pending NFL lockout did not seem to deter a slew of underclassmen from entering this draft. Back in 1998, the last time the NBA faced a lockout (half the season ended up getting canceled), 13 underclassmen alone were taken in the first round.

Is a year off the court something Williams would risk for an opportunity to be a first round pick? It’s a tough call.

Say the NBA gets its act together and next season goes on as scheduled. If Williams stays in school, gets hurt, and is not the same, he would be out millions of dollars. And, like anyone, would probably play the “What if?” game for the rest of his life.

If the NBA season is canceled next year and Williams entered the draft, he would lose valuable time that could've been used to improve his game at Maryland.

The fact that this is even a discussion is a huge credit to Williams, who has improved his game considerably since arriving at Maryland last season. When he gets the ball, he no longer first looks to swing it to someone else and instead looks to explode to the hoop. As Jay Bilas, arguably the leader of The Jordan Williams Fan Club, said on ESPN last week, it’s no coincidence that rebounds just find Williams. His positioning in the paint is impeccable. As an all-round player, he ranks with any center in the country.

Because of that, a huge decision to make looms for Williams a couple of months from now.

The Cavaliers, the Wizards, the Pacers, the Raptors and several other NBA teams can only wish right now that his answer will be a yes.

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