Arkansas fans ready to see where Williams Lands in NBA Draft

Razorback sophomore forward Jaylin Williams from Ft. Smith, AR takes questions from reporters after their NCAA selection party at the Broyles Athletic Center inside the SEC Club in Fayetteville, AR.

By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE — The 2022 NBA Draft will be Thursday night and Arkansas fans will be tuned in to see where Jaylin Williams lands.

Williams, 6-10, 235, opted to leave Arkansas following his sophomore season. The former Fort Smith Northside standout had a very good sophomore season while helping the Razorbacks get to their second Elite 8 in as many years.

As a sophomore, Williams played in 37 games with 35 starts. He averaged 31.7 minutes per game. Williams scored at a 10.9 points per game clip and 9.8 rebounds each outing. He shot 46.1% from the field, 23.9 from 3-point land and 72.9 at the free throw line. He dished out 95 assists on the season and topped the team with 41 blocked shots.

The projections for Williams are all over the place in most instances. NBADraft.net has him the No. 24 prospect on their Top-100 board. In their mock draft, NBADraft.net has him going No. 26 to the Houston Rockets in Round 1.

ESPN has Williams going early in the second round at No. 34-overall pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder. That would be the fourth pick of Round 2.

The Athletic has Williams being drafted later. They have him taken at No. 47 by the Memphis Grizzlies. That is one of the lower projections for Williams.

Numerous other mock drafts have Williams going in a space between where NBADraft.net has him projected to the one by The Athletic. Hogville.net’s Kevin McPherson has followed Williams’ career from a younger age to the University of Arkansas and now beyond to the NBA.

“Jaylin Williams when you look at him coming into the University of Arkansas a Top-100 prospect,” McPherson said. “He wasn’t on any big boards or drafts no one was talking about that.”

That is understandable when one considers Williams’ freshman season with the Hogs. He played in 26 games with only five starts while averaging 15.4 minutes per game. He averaged 3.7 points and pulled down 4.7 boards each each game.

“The success Arkansas has had his first two seasons, getting to back-to-back Elite 8’s, and the kind of player he has shown to be in his development one of the things that gets noticed on that kind of large stage and getting that exposure in big games is he has all the soft skills,” McPherson said. “He can face the basket, is an excellent passer and such a weapon as a passer. He has been a volume rebounder throughout his career. You get a guy that is going to take charges and get in the right spot defensively.”

McPherson said Williams wouldn’t be viewed as a franchise player, but someone like a Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. Everyone wants to compare to him.

“Not a big offensive threat, but he does so many things at both ends to make a team better,” McPherson said. “Jaylin is that kind of guy. A different position, but that’s the value he brings.”

McPherson said Williams has worked out for such teams as the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors as well as others such as San Antonio Spurs showing interest recently. McPherson has talked to NBA scouts who have exchanged information about Williams.

“It does look like his stock has improved,” McPherson said. “Thursday night I’m thinking Jaylin is looking at late first, maybe early second round. The mid-second round I would say now is probably now the worst case.”

Arkansas guard JD Notae is projected to be an undrafted free agent. 

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