Duke basketball: 3 players who will stun the world next season

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 4

2. Duke basketball sophomore center Mark Williams

Go back and glance again at the above-the-rim highlights above from the big man’s last outing as a freshman.

The complete interior force that was Mark Williams powered Duke to disposing of Louisville in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Unfortunately, an ensuing positive COVID-19 test within the program squashed any hopes of the Blue Devils making a miraculous run to the ACC Tournament crown and an automatic invite to the Big Dance.

Don’t have time to watch the highlights? No worries, just one glance at Williams’ star-like stat line against the Cardinals should suffice: 23 points, 19 boards, one assist, one steal, one block, one turnover, three fouls, 9-for-14 from the field, and 5-for-9 from the foul line in 33 minutes of action.

Imagine that version of Mark Williams on a night-to-night basis next season.

Although the former five-star recruit out of Virginia averaged only 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds while learning to get on Mike Krzyzewski’s good side, there’s no denying Williams was on an upward trajectory across the final few weeks. Consider that five of his seven double-digit scoring outings as a freshman, not to mention his only two double-doubles, came in the last six games.

By sustaining such a dominant presence down low throughout his sophomore year, Williams should land a sizeable load of All-ACC honors while skyrocketing up draft boards.