Duke basketball: 6 players who could turn pro early

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Probable Duke basketball early departee: Mark Williams

Because Mark Williams struggled to find his confidence across the first three games this season, his name is now nonexistent on many mock drafts. But some draft experts must not have been paying attention as the 7-foot, 245-pound sophomore asserted his dominance in the paint on Tuesday night, to the tune of 13 points and six blocks in 21 minutes against Gardner-Webb.

All in all, the Virginia native, who was the lowest-ranked five-star at No. 28 on the 247Sports 2020 Composite, looked like the same Mark Williams who discovered his role and excelled in it during the homestretch last season. A couple of more outings like his last should result in the lengthy, intelligent Williams climbing back into the first round on draft boards.

Furthermore, Duke basketball’s commitments from Kyle Filipowski and Dereck Lively, two big men in the 2022 class who rank inside the top 10 overall, may point to a presumption within the program that Williams will no longer be in Durham at this time next year.

Prediction: Mark Williams turns pro after this season.