Mark Williams joins 2 Duke basketball legends in exclusive club

Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball sophomore Mark Williams has become an epic shot-blocker.

Across the past four Duke basketball games, Mark Williams has totaled 20 blocked shots. That includes a career-high eight in the team’s home victory over NC State on Saturday and no fewer than three in any of the other three outings.

Sure, the No. 6 Duke Blue Devils (14-3, 4-2 ACC) went only 2-2 in their past four contests, with wins over Wake Forest and NC State sandwiched between losses to Miami and Florida State. Nevertheless, according to a tweet on Thursday from the program’s official account for stats, the individual shot-blocking feat puts the sophomore center in elite company as a Blue Devil.

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Only two other Duke big men in history have reached 20 blocks or more in a four-game span. They are former four-year Blue Devil legends Shelden Williams (2002-06) and Mike Gminiski (1976-80). And they still rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the program’s all-time blocks list as their jersey numbers forever hang from the Cameron Indoor Stadium rafters.

More such spans to come from the Duke basketball 7-footer?

As the tweet from Duke pointed out, Shelden Williams and Mike Gminski each registered 20-plus blocks across four outings on multiple occasions for the Blue Devils.

Now, although this is just Mark Williams’ first time doing so, his boxscores this season — especially the most recent ones — suggest it might well not be his last. After all, his average of 6.4 blocks per 40 minutes this go-round is almost two better than the 4.6 blocks per 40 minutes that Shelden Williams averaged in his record-breaking senior campaign (137 swats in 2005-06).

Mark Williams and the Duke Blue Devils will try to bounce back from Tuesday night’s loss at Florida State when they host the Syracuse Orange at noon ET Saturday.

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Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more on Mark Williams’ historic shot-blocking stats plus other Duke basketball news and views.