MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia junior forward Devin Williams, the Big 12 leader in double-doubles this season, plans to make himself available for the upcoming NBA draft.
“This is something I’ve thought about over and over, and I believe that this is the best decision for me and my family,” Williams said in a school-issued release. “I can’t say enough about the three years I have had at West Virginia University. At the same time, I’m grateful to be in this position to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream.”
Over three seasons and 102 games with the Mountaineers, Williams posted career averages of 11.1 points and 8.3 rebounds and became almost iconic with his game goggles. This season he earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and compiled 13.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 16 double-doubles. His 225 free-throw attempts are 25 more than conference runner-up Buddy Hield entering the Final Four.
“I can’t say enough about the three years I have had at West Virginia University. At the same time, I’m grateful to be in this position to be able to fulfill a lifelong dream.” — Devin Williams
Though Williams hasn’t referenced signing an agent in the run-up to the draft, a move that would cement his exit, the WVU release include a resolute-sounding quote from coach Bob Huggins.
“We support Devin in his decision to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a professional basketball player,” said coach Bob Huggins. “We wish him nothing but the best and appreciate his contributions and the impact that he has had on Mountaineer Basketball.”
Huggins has long contended his 6-foot-9 power forward from Cincinnati would enjoy a pro basketball career, whether it’s in the NBA or one of the lucrative leagues in Europe. Williams compensates for difficulties inside against shot-blockers by featuring an 18-foot range on his jumper.
Williams’ signing coincided with the Mountaineers’ recovering from a 13-19 dropoff in 2013, the first losing record posted by a Huggins team since 1985. During Williams’ three years in Morgantown, WVU never failed to reach a postseason tournament, following up the 2014 NIT with back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.
Williams produced a monster game against Kansas in the Big 12 tournament championship game, producing 31 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and two assists. In the NCAA first-round loss to Stephen F. Austin, he struggled with 3-of-10 shooting for 12 points but grabbed 17 rebounds.
Coincidentally, the 2016 NBA draft will be held June 23 at Barclays Center, the site where Williams’ college career ended
“I would like to thank my teammates, coach Huggins and the coaching staff, Mr. Lyons, President Gee, all of the basketball support staff and the entire Mountaineer Nation for all their guidance and support during the last three years,” said Williams. “This has been a tremendous experience for me and I will always be a Mountaineer.”