GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 10: Jordan Williams #20 of the Maryland Terrapins shoots against Tracy Smith #23 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first half of the game in the first round of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 10, 2011 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Just got home to the news that Maryland's star center, Jordan Williams, is hiring an agent and staying in the draft. The news originally came from the WaPo, and he's already tweeted about his decision.
Williams' departure isn't exactly a surprise - this has been the most likely course for some time now, as I've said before. Too many stars aligned for him to stay out. Frankly, Jordan isn't really the prototypical first-rounder; he might have a wildly successful NBA career, but front offices tend to shy away from prospects like him so early (see: Dejuan Blair). With a bunch of guys staying in college, Williams has a great shot at a first round pick that may not exist later on.
That said, it still hurts. A lot. Williams was absurdly productive and carried Maryland's team for much of last season. His productivity faltered down the stretch, but he was an all-ACC first teamer last year for good reason. He actually held a great chance of becoming ACC POY last season, and given that the core around him was strong and mostly returning (Terrell Stoglin in particular), most people felt like his return would give the Terrapins a shot at national prominence.
Instead, it looks like next year will be similar to this past season. With improved guard play and strong play from freshman Nick Faust and Martin Breunig, Maryland may be able to play their way into a bubble spot. But with a frontcourt made up of James Padgett (who has shown little), Ashton Pankey (who hasn't played in two years), and Berend Weijs (who's a razor-thin JuCo), Maryland will be at a massive disadvantage against any team with even decent post play.
We'll have more coming up later.