And it's not a journalist's guess this time: it's the real deal. Everyone's favorite Dukie-dunking-on, mean-scowl-giving, chin-bearded sophomore big man was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Watch List released earlier today.
It's a grand total of 50 players, so calling it a "shortlist" would be a bit of an overstatement, but it's certainly indicative of how far Williams surpassed expectations and just how much potential he has.
Ranked at the bottom end of the top 150 by most ranking services coming out of HS, Williams cemented himself as a starter his freshman season with a double-double against Villanova, and turned out great performances later in the year against Duke, Virginia Tech, Houston, and Michigan State. The Houston game was probably his high point of the year: after all, he dropped 21 and 17 in his first NCAAT game, a Joe Smith-worthy stat line. The year was an undoubted, and surprising, success.
Plus, there was this:
Feast your eyes.
Williams still needs to work on some fundamentals and slim down a tad, but given his strong hands, strength, surprising athleticism, and deft touch, he should be one of the best post players in the ACC...again. Work out his FT stroke, and he'll be a seriously dangerous force this year.