The Arkansas Basketball team has been playing terrific basketball as of late, currently enjoying a streak that includes winning 10 of their last 11 games.
Wins against the No. 1 team in college basketball (Auburn) and a road win against then-ranked No. 12 LSU have powered the Hogs back into the Top 25 rankings.
A big reason for the team’s success has been the team’s unsung hero, Jaylin Williams. The Fort Smith, Ark. native is literally getting better every week— just look at his stats from the first half of the season to now.
Since Jan. 4 he’s averaging 13.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg and 1.8 spg in 30+ minutes per game. That’s on par, or even better in some statistical areas that potential No. 1 draft pick Jabari Smith has been doing this season. The Auburn freshman is averaging 15.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1 bpg and 1.3 spg this season.
Don’t even mention that fact that he’s one tough player that is not afraid to draw multiple charges on a given night. He’s had nights where he’s earned 3+, 4+ charges, which is unheard of in today’s game.
Arkansas Basketball player Jaylin Williams shooting up 2022 NBA Draft boards?
I’m not condoning that J-Will should be in contention for being selected near the top of the 2022 NBA Draft, but I am trying to make the case that he’s being criminally underrated by draft experts.
Some of these experts are starting to pay attention to Williams’ momentum and are keeping an eye on how much he’s improved.
In mid-January, Bleacher Report had the 6’10” sophomore just outside their top-50 overall NBA prospects.
Here’s the brief scouting report they had on him:
"Williams played a key role in Arkansas’ weekend win over LSU, finishing with 11 points, 13 rebounds, three steals and four drawn charges. Defensive and passing IQ (3.2 assists per game) are his differentiating strengths. Showing he can make open jumpers (4-of-18 3PT) could really turn Williams into an interesting, draftable prospect."
Fast forward to mid-February and he’s now listed as the No. 43 prospect in the upcoming draft. As a reminder, there are typically 60 players selected in the draft— 30 in the first round and 30 in the second round.
So as of right now, Williams would be taken in the middle of the second round. However, with a strong finish to the season and showing the rest of the country what he can do in the SEC Tournament and the NCAA Men’s March Madness Tournament, he very well may be a lock to be a first-round pick.
It’ll be sad to see J-Will leave early, but there will be NBA teams lined up to get Williams on their roster come draft day. If he has some assurances that he’ll be a first round pick, he should definitely take it make fulfil what has surely been a life-long dream: become an NBA player.