11:06am: Several college basketball writers, including Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter links), are now reporting that Williams will return to Texas A&M for his sophomore season.
11:02am: Texas A&M big man Robert Williams is viewed as a potential lottery pick in the 2017 NBA draft, but the big man may end up not leaving school quite yet. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter), Williams is leaning “strongly” toward returning to the Aggies for his sophomore year.
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In his first year at Texas A&M, the 19-year-old Williams averaged 11.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 2.5 BPG in 25.8 minutes per contest. He is ranked as this year’s 10th-best overall prospect by DraftExpress and places 13th in Chad Ford’s top 100 at ESPN.com.
In a mock draft last month, Ford projected Williams as the No. 14 overall pick, noting that the youngster’s “athleticism and defensive potential are off the charts.” Ford also wrote earlier in March that NBA scouts are becoming convinced that Williams is more than just an athletic shot blocker.
NCAA underclassmen have until April 23 to declare for the draft. They would then have another month to withdraw their names if they test the waters without an agent and don’t like what they hear, so Williams still has plenty of time to make his decision. If he does opt to return to Texas A&M for his sophomore year, it could give him a chance to further develop his game, perhaps turning some of his raw potential into more NBA-ready skills.