FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams has to decide if he wants to shove all his chips to the middle of the table this month.
Multiple reports Wednesday he was invited to the NBA Combine later this month actually doesn’t give anyone a clue what direction he might be leaning, either.
He’s kept all options open, including a possible return to the Razorbacks, by not hiring an agent. Most of his time has been spent in Florida training in Miami.
The Hogs will be highly-regarded regardless of his choice. If he came back, though, the odds of getting a ring and becoming a statewide legend go to a level not seen around here since the mid-1990’s.
It might be a good guess if that doesn’t at least cross his mind during this process. Williams is eligible to participate in the combine as well as any individual team interviews or workouts without jeopardizing his collegiate eligibility.
All options are on the table, which is probably keeping some Razorback fans up at night.
The Hogs are full at the 13-scholarship maximum for 2022-23. Williams coming back is probably a scenario Arkansas coach Eric Musselman already has a plan to deal with.
He would deal with it, though.
Williams earned first-team All-SEC and SEC All-Defensive honors after a big year averaging 10.9 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. He shot 46.1% from the field and 72.9% at the free-throw line.
He had 16 double-doubles on the season.
His numbers were even better in SEC play, increasing to 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. He scored a career-high 22 points at Alabama in February and pulled down a personal-best 16 boards in a home win over Tennessee.
Williams averaged 14.25 points and 11.75 rebounds in four NCAA Tournament games (double-doubles in each), good enough to earn him a spot on the NCAA Tournament All-West Region Team.
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He finished with 15 points and 12 boards in Arkansas’ thrilling Sweet 16 victory over top-overall seed Gonzaga and followed up with 19 points and 10 boards against Duke in the Elite Eight.
Improving as the season played out and getting better as opponents got better may have pushed him into a late first round draft choice.
How he plays at the combine in Chicago on May 16-22 will likely be the final determining factor.
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