Jay Williams (basketball)

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Jay Williams
Jay Williams ESPN.jpg
Williams on ESPN
Personal information
Born (1981-09-10) September 10, 1981 (age 35)
Plainfield, New Jersey
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school St. Joseph (Metuchen, New Jersey)
College Duke (1999–2002)
NBA draft 2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career 2002–2006
Position Point guard
Number 22
Career history
2002–2003 Chicago Bulls
2006 Austin Toros
Career highlights and awards
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2017

Jason David "Jay" Williams (born September 10, 1981) is an American former basketball player and current college basketball analyst. He played college basketball for the Duke University Blue Devils and professionally for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA. He last signed with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, but was waived by the Toros on December 30, 2006 due to lingering physical effects from a 2003 motorcycle accident.[1] Although he had been known as Jason, he asked to be called Jay on joining the Bulls in 2002, to avoid confusion with two other players in the NBA at the time, Jason Williams and Jayson Williams.

High school[edit]

The 6-foot-2-inch (1.88 m), 195-pound (88 kg) point guard grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, and attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, graduating in 1999. He not only excelled at basketball, but took an active interest in other activities, most notably chess. His nickname in high school was "Jay Dubs." Williams also played junior varsity soccer during his freshman year and varsity volleyball during his senior year. In basketball that year, Williams was named a First Team All-State Player in New Jersey, the New Jersey Player of the Year, a Parade All-American, a USA Today first team All-American, and a McDonald's All-American, where he competed in the Slam Dunk Contest and the McDonald's All-American Game, scoring 20 points in the contest. He was also named the recipient of the 1999 Morgan Wootten Award for his basketball achievements and his work in the classroom, where he maintained a 3.6 GPA.

College career[edit]

At Duke, Williams became one of the few freshmen in school history to average double figures in scoring and was named ACC Rookie of the Year and National Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News, averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He was also a first team Freshman All-American by Basketball Times.

The next season Williams started all 39 games and led the Devils to the 2001 NCAA National Championship, earning NABC Player of the Year honors. His 841 points broke Dick Groat's 49-year Duke record for points in a season, while he led all tournament scorers with a 25.7 ppg average. Williams also set the NCAA Tournament record for three-pointers attempted (66), while also making 132 three-point field goals—good for the sixth-highest total in NCAA history. His 21.6 ppg led the ACC and made him the first Duke player since Danny Ferry (1989) to lead the league in scoring. His 6.1 assists were good for second in the league, while he also ranked second in three-point field goal percentage (.427) and first in three-pointers made (3.4 per game). Williams was widely considered the best player in college basketball, earning both the prestigious Naismith Award and Wooden Award as College Basketball's Player of the Year in 2002. He graduated with a degree in Sociology in 2002, and left Duke with 2,079 points, good for sixth all-time, and with his jersey number 22 retired at Senior Day.

He had 36 double-figure scoring games in a single season (tied for 5th-most in Duke history as of March 28, 2010, with Jon Scheyer, Shane Battier, and J.J. Redick).[2]

In 2001–02, Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavy Jr. each scored at least 600 points for the season, a feat only matched at Duke by Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith in the 2009–10 season.[2] Williams (841) and Shane Battier (778) on the 2001 national championship team were one of only two Duke duos to each score over 700 points in a season, the other duo being Scheyer (728) and Singler (707) in the 2009–10 season.[3]

College statistics[edit]

1999–2000 Duke 34 34 34.0 .419 .354 .685 4.2 6.5 2.4 .2 14.5
2000–01 Duke 39 39 31.8 .473 .427 .659 3.3 6.1 2.0 .1 21.6
2001–02 Duke 35 35 33.6 .457 .383 .676 3.5 5.3 2.2 .1 21.3
Career 108 108 33.1 .453 .393 .671 3.7 6.0 2.2 .0 19.3

NBA career[edit]

Williams was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, after Yao Ming was selected by the Houston Rockets.

He played for the US national team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship.[4]

Williams was a starter in the Bulls' line-up for most of the 2002–03 NBA season. Although his performance was inconsistent and he competed for playing time with Jamal Crawford, he showed signs of promise including posting a triple-double in a win over his homestate team, the New Jersey Nets.

Motorcycle accident[edit]

On the night of June 19, 2003, Williams crashed his Yamaha R6 motorcycle into a streetlight at the intersection of Fletcher and Honore streets on Chicago's North Side. Williams was not wearing a helmet, was not licensed to ride a motorcycle in Illinois, and was also violating the terms of his Bulls contract by riding a motorcycle.[5] Williams injuries included a severed main nerve in his leg, fractured pelvis and three dislocated ligaments in his left knee including the ACL. He required physical therapy to regain the use of his leg. A week after the motorcycle crash the Bulls drafted point guard Kirk Hinrich. When it became clear Williams would not be returning to the Bulls for a long time, if at all, because of his injuries, he was waived. The Bulls legally did not have to pay him any salary because his injuries occurred while he was violating his contract by riding a motorcycle. Instead the Bulls gave Williams $3 million when they waived him, which Williams could use toward future rehabilitation expenses. Williams stated at the time that he would continue to train and make a return to the Bulls, but in his 2016 memoir he mentioned that a lot of the Bulls' severance package fueled his addiction to illegal pain killers. In the interim, he appeared in college and high school basketball broadcasts on ESPN as a commentator.

Return to basketball[edit]

Williams made an attempt to continue playing basketball. Although the Bulls no longer expressed much interest, on September 28, 2006, the New Jersey Nets announced that it had signed Williams to a non-guaranteed contract, giving Williams the opportunity to play in his home state. However, less than a month later on October 22, the Nets released Williams.[6]

He then signed with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, but on December 30, 2006, the Toros waived him due to injury.[7]

Williams subsequently announced that he has no plans to resume his basketball career. He did, however, complete a tryout with the Miami Heat prior to the 2010–11 NBA season, but was not picked up by the Heat.

Post-basketball career[edit]

Williams works for ESPN as a college basketball analyst.[8] He has also done motivational speaking and worked as an analyst on CBS College Sports Network during the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.[9] He was a recruiter for sports agency Ceruzzi Sports and Entertainment from 2007–09.[10] In 2016, Williams released his autobiography, "Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention".[11] Presently, Williams is the Spokesperson of Visions Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Endwell, New York.


  1. ^ "The Official Site Of The Nba Development League: Austin Toros". Nba.com. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Notes: Duke 78, Baylor 71 – Duke University Blue Devils | Official Athletics Site". GoDuke.com. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Notes: Duke 61, Butler 59 – Duke University Blue Devils | Official Athletics Site". GoDuke.com. December 5, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2010. 
  4. ^ 2002 USA Basketball Archived 2010-01-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Ian Thomsen (July 7, 2003). "After Jay Williams's motorcycle crash, the Bulls' new G.M. – 07.07.03 – SI Vault". Vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ "ESPN – Jay Williams, in comeback attempt, cut by Nets – NBA". Sports.espn.go.com. October 23, 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ "NBA Development League: Transactions Index". Nba.com. November 27, 2009. Archived from the original on November 1, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  8. ^ ESPN MediaZone (2010). Williams is widely known for being the Spokesperson of Visions Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Endwell, New York. Jay Williams. Accessed June 23, 2012.
  9. ^ "'Active' Noah's NBA debut a rare bright spot". Daily Herald. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 
  10. ^ Rivals.com (2009). Agents and AAU: Unrequited Love. Accessed June 23, 2012.
  11. ^ Williams, Jay (26 January 2016). Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention. Harper. p. 272. ISBN 0062327984. Retrieved 2 February 2016. 

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