Basketball Analyst & Author
Former standout point guard Jay Williams, roundly considered one of the most prolific college basketball players in history, is an NBA analyst on ESPN’s longstanding NBA pregame show NBA Countdown. Williams has also co-hosted ESPN Radio’s weekday morning show, Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin, with Keyshawn Johnson and Zubin Mehenti – which became Keyshawn, JWill, and Max with Max Kellerman. The show – which airs from 6-10 a.m. ET – is also simulcast on ESPN2 and ESPNEWS. Williams regularly contributes across the network’s studio programming including Get Up, First Take, and The Jump.
Williams became an ESPN full-time game and studio analyst in after working for the network as a commentator. Williams joined at the start of the 2014-15 season as an analyst on ESPN’s College GameDay – the popular Saturday morning and evening college basketball program that originates from the Saturday Primetime game-of-the-week telecasts. He was a constant on ESPN and ESPN2’s weeknight studio coverage, called select college games throughout the year and had previously called the ESPNU ACC Sunday Night Basketball series.
Before joining ESPN, Williams was an analyst for CBS College Sports Network, primarily working the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. He previously was a contributor to Fox Sports Radio 99.9 The Fan in North Carolina.
As a starter for three years at Duke, Williams won the Naismith College Player of the Year award, the John R. Wooden Award, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
Williams averaged 19.3 points per game, 6.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds for the Blue Devils, while shooting .453 from the floor and .393 from 3-point range. He also led Duke to a 95-13 (.880) record and the 2001 NCAA National Championship. He averaged double figures as a freshman, which helped earn him the ACC Rookie of the Year award and recognition as a first-team All-America player.
In his sophomore season with the Blue Devils, Williams shattered several school and NCAA records. With 841 points and a 25.7 ppg average, he topped Dick Groat’s 49-year-old record for most points in a season. Williams also set an NCAA Tournament record for 3-pointers attempted with 66. His 132 3-point field goals amounted to the sixth-highest total in NCAA history; his conference-leading 21.6 ppg designated him as the first Duke player to lead the ACC in scoring since Danny Ferry in 1989. Williams’ 6.1 assists ranked second in the league, while he also ranked second in 3-point field goal percentage (.427) and first in 3-pointers made (3.4 per game).
At the final game in his junior year, Williams’ No. 22 jersey was retired at Cameron Indoor Stadium. His jersey also has been retired at his elementary school and high school.
Williams was drafted second by Chicago in the 2002 NBA Draft, just behind No. 1 pick Yao Ming, and started 54 of 75 games for the Bulls in the 2002-03 season. During his first season in the NBA, his most memorable performance was a game against his hometown team, the New Jersey Nets, during which Williams scored a triple-double. He also played for the U.S. National team in the 2002 FIBA World Championship.
An accomplished entrepreneur and spokesperson, Williams is the CEO and National Director of Special Events for Rising Stars Youth Foundation using basketball as the vehicle to promote education and provide academic and financial assistance to students within the program. He is also the President and Chairman of his own company, Jay LLC.
He is a member of the NBA Retired Players Association, a voting member of the John Wooden Awards Committee and sits on the board of USA Basketball, and has been the spokesperson for Athletic Advantage, a sports physical therapy and performance development center in Durham, N.C.
Williams graduated from Duke with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and business, becoming the first athlete at the university to earn a degree in just three years.
In his remarks, Jay Williams shares the heartbreaking and uplifting story of his rise to NBA stardom, the terrible accident that ended his career and plunged him into a life-altering depression, and how he ultimately found his way out of the darkness.