Days after the annoucement that served to devastate Tar Heel Nation, Duke fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief, after being assured that the only critical loss from this year's sweet sixteen squad will be Daniel Ewing, who stands to graduate the May with a degree in African American Studies. Shelden Williams is staying, and will form a core with fellow high profile seniors J.J. Reddick, Sean Dockery, Shavlik Randolph and Lee Melchioni on a run to lead the 2005-2006 Blue Devils to the promised land.
Williams said in a statement Monday that he has decided to pursue his goal of earning a degree.
"For that reason along with others, I am going to pass on the opportunity to enter the NBA draft," Williams said in a statement. "I am looking forward to finishing off my academic career with a degree and also returning to the playing court to help Duke compete for the national championship next season."
Williams averaged 15.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots while helping Duke to a 27-6 record and the ACC tournament championship last season.
The announcement means Duke will return two first-team all-conference performers in Williams and senior J.J. Redick, and add a strong recruiting class that includes forward Josh McRoberts and guard Greg Paulus. [espn][si]
I love how every story can't help but mention that the UNC squad will be basically running on fumes this year. This is not about them. Let it go! The ACC ought to be interesting next year, given the decimation of the carolina squad, and the decision of guys like Chris Paul (wf), Jarret Jack (gt), John Gilchrist (md) to jump ship. [full list]