Jayson Williams is a retired professional basketball player who played for the Chicago Bulls. Born on September 10, 1981, he grew up in New Jersey where he attended St. Joseph High School. He was a good sportsman at high school and played basketball and soccer. He also excelled at chess, and was nicknamed “Jay Dubbs”. He graduated from high school in 1999, and then enrolled at college. He played junior varsity soccer in his freshman year, along with varsity volleyball and basketball. In basketball, he was selected to the First Team All-State and was named the New Jersey Player of the Year, Parade All American and USA Today first team All American. He also participated in the McDonald’s Slam Dunk Contest, in which he scored 20 points. Williams received the 1999 Morgan Wootten Award for his achievements in basketball as well as maintaining a 3.6 Grade Point Average.
Williams attended Duke University, where he continued to play basketball for the Duke University Blue Devils. He was an immediate success at college, and was one of the few freshmen to who averaged double figures. He was named the ACC Rookie of the Year as well as the National Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News. His average was 14.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. He was also named a First Team All American by the Basketball Times. In his second year at Duke, he started for the Blue Devils in all 39 games and helped his team to win the NCAA National Championship. He won the NABC Player of the Year Award. He broke a 49 year old record for scoring the most points in a season, which was previously held by Dick Groat. He had the highest tournament average, and also held a number of other records such as the record for three pointers attempted and for scoring at least 600 points in a season.
By now, Jayson Williams had come to be known as the best college basketball player at the time. He was awarded the Naismith Award and Wooden Award as the Player of the Year in 2002. He graduated from college in 2002, with a degree in Sociology. He had a total of 2079 points at the end of his college career, and his jersey number 22 was retired when he graduated from college. In the 2002 NBA Draft, he was selected by the Chicago Bulls. He had a rickety start to his professional career, but soon afterwards he had a motorcycle accident when he drove his bike into a traffic light. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of his accident, and did not have a license to drive in Illinois. He suffered severe injuries to his leg and required extensive physical therapy to regain the use of his legs.
He was not entitled to his salary while he was injured, but instead received a $3 million waiver which contributed towards his medical bills. In the meantime, he worked on his recovery and sometimes commentatated for college games. He was briefly drafted by the New Jersey Nets but shortly released from his contract. He also briefly played for the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League but was let go due to injury. After officially retiring from basketball, Jayson Williams now works as a commentator, basketball analyst motivational speaker and recruiter.