In the chapters of his basketball life, the end of Jay Williams’ college basketball career is what he most fondly remembers.
Not necessarily the accomplishments, like his second national player of the year award captured in 2002 or the NCAA championship he helped Duke win the previous season, but simply how several influences came together to shape him into the person he wasn’t sure he could become.
“To win the title was a great thing and to win individual honors, but they pale in comparison to how my family and Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski orchestrated a plan to me to graduate in three years and laid a foundation that no one could ever take away from me,” Williams said.
Williams will speak to that and his Blue Devils’ career, when he averaged 19.3 points, 6.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds, on Sunday at the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at The Midland in downtown Kansas City.
He joins a class of such basketball stars as Tim Duncan, who launched his great NBA career at Wake Forest, where he was a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, and Gonzaga star John Stockton, the NBA’s career assist leader.
Also entering in the Class of 2017 are Indiana’s Scott May, the 1976 national player of the year and a leader on the sport’s last undefeated team, and Purdue sharpshooter Rick Mount, who led the Boilermakers to the 1969 NCAA final.
Paul Silas, who set an NCAA career rebounding record for three seasons at Creighton and one of the NBA’s top defensive players of the 1970s, enters the all, along with Cleo Hill.
Hill, a star at Winston-Salem State from 1957-61, was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Hawks, whose management told the coach to freeze Hill out the offense so his white teammates could take more shots. The coach, Paul Seymour, resigned in protest and Hill didn’t play in the NBA after his rookie season.
Bo Ryan, who led Wisconsin to two Final Fours and Wisconsin-Platteville to four NCAA Division III national championships, is the lone coach inducted in this class.
Williams’ playing days ended before his second NBA season, when he was involved in a motorcycle crash and severed the main nerve in his leg and a fractured pelvis, among other injuries. His comeback attempt three years later wasn’t successful and his life then became complicated with depression and addiction to painkillers.
Williams opened up in his 2016 book, “Life Is Not An Accident,” billed as a “memoir of reinvention. His career at ESPN as a game and studio analyst started in 2008 and he’s been part of the network’s “College GameDay” program since 2015.
When the hall call came, Williams, 36, was caught off guard.
“I was taken aback,” Williams said. “To be part of a class with guys like Tim Duncan, John Stockton, Paul Silas and all those names. To know I’ll be associated with them, it’s moving and little difficult to comprehend.”
National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction
When: 7:30-9 p.m. Sunday
Where: Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
Tickets: Available at halloffameweekend.com
CBE Classic tournament
At the Sprint Center
Creighton vs. UCLA, 6 p.m.
Baylor vs. Wisconsin, about 8:30 p.m.
Third-place game, 6:30 p.m.
Championship, about 9 p.m.
Tickets: At the Sprint Center box office or AXS.com