COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Duke University’s (N.C.) Shelden Williams (Forest Park, Okla.), who helped lead the 2005 USA World University Games Team to a gold medal and a perfect 8-0 record in Izmir, Turkey, was selected the 2005 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year by the USA Basketball Executive Committee.
“It is an honor to come in and play for your country and on top of that being awarded with this award is something that is still kind of amazing,” said Williams. “I never thought that I would put myself in position to be considered as one of the candidates for player of the year. To be considered one is just a complete and unbelievable honor.”
“The USA Basketball Executive Committee identified a well-deserving athlete for this award,” said
USA Basketball Executive Director Jim Tooley. “Shelden Williams was our team’s leading scorer and rebounder, and his outstanding performance at the World University Games was a major factor in the team’s undefeated record and gold medal finish.”
“Shelden Williams has a unique combination of talent, intelligence and humility,” said USA World University Games Team and Villanova University (Pa.) head coach Jay Wright. “It was an honor to coach him. He inspired our players, on the court and off the court, to represent the United States with pride. He is well-deserving of this honor.”
Williams’ selection makes him the fourth Blue Devil to earn the award, marking the first program to boast that many USA Basketball Male Athletes of the Year. Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rival University of North Carolina lists as the only other school to have at least three honorees. Duke’s previous three USA Basketball award winners were Elton Brand (1998), Chris Duhon (2001) and Christian Laettner (1991 and 1992 as a member of the ‘92 Olympic Team, which earned the award as a group).
“It is a statement of how hard we work in our program and the habits we show on and off the court,” stated Williams after hearing he was the fourth Duke athlete to garner the award. “We have a great group of coaches teaching and instilling in us the habits we need to learn to be successful in life and also on the court. The players at Duke take that to heart and are very successful because of that.”
In capturing the 2005 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year honor, Williams not only is eligible for the 2005 U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Male Athlete of the Year Award which will be announced by the USOC at a later date, but he also enters into impressive company of previous USA Basketball honorees.
In its 26th year, the USA Basketball Athlete of the Year award has been garnered by notable athletes such as Ray Allen (1995), Tim Duncan (2003), Michael Jordan (1983, 1984, as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team), Reggie Miller (2002), Alonzo Mourning (1990, 2000), Shaquille O’Neal (1994), Gary Payton (1999), Scottie Pippen (as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team, 1996), David Robinson (1986, as a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team) and Isiah Thomas (1980).
As a member of the 2005 USA World University Games Team that rolled to an 8-0 record and earned the gold medal, Williams was the USA’s leading scorer (14.9 ppg.) and rebounder, (9.3 rpg.), while also shooting 62.0 percent from the field and swatting 18 shots, which ranks No. 2 among the USA’s all-time World University Games top shot blockers. Williams finished the 30-team World University Games tournament ranked 17th among all participants for scoring, second for blocked shots (2.25 bpg.), third for offensive rebounds per game (4.5), fifth for rebounds and ninth for field goal percentage.
2005 marked Williams’ second stint in a USA Basketball uniform after previously competing as a member of the 2001 USA Basketball Men’s Youth Development Festival South Team that claimed the bronze medal with a 3-2 record. He capped the tournament as the Festival’s seventh leading scorer (16.6 ppg.), ranked ninth in rebounding (5.4 rpg.), 15th in field goal percentage (.438), 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (.250), 17th in free throw percentage (.538), second in blocked shots (2.2 bpg.) and tied for third in steals (1.8 spg.).
Additionally, Williams recorded his Festival bests of 22 points in a 103-84 loss to the North, four blocked shots in a 154-96 victory over the West, four steals versus the East and twice grabbed seven rebounds.
As a junior at Duke in 2004-05, Williams averaged 15.5 ppg., 11.2 rpg., and 3.7 bpg. while helping Duke to a 27-6 record and the ACC championship. He ranked second among Blue Devils for scoring and led the squad in both rebounding and blocked shots. Williams also set a school record with 122 blocks last year, 24 more than the rest of the team combined (98). Among all 2004-05 NCAA Division I student-athletes, Williams ranked third for blocks, sixth for rebounds and was 21st with a 58.2 field goal percentage. For his efforts he collected 2005 All-ACC first team and ACC All-Defensive Team honors and capped his honors with a selection to the 2005 ACC All-Tournament Team.
USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Award Recipients
2005 Shelden Williams
2004 Sean May/Chris Paul
2003 Tim Duncan
2002 Reggie Miller
2001 Chris Duhon
2000 Alonzo Mourning
1999 Gary Payton
1998 Elton Brand
1997 Earl Boykins
1996 Scottie Pippen
1995 Ray Allen
1994 Shaquille O’Neal
1993 Michael Finley
1992 1992 U.S. Olympic Team
1991 Christian Laettner
1990 Alonzo Mourning
1989 Larry Johnson
1988 Dan Majerle
1987 Danny Manning
1986 David Robinson
1985 Chuck Person
1984 Michael Jordan/Sam Perkins
1983 Michael Jordan
1982 Glenn Rivers
1981 Kevin Boyle
1980 Isiah Thomas