University of Louisville senior forward Malik Williams and graduate transfer guard Carlik Jones have been selected as team captains for the 2020-21 men’s basketball season by a vote of their teammates.
“As voted on by their teammates seniors Malik Williams and Carlik Jones have been named captains for this year‘s team,” said UofL Head Coach Chris Mack. “Our team is fortunate to have terrific leadership and it starts with these two. Their experience, ability to lead and toughness have been evident throughout the off season and preseason.”
Williams, who also served as a captain for the Cardinals last season and is the 18th multi-year captain in UofL history, enters the season with 604 career points and 444 rebounds. He scored nine or more points in 15 of his last 22 games as a junior in 2019-20. He pulled down five or more rebounds in 16 of his last 22 games, including a season-high matching 13 rebounds with 14 points against Syracuse on Feb. 19 for his fifth career double-double.
The runner-up in the 2019-20 ACC Sixth Man of the Year voting, Williams scored in double figures on 10 occasions as a junior and 23 times for his career. The 6-11, 245-pound forward/center from Ft. Wayne, Ind., was 19th in the ACC in rebounding, averaging 6.1 per game, and averaged 8.5 points.
Noted as the top graduate transfer in the country by ESPN, Jones averaged 20.0 points, 5.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals as a redshirt junior in leading Radford to a 21-11 record last season and their second straight Big South Conference regular season championship in 2019-20. He is ranked among the top 25 players in college basketball for 2020-21 by ESPN.
Jones was the only player in the nation to average at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per outing last season, and was one of just 16 players in Division I men’s basketball to do so since the 1996-97 season. The Cincinnati, Ohio native’s scoring average was 28th in the nation and his assists per game ranked 36th nationally. Honored as the 2019-20 Big South Player of the Year, Jones was one of 31 players chosen for the Lute Olson All-America team, and was named to the Lou Henson All-America team, a list of 40 top players from mid-major universities.
Last season, Jones produced 18 games with 20 or more points, including scoring 30 or more on three occasions, and had 16 games with five or more assists, including four with 10 or more. His 175 assists and 641 points were both the third-highest totals in Radford history. He became the seventh player in Big South Conference history to reach over 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in a career. His 1,552 career points rank eighth at Radford and his 469 assists are the third-highest for the Highlanders.
Jones and Williams will help lead a Cardinal team that posted a 24-7 record last season, tied for second in the ACC with a 15-5 mark, and finished the season positioned eighth in the nation in the NCAA’s NET rankings (No. 14 AP, No. 13 USA Today). It was the best overall record through 31 games for a Louisville team in six years and marked the most conference victories for the Cardinals in their six years in the ACC. The Cardinals return three of their top nine scorers (two of its top six), including a pair of late-season starters in Williams and sophomore guard David Johnson.
Louisville has received an NCAA Public Recognition Award seven of the last eight years for ranking among the top 10 percent in men’s basketball in the Academic Progress Rate (APR), which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation for student-athletes. Louisville and Stanford are the only two schools from Power Five conferences that have earned the APR recognition in at least seven of the last eight years.
By Kenny Klein