On Thursday night, Tennessee’s Grant Williams became the first Vol since Josh Richardson in 2015 to be drafted into the NBA, and he became the first Vol since Tobias Harris in 2011 to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Williams, the two-time SEC Player of the Year and consensus First-Team All-American, was taken by the Boston Celtics with the No. 22 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night. Williams was not in Brooklyn at the actual draft, but he was gathered with friends and family to view the draft.
The 6-foot-7, 237-pound forward’s reaction to his selection by the Celtics was caught on film by Langston Wertz Jr. of The Charlotte Observer. Williams, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, was nearly speechless himself as his friends and family exclaimed around him. His mother can be seen reaching down to embrace him as well.
Here’s the full video:
— Langston Wertz Jr. (@langstonwertzjr) June 21, 2019
As a junior this past season, Williams was the first player to win SEC Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons since 1995. Only 10 players have ever achieved the feat, including former Vols Bernard King and Dale Ellis as well as SEC legends Pete Maravich, Shaquille O’Neal, and Corliss Williamson. Williams was also named a consensus First-Team All-American, joining King and Ellis as the only Vols to earn that honor.
The Charlotte, North Carolina native averaged 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game as he led Tennessee to a 31-6 record and a Sweet Sixteen appearance. He also set a school record this season when he made 23-straight free throws in the Vols’ overtime victory over Vanderbilt in Nashville. Williams’ 23 consecutive free throws made set the program record for most free throws made in a row and most free throws made in a single game. His 43 points in that game are tied for the fifth-most in a single game in school history as well, and it was the most points scored by a Vol in a game since Allan Houston.
Williams is the ninth Vol since 1968 to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft.