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Virginia basketball legend Chris Williams dies at age 36

Known as “Big Smooth,” Williams starred at both ends of the court at UVA.

Chris Williams #33...

The Virginia basketball family has suffered a heart-breaking loss. Former ACC Rookie of the Year Chris Williams has died at age 36 due to blood clotting in his heart. Taft Coghill, Jr. of the Free Lance-Star was the first to break the news. He cited a report from UVA radio announcer and former basketball standout Ted Jeffries.

Williams was one of Virginia’s all-time greats in a number of different statistical categories. He’s eighth in school history in scoring (three points ahead of Malcolm Brogdon), ninth in rebounds, ninth in blocks, and third in steals. He owns the school record for most points by a freshman; he scored 34 points against Liberty on December 8, 1998. Williams led the Wahoos in scoring during the 1999-2000 season.

Originally recruited by Jeff Jones, Williams played four years for Pete Gillen from 1998 to 2002. He started 29 of 31 games as a freshman and was named ACC Rookie of the Year for his efforts. Williams was elected to the ACC 3rd team in 1999 and 2001, and to the ACC 2nd team in 2000. He played basketball internationally after finishing his career in Charlottesville.

Fans often referred to Williams as “Big Smooth,” and they serenaded him with that nickname whenever he was introduced at University Hall. Williams was smooth on both ends of the floor, and he was an effective scorer both inside and outside. He was also a fan favorite in the UVA community. During the height of the Pete Gillen Era, Williams once made a cameo in an introductory video at a Virginia Gentlemen’s concert. The crowd went wild.

They always did.