FORREST CITY - It only seems appropriate that six of the victories in Duncanville (Texas) High's current 44-game high school basketball winning streak have come in state of Arkansas.
After all, the Panthers' best player is originally from Pine Bluff and is certainly a 2009 recruiting priority for the University of Arkansas.
That would be junior Shawn Williams (6-7, 190), who led his team to the Rumble on the Ridge title with a trio of wins over the Thanksgiving weekend in Forrest City.
"I lived in Pine Bluff until I was 11 or 12 years old," Williams said. "I grew up a big Razorback fan and Joe Johnson was my favorite player along with (Jannero) Pargo and (Brandon) Dean."
Williams was named the MVP of the event after pouring in 17 points Saturday night as his team down Putnam City (Okla.) 66-62 in the championship game.
He had 24 and 21 points in his team's first two wins in the event as his team followed up last season's Holiday Hoops title in Fayetteville with the Rumble title.
Duncanville (5-0) went 39-0 last season and is looking for a similar run this season.
"We just come out every night and try to play as hard as we can and usually that gets us over the top," Williams said. It's important and I think we can do it.I think we can go 76-0. I expect to go 76-0."
University of Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey and Razorback assistant Tom Ostrom were on hand to see Williams, his junior teammate Roger Franklin, Putnam City junior guard Xavier Henry and others.
"I saw the game Arkansas won on ESPN (VCU) and I really liked their style of play," Williams said. "They run up and down and get after it like I like to play and like (former Arkansas head coach) Nolan Richardson used to do."
Williams made the trip to Fayetteville this summer to get to know Pelphrey and his staff better.
"I came up for an unofficial visit while they were having a basketball camp for kids," Williams said. "I really like the coaches. Arkansas is definitely in my top three along with Louisville and Kentucky, but I have a long list to still consider."
He will take his time in making that decision.
"I consider myself open," Williams said. "I will get more into details looking at the schools this year and will probably know where I am going by the end of next summer."
Duncanville lost three players off last season's squad – something that has Williams in a different role in 2007-2008.
"Last year I was a little younger and I looked up to the older guys," Williams said. "Now I am one of the older guys so I am just trying to take on the role of a leader and have more leadership."
Duncanville head coach Phil McNeely, whose team won the mythical national title last season, knows he has a player with special skills and a great mentality.
"When I take our little point guard out, he plays point guard for us," Williams said. "The best thing about Shawn is that he is going to win. He is going to hit the big shot. He might miss the whole game, but he'll hit the clutch one. I have not had anybody in my whole year that I would rather have taking a last shot to win or lose."
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