Williams Impressed With Blue Devil Program

It's been months since the Blue Devils zeroed in on 2008's Greg Monroe as a target they would pursue with all their effort. However, it's been in the last few weeks that Duke has identified and begun pushing hard for Tennessee standout scoring guard Elliot Williams. Since first getting in contact with the 6-foot-4 scorer, Duke has ratcheted up the attention and it's paying off.

"Right now I'm adjusting to it all," said five star shooting guard Elliot Williams. "The media attention I saw in North Carolina [Tournament of Champions] was pretty intense. I knew it was part of the process though, and I'm ok with it."

Before he lead his AAU team into the Gibbons event in the Triangle, Williams was afforded a chance to spend a day with the Duke coaching staff along with his family. From eight in the morning until just before eight in the evening Williams was given tours of the campus, met with current team members, talked with the coaching staff, and generally got a comprehensive overview of what it's like to play basketball for Mike Krzyzewski and Duke.

"The visit was great. Getting to know Coach K and the other coaches like that was really special. You don't really expect him to be so real and down to earth from what you see of him on television, but when you meet with him you see why his players really love him - even when they get to the NBA."

While spending time with Krzyzewski, Williams had a chance to watch some former Blue Devils in action via the program's media room. The focus of the highlight tape was to showcase some of the more successful Duke guards in the Coach K era. The reason was simple, and the message was clear.

"They think I can be the next big time Duke guard. When I was there Coach Dawkins was someone I also got a chance to really talk to. He was featured on the tape pretty heavily because they say I remind them of Coach Dawkins. That's a big compliment when you watch how he played. Some people think he was the best guard Coach K has had - which is really saying something with guys like Jason Williams, J.J. Redick, and the other great guards they've had. On film he [Coach Dawkins] could do everything on the court."

With such a lofty comparison, it's no wonder that Williams has become just the second player in the class of 2008 to earn a scholarship offer from Duke, joining the class' top rated player, Louisiana big forward Greg Monroe.

"That's really saying something as far as making it as a player. Duke doesn't offer a lot of players, and to be one of the ones they want is pretty unique."

Attending a prestigious private school, St. George's Independent School, in Memphis has taught Williams to not only excel on the basketball court, but also in the classroom. Because of that he's looking to continue his strong academic career at the next level - another point the Blue Devils drove home.

"I had a chance to sit down with their advisors and get an idea of what class schedules were like, what the difference options are in terms of majors, and what kind of academic support the basketball team has available with their travel schedule. With Duke if basketball doesn't work out for me, I can fall back on the strength of a degree and still be pretty comfortable for the rest of my life."

Before he finds the right comfort level in that regard, however, Williams will begin searching for the right comfort level in his collegiate decision. That means more unofficial visits and a real effort to narrow down a list of schools and scholarship offers that has mushroomed in the last few months.

"I've got a number of schools interested. Right now I'm trying to schedule a couple more visits soon - to Georgia Tech and Texas. After that I am going to sit down with my family and try to narrow my list down before the middle of the summer. Once I've got a list of four or five, I am going to do some official visits and then make my decision. I'm going to sign in the fall."

And which schools are expected to make the final list?

"I'm pretty solid on Duke [making the list], and I really like Tennessee as well. The others will depend on how my visits go and what the schools have to say between now and then. I'm wide open to anyone right now."

The Devils Den Top Stories