NBAPA Camp Q&A: Elliot Williams

After a full day of his first NBA Players Association Camp, Tennessee scoring guard Elliot Williams took the time to sit down with TheDevilsDen.com to discuss his early impressions of the camp, which parts of his game he hopes to improve, and where he currently stands in the recruiting process.

TDD: It seems like you're a long way from home.

Elliot Williams: Yeah man, it's a long way from Memphis, but that's ok. I've been real excited about coming up here ever since my parents and I decided that I was going to attend.

Talk about your family's role in the various recruiting process decisions.

I love my mom and dad - they care so much about me, and I'm very thankful they are in my life. They make things a lot easier by helping my stay focused on the important things like school and basketball.

You mentioned earlier that you have some specific goals coming into this camp. Can you elaborate on that?

The first thing is my shooting - I haven't been happy with the way my shooting stroke has been lately. Ever since I saw a video of Johnny Dawkins, when I visited Duke, I knew that I needed to work on my shot and my overall scoring ability because, looking at him, he's one of the best scorers I've ever seen.

In a camp like this, with all the resources that it provides for you as a player, what are you looking to take advantage of while here?

First and foremost, I've already sought out my coach to see if he can work with me this week on my shot mechanics. Secondly, I want to work with my other teammates and learn how to play better together as a team. It's so nice getting to play on a team with guys like Matthew Humphrey and other guys who are just as talented as me, it makes me want to get better to help us win.

It seems like your perspective on the game and team play is well formed. Where does that come from?

I think I just realized, both from my parents and just playing ball in general that I can't do it all on my own, I'm just one man out there. It seems like a good idea to me to help my teammates get better while I'm getting better because then that makes it easier on all of us to do what we need to do to improve. I really want to make the most of this week at Camp, it's such an incredible opportunity.

You mentioned Johnny Dawkins earlier. Previously you mentioned that Duke has made that comparison to you. What were your impressions of him on your Duke visit?

Aw, man, that was really cool, I got to spend time with him and Coach K and other people, matter fact, we got to watch this video tape of Johnny when he was playing for Coach K. I'll admit, it was really cool to meet the man that was on the video that I was watching.

You spent nearly 12 hours at Duke on your unofficial visit. What was the agenda like?

First, I spent a lot of time with Coach K, which was really nice, he's such a down to earth, really nice guy. Like I said before, I watched that tape of Johnny Dawkins and we did a bunch of stuff, they really showed me around and I really enjoyed myself a lot.

On the recruiting front, being from Tennessee, is there pressure to stay at home or in-state for your college career?

I guess in some ways you can say that, I mean, it's Tennessee, that's my home state. When you look at schools like Memphis and UT and Vanderbilt, those are all quality teams that have been to the NCAA's before, so, of course there are a lot of people out there who would love to see me stay home for college.

Being from Tennessee, what were your impressions of Bruce Pearl's experience with a good deal of orange paint?

Man, when I saw that, I'll admit, I was laughing real hard. Bruce is such a funny dude and I like talking with him, he's down to earth like Coach K is and he's real easy to approach. I just think that's him revealing his personality, which I really appreciate about him and other coaches, I like a coach who is not afraid of being himself.

Have you begun to narrow down your list at this point?

Yeah, my parents and I have been talking and we are going to take a good look at things at the end of this camp and we're gonna narrow it down to 4 or 5 schools that we're really serious about.

Of those schools who make the cut, what factors will begin to seperate a top choice for you, and do you have an idea of a timetable

Yeah, I really want to have my decision made by the time the high school season starts. I might take all my official visits, I might only take a couple. As far as what I'm evaluating about the programs, I'm really looking at the relationship with the head coach, do I feel like I can trust him. Secondly, I'm really looking at how my game fits into their system, will they maximize my abilities for the team. Lastly, obviously, academics are extremely important to me and my family, I want to go to a place that will challenge me off the court as well as on it.

Last one. Let's do a compare and contrast. If you have to stack up Duke and Tennessee against one another and the other schools, what stands out?

I guess the best answer for me is that I feel like I can trust Coach K and Coach Pearl now that I've gotten to know them better. Style of play wise, I could see myself succeeding in both systems, although they are different in their own ways, both programs are appealing in many ways. I think as the process goes on and my parents and I really take even more of an in depth look at the schools that are gonna make my list, then I'll be able to answer that better, right now I only have so much info on each program, I definitely want to get more.


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