Q&A With 2011's Amir Williams

One of the top big men on the recruiting board in the class of 2011 spoke with TDD about his trip to Duke, his recent AAU performance, and more.

TDD: It sounded like a difficult tournament this past weekend with a lot of teams sagging down in the post. How did you adjust to that strategy?

Amir Williams: Definitely. Teams were throwing a lot of zone at us, so I was trying to make sure to figure out how to move within the zone -- inside out to try and make plays. Once I was getting the ball, I was trying to be aggressive so I could help my team by making buckets.

Coming from Detroit Country Day, do you feel like your game compares more to a guy like a Shane Battier or more like a Chris Webber?

It's hard to tell to be honest. Shane grew up playing more a center role, but then when he got to Duke and then into the pros, he really started doing more work on the perimeter too. I guess, right now, I probably compare myself more to Chris Webber because he was more a low post guy, but I am working on adding some perimeter elements to my game.

Like what?

I'm in the gym a lot. I work on my ball-handling a lot, and I get shots up every day. I work on post moves too -- drop step, one dribble move, two dribble moves, and spin moves. I try to work really hard and I don't leave the gym until me and my coach are satisfied that I had a great workout.

You weren't able to make the Boo Williams event because of the ACT. How did it go, and how are things going away from basketball at Detroit Country Day?

I haven't found out what my score was on the ACT yet, but I should be getting that within the next week or two. It was my first time taking the ACT, but I had been seeing a tutor at my school to help me get ready for that so I felt like I did a good job.

With Country Day, that's a very demanding school academically, and I've just been working hard everyday in the classroom. It was a big adjustment for me. It's a place where they expect you to make your way when it comes to your homework and stuff. I meet with my teachers a lot to make sure I'm doing what I need to be doing. If I need help, it's my responsibility to find it. Country Day has really changed the way I approach things academically. It's made me a more disciplined person when it comes to school. All the tutors and teachers have been a great help to me, and it's good that I'm in a position now grades wise where I'll hopefully be able to go to college.

Turning to colleges, your list of schools appears to be growing by the day. In general what has the process been like?

It's really busy I'll tell you that, seems like every week there's new schools that are coming into the picture, it's just been really hard to even try and narrow anything down because there's so many good schools out there that are recruiting me.

What are your criteria for narrowing down your list?

I'm big on looking and seeing which schools I feel like I trust their coaches and which ones I don't. I look at who they have on their teams and what guys they are bringing in, and I see what their bigs situation is like. I'm the type of player who would like to play right away, and I don't mind competing for my spot with other bigs.

You certainly have a number of schools coming at you. You mentioned Kentucky before. What are your impressions of their approach?

It can be good and bad in certain ways. It's really good in that they are getting really talented guys recently with Coach Calipari, but it can also be bad because you might have worries about how guys are going to fit in with each other when you're bringing in so many guys all at once. That's something that I think is really important, is team chemistry, if guys don't get along with each other and make each other better, that's not a good situation for me.

Recently there's been talk of Duke getting involved with you. Can you elaborate on their recruitment of you and how it's developed?

Coach James came up and watched me probably, lets see, about 3-4 games left in the regular season before the playoffs started. They told me that they really like the way that I played and have been recruiting me ever since.

You were down for the Duke Team Banquet recently. What kind of impressions did you come away with?

Oh man, that was great. I went down with my coach and we got the chance to get down there during the day before the banquet. We got a really nice tour of the campus and then we met personally with Coach K and Coach James and talked. Coach K talked with me about a lot of stuff, it was really great, felt like I learned a lot about who he is as a person and what his approach is as a coach.

What about the banquet itself?

It was really obvious that they felt like they had a fun season, Coach K just seemed real happy and relaxed and enjoying himself the whole time. It was really obvious how well the team got along with each other, especially when the seniors were talking. You could tell how much they cared about the team and playing the right way and each other.

And your impressions of Coach K?

I really feel like I can just talk to him whenever I want to about whatever I want to. He just made me feel really comfortable while I was down there and him and I and Coach James, we've got a good relationship going. He was telling me some stuff about the Team USA National Team experience for him because he knew I had been selected to try out for the Team USA team for my age range this summer.

He told me it's not an easy team to make, but I should go out and work really hard and I'll have an opportunity, which is really great. He was telling me about how with his Team USA team about where they trained, what kind of stuff they did to prepare for the Olympics, how he chose guys for the team. I really liked listening to him, he's a coach that I feel like I could really trust.

With so many options, is it fair to say a decision isn't coming any time soon?

I think it's going to take awhile to be honest, I've got a BUSY summer lined up with Amare camp, NBA Top 100 Camp, LeBron and with getting selected to the Team USA group, I'm not going to have a lot of time this summer to focus on it.

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