Williams Mulls Finalists

EAGAN, Minn. — It may not be the spring showdown everyone wanted, but it's the one they'll get. After months of jockeying against other high-major aspirants, North Carolina and Kentucky will tangle head to head to determine the ultimate winner.

Of course, injuries derailed the Tar Heels' push toward a meeting with the Wildcats in this month's national championship game, but now the two juggernauts are the only participants still standing for big-time junior wing Troy Williams.

Williams opened his travel season with the Boo Williams Summer League squad on Friday night in the first of five Nike EYBL events spanning April-July, and while adjusting to the grassroots circuit he's also drawing close to a college decision. Both the Heels and ‘Cats have placed themselves in excellent position for the talented 6-6 athlete, and he expects to render a verdict within the next three weeks.

"I've talked to my uncle and my aunt, and I'm planning to commit between the first and second week of May," Williams said. "All along I've been planning to do it earlier and get it out of the way."

Williams glowingly noted the similarities between the programs:

"They both like to get up and down, they both have great athletes, and they're pretty much the top two programs around."

Because Williams' uncle, Boo, is the head of the BSWL organization — one of Nike's most prestigious outfits for more than three decades, including among its alumni luminaries such as Allen Iverson — Williams has been able to intelligently streamline his recruitment in a fashion rare for a teenager.

Specifically to UNC, the Boo Williams connection runs strong. Two of his alumni suited up for the Tar Heels this past season: Kendall Marshall and James Michael McAdoo. Because those two players are close to Troy Williams' class, he has been able to develop familiarity with them.

"I'm definitely close to the guys who have played for (Carolina)," Williams said, "but Coach Calipari is a good friend of my uncle, too. I talk to the two of them about equally."

One potential advantage for Kentucky would be its national championship as well as the school's recent success turning out high lottery picks. Williams said the title itself isn't much of a factor but that the defections could open a spot for him to play early.

"One thing about schools like that is that they might recruit other players who do the same things that you do, " he said. "They might over-recruit you, but you have to work hard and treat every day in practice like a game."

Because the two programs bear so many similarities, the obvious question is what separates the two? Williams himself seems stumped to answer the question, but he does have a clear idea on the decisive criterion.

"It's going to come down to which coaches I like best and have the best relationship with," he said.

So Heels and ‘Cats, bring on the closing arguments — and let's find out where a potential McDonald's All-American will suit up in the fall of 2013.

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