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Stickdog Profile #2 - Jawad Williams

Our pal Stickdog has agreed to write up some profiles of hot shot high schoolers for us. Here's his
second installment. Stick Dog follows recruiting passionately and we've enjoyed his insights and thought you would too.

Standard Disclaimer: This is the second of a series of reports written to
introduce hardcore Duke and other college basketball fans to a number of
highly talented rising senior high school basketball players. All of these
players have mentioned at least some interest in attending Duke, but I have
no idea exactly how highly they rate Duke on their lists. Nor do I know or
purport to know the recruiting priorities of the Duke coaching staff. I have
seen several of these players in summer competitions, but there are many
that I have never had the pleasure of watching. Most of the information
about these players comes from various reputable internet reports and local
newspaper prep coverage. However, parts of these profiles may consist of fan
reports, internet rumors and correspondences that may or may not be
completely accurate. Any corrections to these player introductions by those
who know better would be greatly appreciated.

Meet Jawad Williams

Nate James' and Shane Battier's impending graduation--along with the
potential early departure of Carlos Boozer--make adding at least two
versatile frontcourt players a critical Duke recruiting priority. Like Ben
Gordon, Jawad Williams is also a spectacularly versatile player. In fact,
this 6'8" 200 lb WF/BF has played all five positions for his high school
team, St. Edward's of Lakewood, Ohio. Jawad is the consensus number one
rising senior in the state of Ohio and a consensus top 25 recruit
nationally. His inventory of skills is highly impressive, and he has been
compared to Lamar Odom, Tracy McGrady and Kevin Garnett. Williams is
described as a smooth and athletic player who can rebound, pass, block
shots, handle, and defend very effectively and even knock down a few threes
to boot. He is a smart player with good court presence who excels both
inside and outside. Some scouts even project him as an NBA 2 guard because
of his developing perimeter skills and athletic prowess.

Williams is described as a world class athlete who can be tough on the low
blocks when he puts his mind to it. His range is already good and improving
every month. Jawad can also zip passes for nifty assists. He has a great
work ethic and really wants to do what it takes to get better, including
hitting the weights. Currently, he's a little thin to dominate in the post
in college, and he can be stopped by a great defensive effort. He had also
been knocked for sometimes playing with too much finesse and not being
aggressive enough underneath. However, everyone agrees on his fantastic
potential and that, with continued hard work and determination, he has all
the tools become a real force at the college level.

Williams made a name for himself playing AAU summer ball last year with the
Cleveland Top Prospects. His uncle, Mike Duncan, was one of the coaches of
the team, but it was talent and not nepotism that gave Jawad his starring
role. As Jawad proved himself against the best players in the nation, his
confidence grew and his game performances improved by leaps and bounds.

Like Ben Gordon, Jawad used the Adidas ABCD camp last summer for his coming
out party. At the ABCD camp, Jawad played on the very successful Warriors
team with Eddie Griffin, Andre Barrett and Quemont Greer, and he made the
most of his opportunities to impress hundreds of college coaches. Along with
Greer, he was selected to play in the ABCD underclassmen All-Star game.
According to Hoop Scoop, Williams was the seventh best junior forward at
the prestigious camp. Hoop Scoop also calls Jawad "the best prospect to come
out of Ohio since Samaki Walker."

Brick Oettinger ranks Jawad as the sixth best power forward in his class,
behind only Robert Whaley, Kwame Brown, Brandon Bender, Amaury Fernandez and
Rick Rickert--all top 20 prospects. Prepstars ranks Jawad as the 18th best
junior prospect overall. Midwest Hoops ranks him as the fourth best junior
in the Midwest behind only Eddie Curry, Kevin Torbert and Robert Whaley.

At St. Edward's, Jawad played on the varsity team as a freshman with Steve
Logan, Steve LePore and Sam Clancy. He contributed at a high level to this
state championship squad that ended the year ranked 7th in the USA Today
high school poll. As a sophomore, Jawad averaged 18.5 points, 10.9 rebounds,
4.4 assists and 2.1 blocks a game while shooting 54% from the field, 78%
from the line and 42% from three point land. By the time Jawad was a junior,
he was the only star left at St. Edward's, and he was always the focus of
the entire opposing defense. Although his team struggled at times,
especially against many of the top national and state teams that were
scheduled, Jawad still managed 19 points, 9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5
blocks a game.

Jawad is planning to play at the ABCD camp again this summer, and he will
again play in AAU tournaments with the Cleveland Top Prospects whose roster
also includes 6'9" Terrence Dials, another Division 1 prospect from Ohio.
Jawad already played at the Boo Williams Spring Invitational. Dave Telep of reports that Jawad was an "athlete who shot it well from
our view."

Another report on Jawad from Boo Williams comes from Vince Baldwin of

"This weekend I saw first hand what my partner John Stovall had been telling
me all year long. That Jawad Williams may have as much talent as any player
in the country. I had a front row seat as The Family Team from Detroit took
on Williams and his Top Prospect team from Ohio.

"Put it like this, If Lamar Odom had walked into the gym and traded places
with Williams I'm not sure anyone would have noticed. Jawad put his full
package on display en route to 31 pts, 9 rebs, and 4 asst."

It seems that basketball is a family affair for the Williams'. In addition
to his coaching uncle, Jawad's mother played ball at Cleveland State. He has
an older sister who starred at Vanderbilt, and he also has a younger sister
who is an impressive 6'2" high school prospect. Jawad has set a goal of
making the McDonald's All American game next spring. With his basketball
bloodlines, it wouldn't be too smart to bet against him.

Jawad is a bright kid with a 3.1 GPA. He realizes the importance of
academics, and he has been fully qualified to play college ball for some
time. In making his college decision, Jawad has said that academics and the
other players being recruited will be primary considerations, but that
distance from home will not. He wants to attend a winning program with a
coach who can prepare him for the next level, and he prefers a team that
often employs a fullcourt running game. He has also said that his mother's
opinion will play a big role in his decision.

Jawad has recently stated that his top three schools are Duke, Maryland and
Cincinnati. Other schools on his long list include Ohio State, St. John's,
USC, Connecticut, Texas, Florida, Xavier, Michigan State, North Carolina
State, Florida, Stanford, UCLA and Kentucky. UNC has recently made a big
push to get involved, so expect them to be added to his short list, too. In
fact, in a move that is sure to disillusion Jamal Sampson, Jawad may
unofficially visit Chapel Hill very soon.

Cincinnati has the advantage of being the "home school," and Jawad visited
UC unofficially last year for Midnight Madness, the UNLV game and the DePaul
game. Jawad is also good friends with Omari Westley, another fine Ohio
prospect who committed to Cincinnati last year, but who needs a year of prep
school to qualify. Experts expect Omari to honor his commitment to UC while
trying to convince Jawad to join him. Jawad also plans to unofficially visit
Maryland this weekend, and many Maryland fans are understandably very
excited by the prospect of Williams becoming a Terp.

Jawad made plans to visit Duke for the North Carolina home victory, but a
high school playoff game forced him to cancel. However, the Duke staff got
a chance to watch Jawad play in January of this year, and there is no doubt
that there is a lot of mutual interest between Duke and Jawad Williams.
Recently, Jawad had this to say about the Duke's prospects of signing him,
"As of now, Duke is very high on my list because of their history and the
other players they are recruiting."

Jawad's academic interests, intelligence, athleticism, superior work ethic,
versatile game, commitment to winning and preferred style of play appear to
make him an excellent fit with Duke University and its men's basketball
program. He has all the skills to vie for immediate playing time and fill a
versatile frontcourt role that will be vacated by Battier's imminent
departure. But no matter where Jawad ends up, it will be exciting to watch
him grow into a true impact player in the college game.