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Jerry Karpowicz On Elliot Williams At The McDonald's Game!

If you did not watch the dunk contest during the McDonald’s All-American Game festivities, I am in your company.

I was a little surprised to hear Eliot Williams finished second. I asked the fellow sitting next to me at the game - he was from Seattle and knew a heck of a lot more about the players than I - how Williams managed to finished second. His succinct answer: He made his dunks.

Williams had a dry response to the same question after the game.

“I just got up as high as I could on my dunks,” said the 6-foot, 4-inch, 165-pound Williams, who averaged 21.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game for St. George’s Independent School in Germantown, Tenn.

Then I told him I heard he simply MADE his dunks. He laughed.

“That was my biggest thing,” he said. “I was trying to finish my dunks. That was very important. A lot of guys were trying to do more difficult things. I just wanted to do things I was just comfortable with and finishing.”

That answer was what impressed me most about Williams during our five-minute interview. No baloney. Told it like it was.

I believe - almost always - in full disclosure. So I must tell you I had not seen Eliot Williams play before the McDonald’s game. What I can says about these all-star games is that the majority of the players can not - or will not - guard their lunch.

So if you are looking for the definitive word on Williams, you’re in the wrong place. I will provide a couple of observations and impressions.

Woodie Jackson, who coached the East team on which Williams played, is coach at Francis Marion High School in Marion, Ala. He met Williams a couple days earlier than I did, but obviously spent a great deal of time with him.

“He’ll fit in with Duke,” said Jackson, who has been coaching for 32 years and “assisted” Nick Nolte in the production of the “Blue Chips”. “Outstanding young man, great attitude, real humble, works real hard. He does what he has to do, and doesn’t moan and groan.”

Sounds good, yes?

The left-handed Williams, who is solid with his right-handed dribble, ranked 13th in the Fall 2007 Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI). I like using that site ( as my reference point because it combines the rankings from a number of “experts”.

Williams is listed as a shooting guard, but said, “I can play one, two or three. I just want to bring some athleticism and intensity to the team.

“I just want to make an impact and fit in with the team. They have great players already over there. I just want to work my way into the team and just play the best I can.”

Williams wore sleeves on both legs Wednesday. He had a problem with his right knee during the season. The sleeves are a precaution.

“It’s just to keep my knee warm until I strengthen it totally back up,” Williams said.

Williams said he is not scheduled to play in any other all-star games.

“I just want to get back home, rest, hit the weights, and get as strong as I can before I go to Duke (the last week of June),” he said.

Like all Duke fans, Williams was disappointed with the manner in which the season ended.

“I couldn’t watch the last two minutes of it,” he said. “I walked out. They’ll be OK. Next year, we’ll get it done.”

He finds national talk about the program supposedly slipping to be folly.

“It’s not sliding,” Williams said. “We’ll get it together next year, I promise you that.”

Here’s Williams’ line:

  • 13:56 playing time
  • 4-8 field goals
  • 0-1 three-point field goals
  • 2-2 free throws
  • 10 points
  • 2 offensive rebounds
  • 0 defensive rebounds
  • 1 assist
  • 2 turnovers
  • 0 steals
  • 0 blocked shots
  • 0 fouls