After spending the entire year riding the bench as a freshmen, a star has emerged and become eminent in the deep roster of the Duke Blue Devils.
Enter Elliot Williams: Dunk Contest winner, 5-star recruit, and absolute athlete. Playing for the AAU team, "M33M", he not only stunned scouts with his athleticism and defensive ability, he showed that he was the type of player you only see come through the college level once every few years.
Only a few Duke players have had the upside that Elliot Williams has possessed; Johnny Dawkins being the prime example. Elliot Williams is a legitimate superstar—there is absolutely no talent that he does not have at a "professional" level.
It's not very often that Coach K thinks about benching one of his main players. A substitution prior to the season (i.e. replacing Greg Paulus with Nolan Smith), is something that does not happen very often under the reign of Mike Krzyzewski. It was hard enough for him to replace a senior with a sophomore. But it takes an incredible amount of talent and determination from a freshmen to start in arguably the biggest game of the season.
Whether Elliot Williams showed the all-time great coach that he was ready to play more than others can only be told by Mike Krzyzewski. However, the readiness that he may have displayed shows on the court.
Elliot Williams went from being a bench-warmer who came into games during blowouts to someone who may have very well been responsible for Duke's huge victory against Wake Forest.
Defense win championships. And Elliot Williams showed that he can stop even the best offensive players in college basketball.
It has been a long time since Duke had a speedy defender to the quality of Elliot Williams. You have to go back to the Jay Williams days to really see someone who could single-handedly win games through defense.
Turnovers and points off of turnovers are two of the most important statistical categories for a team to worry about. With Elliot Williams, Duke will absolutely dominate.
With Elliot Williams in the game, Duke managed to force 20 turnovers from Wake Forest. Williams had four steals, and denied Jeff Teague from many big opportunities.
With one important game for Duke, Elliot Williams solidified his starting spot for the next four years of Duke Basketball.
Welcome to the beginning of being a star, Elliot Williams.