Ranking each Duke basketball player in the Blue-White games

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Duke basketball
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

1. Evaluating Blue-White Duke basketball contributor Mark Williams

Combined stats for Mark Williams:

  • 24 minutes
  • 15 points
  • 6-for-12 from the field, 1-for-1 from three, 2-for-2 from the foul line
  • 11 rebounds
  • One assist
  • One steal
  • Two blocks
  • Zero turnovers

In short, Duke basketball sophomore center Mark Williams picked up right where he left off from his 23-point, 19-rebound freshman showing in an ACC Tournament victory over Louisville in March. Swats. Putbacks. Just-gimme-the-ball boards. Simple yet emphatic alley-oop finishes. Advanced-level footwork for such a towering young figure.

As noted on the previous slide, the 19-year-old Williams was an absolute star alongside the 18-year-old Trevor Keels in the second scrimmage. Across their most flourishing span, it mainly was the 7-foot, 245-pound returning giant from Virginia Beach dominating the low block in almost every facet as the rookie sharpshooter from the D.C. area repeatedly found paydirt from deep.

However, Williams got in on the long-distance party as well by splashing what he never even attempted all of last season: a 3-pointer. It came from near the top of the key. And it had the smooth appearance of a potentially deadly weapon — even if only sparingly — for the Blue Devils this season.

Paolo Banchero, Trevor Keels, or AJ Griffin may have something to say about this, but Williams might just become this Duke squad’s No. 1 piece, period.

Player grade: 94 (A)

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The Duke Blue Devils will return to Coach K Court on Oct. 30 when they host Winston-Salem State for their lone exhibition game.