DURHAM — Jay Williams didn’t hesitate when asked about his favorite memory from his time at Duke.
“When Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) was trying to imitate Carlos Boozer,” Williams said. “He put on a wave cap, started chewing his gum very slow and sagged his pants. That will forever be a memory.”
Williams was back on campus Friday, fresh from a wedding in the Bahamas earlier in the day, to be inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame. He was one of seven inductees, joining Matt Andresen (fencing), Wes Chesson (football), Julie Exum Breuer (tennis), Jay Heaps (soccer), John Rennie (coach) and Georgia Schweitzer Beasley (basketball).
Williams was a two-time national player of the year as the Blue Devils went 95-13 during his three-year career. He led the ACC in scoring average as both a sophomore and junior and scored 2,079 points in his career, an average of 19.3 points per game. In 2001, his sophomore year, Williams averaged 21.6 points per game as Duke won the national championship.
His favorite memory from that experience happened off the court, too.
“Not just winning a national title, but afterward him (Krzyzewski) having a glass of wine and just walking up to me and hitting me square in the chest, saying ‘I love you,’ and not realizing that he had his national championship ring on from ’91-92,” Williams said, “which left a dent in my chest.”
Those were the two specific memories Williams recalled while sitting in a Duke-blue blazer and black and blue checkered tie. Krzyzewski had a great impact on him as a player, and Williams has enjoyed getting to know him better in his role as an analyst for ESPN.
“It’s been such a privilege for me to get to know Mike a little bit,” Williams said. “I never thought I’d be in a position to call my coach that, by his first name.”
Williams said he missed being on the receiving end of interviews, noting that his playing days seemed far in the past. He was 21 in 2003 when his jersey was retired to the rafters at Cameron. In the years since, he has had time to reflect on what he accomplished.
“And now seeing all my teammates, (Mike) Dunleavy and Boozer playing for Chicago, seeing Shane (Battier) accomplish what he’s been able to accomplish down in Miami, we had a really special team,” Williams said. “There’s no way I’m in this position without those guys.”
There was one time in Williams’ career when it truly was all about him – the final minute of the game at Maryland on Jan. 27, 2001. The Terrapins were up 90-80 with 60 seconds remaining, but Williams scored eight points in 20 seconds to set up the Blue Devils’ 98-96 overtime win.
Williams smiled and said he will forget about that from time to time. But he had already been reminded of it earlier that day.
“I had to connect from the Bahamas through Miami,” he said. “On my flight from Miami to Raleigh-Durham, I had the pilot come out and say, ‘Hey listen, I’ve got to tell you I’m a Terps fan, and it still hurts me to this day.’”
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