Duke

Mark Williams, four-star Duke basketball target, set to make his announcement Friday

Mark Williams has ties to Duke University, and there’s a chance the 7-foot center might make Durham his home for the next few years.

Williams, the four-star basketball player from Norfolk, Va., will make his college announcement on Friday. His final three schools are Duke, Michigan and UCLA. He took an official visit to Duke on Saturday, sitting behind the Blue Devils’ bench during their 69-63 win over Northwest Missouri State in an exhibition game.

Williams (7-0, 225 pounds) played for three seasons at Norfolk Academy before transferring to IMG Academy in Florida for his senior season.

His older sister, Elizabeth, played for Duke from 2011-15 and now plays for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. This summer at the EYBL Peach Jam, Williams talked about going to games at Cameron Indoor Stadium to watch his sister play when he was growing up.

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Mark Williams, left, and Jalen Johnson watch before Duke’s exhibition game against Northwest Missouri State in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

“I was there all the time when my sister was playing,” Williams told The News & Observer at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam in June. “All of their home games I was pretty much there on the weekends. I’m familiar with the school.”

Williams added that his sister has not put any pressure on him to follow in her footsteps and play for Duke.

“No, she just wants me to go wherever is the best fit for me, not necessarily there,” Williams said. “I mean, if it’s there, it’s there, but wherever I feel the most comfortable, wherever I belong.”

Williams led Boo Williams to the Nike EYBL semifinals after averaging 15.4 points per game in the tournament. Williams stepped up his game during bracket play of the event, averaging 24 points and shooting 76 percent from the floor in two games.

Williams is currently ranked as the No. 6 player in Florida, according to 247Sports, and the No. 5 center in the nation. Duke’s current recruiting class of 2020 is ranked No. 1 in the nation.

During Saturday’s game at Duke, Williams sat next to five-star forward Jalen Johnson, who also transferred to IMG Academy and committed to the Blue Devils in July. Duke also has commitments from five-star guards Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward and four-star forwards Jaemyn Brakefield and Henry Coleman.

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Sports reporter Jonas Pope IV covers college recruiting, high school sports, NC Central and the ACC for the Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.
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