Duke 2020 class gets stronger as a 7-foot center commits

Duke already had the top class in the nation, and coach Mike Krzyzewski just added to his already talented class of 2020 group.

Mark Williams, a four-star center, committed to the Blue Devils Friday afternoon.

Williams picked Duke over Michigan and UCLA.

Williams (7-0, 225) 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 currently plays for the Atlanta Dream. A four-time Associated Press All-American, her jersey was retired by the school in 2016.

She plays for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and is currently playing overseas in Turkey.

“I’m really excited that my brother has made the decision to go to Duke,” Elizabeth Williams said via email to the News & Observer. “This process has been all about what is best for him and his future. Recruiting can be stressful, but I know that he took his time and really carefully considered other options. I am so proud of his accomplishments and his maturity throughout this process. Of course I’m a little biased but overall I’m just so excited for him and his future in the brotherhood at Duke!”

This summer at the EYBL Peach Jam, Mark Williams talked about going to games in Cameron growing up watching his sister play.

“I was there all the time when my sister was playing,” the younger 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 did add that Elizabeth 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 semi finals 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 class of 2020 is ranked No. 1 in the nation.

During Saturday’s exhibition game with Northwest Missouri State, Williams sat next to five-star forward Jalen Johnson, who also transferred to IMG Academy and committed to Blue Devils in July.

Duke also has verbal commitments from five-star guards Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward and four-star forwards Jaemyn Brakefield and Henry Coleman. Like Williams, Roach and Coleman are from Virginia.

The Blue Devils also have an offer out to Hunter Dickinson, a 7-2 center from DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. Dickinson visited Duke for the school’s Countdown to Craziness scrimmage on Oct. 18. He’s also visited Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida State and Louisville.

Duke has four big men in this year’s team all expected to depart before next season. Javin DeLaurier and Justin Robinson are seniors while freshman Vernon Carey and Matthew Hurt project as one-and-done players.

So the Blue Devils would like to add two big men, meaning there’s room for Dickinson in addition to Williams.

Staff writer Steve Wiseman contributed to this article.

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