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February 28, 2008

Box and One stymies Williams

Five-star guard Elliot Williams was supposed to finish his high school career with a state championship. Instead, Williams and his Memphis St. George's team succumbed to a stifling box and one defense in the semifinals of the Tennessee DII-A state tournament.

Hounded full court by one player and then immediately trapped by one of the guards on the top of the zone, Williams had to reach deep into his bag of tricks just to get a shot off. As the game wore on, Williams, 6-foot-4, 175-pounds, got more aggressive once his team fell behind by double digits. And then when Missouri signee Laurence Bowers fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, Williams took his team on his shoulder and brought them to within two points of Memphis Harding Academy. But an off balanced lay up and subsequent put back which would have tied the game with less than minute rimmed out and St. George's fell 49-44.

Considering the defensive attention which was a triple team at times, Williams played well offensively scoring 22 points on 9-23 shooting without a turnover. Despite his knee injury, he was explosive off the bounce and recorded three steals on the defensive end. He was not, however, aggressive on the boards, ending with only three rebounds.

Especially considering Duke's new style of play, Williams is a perfect fit with slashing ability and defensive prowess. He will need to bulk up physically, however, to help replace Demarcus Nelson's rebounding prowess.

Bowers started out slow, but in the second half found his way into the low post and finished with 16 points on 7-17 shooting. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked a couple shots but turned the ball over five times.

At 6 feet 7 and with long arms, Bowers is an impressive shot blocker and has a soft touch on his midrange jumper. He has the skills to help Missouri but will have to develop more of a physical edge to his game.

Providing the physical presence for Harding Academy was 2009 five-star football prospect Marlon Brown. He finished with nine points and matched Bowers with 11 rebounds.


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