Jay Williams inducted into Duke Hall of Fame
There are memories of Jay Williams in a Duke basketball uniform that every Blue Devils fan remembers.
There’s the 2001 NCAA championship season, when the talented guard from Plainfield, N.J., was named national player of the year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
There’s was the 2002 NBA Draft when, after winning national player of the year honors for a second consecutive season, Williams was selected No.2 overall by the Chicago Bulls.
But on Friday, when Williams was inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame, he offered his own personal favorite memories of his three seasons with the Blue Devils.
“One memory was when Coach K was trying to imitate Carlos Boozer,” Williams said. “He put on a wave cap, started to chew his gum very slow and sagged his pants. That will forever be a memory.”
Williams also remembers the national championship game win over Arizona in Minneapolis. But, again, his thoughts were of something Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski did away from the court.
“Not just winning a national title, but afterwards him having a glass of wine and walking up to me and hitting me square in the chest and saying `I love you,’” Williams said, “and (me) not realizing that he had his national championship ring on from ‘91-92 which left a dent in my chest.”
One of Duke’s top all-time scorers with 2,079 points, Williams averaged 19.3 points per game over his three seasons with Duke, helping the Blue Devils compile a 95-13 record. He was the National Freshman of the Year in the 1999-2000 season while being named the ACC Tournament’s most valuable player
The following season, teaming with Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer, Nate James and Mike Dunleavy, he helped Duke win the program’s third national championship. Williams averaged 21.6 points per game that season.
There is one memory from that season that Williams is reminded of as much, if not more, than the NCAA title game.
On Jan 27, 2001, Duke trailed Maryland 90-80 at College Park, Md., with 1:01 to play. Williams helped Duke pull off what has become known as the Miracle Minute.
Williams hit a layup and, after stealing the ball in the backcourt, hit a 3-pointer to pull Duke within five points with 48 seconds left.
After Maryland missed two free throws, Williams sank another 3-pointer to leave the Terrapins with a 90-88 lead with 40 seconds left.
James stole the ball and, after Dunleavy missed a 3-pointer, James grabbed the rebound, drew a foul and hit two free throws with 21 seconds left to tie the game.
Duke won 98-96 in overtime in one of the most memorable games in the Blue Devils’ storied basketball history.
On Friday, while traveling to Durham from the Bahamas, Williams said that game was brought up to him by a pilot who recognized him on a flight.
“He said, `Hey listen. I’m a Terp fan and it still hurts me to this day, but you are a helluva player,’” Williams said. “So I am constantly reminded of it.”
Williams is part of a seven-person class of inductees to the Duke Hall of Fame this year. Former football star Wes Chesson, now the team’s radio color analyst, was also inducted Friday night.
From the women’s basketball team, guard Georgia Schweitzer Beasley joined Williams and Chesson. Now a surgeon at Duke University Hospital, Dr. Beasley was a two-time ACC player of the year in 2000 and 2001, helping Duke to 111 wins and four NCAA Tournament berths in her four seasons.
Chapel Hill native Matt Andresen, a four-time All-America fencer from 1989-93, is in the class as well as former tennis star Julie Exum Breuer. A four-time All-ACC pick, Breuer was named All-American in 1991 and 1993 while helping Duke win four consecutive ACC championships.
From soccer, former coach John Rennie and 1998 national player of the year Jay Heaps were inducted. Rennie coached Duke to the 1986 NCAA title, the school’s first national championship.
Heaps, who also played on Duke’s basketball team, was a four-time all-ACC pick and two –time All-American in soccer. He continued his playing career professionally in Major League Soccer, being named rookie of the year in 1999. He is now the head coach of the MLS’ New England Revolution.