Duke

This 4-star basketball star shares top 7 list. That’s good news for Duke, NC State

Mark Williams at EYBL Peach Jam

Duke and NC State target Mark Williams talks recruitment at the EYBL Peach Jam.
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Duke and NC State target Mark Williams talks recruitment at the EYBL Peach Jam.

Mark Williams, a four-star center from Norfolk, Va., released his top seven schools, and a pair of Triangle ACC colleges are still in the mix.

Williams posted his list on Twitter Saturday night: Duke, N.C State, Georgetown, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA and Virginia Tech.

Duke currently has two class of 2020 commits: forward Jalen Johnson (No. 4 overall) and guard Jeremy Roach (No. 18). N.C. State has no commits for the class of 2020 so far.

Williams (7-0, 225 pounds) is the No. 7 center in the nation, according to 247Sports, and the No. 37 center in the country. He played his junior season at Norfolk Academy, but announced last month he was transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for his senior season.

The Ascenders program has developed into a top landing spot for talented athletes in all sports. Last year, IMG Academy won the GEICO National basketball title, led by UNC freshman Armando Bacot, who spent one season at the school.

Former Duke guard Trevon Duval also played one year at IMG, which plays a national schedule against some of the top prep programs in the country.

The 247Sports Crystal Ball gives the Blue Devils a 75 percent chance of landing Williams. Duke might have the upper hand thanks to a family connection. Williams older sister, Elizabeth, played for Duke from 2011-2015, and Mark spent plenty of time on the Durham campus.

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

Williams did add that Elizabeth, now with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, 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.

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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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