Yet it was a Laettner-esque aspect that came out a little too strongly to suit Krzyzewski when, during the final seconds of a 97-75 win over Boston College at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Jan. 16, Williams got into a taunting match with opposing guard Kenny Walls. Williams admits the woofing was a mistake, but then talks proudly of never wincing as he stared into the Glove's galloping gums last summer. " Payton tried to take me out of my game with his trash talking," said team hotel the night before the Maryland game, "and I don't let anybody do that, not even him. I was nervous going against [the Dream Teamers] in the begining, but you know what I found out? I could go around all of them pretty easy. When you find out you can compete at that level, you pretty much have the confidence to compete here."
Jeez, does this sound like a kid who goes to Duke? "I think we get looked on as the pretty boys of college basketball a little too much," says Williams. "Yes, we play for a great program with a great tradition, and, yes, we handle ourselves with pride and dignity. All that's important. But a lot of teams try to punk us around. They think, If you hit Duke, they'll whine or they'll cry. Well, we're not whining, we're not crying. We're not going anywhere."
With Williams, they may be going straight to the top. On Saturday night, in the cauldron that was Cole Field House, in the midst of one of the ACC's most memorable games, Williams was lost, and then he was found. Whether you were playing with him, playing against him or only watching him, it was almost impossible to absorb the brilliance of his game and maintain the chi.