Duke sophomore Elliott Williams (above) — one of only three perimeter players returning for the Blue Devils — has decided to leave the school for family medical reasons, the school announced this morning.
He is seeking to transfer closer to his hometown of Memphis, and is expected to file an appeal for a waiver of the NCAA's year in residence transfer rule that would require him to sit out the 2009-10 season.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elliot and his family," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a prepared statement. "We fully support him in his efforts to be closer to them during this trying time. He is a good young man with an opportunity to become an outstanding player. We wish him well as he determines his future. He will always be a part of our program and we will always be in his corner."
Williams' decision could prove a heavy blow to Duke, because it leaves Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith as its only returning perimeter players. Williams averaged 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds a a freshman, and started 11 of the Blue Devils' final 12 games.
Krzyzewski has said he plans to move Kyle Singler — who played power forward and center his first two years — to the small forward position. But without Williams, the Blue Devils are left even thinner on the perimeter.
Williams had five double-figure scoring games as a freshman, including a season-high 15 points at Maryland on Feb. 25. He also posted an 11-rebound game on Nov. 11 against Georgia Southern and sparked a 101-91 Duke win over Wake Forest on Feb. 22 with a season-high four steals.
-- Robbi Pickeral