Jay Williams on why Dalton Knecht is a name you need to know for the tournament

Yahoo Sports’ Jason Fitz spoke to the ESPN analyst about why the Tennessee guard is one of college basketball’s best stories this season. Plus, the Duke basketball legend gives current Blue Devil Kyle Filipowski advice after his tripping incident against North Carolina. Jay joined Yahoo Sports on behalf of Coke Zero Sugar.

Video Transcript

JASON FITZ: Hanging out with ESPN great, Duke legend, Jay Williams. Jay Will, my friend. I know you're joining us on behalf of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. We'll get to that in a second. First and foremost, I'm watching you every weekend on game day. I need some of your excitement, because I keep hearing that the men's game this year doesn't have the big storylines. What are we missing in men's college basketball heading into the tournament this year?

JAY WILLIAMS: What we're missing is, look, I keep leaning into Dalton Knecht. I keep going back to this song by Drake and Future, "I'm the Plug." This dude is the connect, right? And one of the biggest stories in college basketball that frankly, I wish people knew more about. People know about Zach Edey, because he's a seven footer. He plays for Purdue.

But let's be honest. Like that doesn't jump off the page to a normal fan. But what they can relate to is like a guy like Dalton Knecht, that last year was nowhere to be found. All of a sudden had a 7 inch growth spurt, that Tulsa now is like becoming the face of college basketball. Plays for Tennessee. Tennessee plays an in-your-face style that's gritty. It's aggressive. The level of physicality is heightened. And this dude just has swag. And frankly, he's the best story in college basketball that I don't feel like fans know about.

JASON FITZ: I got to talk to you about Duke real quick, because you know Duke better than anybody. And Filipowski is somebody that's become like a hero and a villain all at once. As a Duke legend, what advice would you give him about this moment, this platform, and the right way to handle everything?

JAY WILLIAMS: You know, he's tripping, dude, man. Like, he's tripping. The thing I hate about it, Jay Fitz, to be candid with you is, and Kyle Filipowski is a good dude. He's a good dude navigating a lot frankly, with NIL, with being one of the main faces of Duke basketball, and like, you know, let's be honest about it. Like there is a proclivity that fans feel like if there's a Caucasian player that plays for Duke that is talented and is good, like they're automatically heightened, right?

Like JJ Redick, Christian Laettner, Greg Paulus, you can go through the litany of the names. They're heightened and it fits into a narrative that the program has already had with Grayson Allen. So I think as soon as you can own it, I messed up, but I'm competitive and I just want to win, right? Get it behind you, and move forward.

JASON FITZ: All right. So I'm watching you be a rock star every Saturday. But the whole world is going to see you throughout the tournament in Coca-Cola Zero Sugar commercials. Tell everybody what you're up to, dude.

JAY WILLIAMS: Yeah, man, so you're going to see me alongside the Cameron crazies, obviously yelling at people to miss free throws. There's a guy who's missed a critical free throw for Duke to lose to Indiana. I would marry an IU grad, which continues to haunt me for my entire life in marriage. But look, you're surrounded by some of the most passionate fans in the world.

And I think what Coke Zero Sugar is doing around fan work is thirsty work. You're going to see me in Phoenix, engaging with the fans. I did a huge activation around Duke Carolina. I was literally, I felt like I was tailgating and drinking from-- I'm not going to say what I'm drinking from, but pouring Coke Zero Sugar down fans mouths, right? Things that you do that are close to tailgating. So I look forward to building my relationship with them.