You could just hear it in his voice.
Port Huron native Eric Williams Jr. really wishes he was on the court playing, instead of watching the NCAA Tournament on television this week.
"It's tough, man," Williams said in between a deep breath when reached over the phone from Pittsburgh. "That's my main thing right now. I want to do everything I have to do to get into the tournament."
Instead of playing a first-round tournament game, Williams, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound guard, is working out behind the scenes preparing for his junior season. The Port Huron native and New Haven High School graduate just concluded what amounts to a breakout sophomore campaign at Division I Duquesne University.
By all accounts, Williams has been an instant sensation.
"At the end of the year, he was playing really well," Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said. "He got on a roll and played like he's capable of playing. He's probably the best offensive rebounder I've ever coached.
"And I've coached four NBA players, including Lebron James. He just likes to get after it. Now he has to take that same passion and apply it to the things he really doesn't like."
Williams led the Dukes (19-13) in scoring (14 points per game) and rebounding (7.6), while finishing second on the team in 3-point percentage (.371) and playing 30 minutes each game as a shooting guard and wing.
"I'm just trying to do my best to know my role," Williams said. "It was to score and rebound and defend. I played at the three and the four at times. I had never played (power forward) before. But for us, it was like a bigger guard. I was able to use it to my advantage, having a bigger guy on me trying to guard me.
"I still have a lot to work on. I'm becoming more composed. I'm becoming a better me every year. I've been working a lot on shooting and defending and jumping. I'm trying to get better every year and I'm still not there yet."
Throughout the season, Williams continued to show flashes of his vast potential. Late in the season, he set a new career high of 40 points in a game against St. Louis. In the game, he shot 15 of 20, including 7 of 9 from 3-point range.
"Every wing player I get, I always compare to Lebron James," said Dambrot, who coached James to state championships as a high school freshman and sophomore. "I compare Eric to him. Eric is still very young. He came into college as a 17-year-old. He still has a lot of room to develop. He has NBA athletic ability. Now what he has to do is he has to get better at all of the little things.
"He's capable of being an excellent defender. He has excellent feet. He has to continue getting better at making players better. Some times kids think they have to be better scorers when really they have to make their team win."
Going along for the ride with Williams has been his mom, Clarice. She hit the road for several games this season to take in the act and watch her son's progression.
"I've known since Eric was 4 or 5 years old that he was going to do something special," Clarice said. "Even back when I put him in Biddy Ball at the YMCA. You just know. He didn't want to put the ball down.
"I think he's going to do very well for himself. He's going to be one of the people where they say, 'Wow, he made it.' I've been believing in him a long time. I love the game as much as he does."
Now with his sophomore season behind him, Williams is intent to go right back to work strengthening his game. Even if that means early morning workouts in the gym.
"I'm working on all of it," said Williams, who is majoring in integrated marketing communications. "The biggest difference right now is we still work out and go to classes but we don't have practices.
"My focus right now is on the postseason. It's a priority. I know there is a fine line between becoming a pro going to the NBA and going overseas. The pressure's on, even if it's really not. I'm going into the home stretch and it's make it or break it."
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.