DURHAM, N.C. — Duke's Dyson Williams, considered one of the best lacrosse players in the nation, could have begun his professional career after being drafted No. 1 overall by Albany in last fall's National Lacrosse League draft.

But Williams decided to come back for his final year of eligibility in hopes of getting the Blue Devils one step further than their national runner-up finish a year ago.

What You Need To Know

  • Duke's Dyson Williams was the first overall pick in the 2023 National Lacrosse League draft

  • Williams returned to Duke for his final year of eligibility

  • Williams' sister Dylana plays lacrosse for Pittsburgh

  • The Braver than Brave Foundation remembers their brother Tucker, who succumbed to a rare form of cancer

The sport has not only offered him a future as a professional athlete, but it has also provided a special camaraderie with his family, including his sister, Dylana, who also plays lacrosse in the ACC. 

"My sister wears No. 51 at the University of Pittsburgh," Dyson Williams said.

"My brother also played growing up as well, so I got to watch him. We all wear No. 51 because our father did, and it's really cool how a sport can really bring a family even closer together, and it can bring that camaraderie together and have that number symbolizing strength and humility."

Strength and humility.

Those two words came to define the Williams family in 2014 when they faced the ultimate test with Dyson Williams' younger brother, Tucker, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Burkitt's lymphoma.

Losing a sibling at the age of 14 is a lot to ask any teenager to persevere through, but the entire family turned his tragedy into a lasting legacy. 

"His nurse in his initial surgery told our family that Tucker was 'braver than brave' and that's how the Braver than Brave movement started, and we now have a foundation in Tucker's name called Braver than Brave where we donate money each year to sick kids' hospitals in Toronto, Ontario," said Williams, a native of Ontario, Canada.

"You know Tucker's name is still alive," he said. "This year is going to mark 10 years since his passing, which is very sad and definitely weird to say. It still doesn't feel real."