The NCAA basketball season has barely begun, but one team is already grabbing all the headlines.
I had every intention of writing a Duke basketball hype post on this website before the season began. I promise I did. I was going to talk about how their raw talent could take them all the way and prevail over their inexperience and suspect outside shooting. I ran out of time though, and the hype train is long gone, already packed with bandwagon passengers.
The season is still fresh, but Duke’s first game alone grabbed everyone’s attention as they walked all over Kentucky. Maybe I wasn’t the only one that saw all of this coming, but we should still all be sure to take time to bask in the brilliance of this ball team.
Somewhere (likely near a basketball court in North Carolina), Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has to realize what he and his staff managed to pull off this summer. Even for one of the nation’s premier collegiate programs, this had to be their top recruiting offseason. Honestly it may be the best recruiting job in the history of the NCAA.
Too soon? Perhaps. It is also too soon to rule out that possibility though, so cut me some slack.
Duke’s core is solidly founded in their three freshman stars. They were some of the top high school recruits in the nation and we are all witnessing why that was.
Zion Williamson is a freak. That is meant in the most complimentary way possible. It is one thing to be 6’7” with around a 40 inch vertical, but the teenager is also 285 pounds. Eventually he may need to shed a bit of that weight as he eyes the pro circuit, but right now it only magnifies the thunderous dunks and lane creation that make him one of the most unstoppable forces in college hoops.
Canadian-born RJ Barrett is also 6’7”, but at 202 pounds, he is a much more perimeter-oriented player. Where Williamson exudes raw power, Barrett has a cool presence that makes him the most polished starter for the Blue Devils at only 18 years old.
Somehow underappreciated, Cameron Reddish rounds out the freshman big three. Cam was one of the top high school prospects in the country and he is showing everyone why. At 6’8” he can shoot over defenses - and does. The sniper can score from anywhere on the floor and already looks like an NBA player.
We will be watching right along with everyone else to see if the success is a flash in the pan for Duke. After tracking the careers of its stars though, all signs point to their continued ascension.
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