Sport: Duke's new freshmen embrace challenge of following Zion - - PressFrom - US
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Sport Duke's new freshmen embrace challenge of following Zion

02:30  24 september  2019
02:30  24 september  2019 Source:   ap.org

Gilbert Arenas: Duke has paid players $200,000 to play there

Gilbert Arenas: Duke has paid players $200,000 to play there Duke, under Coach K, is thought to be on a higher level of morality when it comes to running a clean program, but Arenas says the school is no different from any other program that is paying players. Arenas’ comment should not come as a surprise. It follows a recent a story about allegations that the highest-profile Duke player of all was paid by Nike to attend the school.

Following a dominant freshman -year stint with the Duke Blue Devils, he was selected by the Pelicans first overall in the 2019 NBA draft. In his freshman and only season with Duke , Williamson was named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Athlete of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year.

Duke , the overall No. 1 seed for the tournament, starts its quest for a national championship Friday night against North Dakota State at Colonial Life Arena. As if the spotlight could shine any brighter on Zion Williamson, now the Duke freshman will open play in the NCAA Tournament in his home state.

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) With one giant leap, Cassius Stanley knocked Zion Williamson out of the Duke record book. His familiar No. 1 jersey now belongs to Vernon Carey Jr.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29:  Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils address the media after the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)© Mitchell Layton/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils address the media after the East Regional game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Capital One Arena on March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The Blue Devils' latest crop of freshmen is embracing what seems like a tough job - following Williamson and his star-studded class in Durham.

Duke Expecting Big Things From Five-Star Big Man Vernon Carey Jr.

Duke Expecting Big Things From Five-Star Big Man Vernon Carey Jr. Next up in our freshman intro series is Vernon Carey, who is the crown jewel of Duke's new freshman class.

Duke , the overall No. 1 seed for the tournament, starts its quest for a national championship Friday night against North Dakota State at Colonial Life Arena. As if the spotlight could shine any brighter on Zion Williamson, now the Duke freshman will open play in the NCAA Tournament in his home state.

Duke Freshman Zion Williamson Jump shot and jump shooting LOOKING SMOOTH. Zion Williamson is listed at 6‘7“ 285 lbs. Zion Williamson Breaking RECORDS at

''We feel that we're a totally different team than last year,'' freshman Wendell Moore said Monday. ''Yeah, they had the star power in the three or four guys who left, but we also have that same star power.''

Turning the roster over is nothing new for the Blue Devils, who annually send one group of one-year players to the NBA only to bring in another collection right behind them. Seventeen of the program's 19 one-and-dones have passed through since 2011, including at least three in each of the last three seasons.

The current group faces a unique challenge - creating its own identity with the memories of Zionmania still so fresh.

''I don't think we think about it like that,'' Stanley said. ''We just come in and bring our own thing. We're all different in our own right, and I think we don't look at each other like us freshmen, how we're going to do it. We're really (placing) importance on being inclusive with everyone. I think, as a team, it's more just what we are. As a team, we can be this. It's not just the freshmen following (Williamson). It's a team following it.''

Duke freshman Cassius Stanley evidently broke Zion Williamson’s vertical record

Duke freshman Cassius Stanley evidently broke Zion Williamson’s vertical record Did he, though?

Duke freshman Zion Williamson is a one-of-a-kind athlete. At 285 pounds, Williamson has already flashed his jaw-dropping jumping ability, from free-throw-line dunks to Duke landed the top three freshman basketball prospects, none of whom should be more exciting to watch than Zion Williamson.

As if the spotlight could shine any brighter on Zion Williamson, now the Duke freshman will open play in the NCAA Tournament in his home state.

The good thing, coach Mike Krzyzewski said, is that the current team has its talent spread more evenly throughout the roster, with Moore, Carey and Matthew Hurt settling into big-man roles and Stanley in the backcourt. Team defense figures to be even more of a priority this season, Krzyzewski said.

Last season, Williamson and RJ Barrett might have been so much more skilled offensively than some teammates that it created an imbalance.

''There's not a Zion, and even an RJ. Those guys were just ahead of the game,'' said a relaxed Krzyzewski, speaking publicly for the first time since a school investigation found no evidence that Williamson received improper benefits.

''This group has both maturity and talent, along with talent and immaturity with the young guys, makes it a more balanced team,'' he added.

Krzyzewski had good reason to feel relaxed: His is one of the few programs that can replace such a talented crew of one-and-dones with a class this talented. According to Scout.com, Duke has the nation's third-best incoming freshman class, behind Memphis and Kentucky.

Duke says incoming freshman jumps higher than Zion Williamson

  Duke says incoming freshman jumps higher than Zion Williamson Zion Williamson lit the basketball world on fire last season with his jaw-dropping athleticism and highlight-reel dunks. © Provided by Oath Inc. Duke has another high flier incoming in Cassius Stanley. (Getty) Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said then that he did so courtesy of a team-record 45-inch vertical leap.Apparently that record has fallen. Duke released video of incoming freshman Cassius Stanley performing a vertical jump drill, claiming that he bested Williamson’s mark.???????? MAX VERT RECORD ???????????? @cassius_stanley ‼️We’ve had some alarmingly athletic hoopers. Cassius has the new record. ????????⚠️ pic.twitter.

Duke ' s four fabulous freshmen , clockwise from top left: Cam Reddish (No. 2), RJ Barrett (No. 5), Tre Jones (No. 3), and Zion Williamson (No. 1). Zion Williamson was sitting in the Knicks locker room after a game at Madison Square Garden in late December, surrounded by a deep lake of reporters

So I asked Duke freshman phenomenon Zion Williamson if he is aware that long-suffering Knicks fans are starving for him to come save them. “I mean, I don’t know if they need much saving, but … to the New York fans, I really appreciate the love and support. If the Knicks did draft me, I would love to be

And for all the buzz that Williamson brought to the program, his team fell a step short of the Final Four - the second straight year Duke was knocked out in a regional final.

Because of its balance, and with Tre Jones back for a second season at point guard, the current group might have the potential to make an even deeper run.

That's not to say this team is completely lacking in sizzle, though.

Stanley made quite a statement last week when the school posted to Twitter a video of him breaking Williamson's 1-year-old program record for the vertical leap at testing. School officials did not specify how high either Stanley or Williamson jumped.

''I always knew I was athletic, but I guess you see Zion, and he is what he is,'' Stanley said. ''He's just so great, and being able to have a record like that and be in the same conversation with him is a blessing.''

A year ago, Williamson, Barrett and Cameron Reddish were the centerpieces of a group that seemed to be equal parts basketball team and cultural phenomenon.

They played a road game with Jay-Z in the stands. They received shout-outs from LeBron James and Stephen Curry at the NBA All-Star game. And only Williamson could blow out a shoe and have it turn into a national story - and maybe even cause Nike's stock price to dip.

Williamson won national player of the year honors while averaging 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, but the knee injury he suffered when his Paul George sneaker blew out cost him seven games. Duke wasn't the same team when he returned, falling to Michigan State a step shy of the program's first Final Four since 2015.

The three freshmen each went in the top 10 of the NBA draft, with Williamson going first overall to the New Orleans Pelicans. His old jersey number went to Carey, and the son of a former NFL offensive lineman said he feels no apprehension about following the face of college basketball in 2018-19.

''I'm just creating my own path,'' Carey said.

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