It’s no secret that Duke is one of the most prestigious academic and athletic institutions in the United States, and it should come as no surprise when they have a solid recruiting class. However, over the previous weekend, Duke may have recruited one of the best freshman classes in the modern era.
In an era of the “one and done’s”, it’s difficult to hold onto top recruits for more than a year. In result, Duke has fully embraced this trend, even though they have long been known to hold onto top talent for at least three years. The Blue Devils have had some of the best teams in college history, but never a squad this heralded.
The freshmen in question are #1 R.J. Barrett (SF), #2 Cameron Reddish (SF), #3 Zion Williamson (PF), and #10 Tre Jones (PG). This group was already top-notch entering the weekend, but the live announcement from Williamson put the icing on the cake. He is known as a human highlight reel with his flashy plays and amazing dunks; he could even rival Vince Carter from UNC, which would be a welcome change from Duke’s usual bland style of play. His recruitment makes Duke the first school in history to have all three top recruits go to the same institution.
This class rivals the rosters from the many Kentucky units over the past decade, but most notably resembles the 2013 Kentucky recruiting class. The Harrison twins and Julius Randle were able to lead that team to the National Championship game, one in which they lost to the UConn Huskies. In fact, only one squad of Calipari’s “one and done” roster have won the National title, and that was the 2011-12 squad. The problem with having so many talented freshman is whether they can they gel together quick enough to win the big game.
The Blue Devil alumni and fans are surely drooling at the potential of this squad to dazzle the basketball world and potentially dominate the ACC in 2019. However, this school is about winning national titles, and a class this hyped is going to have to deliver. The “X” factor for this team is Coach K; his experience coaching the US Men’s basketball will be what makes these guys Duke legends, and not just players making a pit stop before going to the NBA. Coaching the best players (along with big egos) in the world every four summers will help keep them focused on winning a national title. It is a little early to start talking a 40-0 season, but that’s how special this class could be.
Ken Ruinard/Independent Mail
Want more? Subscribe to The Athletes Hub YouTube page for a variety of sports debate.