Almost guaranteeing Duke its fourth straight #1 recruiting class, 6-5 shooting Cassius Stanley has announced that he will join the Brotherhood as a freshman in 2019. This class went from looking like a big letdown from last year’s 1-2-3 sweep to something Duke fans can get excited about: Boogie Ellis, Wendell Moore, Matthew Hurt, and Vernon Carey all add to a promising season, especially if Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden make the decision to return. In all, Tre Jones is the crowning jewel as an experienced, gritty defender whose offensive play this season was lesser than that of his superstar teammates but is looking to make a jump in his sophomore.
Let’s get the hype videos rolling; I’m ready for this season and it’s late April! Bleed blue.
Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden, both rising seniors, have entered their names to be evaluated by NBA scouts for the upcoming draft, but did not sign with agents in order to preserve one last year of eligibility each. It comes as something of a surprise as neither were expected to do so, but I don’t see either of them actually departing. To get feedback will certainly be a good thing for two guys who could make their case in their final year (both of which could claim a bigger role on the court in 2019-20).
Bleed blue. While the opportunity to transfer is still there (please don’t, guys), the NBA Draft period to declare has ended as of midnight early this morning. The guys now have until May 29th to make the decision on whether to return.
Daniel Jones, the former Duke quarterback, has come a long way from barely noticed coming out of high school to a top quarterback in the coming NFL Draft. Now, as Thursday approaches, it’s possible that Jones could go first round to the abundance of NFL teams in need of a quarterback, especially at backup. It brings up the question: how high could Jones end up going?
First of all, Tom Brady, at 41 years old, is not going to live forever as an NFL quarterback, even if he does do all of his health programs. It is likely that the NFL’s most dominant franchise (currently) will be in need of a quarterback somewhere in the next 5 years. And at the 32nd pick as of currently, could they be looking for a backup or even a trainee to eventually replace Brady?
Second, the Giants. You’re crazy if you think that Eli Manning has much left, but Jones and Manning have something in common: Coach David Cutcliffe. Coach Cutcliffe coached both Manning brothers and the Giants, having had success with Eli, might be in the business for another Cutcliffe product. They have some high picks but it’s unlikely that Jones goes that high, but if they trade or take him if he’s available in the second round it’s a possibility. Additionally, Jones’ character is admirable, and the Odell trade is a sign that the Giants value a high quality guy off of the football field.
Like the NBA Draft that we as Duke fans are much more familiar with, this is just a big question mark. But we know that Daniel Jones is one of the best quarterbacks in that draft and any team that picks him has a great guy as a quarterback and a person. Bleed blue.
After much anticipation, Matthew Hurt made every Duke fan’s Good Friday great: he will be attending Duke in the fall. Hurt is a power forward at 6-8 from John Marshall High in Minnesota, ranked by ESPN #2 at his position and #10 overall. He absolutely torched his high school league, having averaged over 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists (though as expected).
Zion Williamson has officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft, as he announced via Instagram on Monday. His declaration is the final of the three expected to come from Duke, and like his teammates Zion is likely to be signing with an agent, being the face of basketball and all. Unless the general manager of the NBA Draft lottery winner is suddenly without a brain, Zion will go #1 in the draft, no question about it.
All we can say is that while this wasn’t unexpected, thank you, Zion. Thank you for making this season as unforgettable as it was. Thank you for making fans across America jump and yell with electrifying dunks. Thank you for being the spark for your team like no other player on earth. Thank you for fighting, fighting, fighting every second for this team. But thank you most of all for being yourself: for loving the game, for grinning and laughing and being so happy all the time to make the game so much fun for everyone. Zion Williamson is every reason why we love the game of basketball.
Bleed blue. Look for updates as Matthew Hurt, one of the final recruits on the list for Coach K and Duke this year, makes his decision on Friday. All signs have pointed to his interest in going to Duke, especially after fellow Minnesota native Tre Jones announced his plans to return to Durham. Additionally, Hurt’s father canceled visits from two of the four head coaches that he’s considering playing for, which certainly isn’t a good sign for those programs (neither of which are Duke; the two were John Calipari of Kentucky and Bill Self of Kansas).
Tired of all the speculation over Zion’s NBA future? Well, we’ve got a Zion article that doesn’t deal with any of that: ESPN’s Mina Kimes looks into not the player but the person. She notes that the Williamson family has mostly avoided the spotlight, turning down a lot of interview requests including that for the story she wrote. But Spartanburg Day, the 450-student school in Spartanburg, SC, that he attended, holds not only Zion’s trophies but his story from high school. Zion did not attend one of the big “basketball schools” for high school such as Montverde Academy in Florida like his roommate RJ Barrett, but instead a small school in South Carolina. Additionally, he interviews one of Zion’s favorite teachers from high school, Mr. Bill Pell, who taught him a creative writing course. The human behind the player is something that we haven’t seen much before and is a really cool guy. Anyway, here’s the article.
Acquiring the crowning jewel for his collection of awards, Zion Williamson has been officially named the 2018-2019 John R. Wooden Player of the Year. The college game’s most prestigious award would’ve been a very tough decision in the absence of Zion, with incredible players from Ja Morant to RJ Barrett to Grant Williams in the running. However, Zion’s season made it quite clear that little consideration would be necessary: this is one of the best player’s we’ve seen grace a college court.
After the AP NPOY Award, the Naismith Award, the Karl Malone Award, and the Wooden trophy (and that’s not even the full list!), I’m guessing that the Williamson family is going to need a bigger shelf.
Zion Williamson, surprisingly enough, has not yet declared for the NBA Draft. He was somewhat emotional talking about how much he would miss his teammates during the interview after receiving the Wooden Award, but he reiterated what he said after the Karl Malone Award: a definitive “I don’t know.” He has, as of this Saturday morning, 8 days to decide as the deadline is April 21. He was considered pretty much a lock to leave considering that he is going to be the #1 pick in the draft, but there’s been speculation on the subject.
One year ago, Wendell Carter, Jr, considered a sophomore year at Duke (can you imagine that?). Yet, he decided on his birthday to depart Durham and was ultimately drafted to the Bulls, who I’m rooting for to win the lottery so I can see Wendell and Zion together. There could be a similar situation with Zion. I don’t want to convince him stay, as that may not be what’s best for his family (as much as we as Duke fans want it so badly).
Bleed blue. I can’t wait until this agony is over on April 22.