Duke’s superstars of 2018-19, RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, have collected their first trophies of the night at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards, each in their respective positions. RJ, who declared for the NBA Draft just two days ago, won the Jerry West Award for the best shooting guard in the country, while Zion netted the Karl Malone Award for power forwards.
Zion was up against stout competition in Kansas’ Dedric Lawson and Tennessee’s Grant Williams among others but even having missed six games in February, it was no contest. He averaged 22.6 points per game, 8.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 2.1 steals, and 68% from the field. As has been said throughout the year, those are video game numbers. From the absolutely out-of-nowhere dunks to the “poetry in motion” (his description of the electrifying dunks), Zion Williamson was the face of college basketball because of the greatness that is expected to lead him to the John R. Wooden Award later tonight.
RJ Barrett also faced a tough group, but also emerged as one of the best players in the game, not to mention at his position. RJ matched Zion’s point average in the season with 22.6 points per game, as well as having emerged as one of the best defensive rebounders on the team. As previously mentioned, RJ has declared for the NBA Draft.
More to come when the Wooden Award is named, and we’re all pretty sure that we know who will win the men’s award. Bleed blue.
Cam Reddish has annoucned via Instagram that he will enter the 2018-2019 NBA Draft. It is not apparent whether Cam has signed with an agent, which would make him ineligible to return to Duke according to the new NCAA regulations. We at Krazies’ Korner would like to thank Cam for his efforts in this amazing season; his clutch shots against Florida State and Louisville were two of our favorite moments of the season and it wouldn’t have been the same without him. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his basketball career. Cam, you’ll always be a member of the Brotherhood.
RJ Barrett, the widely projected high lottery pick in the NBA Draft, has announced that he will leave Duke for the next level. The “Maple Mamba” will sign with an agent, making him ineligible were he to want to come back to school. Krazies’ Korner would like to thank RJ, alongside the rest of the Duke fanbase, for his incredible efforts this season and for what he did to help make this such an amazing season.
Zion Williamson, shocking the world, is officially the third freshmen in the history of the award to win Naismith Player of the Year! (That was a joke). He’s among renowned previous recipients: the other two freshmen to win it are currently two of the best players in the NBA today, Anthony Davis (2012) and Kevin Durant (2007). Zion won the award over fellow rookie Ja Morant of Murray State but also upperclassmen Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga and Grant Williams of Tennessee. The award is usually given to older players, but Zion’s freshman season was electrifying enough that even with missing 5 99/100 games late in the regular season, it wasn’t close.
Zion is the eighth Duke player to win the award, but surprisingly enough the first since JJ Redick in 2006. Now, all eyes lie on the voters for the Wooden Award. Only Zion’s youth stands between him and the final piece to his phenomenal trophy case, but if you’re a voter, are you really going to pass over a season like his because of his age?
If he’s teasing us I’m going to die. Tre Jones hinted at a return for his sophomore season with the very image that we’ve all been using to explain the magnificent talent that we got to watch this past year. The screenshot above is shown due to a technical difficulty but the link is in the caption.
Tre Jones’ possible decision has some recruiting implications as RJ Hampton could make his decision based on that factor. Technically speaking Hampton is a high school junior right now but has been hinting at reclassifying for a long time. The chances of that happening, though, are likely to go down if Tre were to return to Duke in the fall.
Oh, the dreaded uncertainty of post-basketball season. Bleed blue.
Because we expected anything else. Zion Williamson, after a season of exhilarating dunks and smooth transition play and stat-stuffer after stat-stuffer, won the AP Player of the Year Award with almost no opposition. He earned 59 of the 64 total votes, with teammate RJ Barrett claiming two of the remaining five. Michigan State’s Cassius Winston, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter, and Murray State’s Ja Morant each scored one of the three remaining ballots.
Regardless of what happens in the coming days, we cannot forget how lucky we have been this year. Bleed blue.
Instead of the season that would’ve been, this season is always going to have that part that could have been. An incredible season ended in heartbreak for the Duke Blue Devils of 2019 as a go-ahead three-pointer from Michigan State’s Kenny Goins put the Spartans ahead by two– for good. We’ve had an amazing time with this team and there will never, ever be anything else like them.
Duke came back from down 7 to go up 9 in the first half after a sluggish start. However, MSU went on a 13-0 run to end the first. These kinds of games are so difficult to swallow because any one play– any one– could’ve changed the outcome completely. It was back and forth to the very end from there. Cassius Winston, Michigan State’s veteran point guard, went off for 20 points and 10 assists. For Duke, Zion Williamson had 24 points and 14 rebounds while teammate and roommate RJ Barrett had 21. Tre Jones struggled offensively with 4 points and 5 assists.
I haven’t brought myself to watch it, but if you want to here it is. RJ Barrett consoles Tre Jones in the locker room after the game. Tre had Cassius Winston on the final inbound, who ultimately ended up running out the clock. Tre and his family have been through so much emotionally– his mother’s cancer diagnosis, primarily– and for it to end like this is just heart-wrenching.
Now, for the excruciating wait: Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones all have huge decisions to make. Two of them seem pretty straightforward as Zion and RJ could be the two first picks in the draft this year. Cam’s performance this year (love him, but it’s true) has been inconsistent but his potential puts him as even a possible lottery pick. He’s an underrated defender and has one of the most beautiful shots we’ve ever seen. Tre is projected in possibly even the first round but could return to work on his offensive skillset as a scorer, something he hasn’t done a lot this season though what his defense have done for us this season is inestimable.
Bleed blue. Thank you to all of our Blue Devils for making this season simply unforgettable.