RJ Barrett is #3 Draft Pick to New York

Well, he won’t be going far from the draft in Brooklyn: RJ Barrett, after seeing roommate and teammate Zion Williamson go #1, is officially the third pick of the 2019 NBA Draft to the New York Knicks. The pick was expected, but like his best friend, the interview following the pick was emotional for both RJ and his dad. This is what these players have worked for their entire lives and the draft culminates that, so the emotion is understandable especially as the realization comes that this is real. New York is a tough place for a young player but if there’s somebody who can take it, it’s RJ. He is the star they badly need with a depleted roster after years of tanking. Congratulations and thank you to RJ from your Blue Devil family.

Bleed blue.

NBA Draft Lottery: Pelicans Get #1 Pick, Grizzlies #2, Knicks #3, Lakers #4

Wow. Oh, wow.

While the Draft Lottery is anything but binding thanks to the existence of trades, a potential order of the top-four picks was decided last night by the lottery. The lottery works somewhat strangely, but basically, the fourteen worst teams have a shot at the top pick, though it increases the worse that you get. What’s surprising is that there was a 42% chance that the top pick would go to either the Knicks, the Suns, or the Cavaliers, and yet the latter two didn’t even get a top four pick.

Here come the theories: Adam Silver’s rigged this thing against tanking (when you lose purposefully, a lot, to get draft picks; you can see why, regarding the box office, this doesn’t appeal to the commissioner). Three of the four main tanking teams– Atlanta, Cleveland (it all fell apart when LeBron left), Phoenix, and New York– did not even get a top four pick.

Anyway, surprisingly enough, the New Orleans Pelicans (6% chance) were randomly selected as the team to pick first in next month’s draft. Now for what all of this has to do with Duke: Zion Williamson is at least presumably going to go #1 assuming that general manager David Griffin and the Pels’ front office haven’t lost their minds (wouldn’t put it past them with all this Anthony Davis drama).

The #2 and #3 picks went to Memphis, which has trade implications and could go to Boston, and New York respectively. Ja Morant and RJ Barrett are the two contenders fro these spots; it is likely that when one is taken at that #2 spot the other will follow. Duke fans should probably hope for Memphis for RJ– New York is no place to develop as a young player.

If you follow the NBA even remotely, you’ve probably heard the name Anthony Davis, or “The Brow” (didn’t he get rid of his unibrow?). Davis asked for a trade from New Orleans a couple of months ago, most likely trying to get to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Lakers couldn’t get something done by the trade deadline on February 7. Davis hardly played for the Pelicans, knowing that he could risk getting injured. This pick has big trade implications regarding that, as well as the picks of Los Angeles and other Davis-contenders. But could the Pelicans decide that the drama is worth it for a Davis-Zion duo?

Bleed blue. The NBA Draft is on June 20. Neither Javin DeLaurier nor Marques Bolden has made any decision on returning to Duke or remaining in the draft. Javin did not get an invite to the NBA Draft Combine after the G-League Combine (prospective draft picks and G-League players combined). There is not yet word on Marques’ status.

Zion Williamson Declares for 2019 NBA Draft

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.

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🔵Thank you Duke🔵#thebrotherhood

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Same to you, Zion.

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).

Interesting Article on Zion

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.

Bleed blue.

Zion Williamson Is Your 2018-2019 John R. Wooden Award Winner

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.

CBB Awards : Zion, RJ Pick Up Hardware for Positions

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.

Zion Williamson is Naismith Player of the Year

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?

Bleed blue.