Blue Zone

Duke in the NBA: Redick and Tatum erupt in the playoffs

With the opening round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs underway, there are plenty of Blue Devils still in action—Duke leads all ACC teams with 12 alumni on current playoff rosters, and there certainly a number of guys putting up big numbers. The Blue Zone takes a look at just some of the Blue Devils doing work in the postseason:

Shooters shoot

When the 76ers signed J.J. Redick in the offseason, it was clear what his role would be, yet no one expected the 33-year-old to put up the best season of his career. After averaging nearly 20 points a night in the regular season, Redick came out firing in Philadelphia's playoff opener to the tune of 28 points with 8-of-8 shooting at the charity stripe. He also added four 3-pointers—the 76ers dropped a playoff franchise-record 18 treys in the Game 1 victory. 

But after Redick scored just 10 points Monday night and shot 1-of-7 from long distance, his team will need a bounce-back performance Thursday in Miami for Game 3.

Age is just a number

If anyone thought Jayson Tatum would be nervous going into his first-ever postseason games, think again. The Celtics' rookie played 44 minutes in a Game 1 that needed overtime for Boston to snatch a victory, and Tatum opened his playoff ledger with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double. Although it wasn't the most efficient—Duke's most recent one-and-done needed 18 shots to make eight field goals—Tatum's offense came up big in the extra period.

He wasn't able to turn in the same type of numbers in Game 2, scoring just four points in a half-hour of action, but it was no problem as the Celtics cruised to a 14-point win and held home court to go up 2-0 in the series against Milwaukee. But Jabari Parker has struggled for the Bucks, scoring only two points thus far through 25 minutes combined in Games 1 and 2.

Waiting to break out

Other than Redick and Tatum, the rest of the ex-Blue Devils in the playoffs have yet to put up any big performances. Through two games, no other players have scored more than 14 total points. Justise Winslow has been important for the Heat in helping to physically defend Philadelphia's Ben Simmons, Quinn Cook is holding down some important minutes for the Warriors at the point with Steph Curry still sidelined and Rodney Hood could be the sidekick that LeBron James needs in Cleveland going forward.

Still with no standout performances, there isn't much to report. But with as many as four of the seven healthy Duke alums likely to advance, there will be chances for them to step up going forward.

The Devil's in the Details: Duke loses its entire starting five

They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers. 

Each week, the Blue Zone will dissect five key numbers from last week's action in Duke sports, whether they be historic or underwhelming. This week, let the numbers take you inside men's basketball losing its entire starting lineup and women's basketball's pair of WNBA Draft selections. 

86 percent

With Wendell Carter Jr.'s NBA Draft declaration Monday, Duke has officially lost more than 86 percent of its scoring from last season and its entire starting lineup.  Freshmen Marvin Bagley III, Gary Trent Jr., and Trevon Duval also declared for the draft over the last few weeks and senior Grayson Allen graduated. The Blue Devils should be able to replace much of that scoring next season with the ESPN 100’s top three players from the Class of 2018 coming in.

Find out the full story—Duke's Wendell Carter Jr. declares for 2018 NBA Draft

9 and 31

Duke women’s basketball graduate students Lexie Brown and Rebecca Greenwell were selected in the WNBA draft Wednesday. Brown was taken by the Connecticut Sun in the first round with the ninth overall pick, while Greenwell was selected in the third round, 31st-overall by the Washington Mystics. Brown also became the first daughter of a former WNBA head coach to be drafted—her father Dee Brown had coached the Orlando Miracle and San Antonio Silver Stars.

Find out the full story—Duke women's basketball's Lexie Brown, Rebecca Greenwell selected in WNBA Draft


Duke baseball enters its matchup against No. 12 East Carolina Tuesday with five victories against ranked opponents on the season. The Blue Devils picked up their fourth and fifth wins in Tallahassee, Fla., this past weekend with a 7-1 and 6-5 victory on Friday and Saturday respectively against then-No. 10 Florida State. Duke will have an opportunity to add to its ranked win total with a three-game set against No. 4 N.C. State at home this weekend.

Find out the full story—Duke baseball looks for third-consecutive top-15 victory against East Carolina Tuesday


With her 6-1, 6-2 victory against Pittsburgh’s Gabriela Rezende Sunday, Duke women’s tennis’ Samantha Harris passed Reka Zsilinszka became the ACC’s singles wins record holder with her 39th career ACC victory. Harris will have a chance to build upon her record next weekend when the Blue Devils host North Carolina and Virginia Tech.

Find out the full story—Samantha Harris sets Duke women's tennis career ACC singles wins record in team sweep

94.7 percent

Following Duke men’s lacrosse’s 18-13 win against Virginia Saturday, the Blue Devils’ improved their win percentage against the Cavaliers to 94.7 percent, winning 18 of 19 games since 2005. The victory did not come easy for Duke, which saw a six goal advantage cut to one, before the Blue Devils netted six-consecutive goals of their own to take a commanding 18-11 lead.

Find out the full story—Duke men's lacrosse clinches No. 2 seed in ACC with road win at Virginia

A look ahead: Scouting Tre Jones

As college basketball has drawn to a close, the Blue Zone will take an early look at Duke’s incoming recruiting class—the top-ranked group in the nation. After scouting R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, we scout the nation's top point guard recruit, Tre Jones: 

Scouting report: strengths

Jones is an adept playmaker in the lane, both in setting his teammates up and finishing through contact with either hand. He also has an arsenal of floaters and pull ups that can to combat the length of big men at the college level.

At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Jones isn’t as physically imposing as others in his recruiting class, but his elite athleticism allows him to be an effective shot blocker and finisher at the rim in traffic. Jones also pulled down 8.9 rebounds a game in his senior campaign, contributing to his future teammate Zion Williamson’s deeming Tre “a walking triple-double.”

Despite the flashy dunks and passes in this tape, Jones’s most valuable attributes are his intangibles. Jones is a poised floor general who thrives when being in the driver seat.

“He talks offensively and defensively, tells you were to be, what you’ve got to do on and off the court,” said Jones’s future teammate, Cam Reddish in an interview with UPROXX.

Scouting report: potential weaknesses

Jones will need to develop his perimeter shot to demand enough respect from defenders to create space for drive-first teammates like Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett.

The lack of a consistent jump shot could make Tre’s adjustment to playing with ball-dominant wings less fluid. Much of his productivity in high school came through on-ball screens, which he will see significantly less of with offensive options like Cam Reddish.

Recent Duke comparison:

In terms of playing style, Duke’s point guard position will see little turnover as Jones bears on-paper resemblance to Trevon Duval—an athletic, do-it-all point guard who thrives in the lane and struggles with consistency shooting from the perimeter.

As a product of not sharing the backcourt with an experienced guard like Grayson Allen.  Given his vocal leadership, Jones will bear more leadership responsibilities—which could prove a valuable opportunity. 


If Jones can’t make defenders respect his outside shot, Duke could suffer from an over-congested offense that’s overly dependent on getting into the lane and ineffective against zone defenses.


In an ideal scenario, Jones will develop into a floor general capable of coordinating perhaps the most talented recruiting class basketball has seen. If he further refines his defense and develops a consistent 3-point shot, he could become a pass-first point guard capable of spacing the floor, locking down opposing point guards and enticing any NBA scout. 

A look ahead: Scouting Cam Reddish

As college basketball has drawn to a close, the Blue Zone will take an early look at Duke’s incoming recruiting class—the top-ranked group in the nation. After scouting R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson, we scout No. 3 overall recruit Cam Reddish: 

Scouting report: strengths

Cameron Reddish is the kind of prospect that NBA scouts drool over. Standing 6’7 with a 7’1 wingspan, he has excellent size and length for a shooting guard; and with his fluid athleticism, Reddish makes even the most difficult plays look easy. 

Reddish is arguably the most well-rounded freshman entering the college ranks next season. Ideally, he’s a wing who plays off the ball and hunts for his shot. But he has also shown the ability to handle the ball and make plays for his teammates, both in transition and in the half court. 

With his length and athleticism, Reddish has the potential to be a defensive stopper who can switch across at least three positions. Most importantly, Reddish possesses elite scoring potential and the skillset to score at all three levels. He has displayed the creativity to create his own shot and has a knack for drawing fouls and converting at the line. 

Scouting report: weaknesses

One of the top concerns for Reddish is his effort. At times, it seems like he’s simply going through the motions, coasting on his talent. Although he’s an impressive athlete, he doesn’t have the same explosiveness as fellow recruits Zion Williamson and R.J Barrett.  Moreover, at just 210 pounds, he could stand to put on some weight, especially if head coach Mike Krzyzewski expects him to switch onto power forwards. 

Finally, Reddish simply needs more polish to his game, especially with his ball handling, and jumpshot. He’s a streaky shooter from deep and has displayed questionable shot selection, often settling for tough jumpers. 

During the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League season, he shot just 28 percent from deep numbers. He’s also a little loose with his handle, something he will need to address before Coach K will give him meaningful reps as a ball handler. That being said, Reddish has all the tools to be a high-impact player at the next level, the question is whether he can put it all together. 

Recent Duke comparison:

Reddish, along with fellow recruits Barrett and Williamson, is next in the ever-growing line of impressive wing prospects to play at Duke. While there isn’t a perfect comparison for Reddish, his profile is similar to that of Rodney Hood.

The two share similar body types and both are smooth and fluid athletes—with Reddish grading out as the more explosive of the two. Hood developed into a reliable scorer and an excellent 3-point shooter and Reddish certainly has the potential to do the same. Hood was also limited defensively, and those concerns will carry over to Reddish if he doesn’t apply himself on that end of the floor.


Shooting is a big question mark on next year's Duke squad, so Krzyzewski will be depending on Reddish to develop into a consistent threat from beyond the arc in order to make space for Barrett and Williamson. If Reddish can’t deliver, not only will Duke’s chances at a national title take hit, but he will also severely hurt his draft stock. Reddish can impact a game in a number of ways, but nothing is more important than that jumper. 


If Reddish proves to be a reliable shooter and an above-average perimeter defender, he could easily outshine his fellow recruits. He’s already considered a lottery pick in the 2019 draft, but improving those two skills could lead to a deep tournament run for Duke and an outside chance at a top-three pick. 

A look ahead: Scouting Zion Williamson

As college basketball has drawn to a close, the Blue Zone will take an early look at Duke’s incoming recruiting class—the top-ranked group in the nation. We will now take a look at power forward Zion Williamson, the No. 2 recruit in the nation: 

Scouting report: strengths

Williamson’s most obvious attribute is his incredible athleticism. The 6-foot-6, 272-pound forward became a national sensation early in his high school career when viral videos of his highlight-reel dunks began circulating on social media.

Williamson is a unique player who is able to dominate at his position with his strength rather than height. The best comparison would be Charles Barkley, who revolutionized the power forward position despite standing just 6-foot-6 and went on to establish himself as one of the finest rebounders in NBA history. A fierce shot-blocker, tremendous rebounder and capable ball-handler, Williamson is much more than a dunker.

Scouting report: potential weaknesses

Williamson, at 6-foot-6, is undersized for his position, but hopes to compensate for it with his strength and imposing frame. As players like Barkley and Draymond Green have shown, technique and physicality are often more important than height.

Another aspect of Williamson’s game which may hold him back is his shooting. He rarely pulls the trigger from past the 3-point line, and is rather ineffective when he does. The young sensation made just seven of his 35 attempts from behind the arc his senior year, but an incredible 84.7% of his 2-point field goal attempts. In order to keep defenders on their toes and avoid becoming one-dimensional, Williamson should look to hone his perimeter shot. 

Recent Duke comparison:

Truthfully, Duke has never had a player quite like Zion Williamson, and there are very few programs that can say they have. The closest the Blue Devils have come would likely be Carlos Boozer, who helped bring Duke a national championship in 2001. 

Like Boozer, Williamson is undersized for his position but uses his large frame and overpowering strength to bully his opponents. However, Williamson is much more athletic, with some comparing his explosiveness to that of 14-time NBA All-Star LeBron James, another player who achieved nationwide fame as a high school player.


At the college level, Williamson will no longer be competing against severely-outmatched high schoolers. The 17-year-old will have to prove to his critics that he is more than just a human highlight reel and work with Mike Krzyzewski to develop his all-around game, including a consistent jumpshot. If he is unsuccessful, he will still be an effective scorer and highlight reel machine, but his impact on winning may be limited.


If Williamson is indeed able to increase his range and help spread the floor for Krzyzewski’s team, he will become a near-unstoppable offensive force. Opponent defenses will be in complete disarray as they try to contain Williamson without leaving fellow freshmen R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish open. Together, Duke’s elite recruiting class could have a great chance of bringing another national championship banner to Cameron Indoor Stadium.

A look ahead: Scouting R.J. Barrett

As college basketball has drawn to a close, the Blue Zone will take an early look at Duke’s incoming recruiting class—the top-ranked group in the nation. We start with small forward R.J. Barrett, the No. 1 recruit in the nation: 

Scouting report: strengths

At 6-foot-7, Barrett is a guard/wing with tremendous athleticism. A slasher, he can drive to the rim in isolation like on this play here in the McDonald’s All-American Game. 

As you can see from the rest of these highlights, he’s excellent at making plays in transition and throws down thunderous dunks like fellow Duke commit Zion Williamson. He’s also a left-hander like Marvin Bagley III, which can throw off defenders expecting a shot from the other side. 

But he isn’t just raw talent—one scout thinks he’s very well-polished. 

“His handle is tight and under control even in traffic, and he can both pull back for jumpers and step on the gas going to the basket,” MassLive's Tom Westerholm wrote.  "When he accelerates, he has long strides that cover a ton of ground on his way to the basket. The combination of speed, long strides and excellent pace will serve him really well at the next level.”

Scouting report: potential weaknesses

While Barrett has a lot of athleticism to play with, he has struggled to find a consistent perimeter shot. But it’s not beyond repair or something that can’t develop over time, Westerholm thinks. 

“It's far from broken. When he gets his feet set both off the catch and off the dribble, it looks considerably better than it did a year ago,” Westerholm wrote

Another more obvious potential weakness could be his size. Although he is tall and long, he  currently checks in at just 200 pounds, according to ESPN. He will have time to beef up before he sees the floor at Duke, but head coach Mike Krzyzewski might not be opposed to see him get a bit stronger. 

Recent Duke comparison:

Krzyzewski has leaned heavily on versatile forwards like Barrett in recent years, for example Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum. Ingram probably brought more from deep than Barrett will at this point and Tatum plays more post-up basketball than Barrett will. But Barrett is a much better finisher than either of them. 

There isn’t a perfect comparison for Barrett, but he has a somewhat similar profile to both Ingram and Tatum with his versatility. 


If Barrett can’t develop a consistent 3-point shot, Duke could become one-dimensional on offense, without an intimidating perimeter presence. He’ll be a great driver without a doubt, but he could see his draft stock and the Blue Devils fortunes drop a bit if he can’t completely round out his game. 


If everything goes right for Barrett, he hones his 3-point shot and becomes a transcendent scorer. He could approach Bagley’s scoring numbers if everything goes perfectly, helping make Duke the overwhelming national title favorites and earning him the honor of being drafted first overall. 

The Devil's in the Details: Duke will lose 86 percent of its scoring from last year

They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers. 

Each week, the Blue Zone will dissect five key numbers from last week's action in Duke sports, whether they be historic or underwhelming. This week, let the numbers take you inside some key departures from the men's basketball team and a strong win for men's lacrosse. 

86 percent

With the likely loss of its entire starting five, Duke men's basketball will have to replace 86 percent of its points scored heading into next season. Grayson Allen will graduate and Marvin Bagley III, Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval have all declared for the NBA Draft. Wendell Carter Jr. is also overwhelmingly likely to declare as well. However, the Blue Devils will bring in the nation's top recruiting class for the second year in a row, which includes the No. 1, 2 and 3 recruits in the nation. 

Find out the whole story—Duke guard Gary Trent Jr. declares for NBA Draft, Duke's Trevon Duval declares for 2018 NBA Draft AND Duke's Marvin Bagley III declares for 2018 NBA Draft


The No. 6 Blue Devils held No. 12 Notre Dame scoreless for the final 32 minutes of an 8-2 win Saturday. Duke goalie Danny Fowler had to stop just four shots all afternoon in the win, although the Fighting Irish were without their top two point-scorers. The Blue Devils will close out the regular season of conference play Saturday in Charlottesville against Virginia. 

Find out the whole story—Duke men's lacrosse holds Notre Dame to 2 goals in comfortable road win


Faced with a road test in tough weather conditions against the No. 2 team in the nation, Duke women's lacrosse folded, giving up 18 goals. Boston College downed the No. 15 Blue Devils 18-8 in what was the lowest scoring output for Duke all season. Duke struggled mightily with taking care of the ball, allowing the Eagles to force eight more turnovers than the Blue Devils. 

Find out the whole story—Duke women's lacrosse struggles with turnovers, falls to undefeated Boston College


Without star Nico Alvarez, Duke men's tennis dropped a pair of ACC matches against Louisville on Friday and Notre Dame on Sunday. Alvarez was representing his home country of Peru in the 2018 Davis Cup. The No. 18 Blue Devils fell 5-2 in both matches, sending their record to a meager 4-4 in conference play. 

Find out the whole story—Duke men's tennis loses pair of ACC matches without Alvarez


With the NFL Draft approaching, eight Blue Devils worked out Tuesday at Duke football's pro day. Four members of Duke's 2017 roster, including running back Shaun Wilson and center Austin Davis, showed off their skills, but ex-Blue Devil quarterback Thomas Sirk also returned. Sirk had transferred to East Carolina for his final season of eligibility, but now hopes to make it in the NFL as a tight end.  

Find out the whole story—Thomas Sirk returns to work out as tight end at Duke football's Pro Day

Take of the week: Trevon Duval should have stayed at Duke for another season

Every week, the Blue Zone will make a take on Duke basketball—whether that take may be hot, cold or lukewarm. This week's take is in from men's basketball beat writer Ben Leonard: 

Trevon Duval looked nothing like a first-rounder for most of the season—not even in the G-League Draft. 

The freshman point guard certainly stepped up his game at the end of the season, but looked lost for long stretches. Duval even lost his starting job despite being the only viable true point guard on the team. 

NBA teams value 3-point shooters highly, and Duval is nowhere near a good enough 3-point shooter to take anything but wide open triples in the pros. Another year under head coach Mike Krzyzewski could help him hone his shooting stroke—or perhaps learn how to play to his strength, driving in the lane. 

There's no doubt about it: Duval is an incredible athlete. He used it at times to exploit innocent defenders and burn them in the paint, finishing at the rim with a thunderous dunk. Exhibit A: against North Carolina. 

But this dunk also represented Duval's fatal flaw: his decision-making. Just minutes after losing to the Tar Heels, Duval retweeted this clip, drawing the ire of Blue Devil fans. 

Although there's no reason to say he makes truly bad decisions off the court besides this one, he made far too many of them this season to be an impact NBA player. Turnovers crippled Duval's game—and Duke's offense—nearly all season long. 

The game will be much faster at the next level, so Duval will need to make decisions even quicker than he did in college. He was able to pick apart small conference teams, but generally struggled against top-notch competition, especially in conference play. Especially when faced with stiff competition from Tre Jones, another year in Durham could help him beef up his decision-making, before being thrown to the wolves in the NBA—which could stunt his growth irrevocably. 

That's why Sports Illustrated projects him being selected near the end of the second round in this year's draft—far below his potential. 

It's painfully obvious: Duval isn't ready to take the next step. 

Duke men’s basketball 2017-18 player review: Jack White

Jack White

● Year: Sophomore

● Height: 6-foot-7

● Position: Forward

● This year's stat line: 0.7 PPG, 1.2 RPG, .333 FG%

● The Blue Zone's projected stat line: 0.9 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.2 APG

Season breakdown:

White didn't see the floor much this year, but almost doubled his minutes from his freshman season. 

The Australian forward played in just 10 games in 2016-17, but started to see the floor outside of garbage time towards the end of the season, even if just for short spurts. 

The “Thunder from Down Under” had a career high 5 points and 7 rebounds in a win against Notre Dame that had the crowd cheering his name louder than the Cameron Crazies had been against Virginia. In this double-digit win, every time White touched the ball Crazies and teammates alike burst out in support. 

White turned into an effective piece at the end of head coach Mike Krzyzewski's bench, able to bring athleticism and hustle into the game. He also proved himself on the glass as a strong rebounder. 

Results relative to expectations: 

Stuck behind one of the most talented teams in Duke history, expectations were low for White. But he certainly made the most of his limited playing time. 

White will probably play sparingly again next season, but he can look to take a larger role as one of the few upperclassman on a team with another strong incoming freshman class. Youth and inexperience have been the pitfalls of the last two Duke season, so his leadership and energy, alongside fellow rising juniors Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier, could prove key for a team that will once again rely heavily on freshmen. 

White's review wraps up our season reviews. The Blue Zone also reviewed Grayson Allen, Marvin Bagley III, Marques Bolden, Wendell Carter Jr., Javin DeLaurier, Alex O'Connell,Jordan Goldwire, Trevon Duval, Justin Robinson, Gary Trent Jr. and Antonio Vrankovic's campaigns.

Duke men’s basketball 2017-18 player review: Antonio Vrankovic

Antonio Vrankovic

  • Year: Junior
  • Height: 7 feet
  • Position: Center
  • This year's stat line: 1.0 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.5 APG
  • The Blue Zone's projected stat line: 0.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.5 BPG

Season breakdown: 

Although he was not likely to get much playing time heading into the season, Vrankovic’s time on the floor was cut even further by head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s rotations that largely featured the same seven players for much of the season. With star freshmen Wendell Carter, Jr. and Marvin Bagley III starting ahead of him and Javin DeLaurier coming off the bench, Vrankovic didn’t see much time on the court. 

The junior got off to a good start to the year, playing his best in Duke’s win against then-No. 2 Michigan State in the Champions Classic after Bagley went down with an eye injury. But after that performance—in which he posted three points and a rebound in five minutes of play—he barely saw the court except in easy wins for the Blue Devils. His three points in that game would prove to be his season high, but he did improve on his rebounding high with five boards against St. Francis (Pa.). 

For the rest of the season, Vrankovic rarely saw the floor, save for the occasional few minutes off the bench in garbage time, including Duke’s win against Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Even when Bagley went down with a knee injury halfway through conference play, Vrankovic didn’t see much of an increase in playing time, with most of those minutes instead going to Marques Bolden.

Results relative to expectations: 

After steadily improving over his first two years on campus, Vrankovic was poised to continue his steady success as one of the last players off the bench in his junior year. But with the surprise arrival of Bagley, and the emergence of Carter in the starting lineup and Bolden and DeLaurier off the bench, his chances to break into Krzyzewski’s rotations dwindled quickly. When called upon, he could still provide a big presence in the paint—as demonstrated by the Michigan State game—but simply wasn’t going to see much time on the court amidst such a talented group of younger forwards. 

Going forward, it is hard to see this changing next season, even though there isn’t a true center arriving in Duke’s newest star-studded recruiting class. Vrankovic could see more time behind Bolden at center, but given Bolden’s and even DeLaurier’s progress this year, he will face a tough challenge time cracking the rotation again in 2018-19. 

Check back tomorrow for a review of Jack White's season—the last in our player review series. The Blue Zone has already reviewed Grayson Allen,Marvin Bagley III, Marques Bolden, Wendell Carter Jr., Javin DeLaurier, Alex O'Connell, Jordan Goldwire, Trevon Duval, Justin Robinson and Gary Trent Jr.'s campaigns.