Just three months ago, Marvin Bagley III was sitting at home deciding whether or not to forgo his senior year of high school while his new teammates were already starting practice.

The Blue Devils didn't need much time to figure out how to use him.

Bagley proved why he was the nation’s top recruit with a record-setting performance in his debut Friday night. The Phoenix native poured in a team-high 25 points on 66.7 percent shooting, using his 6-foot-11, 234-pound frame to beat up on Elon down low. He converted on 12 of his 16 attempts from inside the arc and grabbed 10 rebounds in Duke’s 97-68 victory.

Bagley became the first Duke freshman ever to post a double-double in his debut, and his 25 points were the most by a freshman in a season opener in program history.

“Before every game, I am anxious to play. That’s just human nature. If you’re nervous, that means you care about it and you want it bad,” Bagley said. “Every game I get anxious and nervous, but as soon as I step on the floor, it all goes away because I’ve been playing this game ever since I can remember and I love playing it.”

After struggling out of the gate, starting just 2-for-6 with two missed 3-point attempts and a pair of missed free throws, Bagley started to work down low more. The freshman capped the first half with a thunderous two-handed jam and kept it going with 15 second-half points, converting on nine of his final 10 attempts from the field.

He appeared to have some first-game jitters, getting whistled for traveling once and committing a team-high three turnovers, but the Phoenix had few answers when Bagley put the ball on the floor facing the basket and attacked the rim.

“I just stayed in it,” Bagley said. “First, I can’t let missed shots and missed free throws get to my head.... I can’t let it bother me. I‘ve got to move on to the next play. I can’t let it affect my game because if I’m going to worry about that, then I can’t be my best moving forward in the game. Tonight, it was just a matter of me regrouping, taking a deep breath, putting it behind me and worrying about the next play moving forward.” 

Although Bagley stole the show out on the court Friday—becoming the first Blue Devil to collect a double-double in a season opener since Mason Plumlee in 2012—he was just one of four Blue Devil starters who were top-10 recruits entering the year.

No. 3 prospect Wendell Carter Jr. also struggled in the early going, picking up two quick fouls followed by a third with more than 10 minutes remaining in the first half. But Carter mad an impact during his 16 minutes on the court, scoring eight points and grabbing six boards.

"For a couple plays, you saw [Bagley] and Wendell connect," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They've really connected well in practice because they can both play and pass."

Fellow freshman Trevon Duval—the No. 5 recruit in the country—looked strong following an unspectacular exhibition stint against Northwest Missouri State and an academic suspension that sidelined for the second exhibition against Bowie State. Duval facilitated the Blue Devil offense, racking up a team-high eight assists with no turnovers.

Duval's backcourt classmate, No. 9 prospect Gary Trent Jr., was locked in from beyond the arc in his first career start. The Apple Valley, Minn., native converted on four of his five 3-point attempts in a 17-point performance, helping to replace the long-distance production of Luke Kennard and Frank Jackson, who both jumped to the NBA after last season.

“It’s great, us being out there all together,” Trent said on playing for a team with eight freshmen. “We’ve been here since July. We’ve been all through it together. When we first got here, we didn’t know what to expect, but as we’re learning together, we’re growing together.”