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Duke men's basketball 2019-20 player preview: Cassius Stanley

<p>Cassius Stanley comes in as Duke's lowest rated recruit in the 2019 class, but could he have the most impact?</p>

Cassius Stanley comes in as Duke's lowest rated recruit in the 2019 class, but could he have the most impact?

Cassius Stanley 

Year: Freshman

Height: 6-foot-6

Position: Guard

Last year's statline: N/A

Game Breakdown: Mike Krzyzewski may have gotten more than he thought he was in for in the Los Angeles, Ca. native. With his earth-shattering dunks and Muhammad Ali inspired commitment video, there was already an inkling that the glitz and glamor of Hollywood had ingrained itself into Stanley’s DNA. However, his bouncy personality also doesn't take away from his potential huge impact on the court. 

The uber-athletic guard made it clear at Countdown to Craziness that he will be a key contributor during his freshman year. Stanley impressed in every phase of the game with a dominating presence up and down the court, grabbing rebounds and scoring effortless baskets like he was playing in a pickup game at the park. His night was highlighted by some crafty behind-the-back, between-the-legs dribbling to get by two defenders and score an easy floater. 

In high school, he attended Sierra Canyon, former home of Marvin Bagley III, and comes to Durham as a four-star recruit ranked No. 35 in the nation according to 247Sports. In his senior year, Stanley led his squad to an undefeated season, culminating in a division championship. 

Role on the Team: After a great deal of speculation throughout the offseason as to who will be complementing Tre Jones in the back court, Stanley put his name at the front of the line with his most recent performance in the Blue and White scrimmage. In the unlikely event that Krzyzewski opts for a veteran in Jordan Goldwire or Alex O’Connell, there is no doubt that Stanley will still see considerable playing time off the bench. 

Stanley’s job will be providing an offensive spark that none of the other three Blue Devil guards are able to give. Jones is a tremendous passer, but hasn't shown a tremendous ability to shoot from outside. Goldwire and O’Connell are solid pieces, but lack the offensive explosiveness that Stanley can provide. The Jordan Brand Classic attendee is a nightmare to guard with the basketball in his hands, and his teammates will love the way he moves around the floor, looking for open shots.

The big question in Stanley’s game right now is how he will fare with perimeter shooting, as he did not take many shots outside of the 15 foot range in the scrimmage. The Blue Devils will definitely need perimeter threats this year after the 2018-19 squad shot just 30.8% from deep on the season. 

NBA Comparison: There is one NBA player that Stanley has an eerie degree of similarity to: fellow California native Russell Westbrook. While Stanley stands a few inches taller, both guards have a unique playing style that comes with their superior athletic abilities. Both players tend to put the ball on the deck and use their quickness to get to the rim, as well as excelling as rebounders for guards. Look for Stanley to provide the same razzle-dazzle impact that Westbrook has shown the league for 11 years. 

Projected Stats: 11.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.2 APG

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews. Previous players previewed include Michael Savarino, Keenan Worthington, Mike Buckmire, Justin Robinson, Jordan Goldwire and Joey Baker.


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