As 2019 comes to a close, The Chronicle's sports department takes a look back at the biggest stories of the year in Duke athletics. Each day, we will review a major game, event or storyline that helped shape the course of the year for the Blue Devils.
Coming in at No. 5: Three former Duke men's basketball stars went highly in the NBA Draft, with Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish all being drafted in the top 10 spots.
Duke is familiar with producing top NBA Draft picks—at least one Blue Devil has went in the first round every year in the last decade.
However, few drafts in recent memory generated the hype and expectations as 2019, with the professional destinations of three Duke freshmen—Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish—to be sealed June 20.
To no surprise, Williamson went first overall to the New Orleans Pelicans, and Barrett and Reddish would follow their former teammate close behind, going No. 3 to the New York Knicks and No. 10 to the Atlanta Hawks, respectively.
The NBA Draft may be an ordinary event in the world of professional basketball, but this draft was anything but ordinary, as the hype for Williamson reached levels unseen since LeBron James entered the NBA in 2003.
Unfortunately for the Pelicans, Williamson has still yet to play in a regular season NBA game after suffering a knee injury in the preseason. Meanwhile, both Barrett and Reddish are logging minutes on struggling teams. The trio's NBA teams currently have three of the four worst records in the NBA, and while it will take more time to see what Barrett and Reddish are made of, the world still holds its breath for Zion.
READ MORE on Duke's presence in June's NBA Draft:
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A look at the rest of our top 10 countdown: