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

While it remains to be seen whether he will return to Duke, Stanley provided undeniable excitement throughout the season.
While it remains to be seen whether he will return to Duke, Stanley provided undeniable excitement throughout the season.

Cassius Stanley

Season breakdown: Cassius Stanley was already known as a showman before he even stepped foot onto Duke’s campus, but he proved that with his electric playing style comes legitimate output. Most will look back on the Los Angeles native's season to reminisce on the dunks, and there are a fair share to choose from. But there was more to the Stanley experience this year. The freshman turned in his best performances when the rest of the team came out flat: his 24-point and 22-point lines against Louisville and North Carolina, respectively, proved to be essential in keeping the Blue Devils in both games. 

However, it was not all smooth sailing for the Sierra Canyon product. Stanley suffered through two stints on the injury list, the first being a sprain to his knee and the second a freak incident where he was poked in the eye by a team manager during pregame warm-ups. Although those were out of his control, his assists per game average wasn't. And based on that 1.0 average, there is major room for improvement for Stanley as a passer. As exciting a player as he was, he lacked court vision, oftentimes forcing shots in the lane once he put his head down to drive and missing open teammates on the perimeter. 

It is anyone’s guess as to if Stanley will return for his sophomore season, as most mock drafts have him as a late first or second-round draft pick. 

Results relative to expectations: Duke knew all along that it was getting an athlete, but it turned out that Stanley was much more. His technical basketball skills were much better than anticipated and the fire he plays with greased the engine of the Blue Devils throughout the long season. From a statistical standpoint, the biggest surprise was undoubtedly how well he shot the ball. The freshman nailed 47 percent of his shots from the field and had a 36 percent mark from downtown, both numbers far higher than his ESPN recruiting profile might have suggested. 

On top of that, Stanley averaged the second most minutes per game at 27.4, filling a spot on Duke's roster that was a gigantic question mark before the season. His durability and explosiveness were immeasurable contributions to the season, and if this was the Californian’s only year in Durham, it can be chalked up as a successful one. 

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player reviews. Previous players previewed include Alex O’Connell, Joey Baker, Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire, Justin Robinson, Wendell Moore Jr. and Matthew Hurt.


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