This past Tuesday, Cassius Stanley became the second Blue Devil to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft. And just like his predecessor Tre Jones, the former Duke star took to Zoom to chat with the media about his decision, how the coronavirus pandemic will affect the draft process and more. Here are some of the highlights:
On his social media buzz prior to his decision:
"Joey Baker didn’t help the cause. To some people, he led them on. And I take some part in it but also I’m going to sit here and throw Joey under the bus and say Joey Baker is public enemy No. 1 for all people who are mad at my decision (laughs). But I didn’t mean to lead anybody on the wrong way and I just want all the Duke fans to know I love all of them and I love Duke and if I really could I would definitely stay another year.”
On what made him decide to go pro:
"It was a mix of my family and just the circumstances, because I am on the older side of being a freshman so I think coming back next year, being a 21-year-old sophomore—the draft people have already said that me being a little bit older devalues the person as a player, so I just felt like the circumstance that I’m in, I feel like I got to seize the moment now, and it was a decision made by talking to the coaches and talking to my family.”
On whether he believed he was a one-and-done player coming into Duke:
“I think in the back of my mind yes, but also going to Duke, I was just going to better myself and also win a national championship. I really like to win, so going to Duke was in my opinion the best decision for me and the best place where I could get the chance to win a national championship, so I think that was the main goal going into it. Individually, getting much better and being able to go to the NBA was definitely in my mind but I wouldn’t go in [with] tunnel vision, thinking strictly one-year plan.”
On what he expects from Matthew Hurt next season:
"I think Matt’s going to be a star. I think Matt is just going to explode, because he knows exactly what he needs to do and I think he showed a lot of glimpses this year of what he can do. I’m all in on Matt. I talk to Matt a lot— we have classes together so I talk to him every day and he’s in the gym every day."
On how the late Kobe Bryant influenced his decision to go to Duke:
“I met Kobe a couple times, but one of the times we talked and I just ran down all my college choices and he didn’t necessarily say the name Duke, but he basically said, ‘Go where the person’s going to teach you about the game the best and you’re going to learn the game,’ because at the next level everyone’s going to be able to run and jump and do everything I do but the things that are going to separate myself is going to be who’s going to learn the game and who are they learning the game from, and I think that was pretty much an easy choice. If you break down anybody in college basketball, I don’t think there’s a better basketball mind than Coach K.”
On how important it is for him to get live action in front of teams before the draft:
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“It would be great to work out and get face-to-face with a lot of the teams, but obviously we don’t know what’s going to happen with this pandemic. I think talking to coach, one of the biggest things he said was that we weren’t hidden. Every game was on ESPN, and so I think that was a great thing and I’m very confident in the way I played. So if things don’t work out I would be very confident with my tape speaking for itself.”
On what he'll most miss about Duke outside of his teammates:
"I’d probably say the fans. Being from Los Angeles, the two main colleges are USC and UCLA, you have the Lakers, the Clippers, the Dodgers, the Kings—you have so many great sports teams in a big city that the fans aren’t as devoted. And I don’t even think the history of those schools is as great and rich as Duke, so I think the fans are the people I’m going to miss the most."