2018-19 Duke men’s basketball alum Cam Reddish was traded on Jan. 13, moving on from the Atlanta Hawks to reunite with his former teammate RJ Barrett on the New York Knicks. Now, the Blue Zone takes a trip down memory lane to look back at some of our favorite moments of the duo both on and off the court during their year with the Blue Devils:
Reddish sinks tying three off a Barrett assist in miraculous comeback win against Louisville
The Duke vs. Louisville showdown is arguably one of the most iconic games played by the Blue Devils in the 2018-19 season, and the connection between RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish in those final pressing moments left both Duke and Louisville fans utterly dumbfounded. In this historic comeback, Duke suffered a 23-point second-half deficit that the Blue Devils overcame with only 1:28 left on the clock. Barrett passed the ball in between his legs to Reddish who was waiting behind him to make the tying 3-pointer that Duke so desperately needed. Even more impressive was Reddish’s ability to make such a smooth shot from well beyond the 3-point line. Thanks to the duo clicking in that moment, the Blue Devils were set up with the energy and confidence to win with a minute left of the game. Reddish closed the deal with two free throws, finishing off an unforgettable 71-69 win and leaving common rooms all over Duke’s campus in an uproar.
Barrett draws defense in Florida State game to leave Reddish open for game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left
Reddish had an all-around solid performance against Florida State, putting up 23 points and going 5-of-8 from distance. Although Reddish was hot behind the 3-point line in that game, it was one shot in particular that proved to be most meaningful. Reddish made a clutch game-winning buzzer-beater from beyond the arc that ended the game at 80-78. The freshman made the shot with just two seconds left on the clock, and, although much of the credit goes to his precision, Barrett was a big contributor to the outcome as well. Thanks to a screen play that drew the defense to Barrett in the corner, Reddish was left wide open to make the relaxed shot straight into the basket. Barrett led the team with 32 points, and even though he knew he could potentially have the ability to seal the Duke win himself, he showed the trust he had in his teammate and distracted the Florida State defense so that Reddish could have his moment.
Duo rises to the occasion and leads Blue Devils to blowout victory against Miami in Zion Williamson's absence
After Zion Williamson suffered an injury in a game against North Carolina, the freshman was out for the remaining five games of the regular season. Fortunately, he returned just in time for the ACC tournament, but Blue Devil faithful were left wondering what would come of Duke in those final games without his sizeable presence. The big shooter trio was now down to two, and it was left to Reddish and Barrett to hold down the fort. In those last weeks, Duke had a blowout 87-57 win against Miami. Although the Blue Devils had a lot of depth in this game, with a combined 17 points from the bench, it was the standout Reddish-Barrett duo that led the team with 19 points apiece. This was a major contrast to the five points Reddish put up in 40 minutes of play just two games prior against Syracuse. The two freshmen combined for 11 of the 18 assists and were able to connect to get back the offensive rhythm they had lacked in earlier games. This showed much of their leadership and ability to step up together, regardless of the 285-pound void that was left in their lineup.
Friendship off the court shines in interviews even before their freshman season at Duke
Barrett and Reddish found chemistry on the court during their time at Duke, but they also had some special moments together off the clock. In several interviews leading up to their freshman season, Barrett and Reddish are seen teasing one another or describing the instant connection they made. At the 2018 McDonalds All-American game, Barrett and Reddish describe how the two of them mostly went back and forth in the four-person group-chat that also included Williamson and Tre Jones. Barrett also teases Reddish for struggling to guard him when Barrett was playing for Team Canada while Reddish played for Team USA. When asked why Barrett still decided to play on a team with Reddish after that, Barrett explains that he knew Reddish as a player and believed that it would allow him to grow playing alongside him. It was a heartwarming sentiment shared by Barrett, one that will be nice to look back on as viewers watch the two evolve together on the Knicks.
Barrett and Reddish connect for big play in Tobacco Road Rivalry matchup at the ACC tournament
After two losses already to North Carolina, stakes were high both for reputation’s sake and for Duke’s chance at an ACC tournament win. The Blue Devils were able to just barely escape the fast-paced matchup with a 74-73 win. It was more of an explosive night for Williamson after his injury comeback, but the Reddish-Barrett duo came through and caused one of the biggest pro-Duke uproars of the night. Barrett passed the ball to Reddish, who had to power through Tar Heel star Luke Maye for an and-one bucket that placed the score at 50-46 in the fifth minute of the second half. The two were able to find each other under the high-pressured rivalry environment, and Duke fans were satisfied watching Reddish break through both the formidable senior and his own scoring slump, as the layup was just his second bucket of the night.
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