Duke co-captains Javin DeLaurier and Jack White spent part of Friday's media coverage on two topics: the Blue Devils basketball opening game on Tuesday against Kentucky and basketball fanatic Zion Williamson.
The Kentucky discussion was the standard opener stuff: new team, exciting time, big stage, big opponent, Duke vs. Kentucky … the usual. It's at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, at 21:30. Tipoff Tuesday after the Kansas-Michigan State game.
"It's the country's first look at us," DeLaurier said.
There is much to see for the fourth-placed Blue Devils. There is RJ Barrett, the extremely versatile 6-7 attacker who was named AP Preseason All-America Team. There are 6-8 forward Cam Reddish, guard Tre Jones and 6-7 forward Joey Baker. All newcomers.
And this man Williamson.
"I have never seen anyone like Zion," said DeLaurier. "I think one of our sports coaches said it best. He said that you all met the genetic lottery, but Zion has hit it twice.
"I think that's a pretty good way to describe him. If you look at him, he is 6-7, 270 pounds, all the muscles and can just fly through the air. It's a bit different than anything anyone has ever seen. He is amazing. "
How can you protect him? DeLaurier laughed.
"You know, it's tough, definitely a challenge," said the 6-1
Do not know.
"The guy is such a unique, incredible athlete," said White, a 6-7-year-old 222-pound junior from Australia. "I know he loves his left hand, and I know he gets better to the rack than shooting or pulling 3s. I'm going to live with long fought 2s or 1 hand on the face if he shoots a 3, and if he tries to go to the block, try to hold him by his right hand and pull him into a (defensive) aid , And when he returns to his left, we probably have someone who is like a big, pure body, trying to make it a contested shot.
"When you say that, sometimes you do all the right things and he'll just jump right over you. He's just an incredible talent. He was just 18 years old. Doing that at this age, with this body control … He has that kind of LeBron (James) movement, this ability to jump and dive. "
Williamson dominated in the three Blue Devils exhibition games during The Canada's August tour averaged 29.7 points and 11.3 rebounds scored 36 points against McGill.
Williamson had 29 points against Virginia Union in an exhibition game on October 23 and another double with 23 points and 10 rebounds when the Blue Devils No. 4 weeks ago in their last show at Ferris State 132-48 against Ferris State, Cameron Indoor Stadium slapped. Barrett had 32 points and Cam Reddish 20 against Ferris State while guard Tre Jones had 10 assists, eight points and nine rebounds.
"Zion, when he was little, and I know it's hard to believe he was small, he was a point guard," said Duke manager Mike Krzyzewski after the game. "He really understands the game and has a good grip. To put the ball into the hands is a smart thing. "
Looking at the game against Kentucky No. 2, White said the most important thing for Duke would be to get the big defensive stoppages, and especially those that lead to points in transition.
"With our size and length and our athleticism, we can really cause teams a lot of problems," said White.
ESPN has brought together Duke and Kentucky this season, always good for ratings and a huge matchup. No Elon and Utah Valley warmups for the Blue Devils this year.
"It's a good challenge for the boys," said White. "The newcomers have previously been on such stages on their high school career. Many of the guys in our team are just gamers. They love this environment. They love to ascend on the big stage. "
And win or lose, just a game.
"It's a great way to see where we are," DeLaurier said. "At the same time, you will not win any championships in November."
No. To subscribe. 2 Duke Vs. No. 2 Kentucky
When: 9:30 pm, Tuesday
What: Champions Classic at Indianapolis
TV: ESPN