Barrett enters the record books

Posted 3/8/19

On Tuesday night, Duke freshman RJ Barrett put up 28 points to give him the outright lead in the program’s record books as the top freshman scorer in school history. Barrett now sits at 698 …

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Barrett enters the record books

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On Tuesday night, Duke freshman RJ Barrett put up 28 points to give him the outright lead in the program’s record books as the top freshman scorer in school history.

Barrett now sits at 698 points in his freshman year, four more than Marvin Bagley put up last year to achieve the record, and has at least three more games (one regular season game against UNC on Saturday, one ACC tournament game and one NCAA tournament game to add to his resume).

Easily in his sights, in averaging 23.3 points per game, is the Top 10 of all seasons ever in a Duke uniform.

Here’s who he’s going after next: No. 20 Bob Verga (Sr.) 705 total points, 26.1 points per game, No. 19 Kyle Singler (Jr.) 707 total points, 17.7 points per game, No. 18 Jim Spanarkel (Jr.) 708 total points, 20.8 points per game, No. 17 J.J. Redick (Jr.) 721 total points, 21.8 points per game, No. 16 Luke Kennard (So.) 722 total points, 19.5 points per game, No. 15 Jon Scheyer (Sr.) 728 total points 18.2 points per game, No. 14 Jason Williams (Jr.) 746 total points 21.3 points per game, No. 13 Art Heyman (Sr.) 747 total points, 24.9 points per game, No. 12 Jeff Mullins (Sr.) 750 total points, 24.2 points per game, No. 11 Christian Laettner (Sr.) 751 total points, 21.5 points per game and No. 10 Nolan Smith (Sr.) 764 total points, 20.6 points per game.


Zion Williamson has now missed five games (including the North Carolina game where he played less than a minute), and Duke holds a 2-3 record in his absence with a narrow victory over bottom-of-the-league Wake Forest on Tuesday night.

After that game, head coach Mike Krzyzewski declared that Williamson was unlikely to play in Saturday night’s Tobacco Road Rivalry game against the Tar Heels, but also left the door open to the possibility that the National Player of the Year candidate could return for one more regular-season appearance if all goes well this week in his recovery process.

With no setbacks, it will be more about Williamson getting in game shape with his conditioning and overcoming any mental hurdles that come with the 6-foot-7, 285-pound positionless player compensating for his injury.

The Duke fan base is holding its collective breath hoping Williamson will be back, as this is a completely different team without him.


Now one game behind Virginia and North Carolina in the ACC standings, and looking up at the Tar Heels, Duke is still in the relatively enviable position of having a double bye in next week’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

That means it will get to rest from Saturday night to Thursday, giving Williamson a chance to recover and the rest of the players on the roster a chance to catch their breath after a whirlwind end to the regular season.

They could still finish as high as the No. 1 seed, but only if Virginia loses to Louisville on Saturday, and could end up as either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed depending on how the game against UNC goes this weekend.


Duke is now battling UNC and Virginia for the top seed in the NCAA tournament’s East Region, which takes place in Washington, D.C. on Mar. 29 and 31. The consolation prize for second place among those three teams is almost certainly the top seed in the South Region, which will have the Blue Devils playing the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Possible destinations for the Big Dance’s first two rounds are Columbia, South Carolina, Hartford, Connecticut, Salt Lake City, Utah, Des Moines, Iowa, Jacksonville, Florida, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Columbus, Ohio or San Jose, California.


Duke has hit the ground running for spring practice, with a number of players fighting for positions during camp, including quarterback, and a number of players still recovering from injuries suffered last year. Defensive backs Mark Gilbert and Dylan Singleton are still being held out while recovering running back Marvin Hubbard and offensive tackle Jaylen Miller are fighting their way back as well. 


Duke had three former players in the NFL Scouting Combine this year, the most in recent memory, with linebacker Joe Giles-Harris, tight end Daniel Helm and quarterback Daniel Jones all taking part in last week’s action.

But the upcoming Pro Day will feature all draft-eligible players from Duke, including the entire senior class that is pursuing professional football.. While Jones didn’t set the world on fire in the combine, he is a potential first-round pick which will draw scouts, general managers and media to Duke’s indoor practice facility on Mar. 26.

Adam Rowe covers Duke basketball, football and recruiting for 247Sports.com. Check out more of his work at duke.247sports.com.