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Last Friday night, Oct. 19, was the first time many Duke fans had seen Tre Jones and Cam Reddish play at all, and it was their first time playing at all in a Duke uniform. Those two, along with fellow freshmen Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, will be four of the five starters and are a big reason why the Blue Devils are ranked No. 4 in The Associated Press Preseason Top 25. All four were impressive on both ends of the court during the 20-minute scrimmage as they combined for 58 of the 83 points scored by both squads.
Hosting the NCAA Division II CIAA champions in their first exhibition game like they do every year, the Blue Devils rolled over Virginia Union 106-64 on Tuesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Williamson led Duke with a 29-point performance while Barrett scored 23 points. Reddish added 13 points and nine rebounds, splitting his time between point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward as Mike Krzyzewski utilized a number of lineup combinations in his team’s first matchup at full strength with an opposing team. Jones showed steadiness at point guard, dishing out nine assists to go along with six points. One of the biggest concerns entering the year for this team was 3-point shooting and, after a rough start the team was accurate, knocking down 13-31 attempts from beyond the arc for a solid 41.9-percent accuracy.
Krzyzewski was joined at ACC Operation Basketball by juniors Javin DeLaurier and Jack White, as two of the team’s upperclassmen leaders helped preview the 2018-19 season. Coach K clearly trusts DeLaurier and White, and while he hasn’t named captains yet there seems to be some indications that those two have at least taken on the role that a captain would normally fill by bringing along the younger players and showing them the standards that a Duke basketball player is expected to uphold.
VISITORS ENJOY COUNTDOWN
Duke played host to three five-star recruits for their annual Blue-White scrimmage, with senior Vernon Carey joining juniors BJ Boston and Jalen Johnson over the weekend in Durham. Carey is officially visiting Miami, where his dad played football for the Hurricanes, this weekend and then will travel to UNC the following weekend before an expected decision sometime prior to the fall signing period which runs from Nov. 14-21.
Boogie Ellis, a four-star point guard in the class of 2019, arrived on the Duke campus Thursday for his official visit this weekend. The Blue Devils were thought to be battling UNC, Ellis’ dream school growing up, and some West Coast schools after offering him this fall. But a report from 247Sports.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels Thursday morning suggested that Ellis is leaning towards Duke and Memphis. After missing on their original top point guard target in Josiah James to Tennessee earlier in the cycle, rebounding with a commitment and signing from Ellis would be an impressive feat for the Blue Devils’ coaching staff.
FOOTBALL UP AND DOWN
With a win over Georgia Tech, Duke appeared to right the ship after a disappointing loss to Virginia Tech in Week 5. But after returning home to face Virginia last Saturday, the Blue Devils looked listless and uninspired to start the game and never could get themselves out of an early 14-0 hole at the end of the first quarter.
The same score showed after both games, 28-14, with Duke being the 28 against the Yellow Jackets and the 14 against the Cavaliers. The Blue Devils head off to Pittsburgh this weekend looking to get their sixth win and gain bowl eligibility for the sixth time in the last seven years.
INJURIES AND RECOVERIES
Offensive tackle Jaylen Miller went down with a fractured right ankle during the Virginia game, becoming the 11th member of the roster with starting experience to miss multiple games for the Blue Devils this season. Miller joins running back Brittain Brown, cornerback Michael Carter II, defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord, cornerback Mark Gilbert, center Zach Harmon, safety Jordan Hayes, quarterback Daniel Jones, defensive end Drew Jordan, safety Jeremy McDuffie, linebacker Koby Quansah and wide receiver Aaron Young on that list.
Adam Rowe covers Duke basketball, football and recruiting for 247Sports.com. Check out more of his work at duke.247sports.com.