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Zion Williamson Makes Duke Hype Machine Go

Coach K wants the world to "let them grow," but it's too late.

The hype machine was in full swing for Duke and it’s Fab Freshman as they shot out to a 6-0  start, demolishing every team in their path. Fans, Stans and the social media moshpit started anointing The Big 3 Freshman — Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish — as the greatest college team ever.  

Then they ran into a veteran-laden Gonzaga squad on the road and took their first L.

Duke was thirsty to get back to Tobacco Road and battle Indiana. The Blue Devils jetted out to a 24-point halftime lead behind the play of Williamson. He shot 11-of-15 from the field and had 22 points and six emphatic dunks. The fab freshmen combined to score 75 of Duke’s points in a 90-69 win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. 

ESPN on Twitter

✅ 25 points ✅ Season-high 6 dunks ✅ Win Zion Williamson was EATING last night against Indiana 😈 https://t.co/rPWZUsFTtO


 

Any hype that was tempered by the loss to Gonzaga was back. But after the game, Coach K had a message for the hoops world.


“Let’s not get spoiled,” he told reporters. “We got four 18 and 19-year old kids trying to bust their ass to learn how to play and have a lot of pressure on them. Let em’ grow.”

Before the Gonzaga loss, pundits were predicting an undefeated season for Duke. Some even had the audacity to say that they could beat an NBA team.

Can This Duke Team Beat The Wiz, Hawks or Cavs? I NBA XL

The Line Up crew weigh in on their impressions of RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson & the Duke Blue Devils and if the NCAA squad can win a game against the Wizards, Hawks or Cavaliers. They also share their thoughts on what’s happening in LA with LeBron & the Lakers slow start.


 

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Who can blame the overzealous hoops fans for being mesmerized by the possibilities of this Duke team?

While all of the new jacks are talented, Williamson — the 6-foot-7, 285-pound new age Charles Barkley — steals the show every time out with his thunderous dunks, agility, size and passing prowess. He has that superstar swag to top it off.  


“That’s the one thing I love about Zion Williamson,” ESPN analyst LaPhonso Ellis said. “He reminds me a lot of a Kevin Garnett, who I had the privilege of playing with, and Alonzo Mourning. The best players on each of those teams … those guys set the bar for what the energy is going to be like day-in and day-out, whether it’s a practice situation or a game situation. I think that’s exactly what Zion does for Duke.”

Zion Williamson’s Amazing Steal and Windmill Dunk vs Indiana!

Zion is being Zion

 

Williamson hasn’t disappointed on predictions that he would take college basketball by storm. He’s already locked down All-American honors. Despite playing just 27.3 minutes per game, he is averaging 21.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

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The more we watch him ball and emerge as the leader on this young squad, it’s hard to contain the excitement as a pure basketball fan.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The Deputy Editor and Senior Writer is in his 23rd year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, magazines and national TV.

His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.