Duke has the projected top-3 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / March 26.
  • Duke has the projected top-3 picks in the 2019 NBA Draft

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    Duke already had the top three recruits in the Class of 2018.

    Now they have the projected top three picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, too.

    According to the latest Mock Draft from ESPN.com, Duke pledges R.J. Barrett (Philadelphia), Cam Reddish (Phoenix ) and Zion Williamson (Chicago) are the top three projected picks in 2019.

    North Carolina-bound small forward Nassir Little is projected at No.4, meaning Tobacco Road rivals Duke and North Carolina have the projected top four picks.

    “We’re looking for kids who can really play and are good academically and are going to be good kids,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said recently. “That profile for the guys in our program hasn’t changed since the early ’80s. But how long you have them and what you try to do during the year, especially if they’ve committed to you, to establish even a stronger relationship before they get here and then work at it while they’re here because you’re condensing a four-year relationship into about a 10-month relationship once you get the youngster on campus.”

    Since 2011, Duke has had five top-3 picks and all have been one-and-dones — Kyrie Irving (2011), Jabari Parker (2014), Jahlil OKafor (2015), Brandon Ingram (2016) and Jayson Tatum (2017). That doesn’t include other one-and-dones during that span like Justice Winslow and Tyus Jones, who played with Okafor on the 2015 NCAA championship team.

    Duke could have several more one-and-dones this year with Marvin Bagley III, Trevon Duval and Wendell Carter Jr. The 6-foot-11 Bagley is in the mix for the No. 1 pick this year.

    Meantime, the Duke-bound Barrett is projecting big things for the Blue Devils in the 2018-19 season.

    “We play three different positions and then we got Tre Jones as our point guard, it’s going to be tough to stop us,” Barrett told me Friday night when he scored 20 points, including the game’s final seven, when Montverde, No. 1 in the USA Today rankings, fought off No. 21 Roselle Catholic, 60-59.

    Barrett averaged 24 points in three games this past weekend at the Metro Classic at Kean University, leaving Montverde a perfect 32-0 heading into the  GEICO High School Basketball Nationals March 29-31 at Christ the King High School


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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.