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Duke's new freshmen can't match Zion Williamson's hype, but can they bring another ACC title?

Steve Wiseman, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

DURHAM, N.C. -- The next wave of Duke basketball freshmen arrived on campus earlier this month amid little fanfare compared to the program's previous crew.

That's no knock on Cassius Stanley's 451,000 Instagram followers. But Zion Williamson soared past the 1 million mark months before he arrived at Duke a year ago.

The accounts of Stanley, Vernon Carey, Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore combined are still in six figures.

Last year, Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, Tre Jones and Joey Baker gave Duke the nation's No. 1-rated incoming class.

Duke's current class, featuring five-star players Carey and Hurt and four-star recruits Stanley and Moore, comes in at No. 4. With Williamson, Barrett and Reddish off to the NBA, those four will play key roles in any success Duke has on the court this season.

No one with a clear mind expects those four to approach the hype and attention Williamson and his class achieved last season.

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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski just wants them to mentally become part of Duke's program as they physically arrive as freshman.

"Hopefully they interact with the upperclassmen," Krzyzewski said.

Duke returns both its captains from last season in seniors Javin DeLaurier and Jack White. A year ago, as they became first-time captains, DeLaurier was coming off a sophomore year where he played 12.7 minutes per game. White played just 5.7 minutes on average.

This summer, they come in as established contributors.

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