For the first time the Duke men’s basketball team travelled to Canada on Monday morning to compete in the upcoming Duke Canada Tour in Toronto and Montreal. The Blue Devils—who are led by the all-time winningest coach in NCAA history, Mike Krzyzewski—will be debuting their no. 1 ranked freshman class. With all three games set to be broadcast by ESPN in the United States, and TSN and RDS in Canada, it will be an opportunity for basketball fans worldwide to see, arguably, the most anticipated recruiting class in college basketball history for the first time.
The team includes Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones, who are ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 10 respectively, on the ESPN 100 Class of 2018 behind No. 1 ranked Canadian, R.J. Barrett.
“We’re excited to be here. We’re allowed one tour every four years, and we haven’t taken one for a while because I’ve been the coach of our National Team so the summers have been busy. But we’re excited about this team coming here,” said Kryzewski on Monday. “We have a lot of new guys. We’re happy R.J. (Barrett) gets a chance to come home. I think the arena is in walking distance of where he lives.”
While Barrett is ranked as the top recruit in 2018, it’s Williamson who has created the most buzz online with his BALLISLIFE signature dunking mixtapes. Leaping like he’s in the video game NBA JAM, Coach K told reporters on Monday that Williamson actually broke the school’s vertical record at 45 inches.
Williamson wasted no time adding to his highlight reel, dunking from the free-throw line during practice on Tuesday.
In 2002, people were packing into crammed gyms across the the state of Ohio to even catch a glimpse of the next big basketball phenom who went by the name LeBron. Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer wrote, “I made a pilgrimage to Akron, Ohio, to see LeBron James play in high school. Watching Zion Williamson Monday night in Spartanburg had a little bit of the same feel to me.”
To compare the difference in eras, Chris Johnson in a Sports Illustrated article added, “LeBron’s SVSM team was shown on national television broadcasts, but there was no YouTube or Twitter during his high school career.”
With a new clip of this freshman class going viral by the day, Canadian basketball fans will be packing the Paramount Fine Foods Centre on Wednesday and Friday to get their first chance to see this historic freshmen class in person.