While Kentucky made a pilgrimage to the Bahamas as a warmup for the regular season, Duke has decided to go north of the border to Canada for their preseason tour.
The trip to Canada isn’t all that surprising, given one of Duke’s trio of top freshmen, R.J. Barrett, is from Mississauga, Canada. With Canadian basketball currently booming, it was a clever ploy by coach Mike Krzyzewski to enhance the Duke brand in Canada and, with ESPN+ on board with the broadcasts, those in the U.S. had plenty of chances to see the new-look Blue Devils in action as well.
While Barrett got a chance to play in front of his home country’s fans, it was Zion Williamson, unsurprisingly, who stole the show. Williamson dominated their first game against Ryerson and was back at it on Sunday with another monster performance against McGill, which included this ridiculous baseline dunk.
Someone that size (6’7, 285 pounds) has no business having a 45-inch vertical, but I tell you what it’s really fun even if not very fair. Barrett, who has also looked great on the trip, also threw down an impressive dunk, one that if he wasn’t the teammate of Williamson would probably have been the play of the game.
However, Williamson will still be the talk of the hoops world. The full highlight package for Williamson’s latest exhibition effort once again shows off an impressive array of skills that will make him a tantalizing prospect for next year’s NBA Draft.
Williamson’s ball-handling has impressed in this Canadian tour, as has his finishing around the rim. The dunks we all knew about, but his ability to finish through contact and make acrobatic layups has been on display as well.
The obvious caveat with Williamson’s play early (as it was in high school) was that the competition level isn’t exactly the highest here, and we’ll have to wait until we see him in ACC play and against the nation’s best teams. However, to this point it’s been impressive to see what he’s doing and while there will undoubtedly be some hiccups along the way, it’s hard not to have high expectations for him and the rest of the squad.