clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

First Up - Virginia Union

Basketball season’s here! It’s finally here!

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Duke
Jan 29, 2018; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Jack White (41) reacts to a basket during the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke won 88-66. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Duke opens exhibition play with Virginia Union, an HBCU out of Richmond, Virginia.

VUU competes is a D-II team out of the CIAA.

Like a lot of HBCU teams, sports can’t be a major focus. Most HBCUs have limited funds, especially the private ones, so sports don’t typically get a big budget.

VUU is coming off a fairly pedestrian year at 18-15 and somewhat typically, it’s smaller and not very deep.

And they lost a lot from last year - the best returning player, statistically anyway, averaged 6.2 ppg and 5.2 rpg.

The Blue Devils by contrast bring in a tremendous recruiting class featuring RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones, all expected to start.

Duke should be faster, stronger and deeper than VUU. It is an exhibition game after all, and whenever possible, assuming the home team isn’t a wreck, the idea is basically to schedule a tuneup.

Of course it doesn't always work that way and there’s no guarantee that it will here either, though Duke is certainly going to be favored and favored heavily.

We’ll get to see all four freshmen make their official debut (although Reddish has a rib injury) and how the returnees have improved. We’ll get to see Duke’s new offense, which will also be interesting. And we will probably get to see a few mind-boggling plays by Zion Williamson.

Recently it was said that the talented freshman would be the second heaviest player in the NBA if he were in the league today.

He was 6-6 and 285 then.

Today, he’s 270 and has been cited by the coaching staff as the most fit player on the team.

It’s unfathomable still that someone his size can play, let alone have, as Coach K said the other day, guard skills.

Watching how he and the equally talented though much slimmer Barrett and Reddish mesh is going to be fascinating.

Game on!

If you're going to shop Amazon please start here and help DBR
Check out our October '17 t-shirt! || Drop us a line