• 84°

College basketball: Duke freshmen want to leave different legacy

The Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — All these Duke freshmen want to write their own histories.

They weren’t around to hang those four national championship banners at Cameron Indoor Stadium. They also had nothing to do with those stunning early round losses to Lehigh and Mercer.

No, the four freshmen on this year’s top-seeded Blue Devils (29-4) squad are eager to create their own postseason legacy when they make their NCAA Tournament debuts on Friday night in Charlotte in South Region play against the winner of the North Florida-Robert Morris matchup.

“You’re always remembered if you win,” freshman guard Tyus Jones said. “That’s the most important thing — we all want to be remembered for hanging a banner, a fifth banner.”

Duke is the only team in the nation to have three freshmen averaging double figures, and leading the way is Jahlil Okafor — a serious national player of the year candidate and the first freshman to win the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year award.

Okafor averages 17.7 points and nine rebounds, and has reach double figures in scoring in all but one game of his college career. Justise Winslow adds 12.3 points and Jones averages 11.6 points.

And reserve Grayson Allen has come on lately, scoring double figures in two of his last four games including a season-high 27 in just 24 minutes against Wake Forest.

The Okafor-Jones-Winslow trio has been in Duke’s starting lineup 32 times.

Together, those three are bidding to become the highest-scoring trio of freshmen in program history, and just the third in ACC history to each average double figures.

Yet there’s an inherent danger for Duke, which in recently has gone one-and-out in the NCAA Tournament with one-and-done NBA talent.

But the current freshmen already put together a long list of impressive wins away from Cameron: at Wisconsin, at North Carolina, at Virginia, at Louisville.

“We’ve won some enormous games,” senior guard Quinn Cook said, “and our freshmen keep getting better.”

And now they’re focused on hanging a banner of their own in those crowded rafters at Duke.

When the team gathered Sunday night to watch the selection show, coach Mike Krzyzewski said the freshmen cheered loudly and Jones and Okafor hugged to celebrate their place in the bracket.

“People expect it, your birthright, you’re supposed to be picked high and you’re supposed to be in the tournament,” Krzyzewski said. “And to see that level of enthusiasm and excitement, that was great.”

Comments

Concord

Salisbury VA Community Living Center outbreak now considered over

Local

New Salisbury fire station taking shape on Cedar Springs Road

Coronavirus

Last-ditch virus aid talks collapse; no help for jobless now

Elections

Flood of election-related mail raises concerns from local voters

Elections

Top state lawmakers want a presidential debate in N.C.

Business

US hiring slows amid signs of longer-lasting economic damage

Local

North Carolina to relax 10-person limit for GOP convention

Education

Most NC parents won’t have option to send kid back to school

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man charged with kidnapping

Crime

Police undercover purchases produce charges for Salsburian

Crime

Salisbury man faces sex offense charges in Randolph County

East Spencer

Earlier deadline accompanies concerns about local completion rate for Census

Coronavirus

New COVID-19 outbreak grows at Salisbury nursing home

Crime

Blotter: Guns stolen from vehicle

China Grove

Town of China Grove names new finance director

Landis

South Rowan grad to serve as new Landis HR officer, town clerk

Education

50 local businesses to display COVID-19 posters designed by students

Crime

Salisbury pair caught breaking into vacant home

Local

Gov. Cooper: Trump’s coronavirus strategy ‘nonexistent’

Crime

Sheriff’s deputies charge Salisbury woman after finding drugs, cash in stolen car

Education

Rivas taking over as principal at Hanford-Dole

Education

Back to School: Calendars

Education

Back to School: Getting to know local schools

Education

Back to School: A message from RSS Superintendent Lynn Moody