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Zion Williamson at No. 1 and RJ Barrett at No. 3 among 3 Duke players drafted in NBA

Former Duke guard Cam Reddish goes to the Atlanta Hawks after being selected No. 10 overall in Thursday’s NBA draft.

Guard R.J. Barrett was selected by the New York Knicks with the third pick.

And earlier, as expected, former Duke forward Zion Williamson was picked No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans.

This is the first time two players from the same college have been selected in the first three picks since 2014 — and only the second time three players from the same team have gone in the top-10 in the common draft era.

Center Marques Bolden is also in the draft’s pool, but he is not widely expected to be drafted.

We’ll be updating this story throughout the draft as Duke players are selected.

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Zion Williamson

Round 1, Pick 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans

From maybe before Duke’s season-opening tip, Zion Williamson seemed destined to become this year’s No. 1 pick — and the prophecy came true.

His only year at Duke confirmed that he was deserving of his hype: In 33 games played, the 6-7, 285-pound forward averaged 8.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 22.6 points on 68 percent shooting from the field. The Blue Devils ended their season in the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight against Michigan State with records of 32-6 overall and 14-4 in the ACC. Three of Duke’s losses came when Williamson was out for six games with a knee injury.

Williamson’s season almost came to a stunning halt when his shoe blew out in Duke’s first game against UNC on Feb. 20. But when he returned, it was clear he hadn’t miss a beat.

His selection is the 10th-straight time a freshman has been taken as the first pick. Williamson, who had dreamed about this moment since he was four, had tears in his eyes in his post-pick interview.

“My mom sacrificed a lot for me ...” he said, his mother by his side. “She always looked out for her family first before herself.”

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Duke’s RJ Barrett gets a hug after being selected as the third pick overall by the New York Knicks during the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. Julio Cortez AP

R.J. Barrett

Round 1, Pick 3 to the New York Knicks

Coming off a season that earned him USA Today’s Player of the Year award and a first-team All-ACC selection, R.J. Barrett was selected third by the New York Knicks.

The first-year guard — who is 6-7, 202 pounds — started every game for the Blue Devils this past season and averaged an identical 22.6 points per game with his best friend and teammate, Williamson.

Barrett, by necessity with Williamson’s mid-season injury, became Duke’s primary scorer. According to his family and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, though — he’s always been more dynamic than that.

“I’m proud of you son,” Barrett’s father said with his son’s tear-filled face on his shoulder, in his post-pick interview.

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Duke’s Cam Reddish shows off his jacket after the Atlanta Hawks selected him as the 10th overall pick in the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. Julio Cortez AP

Cam Reddish

Round 1, Pick 10 to the Atlanta Hawks

Cam Reddish, formerly ranked No. 3 on ESPN’s Top 100 board coming out of high school, is going to Atlanta. The 6-8, 218-pound guard from Norristown, Penn., averaged 13.5 points and 3.7 rebounds last season, shooting 35.6 percent from the field.

Reddish’s lone season at Duke was a bit of a mixed bag. At times, like in his performance against Boston College, his offense was brilliant. And at other times, he struggled.

An injury that kept rearing its head throughout the season might have something to do with his inconsistency.

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Alex is an intern at The News and Observer, covering sports and however it intersects with life in the Triangle. Before that, Alex graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May and was a three-year staffer on UNC’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel.
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