NBA Draft news: Duke's R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cameron Reddish all in top 5 of ESPN's latest mock
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Duke’s R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cameron Reddish all in top 5 of ESPN’s latest 2019 mock draft

R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cameron Reddish

ESPN’s NBA Draft expert Jonathan Givony released the latest variant of his 2019 NBA mock draft on Wednesday. Three of the talented young players in the top five of this new list are Duke Blue Devils: R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cameron Reddish.

The top five is as follows, with the draft order determined by Kevin Pelton’s win-loss projections that are based on ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus:

1. PHI: (via SAC) R.J. Barrett, Duke, SG/SF, Fr., 6-7, 18.2 years old
2. ATL: Nassir Little, North Carolina, SF, Fr., 6-6, 18.5 years old
3. PHX: Zion Williamson, Duke, PF, Fr., 6-6, 18.1 years old
4. CHI: Sekou Doumbouya, Limoges, SF/PF, Intl., 6-9, 17.6 years old
5. NYK: Cameron Reddish, Duke, SF, Fr., 6-9, 18.9 years old

Barrett is still holding tight to his No. 1 spot, but Williamson made a big jump, surging from No. 7 to No. 3.

Barrett, who was born in Toronto, is a gifted small forward. As a result of an outstanding senior season at Montverde Academy in Florida, he earned five-star recruiting ratings from several well-known agencies, including Rivals, 247Sports and ESPN. Though Barrett received offers from Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, UCLA and USC, he committed to the Blue Devils on Nov. 10, 2017.

“It feels like home,” Barrett said after committing. “And obviously, they have a great coach. I love Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski). I’ve been watching Duke since I was really young.”

Williamson played his high school ball at Spartanburg Day School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he led the Griffins to multiple state titles. As a senior, Williamson earned McDonald’s All-American and South Carolina Mr. Basketball honors. The brawny, athletic power forward officially committed to play for Duke on Jan. 20, 2018.

Like his fellow Blue Devils, Reddish was a five-star recruit coming out of Westtown School in Pennsylvania. In fact, some sites had him listed as their No. 1 prospect, while others ranked him at No. 3. Though he had offers from Kentucky, Villanova, UCLA and UConn, he chose to sign with Duke on his 18th birthday (Sept. 1).

“I’m going somewhere that I can be challenged as a leader, challenged as a student, challenged to grow up, on and off the court,” Reddish said in a video for The Players’ Tribune. “And that’s why I’ll be attending Duke University.”

Exactly when these talented young players might be drafted will remain a topic of debate as this season gets under way, but either way, Duke will be must-watch basketball in 2018-19.