Duke Basketball: Blue Devils Have a Superstar Waiting Among the Trees

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 10: Alex O'Connell
DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 10: Alex O'Connell /

Duke will be recognized for their polarizing top prospects but they will have one under the radar player who may be vital to future Duke success.

Duke once again comes into next year with a star-studded recruiting class. It could be the best recruiting class ever.

The Blue Devils saw all three top recruits sign letters of intent to play in Cameron. With RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish the Blue Devils potentially have the top three selections in the 2019 NBA Draft.

However, the most important player to Duke’s success next year might not be any of them.

He’s not the incoming sibling of former Duke point guard Tyus Jones either. He wasn’t even a McDonald’s All American.

That player is current freshman guard Alex O’Connell.

The self-proclaimed Slim Reaper according to his high school highlights on Youtube, O’Connell brings the Blue Devils something they may not get from their top three recruits. It’s one of the staples of Duke Basketball, and that is consistent three-point shooting.

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Even though Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. have both attempted almost triple the number of three-pointers as O’Connell, the kid can shoot the ball.

O’Connell is shooting 52 percent on the season and is likely promoted into the starting lineup next year with all of Duke’s Diaper Dandies.

Could O’Connell be the next Grayson Allen? Sitting most of his freshman year, making an impact in crucial situations down the stretch.

Then exploding during his sophomore year onto the national stage.

The scouting reports on Duke’s incoming recruits are that Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett are far from complete shooters.

Cam Reddish is probably the best shooter out of the three, but he’s extremely streaky. With the attention that all three will consume driving to the lane and in the post, O’Connell should get a ton of open looks, and space the floor for all three of these guys.

Looking into these highlights it shows that O’Connell has a projectable jump shot even with a larger sample size of shots.

He always sets his feet well even if it’s in transition. Also, O’Connell bends his knees and gets good lift on his shot.

Lastly, he moves well with the ball, and that is a trait of all good shooters. Very similar to Gary Trent Jr. who is Duke’s best three-point shooter currently.

With all the attention drawn to all of Duke’s great prospects, Alex O’Connell could be a big part of Duke’s success.

His ability to shoot when most of their future starters can’t poise him for a sneaky, but an impressive year.

His shooting will open so many more opportunities for his teammates. Alex O’Connell could end up being Duke’s most important offensive player next season.