Duke Basketball: Blue vs. White becomes R.J. Barrett vs. Zion Williamson

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

During the Duke basketball team’s Blue-White Scrimmage on Friday night, Zion Williamson brought the thunder while his roommate and opponent for the evening, R.J. Barrett, provided the lightning.

The only disappointing aspect of the 20-minute Blue-White Scrimmage during Countdown to Craziness on Friday night was the fact that Duke basketball fans were unable to watch all the freshmen talent play together as a unit.

On the plus side, though, the battle that ensued between roommates R.J. Barrett (Blue) and Zion Williamson (White) was intense and the highlight of the night. It even included a brief staring contest — won by Barrett after he drilled a shot from beyond the arc on his way to a game-high 23 points.

But in the contest of who had the loudest game, Williamson won in a runaway. More like a dunk-away. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound YouTube sensation picked up right where he left off during Duke’s three-game Canada Tour in August, shaking rims and wowing all spectators with his thunderous slams on his way to 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

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Like coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the game to the ESPN+ crew, though, the dunks from Williamson don’t define the totality of his game.

“It’s not just his dunks,” the game’s all-time winningest coach said. “It’s his body control.”

He displayed that body control on one of his drives to the basket during his squad’s 44-39 win. Although he lost the ball while trying to dribble behind his back, his Herculean frame and strong movements created so much space that he was able to regain control of the ball and finish with a layup — yes, maybe just to mix it up, he does occasionally opt for the average-guy approach to scoring from two feet away.

As for Barrett, he showed just how lightning fast he can score in bunches from all areas of the court. Although his Blue team fell behind early as Williamson opened the show with dunks galore, the 6-foot-6, 210-pound guard looked determined to win more than just an individual points contest.

He brought out his serious face and led a comeback that might not have fallen short if there had been another minute or two added to the clock.

While running the point for most of the game, Barrett took more than half of his squad’s shots — he finished 9-of-19 from the field and 2-of-6 from beyond the arc — and they came from all areas of the court. What stood out about his offensive prowess the most, though, was his ability to make lightning-quick decisions followed by either lightning-quick long-range missiles or lightning-quick dashes to the hole — which ended with a few spectacular dunks of his own.

And although there were other highlights from other guys in Blue and White — junior forward Javin DeLaurier (White) showed off his stroke by drilling two threes on his way to 10 points and freshman forward Cam Reddish (Blue) scored 13 points despite having to play through a fractured rib he suffered during practice on Tuesday — Williamson and Barrett demanded the constant attention from everyone watching at home or from within Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“We just had to put on a show for the people,” Williamson said.

As for playing in front of those people, Williamson said he can’t wait to do it again.

“Playing in front of the Crazies, I’m gonna love it,” he said. “There is nothing else like it.

His roommate concurred but emphasized that once they are all on the same team is when the magic will truly happen.

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“Once we start the season,” Barrett said, “people will see how good we are.”