As Zion Williamson’s star shot beyond the stratosphere and RJ Barrett broke the ACC freshman scoring record, the third member of Duke’s celebrated 2018 recruiting class often found himself in the shadows.
Cam Reddish, a five-star recruit, mostly struggled as the third option in Duke’s crowded starting lineup.
But due to his upside and athleticism, he still projects as a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft, painted as having been put in a bad basketball situation with the Blue Devils.
Reddish: Spotlight on Zion ‘a little bit unfair’
Reddish spoke with reporters at the NBA draft combine in Chicago on Thursday and opened up a bit about his experience and what it meant to play in Zion Williamson’s shadow.
“I do think it’s a little bit unfair,” Reddish said of the spotlight placed on Williamson in Durham, per USA Today. “But I think he’s more than capable of overcoming all that.”
Tremendous pressure on Williamson
Williamson was the most hyped player in college basketball in decades. When he managed to exceed expectations, he entered Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery as the most anticipated NBA prospect since LeBron James.
It’s all led to a lot pressure for a teenager whose long been scrutinized like a professional. It’s easy to forget that Williamson’s still only 18 years old — especially with his grown-man body.
Role change for Reddish
For Reddish, playing alongside Williamson and Barrett presented a unique challenge for a high school star used to dominating the ball.
“It was different,” Reddish said. “I’m not usually just a shooter. I’m used to playing more on the ball. I was a (point guard) in high school.”
Struggles in Durham
The difficulty of the role change showed up on the stat sheet for Reddish.
In 36 games at Duke, Reddish shot 35.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point distance while averaging 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. A 6-8 forward, he didn’t regularly have the ball in his hands like he did in high school.
He doesn’t project as a point guard in the NBA, so it’s a role he’s going to need to get used to as a pro.
Reddish’s big NBA aspirations
His struggles haven’t diminished his confidence, though. According to USA Today, Reddish responded “I think so” when asked if he could be a better player than Williamson and Barrett.
It will be a tall task for him to do so. Nothing he did at Duke demonstrated that he had the most NBA potential of the three.
But it’s the type of confidence that any aspiring professional athlete should carry into his career.
An NBA team is going to draft Reddish in the late lottery hoping it got a steal. Reddish is going to believe it.
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