Zion Williamson: Freshman forward 6’8″ 250 lbs.
22.0 PPG • 9.3 RPG • 2.3 APG
Braxton Beverly: Sophomore shooting guard 5’11” 181 lbs.
10.3 PPG • 1.5 RPG • 2.8 APG
Zion Williamson is predicated to be drafted 1st overall in virtually all NBA mock drafts. He’s the most electrifying player in college basketball. Williamson was the most hyped high school player in the past decade. But is Williamson the best player you can have for your program? No is the short answer.
Braxton Beverly has been at NC State for two years now and has provided stability Kevin Keatts has needed his own first two years in Raleigh. Beverly, an All-ACC academic member, averaged nearly 10 points his freshman season at NC State. His 3.27 assist-turnover set a all time ACC record for a freshman.
Today’s college basketball is not like what college and specifically ACC basketball purists are use to. Talented players do not stay in school for four years for education or to accomplish team goals like they use to. They leave. One and done. And who can blame them when the NCAA allows “one and dones” to attend school for one semester and then go collect a check in the NBA.
Zion Williamson will likely spend 1-2 semesters at Duke University and drop out as soon as the final buzzer ends for Duke’s basketball season. Beverly, by all accounts, will be back in the red and white for his third season. If NC State is fortunate, he will play for four years and graduate at NC State.
There’s no doubt that Williamson’s stardom does help recruiting, but Duke doesn’t need a superstar to increase their brand or their marketability. They are Duke basketball. For NC State, the Dennis Smith Jr and Ryan Harrow type players are beneficial but not essential. You build dominant programs with the Braxton Beverlys of the world. That’s how every powerhouse in blue (Kansas, Duke, UNC) built theirs, with 4 year student-athletes.
“I wish that every kid that I recruit at N.C. State is like Braxton Beverly. Works hard, great kid, low maintenance.” -KK
You can expect several eye opening dunks when State takes on Duke Saturday in Cameron Indoor Stadium. You can also expect a calm, collected and disciplined shooting guard in the most hostile college sports atmosphere in the nation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing more suspect than a powerhouse basketball school that has zero accountability being a private institution. Duke is not required to keep their records public due to the fact that they are not a public university. I’m not insinuating Duke has been paying their players, I am just suggesting that if a university were to and hide it for decades…it would be at Duke.