Duke's Cassius Stanley Declares for 2020 NBA Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2020

Duke guard Cassius Stanley (2) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Duke guard Cassius Stanley announced Tuesday he's decided to forgo his final three seasons of eligibility with the Blue Devils to enter the 2020 NBA draft.

Expectations were high as Stanley arrived at Duke as a 4-star prospect and the No. 37 overall player in the 2019 college basketball recruiting class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

The 20-year-old Los Angeles native flashed plenty of potential en route to averaging 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting 47.4 percent from the field across 29 games before the remainder of the 2019-20 season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Although there were growing pains throughout the season, including a five-game stretch starting in late November where he failed to crack double figures in scoring, there were moments of brilliance that helped put his high-end upside on display.

One of those was a terrific performance to help Duke avoid an upset bid by Georgia Tech on Jan. 8.

"For a freshman, especially, to turn that around in a game—an away game—that's huge," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters. "That shows a lot about that kid. He made some sensational plays, some sensational plays. He ran the court a couple times big time."

Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner added: "What an incredible athlete."

Stanley also used that eye-popping athleticism on defense, finishing his freshman campaign with a 2.6 defensive box plus-minus, per Sports Reference.

His two-way contributions not only bolster his draft stock, but they should help him earn immediate playing time at the next level. A lot of rookies struggle on the defensive end, which leads to lesser minutes earlier in their NBA careers. The Blue Devils standout shouldn't have that issue.

Stanley's offense is still a work in progress, especially in terms of his outside shot. His explosiveness could push him toward the lottery with a team betting on his promising long-term potential, but he's probably more of a fringe first-round pick based purely on his current talent level.

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