Before the start of the Maui Invitational, Spokesman-Review beat writer Jim Meehan listed his dream individual showdowns for the tournament.
As Gonzaga handled business in the bottom half of the bracket, top-ranked Duke held serve in the top half, setting up a marquee game for the Maui title on Wednesday (2 p.m., ESPN).
Here’s a look at the matchup’s Meehan hoped to see if the Bulldogs and Blue Devils took the court against each other.
Zion Williamson vs. Rui Hachimura
Williamson is 6-7 and 285 pounds, a rim-wrecking freight train in the open court. He also moves like a guard. No wonder he was offered a football scholarship by LSU. Williamson is averaging 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, along with countless highlight-reel dunks
Hachimura would be giving away roughly 50 pounds, but he is Gonzaga’s strongest interior player and had success defending 260-pound Jock Landale last season. Clarke is an option, but he’d have to find a way to counter Williamson’s size and strength advantages.
RJ Barrett vs. Zach Norvell Jr.
Two versatile, talented, creative scoring wings going at it would be a treat to watch. The 6-7 Barrett, who was Gonzaga freshman Filip Petrusev’s teammate at Montverde Academy, is a handful inside and out. He’s taken 22 shots per game, but he’s also producing 24 points. The 6-5 Norvell can put up points in a hurry.
Cam Reddish vs. Brandon Clarke
This game would be filled with athletic, skilled bigs, and Reddish and Clarke certainly fit that description. The 6-8 Reddish appears destined to join Williamson and Barrett as one-and-dones. He’s drained a team-leading 13 3-pointers, averages 16.5 points and is a willing passer (10 assists). Clarke is a high-riser who can score, rebound and block shots. Corey Kispert could be an option here on defense, with Reddish doing most of his damage on the perimeter.
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