A Duke freshman broke Zion Williamson's vertical leap record and is now tearing up college basketball with monster dunks of his own

  • Less than a year removed from Zion Williamson's departure from Durham, a new Duke freshman has stolen his crown for the biggest vertical leap in program history.

  • Cassius Stanley bested Williamson's 45-inch vertical leap by recording a 46.5-inch version of his own during preseason testing.

  • Stanley is already putting that big jump to good use on the court, pulling out multiple flashy dunks during the Blue Devils' upset of No. 3 Kansas Tuesday night as well as in Duke's exhibition games.

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Last year's freshman class of Blue Devils was absolutely exceptional. The top three recruits in the nation — RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish — all tore up the NCAA before becoming NBA lottery picks in June.

While Duke's freshman class this season does not have nearly the same level of star power or, frankly, raw talent as last year's baby Blue Devils, it does have at least one aspect that supersedes its predecessor.

Shockingly, the Duke freshman class of 2019 has a higher jumper than its 2018 counterpart did.

Shooting guard Cassius Stanley — who recorded 13 points for the Blue Devils in their 68-66 upset of the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks Tuesday night — broke the program vertical leap record Williamson set prior to the 2018-19 season.

"I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you," Stanley told Business Insider after Tuesday night's contest. "No, no, no. I want to say it was 46.5 [inches]. It was with two steps."

And though it's early in his college career, it looks like Stanley is putting that jumping ability to good use in gameplay.

Williamson — a 6-foot-7, 285-pound high-flyer famous for his monstrous dunks and efficient play during his time at Duke — registered a 45-inch vertical during his preseason testing last year.

And, like Stanley, that astounding display of athleticism certainly translated to some incredible moments on the court.

Williamson capped his historic college season by claiming the 2019 Citizen Naismith Trophy for Men's Player of the Year and went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. And though the buzziest New Orleans Pelican's success is predicated on far more than his leaping ability, Stanley could similarly leverage his big jump for more flashy, show-stopping plays as the Blue Devils' season progresses.

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