Cameron Indoor Stadium, where the Duke Blue Devils play their games, has a seating capacity of 9,314. And it is always packed to the ceiling with the "Cameron Crazies" each time the Blue Devils take the court.
But when Duke takes the court Thursday night against No. 12 Texas Tech, it won't be in Durham, NC. Instead, they will be walking into the bright lights of the mecca of basketball -- Madison Square Garden. And you can bet MSG's capacity of 19,812 will be filled to the max as well.
Of course, the Blue Devils tout a ravenous fanbase that travels with them across the country. But this group in particular is even more tantalizing to watch this season, mainly because of the greatest showman in the NCAA right now -- Zion Williamson.
Williamson has been nothing short of spectacular for the Blue Devils since coming out of Spartanburg, SC where he was already famous for the insane, jaw-dropping plays and warmup dunks he put on display each night. It's even more impressive that he's doing the exact same thing against some of the best college basketball teams in the country.
But this Thursday night will be a night he will likely step back and realize exactly what hardwood he's playing on, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski explains why the rest of his team will, too.
"It's every player's dream to play at Madison Square Garden," he told The Post's Mike Vaccaro, "and it's every coach's dream to coach there. It's still a thrill for me."
For Williamson, though, the thrill of playing at MSG with the whole world watching could be what's coming for his NBA career. The Knicks, like every other team in the league, have Williamson on the top of their wish list for the 2019 NBA Draft. And as of now, the Knicks have a top five spot in the Draft Lottery, making their chances to land the 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward very high.
As Krzyzewski points out, every player -- from youth rec league to current NBA stars -- wants to play at MSG. That is where the magic happens, and legends are born.
Williamson, who seems to already be immortalized in college despite playing just 11 games, knows real basketball fame comes at The Garden.
"The Garden?" he questioned. "That's where big names are made."
Think Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, and Dave DeBusschere to name just a few big names hanging from the rafters. To many, Williamson has the potential to find his jersey number hanging in an arena someday, and that includes NBA executives.
"Let me ask you a question," a longtime NBA exec said. "How many players do you know who can dominate a game without touching the ball? Listen to the crowd when he's on the floor. They're anticipating what he's going to do next, even before he does it."
Williamson doesn't just bring tremendous skill driving to the lane, or making a big block. Instead, he turns fundamental basketball plays into highlight-reel gems that get you jumping out of your seat, or grabbing the person next to you to watch for themselves.
His 45-inch vertical that leaves him floating on a fastbreak, windmill dunk, or showstopping stuff at the rim should be in Ripley's Believe It or Not!
See for yourself on this block...
Or this dunk...
ZION 💨💨 pic.twitter.com/b8ba5CJs0l- SNY (@SNYtv) November 28, 2018
Or this alley-oop finisher...
Just look at how the crowd reacts after each play: Pandemonium ensues with fans holding their hands in astonishment, jumping up and down, or simply standing still both confused and amazed at what they just saw. This is what Williamson will be bringing to MSG.
And it isn't just Williamson that the Knicks will get an up close and personal look at. R.J. Barrett, who could very well beat out Williamson for the No. 1 overall pick, can literally do it all when he's in the game. Cam Reddish, who is Duke's sharpshooter, is also projected to in the top five when June comes around.
Though Barrett may be the team's leading scorer this season, even he knows there's just something different what when he scores compared his counterpart on the floor.
"It doesn't compare to yours, bro," Barrett told Williamson after he said reporters called his points "quieter."
One thing is for sure: MSG will certainly not be quiet when Williamson & Company sprint onto the hardwood for this matchup. And you can bet Knicks brass and Knicks alike will be watching intently to see how Williamson reacts to the biggest stage in basketball.
They know it could be his home for years to come.