DeLaurier providing young Blue Devils leadership

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COLUMBIA, SC (WCAV) -- When Duke's freshmen phenoms need advice, its a voice from Charlottesville that players like Zion Williamson turn.

"Javin's meant a lot to me," Williamson said. "Javin's really been like a big brother to me since I stepped on the campus of Duke."

"Javin's been excellent," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "I think its helped him improve as a player. We have a really great unit, but it doesn't just happen. It happens because those kids work together."

"I'm the oldest of four boys," said Duke junior forward Javin DeLaurier, "so kind of being a big brother figure just comes naturally at this point."

"He's a warrior out there on the court," added junior guard Jack White, "as a captain, you love to see that from him."

DeLaurier is one of Duke's captains this season. He will be making his second straight appearance in the Sweet Sixteen when the Blue Devils face Virginia Tech on Friday in Washington. His numbers do not jump off the page -- averaging 3.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game -- but it is his leadership that has become valuable for the Blue Devils.

"I've been through some painful losses here in the tournament," DeLaurier said. "Just really telling these guys that we can't ever give less than our best because when its over, it hits you like a brick wall."

"When it came to class," Williamson added, "how I should handle my time management, I would always look to Javin. Like, he would never stear me wrong. He would always guided me in the right direction."

As the Blue Devils make their run through the postseason, DeLaurier looks to his time at St. Anne's-Belfield for where his leadership capabilities were born.

"Thankfully, my high school coach," he said, "he allowed me to do a lot as I was coming up. He put me in a leadership role when I was pretty young."

"He's my best friend," White added. "We've kind of grown through the program together and he's turned into an amazing leader for our group."