Sunday’s news that Derryck Thornton will transfer from Duke means the Blue Devils now have 12 scholarship players projected for next year’s roster. Here’s a rundown of how Coach K’s team looks as of now, and a projection of what could still happen.
As of Sunday morning Duke’s 2016-2017 roster was projected to have 13 scholarship players with a preferred walk-on, Justin Robinson, also factoring in. Shortly after lunchtime, however, the Blue Devils had lost Thornton who was definitely in the conversation to start on next year’s presumptive top ranked team.
And so Duke is down to 12 scholarship players. For now. Those dozen Blue Devils project as follows:
C (3) - Chase Jeter, Antonio Vrankovic, Sean Obi
PF (3) - Harry Giles, Amile Jefferson, Javin DeLaurier
SF (3) - Jayson Tatum, Matt Jones, Jack White
SG (2) - Grayson Allen, Luke Kennard
PG (1) - Frank Jackson
SR (2) - Jefferson, Jones
JR (2) - Allen, Obi
SO (3) - Jeter, Vrankovic, Kennard
FR (5) - Jackson, Giles, Tatum, DeLaurier, White
From a lineup perspective, Duke will have a number of players capable of playing multiple positions as the Blue Devils look to dictate pace and match-ups throughout the season. Coach Krzyzewski will likely run Jefferson at the five for long stretches while Matt Jones will play and defend positions 1-3. The same will likely be true of Kennard and Jackson as Duke will have the ability to put a number of guards on the floor. Both Giles and Jeter will be able to get minutes at the four and five. While Tatum will likely start at small forward, he’ll also slide to the stretch four position when Duke goes small and wants to stretch the floor much like Kyle Singler did in 2010 and 2011.
In 2015-2016 Duke relied on a rotation with as few as six players. The Blue Devils weren’t able to run full practices for most of the year. Those limitations will be gone next year.
When looking at the roster from an experience factor, the Blue Devils will still be extremely young overall with 67 percent of the rotation being first or second year players. However, Duke will have the benefit of three upperclassmen playing big minutes with a junior Allen, senior Jones, and fifth-year senior Jefferson.
So, while eight was enough in 2015, and seven was sort of sufficient in 2016, Duke has 12 ready to go for 2017. However, there is currently room for one more scholarship player. And, it just so happens that Duke is conducting an in-home visit with Scout.com’s top rated center in the class of 2016, Marques Bolden on Sunday night.
Bolden has been highly recruited by Coach K over the last few months and has announced a final three of Duke, Kentucky, and TCU with the Blue Devils emerging over the last few weeks as the perceived favorite.