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Duke in the Draft

by Brian Horace

With the dust settling on the NBA Draft the Duke Blue Devils once again had a good showing, sending 3 players to NBA teams in the first round and 1 player in round 2. Marvin Bagley III headlined the Blue Devils night as the ACC Freshman and Player of the Year was selected second overall landing with the Sacramento Kings. It should be a great fit at least location wise for Bagley who grew up on the West Coast. Bagley was a true unicorn at Duke managing to have success inside and outside and taking game over at times with his tremendous physical gifts. Bagley showcased a wide range of skills both on the perimeter and in the paint which, with the way the NBA is trending, will aid him going forward.

Bagley’s frontcourt mate Wendell Carter Jr., who’s family donned Black Panther inspired attire, went to the Chicago Bulls with the 7th pick. Even in the shadow of Marvin Bagley III, Carter Jr., at times, was Duke’s best player on the floor. He proved to be much more of a defensive asset than Bagley III at Duke and has the skills to be very solid player at both ends. Carter will be an asset on the boards and has a game probably much more suited for the NBA than college.

There were questions as to whether Duke’s Grayson Allen would find a home in the first round, with much conjecture about where he could go and fit. There was talk of the Spurs, there was talk of the Warriors. In the end the Duke grad went at number 21 to the Utah Jazz. Allen lands on a young team who had a decent playoff showing and to a coach in Quin Snyder who has a great track record for player development. Allen, has always been an adept 3-point shooter and his athleticism is the stuff of legend. Developing a solid handle to run the point could greatly impact Allen’s NBA potential.

The second round saw another Duke player chosen in Gary Trent Jr., selected by the Sacramento Kings at the 7 spot (37th overall), his reunion with teammate Mavin Bagley III was short-lived as he was traded within minutes to the Portland Trailblazers. Trent’s father had intimated that in his time at Duke he was unable to show the full range of his game as he assimilated into a group of other 5 Star talent. Trent’s outside shooting and NBA frame should put him on a great track for success as he learns the game.

The only bit of bad or disheartening news was Trevon Duval, Duke’s starting point guard going undrafted. While it was never a lock that Duval would be among the names called most thought that is high ceiling and athleticism would assure him of at least a second round selection. While there are many ways to achieve a roster spot this definitely puts the 6’3 guard in a tough spot. The hope is that Duval will sign either a 2-way contract or a Summer League deal where he can showcase his skill. Duval will have to dramatically improve his shot-making ability to be able to stick in the league and some time in the G-League may be just what the former Duke guard needs. Quinn Cook another former Duke guard sent a message of support to the younger Duval, his story from G-League all star to 2 year contract could serve as a reference point for Duval.

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