The Duke Blue Devils addition of five-star center, Marques Bolden, gives Coach Mike Krzyzewski a loaded recruiting class for the 2016-2017 season.
The Duke Blue Devils are consistently a college basketball powerhouse. Churning out 20 win seasons year after year, Coach K and the Blue Devils are a threat to win the National Championship every year.
However, some rosters Duke obtains seem to be special before the season even begins. As good as the National Championship 2014 recruiting class was (Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, Grayson Allen), the 2016 recruiting class looks even better. Coach Mike Krzyzewski could have just landed his most talented recruiting class ever.
After the May 19th announcement by Marques Bolden that he would be committing to Duke University, Coach K gained the true center he desperately needed and added a fourth five-star to an already impressive recruiting class.
This seasons class isn’t just impressive but well-balanced; it includes the five-star point guard and McDonalds All-American MVP/ Slam Dunk contest winner Frank Jackson. Jackson is ranked tenth overall in the ESPN 100 and will look to make an impact immediately following the transfer of Derryck Thornton. Jackson adds an element of athleticism to the Duke backcourt, which it has seemed to lack recently.
Next up is the five-star small forward out of Chaminade College Prep, Jayson Tatum. Tatum is ranked third overall in the ESPN 100 and will look to fill the shoes left behind by dynamic scorer Brandon Ingram. Tatum is a pure scorer himself and hopes to help take the load off Grayson Allen’s shoulders when it comes to lighting up the scoreboard this season.
A crucial part of Duke’s recruiting class is the four-star power forward, Javin DeLaurier, out of Saint Annes-Belfield High School. DeLaurier is the ranked 44th overall in the ESPN 100 and will add a much-needed depth to the front-court and be mentored by Amile Jefferson this year to improve his game. DeLaurier is an important piece of this recruiting class due to being one of the few recruits who could end up staying for more than one year.
The most heralded recruit of the class, and potentially the most talented, is the 6’10 five-star power forward out of Oak Hill Academy, Harry Giles. Giles is ranked number one overall in the ESPN 100. Giles plays power forward but handles the ball like a point guard. A true all-around player, he will be a cornerstone of the Duke team for the 2016-2017 season if he can stay healthy. Giles is coming off of an ACL tear but has rehabbed and looks ready to be a force for Duke this year.
The newest addition to Mike Krzyzewski’s Stellar class is the 6’11 five-star center out of DeSoto, Texas, Marques Bolden. Bolden is ranked 16th overall in the ESPN 100. Bolden picked Duke over Kentucky in a decision that came down to the wire. Bolden gives Duke a replacement of sorts to help erase the void left by Marshall Plumlee. Bolden is known for his defensive and rebounding superiority. Bolden could make an impact early and give Coach Mike Krzyzewski the final piece of what could be a National Championship puzzle
The final piece of this Duke class is Australian forward, Jack White. White is a developmental project of sorts. Although he probably will not contribute much this season, White will hope to develop and become an important contributing piece as a three to four-year player. This is the second player Coach K has scooped up from overseas recently (Antonio Vrankovic). It will be interesting to see Coach K’s plans for them going forward.
Duke added a player in every position but shooting guard in the 2016 class, and with the shooting guard position already having a surplus of talent returning (Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, and Luke Kennard), this could be a truly special freshman class for Duke.
This class will also join returning stars Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson, as well as important contributors such as Matt Jones, Luke Kennard, Chase Jeter, and Sean Obi.
Duke has not been this deep in a long time. And with all of the talent Coach K has been able to stockpile into this roster, there will be high hopes and large expectations for Duke this year. Anything short of a National Championship will be a disappointment.
Duke is always a powerhouse, but this year will look to be a special one in Durham. One thing is for certain, Coach K no longer has any issue of utilizing freshman “one and done” talent. And he might already be doing it better than Coach Calipari.