Duke Basketball: Marques Bolden excels in last exhibition game

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Duke Basketball center Marques Bolden has always had the skills to be an impactful college basketball player, and he was able to use his talents against Ferris State on Saturday evening.

Marques Bolden was a part of Duke’s 2016 recruiting class. The 6’11” center from DeSoto, Texas was ranked No. 14 nationally and was the No. 1 ranked center in his class, according to 247Sports composite.

Bolden struggled his first two-years in Durham, NC. In these years he averaged just 10 minutes, 2.8 points, and 2.5 rebounds in 53 games played. From the time he stepped on the floor at Duke, Bolden has struggled with a series of injuries and a general lack of confidence.

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Heading into the 2018-19 season, it was assumed that Bolden would be the starting center, pairing with the four freshman stars.

However, after a poor three-game Canada summer tour it seemed he still wasn’t quite ready for the starting spot. At a press conference in mid-October, Mike Krzyzewski hinted that junior Javin DeLaurier might start instead of Bolden.

After these claims by Krzyzewski, Bolden got the start in the first two exhibition games in the 2018-19 season. In the second exhibition game versus Ferris State, Bolden settled into an impactful role.

Bolden came alive with three blocks in the exhibition game. These blocks often led to transition buckets on the other end of the floor. Tre Jones rewarded the big-man with multiple dump-offs for easy points. This style of play, as well as the encouragement from his teammates, led to Bolden playing with supreme confidence in the 132-48 win against Ferris State.

Not only was Bolden seen blocking shots and running the floor, but he was also making hustle plays and doing the little things. Bolden looked to rebound the ball with intensity. He would hunt down the ball and grab it with both hands, even if the ball didn’t come in his direction. Bolden being a rebounding presence was an emphasis for Krzyzewski and his coaching staff.

Bolden ended the game with 21 minutes, 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Along with his points, he went 1-of-2 from the three-point line. He seemed confident taking the three-point shot. Bolden was also able to have an efficient game from the floor, finishing 6-of-8 from the field. If he is able to keep this confidence moving forward the rest of the season, he could be a force to reckon with in the paint.

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The Blue Devils are now finished with their exhibition games. They look to start the regular season on Tuesday, November 6 against the Kentucky Wildcats at 9:30 PM ET in the State Farm Champions Classic.