Duke Basketball: Jordan Goldwire now has golden opportunity

Jordan Goldwire, Duke basketball (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Jordan Goldwire, Duke basketball (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire’s role next season, which suddenly appears bigger after a 2019 recruit decommitted this week, may make no sense when looking back at his national ranking as a prep.

As a sophomore whom almost nobody predicted would sniff the court during close games, Jordan Goldwire played 14 minutes or more in four of the Duke basketball team’s seven postseason contests.

His career-high 28 minutes came in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament against UNC — a one-point Duke win.

And those minutes came on a team with three players — Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish — who are about to become lottery picks; another, Tre Jones, would have probably become a first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft had he followed the same path as his fellow starting freshmen.

As a junior on next season’s roster, especially now that four-star 2019 combo guard Boogie Ellis announced his decommitment on Thursday, Goldwire may hear coach Mike Krzyzewski call his name early and often in every game — perhaps even at the start of games alongside Jones in the backcourt.

Plus, if an injury or some other scenario — God forbid — was to keep Jones off the court for an extended period of time, then one would assume Goldwire would assume the starting gig at point guard. Before backing out of his signed letter of intent, Ellis was seemingly the leading candidate for that role.

The only other plausible options at point guard when Jones is not on the floor are incoming freshmen Cassius Stanley and Wendell Moore — neither, though, fits the standard mold of a point guard like Goldwire.

ALSO READ: Cassius Stanley commits as Coach K crushes peers

But any significant role for Goldwire as a Blue Devil is more than experts could have predicted when he was in high school.

The 6-2, 170-pound combo guard from Norcross, Ga., sat at No. 398 on the 247Sports Composite for the class of 2017, the lowest-ranked recruit to accept a scholarship offer from Duke since the composite debuted for the class of 2003.

His exceeding outsiders’ expectations begins with his defense.

When he was on the court last season, he served as a full-time annoyance to opposing guards. His 2.7 steals per 40 minutes ranked a close second on the team to Zion Williamson’s 2.8 clip.

When he was on the court at the same time as fellow ball-hawker Jones, opposing backcourts appeared to be in full-time panic mode.

More from Ball Durham

If Goldwire can improve his output on offense by living in the gym this summer — he averaged only 0.9 points last season while shooting a dismal 27.3 percent from the field, including 12.0 percent from beyond the arc — then Krzyzewski, who has an affinity for those who always go all out on defense, is likely to play him far more than anyone could have ever imagined.

Although Goldwire’s limited athleticism limits his ability to facilitate scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates, he at least has a penchant for taking care of the ball. His 1.6 turnovers per 40 minutes last season was lower than that of any of the Blue Devils’ perimeter players.

So although he’ll never rank among the best point guards to ever lace ’em up for Coach K — unless his penchant for exceeding expectations becomes ridiculously inexplicable — Goldwire’s future at Duke continues to appear more and more golden.

And if Jones leaves for the NBA after next season and the staff is unable to land a five-star point guard from the class of 2020, Goldwire may have a golden opportunity to be the program’s starting point guard for the 2020-21 season.

ALSO READ: Jeremy Roach represents the best bet to replace Tre Jones

Goldwire’s golden gift to the program is being an option his coaches, teammates, and fans can trust.

Next. Top five point guards of the Coach K era. dark

Stay tuned to Ball Durham for more looks ahead to next season, along with daily looks at Duke basketball recruiting.