Duke Basketball: Marques Bolden faces ideal situation with Cleveland

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

Despite going undrafted, former Duke basketball center Marques Bolden landed with the perfect franchise to give him a reasonable shot at making an NBA roster.

Marques Bolden, who opted to skip his senior season as a Duke basketball player in order to fulfill his NBA dream, did not hear his name at the NBA Draft on Thursday. But his dream did not come to an end.

Hours after watching former teammates Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish all walk across the stage as top-10 picks, the 6-foot-11, 250-pound center from DeSoto, Texas, inked a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers as an undrafted free agent, per a tweet from HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy.

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And with the Cavaliers in rebuilding mode after going 19-63 last season, the 21-year-old will have an opportunity to make the roster — though he’ll likely start out in the G League.

Bolden came to Duke with high expectations as a five-star who ranked No. 14 on the 247Sports Composite for the 2016 class. However, injuries as a freshman and an influx of more talented bigs to Durham for his sophomore and junior seasons hindered his growth as a Blue Devil.

That being said, his time at Duke was not a total disappointment.

After starting only three games between his first two seasons and never averaging more than four points, he stepped his game up a bit for a 32-6 squad that reached the Elite Eight last season before losing to Michigan State. As a junior, Bolden started 21 games and finished with averages of 5.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks.

Perhaps the highlight of his college career came in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational against Auburn last season when he played a key role in Duke’s win by adding a whopping seven blocks to his 11 points and nine rebounds — not too far off a big man’s triple-double.

ALSO READ: Bolden’s blocks, boards, buckets embolden Blue Devils

If Bolden begins his professional career regularly finding the same rhythm he had on that November day against the Tigers, then don’t be surprised if he winds up on the Cavs roster by November.

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