Duke basketball’s top four candidates for national awards next season

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

Senior. Jordan Goldwire. 4. player. 434. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Guard

Contender for Defensive Player of the Year

Yes, Jordan Goldwire could theoretically become the seventh Blue Devil to claim NABC Defensive Player of the Year (Tommy Amaker, Billy King, Grant Hill, and Steve Wojciechowski did so once; Shelden Williams, twice; Shane Battier, thrice). However, the only feasible way is for the senior combo guard to feast on minutes.

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Naturally, whatever amount of playing time he sees — he saw a surprising 24.1 minutes per game this past season — Goldwire will need to bring the same consistent level of extreme harassment that led to his team-high 2.5 steals per 40 minutes (for the 2018-19 squad, his 2.7 clip in this metric finished second to Zion Williamson’s 2.8).

Furthermore, he’s potentially both a starter and a captain. He’s also the only returnee likely to be a fulltime backcourt piece now that Tre Jones left for the NBA, Alex O’Connell opted to transfer, and Cassius Stanley went the Jones route. As a result, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Georgia native must assume a top leadership role on defense. Gone are the loud voice of Javin DeLaurier and the lead-by-example presence of Jones. And it will be Goldwire’s key responsibility to ensure incoming guards Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward fully comprehend what lockdown Duke pressure means.

In summary, if Goldwire is good for one or more steals per half while guiding the Blue Devils to defensive-juggernaut status, then by season’s end, he could indeed be in the conversation to join the above exclusive list of all-time Duke basketball defenders.

Up next, yet for a different award, is one of those newcomers Goldwire must mentor…