A Duke basketball jersey number may matter less than either the name on the front of the jersey or the one on the back, but that doesn’t mean jersey numbers are completely meaningless.
Henry Coleman and DJ Steward, two of six 2020 Duke basketball signees for next season, announced their jersey numbers during The Devils Den Live podcast this week. To those who study superstition or symbolism, both selections should seem suitable (yet they said there was no strategy to their picks).
Coleman chose No. 34. As a 6-foot-8, 240-pound four-star power forward who will arrive with a good head on his shoulders and solid skills with plenty of room for improvement, he lines up with a few others who have worn those Duke digits.
The three best to sport No. 34 in Durham are, in random order, Wendell Carter Jr., Mike Dunleavy, and Jim Spanarkel. While Coleman has a somewhat similar frame to Carter Jr., expect Coleman’s progression to at least loosely resemble two other recent 34’s: Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins. Granted, Duke fans will want to cross their fingers that his path as a Blue Devil is less similar to 34-wearers Jamal Boykin, Sean Obi, and Chris Burgess.
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Steward, meanwhile, went with the legendary, but not yet retirement-worthy, good old No. 2. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound five-star’s scoring prowess as a combo guard could bring to mind some mashup of former Duke deuces Cassius Stanley, Gary Trent Jr., Quinn Cook, and Nolan Smith. He mentioned during the podcast that Cook was one of his favorite Blue Devils to watch as a kid.
Also, Steward’s overall potential as a freshman is on par with some No. 2’s at forward for the Blue Devils this century: Cam Reddish, Josh McRoberts, and Luol Deng. Of course, folks can only hope his time under Mike Krzyzewski plays out better than that of the lone No. 2 who transferred: Chase Jeter.
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Now, could either Coleman or Steward hang their respective numbers from Cameron Indoor Stadium’s rafters one day? Doubtful, but no harm in starting a college career with that goal. For now, all we can say is their Dukie numerals appear to fit.
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