Duke basketball coaching staff eyeing reigning Player of Year

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball coaching staff is eyeing the reigning Co-Player of the Year in the Ivy League.

Mike Krzyzewski and his coaching staff just landed the first graduate transfer in the history of the Duke basketball program, so could another be on the way?

Yes, just months after landing a commitment, then decommitment, followed by a recommitment of Columbia graduate transfer Patrick Tape, the Blue Devils could be in the market for a player very similar to Tape.

Paul Atkinson, the Co-Player of the Year in the Ivy League, announced his intention to transfer from the school this coming spring after reports surfaced that the league may not hold a 2020-21 basketball season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many conferences originally postponed the football season to the spring, later reversing course to play later in the fall, and only the Pac-12 made the rash decision to postpone all sporting events to January 1, although that decision was recently walked back as football will begin on November 7 and basketball on November 25, when the season is scheduled to begin.

However, the Ivy League is the only Division I conference not to set a return date for sports, and its players will soon make a long line of transfers, who will not have to sit out in the 2021-22 season following the passing of a one-time free transfer rule by the NCAA.

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Atkinson, who will be a graduate transfer, will be eligible to play in the 2021-22 season regardless of the rule, and he has a long list of suitors already as ESPN’s Jeff Borzello reported that Duke, Arkansas, Miami (Fla.), Florida, USC, Stanford, Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Maryland, Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, and Georgia have already reached out to him.

The 6-foot-10, 220-pound center averaged 17.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game as a junior while shooting 63.0 percent from the floor, 30.8 percent from 3-point range, and 67.1 percent from the free throw line.

Would the Duke basketball program and Paul Atkinson make a good fit?

The million-dollar question is whether Duke and Atkinson would make a good fit, and the answer is no.

Despite the rule in which players will be given an extra year of eligibility, which could result in two years for Atkinson remaining at the collegiate level, the Blue Devils may still have Mark Williams, Henry Coleman, Patrick Tape, and Jaemyn Brakefield on the roster for the 2021-22 season.

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Williams at 7-foot, Tape at 6-foot-9, Brakefield at 6-foot-8, and Coleman at 6-foot-7 will not only gain valuable experience in their first seasons in Durham, but the potential of adding another star-studded recruiting class in 2021 doesn’t bode well for Duke to land, or potentially offer, Paul Atkinson.

Due diligence is always a great strategy for a college program, specifically the heavy hitters of the Blue Devils who continue to dominate the recruiting trail at any level.

light. Trending. Future of Duke could be closer than many think