The supreme Duke basketball lineup as Jalen Johnson returns

Duke basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball’s No. 1 option at the five-spot: Matthew Hurt

At long last, sophomore Matthew Hurt is firing on all cylinders as a Duke basketball player.

As a result, for the first time since arriving in Durham, the former five-star Minnesota product is the ACC Player of the Week. In victories over Boston College and Wake Forest, Hurt went 17-for-30 from the field, including 7-for-13 from 3-point land, on his way to setting a new career-high with 26 points against Wake and scoring a combined 43 points for the week.

And because he added some 20 solid pounds to his build in the offseason, the 6-foot-9, 235-pound stretch-four has been able to put up such numbers while often playing center. Hurt, who is also shooting 43.2 percent from deep for the season, is now the only Blue Devil who landed on the recent Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List.

Even though Hurt still leaves plenty to be desired in terms of post defense and rebounding in traffic, he definitely proved clutch down the stretch in both regards against Boston College. He has also proven to be more assertive down low, often showing patience when he has the ball, then capitalizing on gaps to get buckets around the rim by contorting his body and using his soft touch.

Besides, regardless of any leftover shortcomings, Hurt is easily the most prolific Dukie right now. He leads the ACC at 19.6 points per game and leads Duke in a multitude of total stats: 137 points, 55 rebounds, 15 made free throws, 16 made 3-pointers, and 37 made 2-pointers.

So Matthew Hurt is the clear pick for the final piece here — and arguably the No. 1 overall piece — to this No. 1 Duke basketball small-ball lineup moving forward (when Jalen Johnson is 100 percent back, that is).

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