Duke basketball sees forward tandem blossoming towards March

Duke basketball forward Matthew Hurt. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Matthew Hurt. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball is building a powerful forward tandem as March approaches. 

The Duke basketball team is looking much more like a traditional Blue Devil squad, and it’s because of the forward tandem Mike Krzyzewski has finally put together.

After the departure of a freshman forward, it has allowed sophomore Matthew Hurt to play his natural position of power forward while Mark Williams has been inserted as the full-time center for the Blue Devils.

Williams had a significant learning curve entering college as he was overmatched against veteran, physical players such as Kofi Cockburn.

However, as February has progressed, the 7-footer has seen much more playing time, and his potential is skyrocketing with each passing minute.

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Williams is serving as a rim protector that Duke did not have earlier in the season while offsetting any defensive lapses the team might have.

Since the Blue Devils began their four-game winning streak against North Carolina State, Williams is averaging 10.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game in 19.5 minutes per contest.

Matthew Hurt is averaging 20.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game over the same stretch. The contender for the ACC Player of the Year Award is shooting 29-of-43 from the field (67.4-percent) and 16-of-24 from three-point range (66.6-percent) in Duke’s winning streak.

How much longer will Duke basketball have the potent duo?

After weeks of it looking like the Blue Devils would miss the NCAA Tournament, Duke is trending towards March Madness, but the duo of Hurt and Williams might not last longer than this season.

Mark Williams will be back in Durham for his sophomore season, but Matthew Hurt was a projected lottery pick entering Duke as a freshman.

Struggles in his first year exposed a much larger issue with the game of the power forward, many of which have been corrected in his second season, but defensive issues still surround Matthew Hurt.

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However, the majority of 2021 NBA Mock Drafts currently have the Blue Devil as a second-round pick, and he will have to make a decision if he wants to jump to the professional ranks or remain in Durham.

Odds are that Hurt probably makes that leap to the NBA next season and the duo of Mark Williams and Matthew Hurt only has a few more weeks left together.

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