Duke basketball appears to have added another big man

Duke basketball (Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports) /

Is a European center suddenly a member of the 2021-22 Duke basketball team?

Late Sunday evening, the official Twitter account of the Duke basketball program posted a video of the Blue Devils on the practice floor singing “Happy Birthday” to head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s wife, Mickie, aka “Mrs. K.”

Immediately, knowledgeable fans began to ask about the mysterious guy — the one roughly as tall as 7-foot sophomore center Mark Williams — wearing a practice jersey and standing in the back.

The consensus is that Stanley Borden is his name.

Per one student on social media who claims to live across the hall from the 18-year-old, Borden is now a freshman at Duke. And according to FIBA, the 7-foot center hails from Portugal but recently played for Besiktas Icrypex (Turkey), averaging 7.6 points and 6.2 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game across five outings in July at the FIBA U20 European Challengers competition.

Must be either a Duke basketball helper or player

Judging from Stanley Borden’s inclusion in the “Happy Birthday” video, chances are he is, at the very least, either a member of the practice squad or a full-fledged walk-on. However, it’s worth noting that he did not appear in the official 2021-22 Duke basketball team picture that the program revealed just last week. Plus, he’s not on the roster at GoDuke.com, at least not for now.

With all of that in mind, it seems unlikely that Borden will be on the court — maybe not even on the bench — when the season tips off against Kentucky on Nov. 9 at the Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden.

But it does seem likely that Borden will be a part of the program in some capacity moving forward. Perhaps he’ll learn a thing or two while putting on a few pounds of muscle and then contribute as an official Blue Devil in a year or two.

Next. Projected Duke starters for this season. dark

Either way, it ought to be comforting to see another towering specimen in Durham, whether just for practice purposes or to have a potential safety net on hand in case of a wave of frontcourt injuries.