Duke basketball standouts go back-to-back in NBA Draft

Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

A pair of Duke basketball standouts went back-to-back in the NBA Draft. 

It was a little bit of a wait for the Duke basketball players in the NBA Draft after Paolo Banchero was selected as the No. 1 overall pick but there was a quick run of Blue Devils in the first round.

Mark Williams was selected No. 15 overall to the Charlotte Hornets and freshman standout AJ Griffin was drafted immediately after the Blue Devil center at No. 16 by the Atlanta Hawks.

Griffin was projected as a Top-10 pick on Thursday night but slowly slid out of the lottery for reasons not yet known.

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The 6-foot-6 forward felt like an ideal fit for the New York Knicks but his hometown team passed on the White Plains, New York native as the Knicks continue to wheel and deal with trades throughout the evening.

AJ Griffin dealt with a rash of knee injuries during his high school career at Archbishop Stepinac (NY) and was dealing with another knee ailment during the preseason in his only season with the Blue Devils.

However, Griffin did not miss a game with Duke this season as the member of the ACC All-Freshman Team played in 39 contests, starting 25, and averaged 10.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists.

Atlanta Hawks giddy about shooting abilities of Duke basketball product

AJ Griffin was arguably the best shooter in the NBA Draft and the Atlanta Hawks are helping the young prospect will be able to space the floor for its All-Star point guard Trae Young.

Griffin shot an unbelievable 49.3-percent from the floor and a scorching 44.7-percent from 3-point range at the collegiate ranks.

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Atlanta has taken chances on other Duke wings in the past, drafting Cam Reddish at No. 10 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft and Jalen Johnson at No. 20 overall in the 2020 Draft, but the franchise traded Reddish to the New York Knicks at the trade deadline and rarely played Johnson this season.

Reddish has been at the forefront of trade talks from the Knicks in the days leading up to the draft.

Duke still has two players remaining on the board in the 2022 NBA Draft; Wendell Moore and Trevor Keels.

Next. Coach K delivers special message to Paolo Banchero. dark