DURHAM, N.C. – Rising Duke men’s basketball seniors Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden have announced their intentions to enter the NBA Draft process.
Both submitted their draft paperwork ahead of the April 21 deadline. They will gather feedback from NBA personnel over the coming weeks, but will maintain their collegiate eligibility, leaving open the possibility of returning to the Blue Devils.
DeLaurier was one of two Blue Devils to play all 38 games this season, making 16 starts, and averaging 3.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. The Shipman, Va., native made 59 of his 79 field goal attempts for a .747 percentage. Bolden averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 35 games this season. The native of DeSoto, Texas, shot .579 from the field.
Bolden and DeLaurier blocked 58 and 50 shots this season, respectively, helping Duke set both a program and ACC single-season record with 257 blocked shots this season.
The Blue Devils now have five in the draft process along with freshmen RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson.
Duke is set to play three games in Canada starting tomorrow evening. With Cam Reddish and Tre Jones sidelined due to injury, here is what to watch.
R.J. Barrett will control the ball
While the starters have yet to be announced, Mike Krzyzewski said in his press conference that the ball would run through R.J. Barrett on the Canadia trip. I asked Barrett last week if he was comfortable in that role and he said that he was. Duke loves to play what they call positionless basketball but they have a true PG this season in Tre Jones when healthy.
Who might start?
Duke will likely go with Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Alex O'Connell.
Duke will seek to develop quality depth
With the aforementioned injuries, Duke will play their bench and they'll do so often, BDN Premium members know who I projected as the season rotation, but Duke needs another body or two to become viable if there are injuries. Jack White will get some quality time and he could be the likely candidate for added depth once the season starts, Krzyzewski said he had lost ten pounds in the offseason, Another source close to the situation said their goal was to get the Austrailian product to play with more confidence. We can also expect to see Joey Baker, Antonio Vrankovic, Justin Robinson, and Jordan Goldwire see significant minutes.
Look for R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson to Shine
These guys are good and they're about to let the nation see that. Barrett is a confident player who enjoys challenges. He will thrive being the one who dictates action on a trip home. Zion Williamson literally makes Coach K smile when he speaks of him. All eyes will be on the South Carolina native and if his game translates to the college level right away.
Leaders will lead
Duke will look to Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden to lead as both enter their junior seasons. Duke has also been getting some chatter from White and O'Connell while the talented newcomers adjust.
Don't expect a refined, perfect bunch
The Duke staff is just scratching the surface on conditioning and they have yet to put in major parts of the system. Duke will play up-tempo this season with more man to man but this trip might not reveal how effective that can be.
This will be the first time we have seen this staff together. Gone is Jeff Capel and entering is Chris Carrawell. It will be interesting to watch how things are handled with the aforementioned along with Nate James, Jon Scheyer, and Nolan Smith. While Smith is not technically a coach, he plays a major role. It is worth noting that every coach or staff member mentioned has a national championship ring while at Duke.
Here are some highlights from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and players Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and R.J. Barret before the teams trip to Canada.
Quick hits -
Marques Bolden said that the freshman are fundamentally sound and know how to do the little things already.
Bolden was asked about the transfer rumors a season ago and said it was never a true option for him.
Bolden said that much of his offseason work concentrated on his motor and eating habits.
Javin DeLaurier worked out with teammate Justin Robinson and his Dad David in the offseason where he took kickboxing lessons and also yoga while in San Antonio.
DeLaurier said his role was to lead as an upperclassman and that he joked with Bolden that they were the older guys now. He joked that the freshman came up and asked if there were practices on Saturdays in which they laughed.
The freshman are especially close and work hard and are ready to listen according to DeLaurier.
R.J. Barrett said he was excited to return home with Duke and see his friends.
Barrett said he had worked on his outside game and hoped people backed off him in games.
Barrett said that a big part of his game was to make plays and that he could run the point if needed.
Barrett said he has achieved good things while in Canada and grew up watching Andrew Wiggins and that the younger generation now looks up to him.
Barrett said Javin was one of the hardest workers he has seen.
Barrett said that Krzyzewski just allows him to play and he was one of the funniest guys he knows.
Krzyzewski said he just wanted his players to play to their strengths without position worries.
Krzyzewski glowed when he talked about Zion Williamson calling him a great player and young man on and off the court. He said his weight was proportioned to his body type and that he had good lateral quickness.
Duke may well benefit from Marques Bolden's decision to remain on campus since the school break. The rising junior center is expected to play a key role on this seasons team. Instead of going home, Bolden has been working with coaches to get in the best shape possible while recovering from minor surgery on his nose. Blue Devil Nation caught up to the Texan big man yesterday for an interview. Here is what he had to say -
Coach K said earlier today that you remained on campus and would be working a lot with the staff. Can you elaborate on that?
Yeah, that's the plan. I had this surgery done after school and wanted to get it back right whole getting my body in the best shape it can be.
What was the procedure?
I had a deviated septum, so it was just a little small procedure. So now I am working out and taking summer classes and like I said trying to get in shape that I can.
Has it made a difference -- the way you are able to breathe when working out?
Yeah, there's a difference. I kid of got used to it at first but now that I've had the procedure I can feel a big difference in my breathing.
A lot is expected of you this season. It looks like you have a golden opportunity to be the man in the middle starting. Talk about that a little bit.
I am looking forward to it. It's just something you work for; to be able to do things like that. So, I am just thankful for the opportunity. We've got a great group of freshman coming in, along with the returning guys that played, so I am looking forward to the year.
You were not able to take a trip with the team last season when Coach K had a procedure. Do you feel the upcoming trip to Canada will be beneficial?
Yeah I feel like it's going to be real beneficial. Like you said, we were not able to take the trip last year so we don't know all the benefits. Instead of battling each other until the season starts we can play against competition and that will be good for us.
Coach K said he hadn't named captains yet, but is that something you think about a little bit being an upperclassmen?
Yeah, I mean I have obviously played on two great teams that had great captains so I have learned from them. And that is something if he were to give me that type of title, I would embrace it.
On some saying he has yet to live up to the hype he had coming out of HS -
Yeah, I feel like it's a personal thing. I really don't have much to prove to anybody other than myself and this coaching staff. So I am just working this summer and looking forward to this year.
It seems like you are just trusting the process, letting things work out in their own time. Would that be true?
Yeah, I mean I know the type of work I put in and I am confident in myself and the people around. I think we're going to have a great year.
The pre season prognosticators will probably say Duke has two players in the post who will play a lot. You're will likely play a lot of minutes. Will that put any pressure on you?
Naw. I feel like that would be a lot to think about. You just focus on being the best player that we can for this upcoming team. I really don't feel like we have to worry all the other little things. We've just got to focus on ourselves.
What is the one area that you feel like you need to improve the most on next season?
We are going to be more versatile. We've got a different group of guys compared to last season. We've got guys who can play different positions. Really, just being comfortable at each spot on the floor.
When I covered you school, you floated out a lot for some shots. Do you think that will be a part of your game this season?
Yeah. That is something I put a lot of effort into and I definitely feel like I can do that.
What has it been like to practice against players like Harry Giles and Marvin Bagley while at Duke?
It's been a huge help. You come here to get coached by the best and play against the best.
One of the players who will play a significant role for next seasons Duke Basketball team is Marques Bolden. The DeSoto, Texas native has trusted the process since choosing to play for the Blue Devils. And that trust will likely pay off with a starting role next season where Bolden is the clear-cut best true big man on the roster.
While many players have chosen to test the waters in the NBA Draft, Bolden did not. Instead, his focus will be to improve his game in the off-season to take advantage of the opportunity at hand.
Bolden has at times been hampered by injuries during his Duke career. He missed some time this past season mending a sore knee. Prior to that, Duke announced a lower left leg injury prior to the 2016-17 season and Bolden never seemed to catch back up after having a solid pre season.
When healthy, Bolden has shown flashes of brilliance. Coming out of high school, it was easy to see the big man's potential. Bolden has the tools which allows him to float out for jump shots or work around the rim with power. In short, he is more than capable of being a force on the court, especially when he is beamed in and motivated.
One thing that most fans do not see is the constant work that goes on with players at Duke. If one was to get to Cameron Indoor Stadium three hours before tip off, you might see Duke Assistant Coach Nate James working with big men like Bolden.
With all the grooming, trials and tribulations and lessons learned, this is Marques Bolden's time to shine. He will be depended upon to be a force in the paint, protect the rim on the defensive end while being expected to bag many rebounds.
At this time, Duke is not especially deep in the post. You will never see another tandem like Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. in the same season. And that means, Duke will be majorly dependent on Bolden and his teammates to make up for the departing stats.
Another area Bolden will have to harness is a leadership role. As a rising junior, he will be expected to teach the new guys the Duke way of doing things. The normally soft-spoken Bolden will likely show his leadership through his play where he needs to come back in the best possible shape once school begins.
The keys for a great season for Bolden -
Come back in tip-top shape in that you will be playing major minutes.
Work on not obtaining cheap fouls in that Duke will be thinner in the post and it will be important to be available throughout the entire game.
Bring the intensity at a more consistent level rather than in spurts.
Lead by example as an upperclassmen.
Realize that you will be depended upon for a lot of clean up duty near the rim.
It will be interesting to see how Marques Bolden develops. It is his time to shine and I personally think he will take full advantage of the opportunity.
Marques Bolden will miss his second consecutive game when Duke takes on Pitt this Wednesday evening. And now we can add Javin DeLaurier to the injury list as well.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski confirmed both players would be out against the Panthers in the Blue Devils next road ACC game.
Bolden suffered an MCL sprain during a recent practice and could miss the Wake Forest game as well, per Krzyzewski.
DeLaurier has been battled a hamstring injury for much the season. He missed Duke’s game against Evansville on Dec. 20 and has not played as many minutes as the staff would like. The sophomore forward will be day-to-day moving forward with concern to his return.
Duke may look to Antonio Vrankovic to feel in for some minutes and the Blue Devils will once again be forced to play their starters significant minutes.
Duke will tip-off against Pitt at 7:00 on ESPN 2 this Wednesday. The Blue Devils stand 1-2 in the ACC and 13-2 overall. Duke is currently ranked 7th in the A.P. Top 25 Basketball poll. Pitt is seeking their first ACC win of the season and is 8-8 overall.