It came down to the Kentucky Wildcats and the Duke Blue Devils, and head coach Mike Krzyzewski won by pulling in the best center in the 2016 class, Marques Bolden. The 2016-17 season appears to be shaping up pretty nicely, as the Texas native joins a recruiting class that already included the best power forward, Harry Giles, and the best small forward, Jason Tatum.
Credit the Duke assistant coaches, including Jeff Capel for reeling Bolden in, as he worked tirelessly to build trust with the young standout and his family. Rumors say his parents wanted him to go to Durham, but the decision truly went down to the wire as Bolden made no statement to either team. We didn’t know where he was going until his announcement was made.
Giles, Tatum and Bolden now give the Blue Devils arguably the best collection of freshmen frontcourt players in the last 10 years or so. Duke’s rotation won’t have the depth issues it faced last year as they’re joining a unit that will see the return of Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard. Amile Jefferson, was allowed a medical hardship waiver, more commonly known as a medical redshirt, after breaking a bone in his foot and being forced to sit out.
If Chase Jeter takes the next step and evolves into the player the Blue Devils expected, Duke may broaden the smile of their fans once NCAA basketball reaches March. There are no guarantees in competitive sports, but there’s no doubt the Blue Devils did their part to shift the competitive advantage in their favor.