Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Duke Roster Likely to Feature Major Turnover Entering 2017-18
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski took a moment to share a final thought with his team following their stunning 88-81 loss to South Carolina in the East Regional in Greenville, S.C.
Following their ACC Tournament championship last week in Brooklyn, where they won four games in four days, Duke looked like a hot pick to cut down the nets next month in Glendale, Az.
But that won’t happen now. The season is over for the Blue Devils, and their roster will likely look drastically different when the 2017-18 season tips off.
“Before you were able to come in there, I told them I love these guys,” Coach K said. “I’m proud of them. I’m disappointed that we didn’t win tonight. But at the end of the season I want my guys to either be crying because we’ve lost or crying because we’ve just won.”
He added: “I told them I love them and I’m proud of them. I wish I could keep coaching them this year. But that’s not going to happen.”
Four Duke players are projected in the DraftExpress.com Mock Draft.
Freshman Jayson Tatum is projected at No. 4 and figures to be one of the first names NBA Commissioner Adam Silver calls on June 22.
Sophomore Luke Kennard is listed at No. 20 and his stock may never get higher.
“Tatum is more ready but both will be backups to start their NBA careers,” one NBA executive said Sunday night. “I would like to see Kennard stay another year but he could slip in the draft if he stays another year at Duke.”
Freshman big man Harry Giles, who was once projected as the No. 1 pick in 2017 before he was sidelined by several knee procedures, is now listed at No. 25.
“[Returning for a sophomore year] sounds really smart until he comes back and tears his ACL again—and then his career is over,” Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com told Bleacher Report in this deep dive on Giles. “Maybe getting a guaranteed NBA contract is not the worst thing in the world when you’ve had this history with knee injuries.”
Junior Grayson Allen chimes in at No. 39 after a career in which he grew into one of the all-time Duke villains while tripping various opponents and pulling other on-court stunts.
Freshman point guard Frank Jackson is now listed at No. 20 in the 2018 Draft, while freshman big man Marques Bolden, once a projected 2017 lottery pick, has tumbled to No. 31 in 2018 after limited playing time this season.
Players can test the waters and return to campus if they don’t hire an agent. The NBA Draft Combine runs May 9-14 in Chicago. The NBA Draft early entry withdrawal deadline is June 12, and the Draft is June 22.
Looking ahead, Duke has another loaded class coming in led by shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. and big man Wendell Carter Jr.
The Blue Devils remain in the mix for point guard Trevon Duval, small forward Kevin Knox and big man Mohamed Bamba.
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.