Duke's Mark Williams to return for sophomore season; Blue Devils add Theo John, Bates Jones | Zagsblog
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Sunday / April 14.
  • Duke’s Mark Williams to return for sophomore season; Blue Devils add Theo John, Bates Jones

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Duke freshman 7-footer Mark Williams will return for his sophomore season, he announced on Twitter.

    Williams averaged 7.1 points and 4.5 rebounds and went for 23 points and 19 boards in his final game against Louisville.

    Duke is losing freshman guard D.J. Steward and sophomore forward Matthew Hurt to the NBA Draft, while Jaemyn Brakefield (Ole Miss), Jordan Goldwire (Oklahoma), Henry Coleman III and Patrick Tape are transferring.

    The Blue Devils are bringing in Marquette transfer forward Theo John, Davidson transfer Bates Jones and a recruiting class of guards Jordan Blakes and Trevor Keels, small forward A.J. Griffin and power forward Paolo Banchero.

    John is a 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward from Minneapolis, Minn., and comes to Duke after a four-year career at Marquette University. Jones is a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Davidson College, and is the brother of former Duke football quarterback Daniel Jones and sister to Duke women’s soccer goalkeeper Ruthie Jones.

    John played in 123 games with 86 starts for Steve Wojciechowski‘s Marquette squad. The forward averaged 5.5 points on .576 field goal shooting with 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest. He led the Big East and ranked 34th in the nation in blocked shots per game as a sophomore (2.1) and finished third in the league as a junior (1.8). John was named the Golden Eagles’ Most Improved Player following each of those seasons. A Big East All-Academic pick in 2019-20, John leaves Marquette ranked second in program history with 191 blocked shots.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Theo into our program,” said coach Mike Krzyzewski. “He is versatile, tough and physical; a great defender and passer with the ability to both face up and play with his back to the basket. Theo was a three-year starter at Marquette and had one year with Chris Carrawell as an assistant coach. We look forward to the veteran presence in the frontcourt and the leadership he’ll bring to our team this season.”

    Starting 25 of 26 games this past season, John posted career-high averages in points (8.2), rebounds (5.2) and assists (1.3). He opened the season with his sixth career double-double, recording a stat line of 13 points, 12 boards and five blocks against Arkansas Pine Bluff. He matched his career-best scoring output against St. John’s on Jan. 31, netting 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting. In a three-game road stretch late in the season at Seton Hall, Butler and North Carolina, John totaled 40 points (13.3 average) and shot .571 (12-of-21) from the floor while securing 6.0 rebounds.

    A native of Charlotte, Jones comes to Duke after four seasons at Davidson College. The forward appeared in 96 games with five starts, averaging 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest. This past season, he played 12.6 minutes per game and posted 2.6 points and brought down 2.6 boards. Against Southern Virginia on Feb. 19, he poured in a career-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with eight rebounds.

    “It is an honor for us to add yet another Jones to the Duke family,” said Coach K. “He obviously comes from an incredible family and was a terrific four-year player at Davidson, playing for one of the best coaches in our game in Bob McKillop. Bates will instantly add experience and a veteran voice in our locker room and provide size and a physical presence in the frontcourt. We’re excited to have him in our program.”

    Jones’ brother, Daniel, was a three-year letter winner for the Duke football team (2016-18) and is currently a member of the New York Giants, while his sister, Ruthie, is a sophomore on the Duke women’s soccer team. Jones’ other sister, Rebecca, played field hockey at Davidson. A multi-sport athlete, Bates was an all-state quarterback in high school, leading Charlotte Latin to the NCISAA State Championship in 2016.

    (Via Duke release)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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