SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Javin DeLaurier

By Bermuda Bob

Javin is a 6’10” 231 lb. Sophomore Power Forward, who will wear #12 again this year for Duke.  Last year, he expected it to be a learning year, and learn he did !!!  This year, Coach K has not been shy in claiming that Javin could be part of the starting rotation.

He has been learning indeed, and over the past year, he has become the most athletic player and one of the hardest workers, improving every aspect of his game.

Javin’s middle name is Que.  He is the son of Jason and C’ta DeLaurier, and has 3 brothers, Ethan, Eli and Jack.  His Mom was the 1993 Atlantic 10 Tournament Most Valuable Player while wearing a Rutgers uniform.

I wish Javin a wonderful season.  I have high hopes that he will contribute in a variety of ways !!!

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Marques Bolden

By Bermuda Bob

Marques is listed as a 6’11” 246lb. Sophomore Center, who will wear #20 again this year.

He came to Duke last year as 5 Star recruit with great expectations.  During the exhibition season last year, he showed me the ability to Box Out on both ends of the Court, “deny” the Baseline, and had a variety of scoring abilities.

Then, just before the beginning of the non-conference season he was said to have awakened with a leg injury.  He missed the first 8 games of the season, and when he returned he was nothing of the player I first saw and never returned to the promise he brought to Duke.

After last season there were rumours that he was thinking of transferring but in May, he announced he would return to Duke for his Sophomore season.

Marques brings major expectations this year, and will be met with plenty of competition for playing time especially from the Frosh.

I think Coach K summed it all up when he claimed: “We’re thrilled that Marques will continue to be part of our program.  In addition to being a talented basketball player, he’s an outstanding young man from a great family.  It’s unfortunate that his freshman season was impacted by injury, but he has an opportunity to have a great summer and a special sophomore season.”

Marques is the son of Melvin and Carolyn Bolden, from DeSoto, Texas.  His sisters are Tyondra and Delisia.

I wish you all the best, big guy, I’d like to see you return to the guy I saw early on last year !!!

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SDBB – 2017-18 Player Profiles – Jordan Tucker

By Bill Wheeler

Jordan Tucker is a 6’7″ 212 lb. Forward from White Plains, NY via Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia.  He will wear #5 at Duke this year.  He played for Archbishop Stepinac prior to moving to Georgia.  He was rankedthe #8 Forward and #40 overall player for 2017 by ESPN.  Rivals ranked him the #68 overall player.

Also recruited by Syracuse, he was recruited by Coach Jeff Capel for Duke.

Jordan is a Strong Forward and can score from the perimeter and around the rim.  Some scouts state he has the smoothest shooting strokes and may be the best shooter in the 2017 class.  On video he efficiently shoots the ball from all areas of the perimeter, and has good ability to drive.  If he can develop his defensive skills, then he may be a good addition to the starting line up.  It is expected that Jordan will be part of the playing rotation and he should be at Duke for at least 2 years to develop his skills.

Jordan is the son of Lewis Tucker and Lori Land.  His sister is Skylar.
In his official commitment announcement he said “… most importantly my father, Lewis, has been through it all with me. I hope I can make you proud over the next four years. One school has the right combination of great academics and basketball.”

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Gary Trent, Jr

By Bill Wheeler

Gary is a 6’6″ 209 lb. Guard from Columbus, Ohio via Prolific Prep in California. He will wear #2 at Duke.   He was ranked the #1 Shooting Guard and #7 player over in the 2017 class by ESPN.  He was ranked #17 overall by Rivals and the #3 Shooting Guard and #20 overall player by Scout.

Gary played USA Basketball, accomplishing the following:

  • 2015 FIBA Americas U-16 Championship – Gold Medal, averaging 12.7 PPG & 3.9 RPG
  • 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship – Gold Medal, averaging 16.8 PPG & 2.8 RPG
  • Most Valuable Player, 2016 FIBA U-17 Team …
  • Recognized as Gatorade Minnesota Player of the Year, and USA Today Minnesota Player of the Year as a Junior …

Gary stated at his official commitment announcement that said everything about Duke is top of the line and that  “Coach K wants me to come in as who I am and with my ego.”

He is a prolific shooter with a tendency to favor driving to his right before shooting.  Sometimes he fakes a step into his defender before going up for a shot. Gary is expected to  fill a void of scoring left by Jason Tatum.  He may play in a 3 Guard Line Up with Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval.  The question is how well he can defend bigger players if he is at the #3 spot.

Gary is the son of retired NBA Journeyman Gary Trent, Sr., who had his jersey retired at Ohio University, and was drafted 11th in the 1995 NBA Draft.  He played 9 seasons for various teams, then in Europe.  Gary sez he is thankful for the impact his father has had on his life.

Gary has 3 brothers, Garyson, Grayson and Graydon.

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Alex O’Connell

By Bill Wheeler

Alex is a 6’6″ 171 lbs. Guard, from Roswell, Georgia, who will wear #15 for Duke this season. He was ranked #55 overall by Rivals & #66 by Scout.  He was ranked #85 overall & #20 among Shooting Guards in the 2017 class by ESPN.

Alex comes to Duke with a multitude of accolades culminating in his being named Atlanta/North Fulton Player of the Year, as a Senior.   Thus, he attracted offers from Louisville (before the scandal), Syracuse, Georgia Tech, and Georgia.

Alex is athletic and can play at the #2 and #3 positions.  He has a quick release and is a good 3-Point and Mid-Range shooter facing, or falling away from the basket.  He can also play above the Rim.

At 170 pounds he needs to add muscle and weight.  In his own words “I need to improve my ability to play through contact.”  Possessing a need to develop his body and a desire to continue his academic career, we should have a chance to be seen at Duke for the next 3 or 4 years.

He was recruited by Coach Jon Scheyer.

Alex is the son of David and Crystal O’Connell.  He has 2  brothers, Shawn and Brady. Shawn plays Forward at Georgia Southern.

His family’s athletic genes include his father, David, who played basketball for Duke from 1973 to 1976.  His 2 uncles played at Notre Dame and Xavier.

He has a strong religious background, and stated in his commitment announcement:  “First off I want to thank God for blessing me with the ability to play basketball, and to compete at the highest level… I am excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and basketball career at Duke University.”

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Jordan Goldwire

By Bill Wheeler

Jordan is a 6’2″ 172 lb Guard who will wear #14 this year for Duke.

This young man is an interesting recruit for Duke, who was not highly ranked.  He has impressive highlights of with play-making skills, such as being able to penetrate the arc and passing the ball back, out, or underneath.  He has a good shot from all points on the floor and has defensive skills.  By his Junior or Senior year, Jordan may impress the Cameron fans with his solid ball handling skills.

Duke “… didn’t promise me anything, they said they needed another ball handler who would be able to run the second group. It’s a great opportunity for me. I would like to thank Coack K for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime … and continuing my academic career.”

Jordan landed offers from UNLV, Towson, Hofstra, Coastal Carolina, & Eastern Kentucky until Nate James and Jeff Capel came calling.  It didn’t take long for him to commit !!!

Jordan is the son of Courtney and Connie Goldwire.  He has a sister, Jaylen.  College Basketball run deep in this family with his cousins playing in college as well.  They are Devin Mitchell, who plays at Georgia State, and Jalen Mitchell who plays at Clark Atlanta University.

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles -Trevon Duval

By Bermuda Bob

Trevon is a 6’3″ 186 lb. Guard, who will wear #1 this year at Duke.  He was ranked the ranked the #1 Point Guard & #5 Overall Recruit in ESPN’s 2017 recruiting class.  Rivals has him as the #4 Overall Recruit and Scout has him as the #7 Overall.  They had him as #1 and #2 Point Guard respectively.

Trevon is a well-traveled young man, as you can see …

  • Freshman & Sophomore Year – St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, NJ
  • Junior Year – Advanced Prep International in Dallas, Texas where he averaged 16.8 PPG & 7.0 APG
  • Senior Year – IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida, where he averaged 16.1 PPG & 7.5 APG

In the Sports Illustrated annual NOW series on College Basketball for the 2017-18 season, they had high accolades for Trevon, explained in a July,2017 article:  “Why Trevon Duval is the Most Important Addition to Duke’s Roster”  I could not add anything else to their impressions.  Here’ a link to the article:

https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2017/07/19/trevon-duval-duke-blue-devils-recruiting

Trevon was born in Queens, NY to Trevor Duval and Chaka Campbell.  He has a brother, Elijah, and 2 sisters, Nia and Taliyah.

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Wendell Carter, Jr

By Bermuda Bob

Wendell is a 6’10” 259 lb. Forward who will wear #34 this season.  He was ranked the #1 Power Forward, and Overall #4 player in ESPN’s Class of 2017.  Scout ranked him #4 and Rivals had him at #5.

Wendell has a list of High School accolades a long a your driveway.  I am rarely impressed by such things inasmuch as we have no idea of what type of competition the player sees.  I am, however, impressed when I see a list of accomplishments as long as this young man’s 7’5″ wingspan, with USA Basketball, where he’s competing against players presumably of the same calibre.  Here’s what he accomplished with them:

  • 2015 FIBA U15 World Championship Team – Averaged 13.6 PPG & 8.8 RPG
  • 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship Team – Averaged 10.1 PPG & 7.4 RPG
  • Named to the All-Tournament Team for the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship

Wendell attended Pace Academy in Atlanta where he carried a 3.6 GPA that included Honours Calculus.  He also participated in the annual school play this year and last.

Wendell was born in Atlanta to Wendell Sr. and Kylia Carter,who both played college basketball.  He at Delta State and she at the University of Mississippi.  Dad followed up college with a professional career in the Dominican Republic.

I’ve done a ton of reading about this young gentleman and am well impressed with him.  He is the epitome of the Student-Athlete.  He and his family travel everywhere, including to visit with Duke Alum, Coach Tommy Amaker at Harvard, where Wendell’s Mom wanted him to go, hence you might be able to identify his parents as they sport maroon and white “HARVARD” jackets.  Somehow I think he did pretty well by choosing Duke !!!

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – Marvin Bagley III

By Bermuda Bob

Marvin is a 6’11, 234 lb. Forward, who will wear #34 at Duke.  He had been the Consensus #1 High School Player for 2018, before re-classifying to graduate in 2017.  Thus, he became the Consensus #1 High School Player for 2017. 

Marvin was recognized by USAToday as All-USA 1st Team selection as a Junior in 2017, averaging 24.9 PPG and 10.1 RPG to lead Sierra Canyon to a 27-3 record. 

Marvin came to the High School level highly touted and proved worthy of his accolades, earning Player of the Year by the Arizona Republic in 2015 after leading Corona del Sol High School to the Arizona State Championship as a Freshman.

In between. Marvin has won a plethora of accolades, too numerous to mention, just proving that he’s the real deal.  That means he comes to Duke with high expectations, even if he got here a few days late !!! 

There is a video circulating on the Duke internet that allows Marvin to explain himself in his own words. It is very impressive !!!.  Here’s the link. I’m sure you’ll agree with me after watching it. 

http://dukereport.com/audio-video/watch-duke-big-man-marvin-bagley-iii-is-on-his-way-to-superstardom-dukeofhoops/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Marvin is the son of Marvin Jr. and Tracy Bagley, born in Tempe, Arizona.  His father graduated from North Carolina A&T, where he played football.   He also has 2 brothers. 

While living in the Los Angeles area, Marvin volunteered atHoops with Heart,” a non-profit city organization that benefits underprivileged youth.

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SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – The “Walk-On” Players – Brennan Besser & Mike Buckmire

By Bermuda Bob

“Walk On” players are guys who do not have basketball scholarships.  They are paying their way, unless they have been granted an academic scholarship, as opposed to having an athletic scholarship.

They can usually be found in their usual places, at the end of the bench.  They are often referred to as “practice players” or “bench cheerleaders.”  

Their worth to the team in immeasurable.  They practice hard each day, trying to imitate opposition players so as to prepare the Starters for the next game.  Their reward is to share the success of the team as a full member !!!

On the odd chance that they might get to play, they instantly become crowd favourites, being rooted on to score !!!

Senior Mike Pagliuca graduated, so Mike Buckmire takes his spot, wearing #51.  Brennen Besser returns for his Junior year in #53.

Here are some biographical info you might be interested in …

Brennan is a 6’5″ 180 lb. Guard from Chicago, who is said to be one of the most well-liked and respected players in the Duke locker room …

Mike is 6’2″ 172 lb. Guard from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.  He was a 4 year Varsity Starter in High School, who averaged 22.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as a Senior, serving as Team Captain.  Mike had some serious Ivy League and D-III offers after High School, but he opted for the Duke experience, so he is hoping to possibly earn a full scholarship, as Justin Robinson did this year.

A great little bit of Duke trivia is that Mike’s Dad was a member of the NCAA Championship Winning 1986 Duke Men’s Soccer Team.

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