Duke will have a different look next season without Jayson Tatum, the Blue Devils’ freshman wing who is expected to be an NBA lottery pick.
That’s why landing five-star forward Kevin Knox would be a key building block.
Knox, a 6-9, 205-pound wing player, met with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on Tuesday. Krzyzewski has told him to watch how Tatum fits into the offense and has said Knox can be a positionless player. Knox will make a decision in mid-April, his father, Kevin Knox, said.
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Duke, which finished 28-9 after exiting the NCAA tournament in the second round, has landed three recruits for the upcoming class, including five-star signees Wendell Carter Jr., a 6-10, 262-pound forward and Gary Trent Jr., a 6-5, 213-pound two-guard. Alex O’Connell, a 6-5, 170-pound guard and four-star prospect also signed. All three signed their National Letters of Intent in November.
Duke freshman Harry Giles, though averaging 11.5 minutes, 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds over 26 games after a knee scope before the season, is expected to enter this year’s draft, too. Giles was once a considered as the top NBA prospect.
Three Duke players are projected as top 20 draftees in Tatum (No. 4), Giles (No. 24) and sophomore guard Luke Kennard (No. 19) on Draft Express’ mock draft.
“Right now, it’s too early to tell, trying to focus on everything going on here,” an emotional Giles said after Duke’s 88-81 second-round loss to South Carolina Sunday at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, S.C.
Tatum, Kennard and junior guard Grayson Allen had similar sentiments about their basketball futures.
Allen could be gone next season, leaving Duke without its primary point guard. Freshman Frank Jackson was the starting point down the stretch of the season.
Kennard, Duke’s leading scorer, may be up in the air after his stellar offensive season.
Five-star recruit and point guard Trevon Duval (Wilmington, Delaware) is considering Duke, Arizona, Baylor, Kansas and Seton Hall. According to media reports, he also met with Krzyzewski on Tuesday.
Center Mohamed Bamba, the No. 3 overall recruit in the class of 2017, is also still considering Duke. Bamba is 6-11, 207 pounds and played for Westtown School in Pennsylvania.
Neither player has said when they will make their decision, but the last day to sign is May 17.
Duke also has freshman center Marques Bolden, who ended his debut season battling flu-like illnesses. He could be locked in as a starter next season.
Chase Jeter, Duke’s sophomore forward who started in the first four games of the season, hadn’t played since the Blue Devils’ 79-68 loss at Louisville on Jan. 14.
He faded into the background behind Amile Jefferson, who wrapped up his five-year career Sunday, Giles and Bolden.
Jeter had a procedure to repair a herniated disc on Jan. 23 but said Saturday that he was 100 percent and felt great.