Duke big men Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. are all but certain to be NBA lottery picks this summer.
Guards Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. could also be drafted in the first round, thanks to their ability to drain outside shots.
However, No. 2-seed Duke’s success in the NCAA Tournament may depend on the play of flashy point guard Trevon Duval, who could be the only Blue Devils starter to return to Durham, N.C., next season.
While Duval has struggled at times during his freshman season, the former 5-star recruit has the quickness to push Duke’s high-powered offense — assuming he’s not bothered by the ankle injury he sustained last week in the ACC Tournament.
“My ankle is fine. I am 100 percent,” Duval told reporters as the Blue Devils (26-7) prepared to face No. 15-seed Iona (20-13) at 2:45 p.m EST Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh.
Duval injured his right ankle when he got tangled up with North Carolina guard Kenny Williams as they were running down the court in Duke’s 74-69 loss to UNC in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. Duval returned to the game, but he missed all 6 of his shots and finished with zero points, 7 assists and 5 turnovers.
Duval told reporters on Wednesday he has undergone treatment on his ankle and has iced it over the past few days. If he can run the floor as usual, cut down on his turnovers and make plays for himself and Duke’s other star players, the Blue Devils are national championship contenders.
“I know we’re all super locked in,” Duval said. “It’s win or go home right now, so we have to go hard and focus.”
Duval entered his freshman season at Duke with as much hype as Bagley, Carter and Trent. Rivals.com rated him as the No. 4 overall recruit in 2017, and he has shown why by taking over as the Blue Devils’ starting point guard.
Duval leads the team in assists (182), ranks second in steals (51) and is fifth in scoring (9.9 points per game). He’s an explosive guard who has the ability to attack the basket and set up Bagley and Carter for easy points in the paint.
However, Duval has also experienced his share of growing pains in making the transition from high school to college.
The 6-foot-3 guard has struggled with his outside shooting, making just 27 percent of his 3-pointers. He was also benched a few weeks ago as Allen briefly took over Duke’s point guard role.
Duval committed 11 turnovers in Duke’s two games in the ACC Tournament. Still, the Blue Devils have earned a No. 2 seed with Duval starting all but three games.
They need their freshman point guard to be healthy and under control if they hope to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
“This has been a dream for me,” Duval said.
The post Analysis: Duke’s Trevon Duval must remain healthy, under control appeared first on Diehards.
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