If Sports Illustrated’s projections are any indication, this should be a big year for the Duke basketball team.
Sports Illustrated has developed a model that projects college basketball outcomes, and they’ve used it to project the favorites to win Player of the Year, released Tuesday, as well as the top 50 projected freshmen in the country, released Wednesday.
The Blue Devils are well-represented on both lists.
The Player of the Year projections, compiled by Chris Johnson, list senior guard Grayson Allen as the second-most likely player to win the Wooden and Naismith awards for national player of the year. Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is considered the favorite.
Johnson writes that Allen is projected to “score at a level of efficiency more closely resembling what he posted during his sophomore campaign than his junior one.” Allen averaged 21.6 points per game as a sophomore compared to 14.5 as a junior.
Johnson also writes that Allen is projected to score more points this season than any other player in Sports Illustrated’s projected top 10 teams. In fact, Johnson says that one of Allen’s teammates, freshman Marvin Bagley III, could be the biggest obstacle to Allen winning the award because he could take scoring opportunities away from Allen.
Speaking of Bagley, in Sports Illustrated’s projection of the 50 freshman scorers in the country, Bagley comes in at No. 2, behind only Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr.
Bagley is projected to average 16.5 points per game for the Blue Devils.
The freshman projections showcase the embarrassment of riches Duke has in its freshman class this season. Point guard Trevon Duval is projected to score 14.2 points per game, which Sports Illustrated ranks eighth among freshmen. Wendell Carter Jr. is projected to average 12.0 per game, which ranks 12th. And Gary Trent Jr. checks in at 16th in the rankings with a projected average of 10.8 points per game.
Only two other schools — UCLA and Kentucky — have multiple freshmen projected to average 10 or more points per game this season. Each has two. Neither has a player in Sports Illustrated’s projected top 10 Player of the Year candidates.
It could be a special season for the Blue Devils.
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