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College Basketball Impact Freshmen: Duke

With the college basketball season still four months away, here’s a look at the potential impact freshmen for each team. We’ll take a look at each team that had a top 25 recruiting ranking. Recruiting rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite which calculates the average of all four major recruiting websites (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN and Scout.)

Duke Blue Devils

2014-15 Record: 35-4 (15-3 in ACC) National Title Winners

2015 Team Ranking

National Rank: 1

ACC Rank: 1

Class Breakdown

5-star: 4

4-star: 0

3-star: 2

Top Incoming Recruits

  • Small Forward Brandon Ingram, 5-star, Kinston (Kinston, NC), 6-9, 195 lbs, No. 2 Small Forward, No. 3 overall
  • Point Guard Derryck Thornton, 5-star, Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV), 6-2, 175 lbs, No. 3 Point Guard, No. 14 overall
  • Power Forward Chase Jeter, 5-star, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) 6-10, 239 lbs, No.5 Power Forward, No.15 overall
  • Shooting Guard Luke Kennard, 5-star, Franklin (Franklin, Ohio), 6-5, 180 lbs, No. 4 Shooting Guard, No. 22 overall

 Class Overview

Duke and Coach K continues to become a one-and-done factory with another loaded recruiting class. After losing four stars from the national title team including Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook, the Blue Devils desperately needed a top recruiting class.

The recruiting class is well-balanced and each player does something a little different. The biggest surprise was Derryck Thornton, who reclassified from the class of 2016 to 2015 and then committed to Duke. Thornton will make Duke fans forget about Tyus Jones fairly quickly due to the similar type of play – they are even the same size. Thornton is a prototypical point guard who looks to set his teammates up while also being able to slash and finish at the rim. He’s not a great outside shooter but has a midrange game that can be deadly.

One guy who has no problem shooting it from deep is Luke Kennard, who a lot of people thought would end up in Lexington. At 6’5” he has plenty of size to play the shooting guard position and shoot over defenders, especially with the range he has shown during his high school career. Kennard can play the point guard position if needed as well due to his strong ball-handling skills. He may end up being the best college player of this group.

Jeter is a perfect sign and player of the small-ball type of game. The power forward, who is listed at 6’10” can step away from the basket and play a faceup game. However, much like Jahlil Okafor, he’s at his best playing in the post and utilizing a jump hook. He showed his rebounding skills as arguably the best rebounder in the class during the AAU circuit as he used a strong first jump and solid hands to go grab the loose balls. The strong post game will allow Coach K to still play the one in and four out offense we’ve come to seen from Duke.

Finally the prize of the class is Brandon Ingram, the small forward from North Carolina who is the No. 3 prospect in the class. By no means is he as talented as Kevin Durant, but he comes from the same build. Ingram is 6’8” with ridiculously long arms and can stop and pull up from deep with ease. Offensively he’s incredibly gifted utilizing his shot making ability with his athleticism. He has an effective dribble that creates space allowing him to shoot but can also finish at the rim.

Overall, all four players will see a big number of minutes thanks to the exodus of four starters from last season. Mixing in these four with Plumlee, Grayson Allen and Matt Jones will make for a great seven man rotation. Expect to see the Blue Devils go small and utilize their shooting, something that they’ve done a lot over the years.

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