Outside of two days in October, NBA scouts who want to get a look at Duke prospects will have the same vantage point as anyone who can buy a ticket or a cable package.
In the stands at games or on television.
The Blue Devils will host two pro days next month, but then will bar NBA personnel from attending their practices during the season, according to a report from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
A source confirmed the report to NBCSports.com.
Duke will host NBA teams on Oct. 19 and Oct. 25 as part of pro days that will allow front office personnel a glimpse of an extremely talented Duke roster that features likely lottery picks in true freshmen Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles along with projected first-rounder Grayson Allen, a junior.
After that, though, Duke will be closing practice, allowing front offices to scout players at games, whether it be at Cameron Indoor Stadium or on the road.
Pro days aren’t new to college hoops as they were famously introduced by (who else), Kentucky coach John Calipari in 2014 for his supremely talented team that won its first 38 games of the season before falling in the Final Four. Four Wildcats, including No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns, went in the lottery that spring. Kentucky, which continues to host a pro day, has not closed practices, however.
The decision to close practices is sure to rankle teams that are starved to collect as much information as possible about potential draft picks, especially players under lottery consideration such as Tatum and Giles.
It’ll be interesting to hear what coach Mike Krzyzewski says about the decision when he is inevitably asked about it, but the early betting line is on the goal of “minimizing distractions” throughout a season that will likely see the Blue Devils ranked near the top of the polls and with two players in the No. 1 overall draft pick conversation.
It’ll also be interesting to hear if Coach K’s USA Basketball obligations this summer played any part in the decision as he was away from campus – and his talented freshmen – for most of the summer capturing his third Olympic gold medal.