Duke landed their fifth recruit in the Class of 2016 on Thursday afternoon as the saga surrounding Marques Bolden finally came to a close.
At a ceremony at his DeSoto, Texas, high school, Bolden picked the Blue Devils over Kentucky and TCU.
It was a drawn out process for Bolden, as the 6-foot-10 center struggled to make a decision between the two biggest brands in the sport. His skill set fills a hole for both the Blue Devils and the Wildcats, which is why we saw UK coach John Calipari waging war via blog posts earlier this month.
Bolden is not a season-altering recruit, but for a team with somewhat limited front court depth, he’s a valuable piece to the puzzle.
Don’t get me wrong, Duke has some bodies. Harry Giles is clearly the biggest name of the bunch, but he’s coming off of two knee surgeries in high school and he’s less of a low-post scorer than he is an athletic big man that can run the floor. He’s not a shot-blocker either, and neither is senior power forward Amile Jefferson. Chase Jeter is talented and young, but he’s also raw and probably still a year or two away from really being an impact player in the ACC.
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He’s not Karl Towns or Jahlil Okafor offensively, but he is a guy that Kentucky can throw the ball to in the post and get production out of. He’s also 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-4.5 wingspan and checks in at 240 pounds. He can guard bruisers. He can block shots. He’ll get on the glass. He’ll be one of their best big men.
He joins five-star prospects Giles, Jayson Tatum and Frank Jackson along with Javin DeLaurier in Duke’s 2016 recruiting class.
Even with Bolden in the mix, we still have Duke sitting at No. 1 in our Preseason Top 25, but Bolden’s addition adds to that gap.