Trevon Duval, a top five player in the Class of 2017 and the potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, announced on Monday that he had committed to play his college basketball at Duke.
Duval picked the Blue Devils over Kansas, Seton Hall, Baylor and Arizona, although his selection, in the end, wasn’t all that much of a surprise. Duval is the sixth commitment Duke has received in the Class of 2017, joining fellow five-star prospects Gary Trent Jr. and Wendell Carter, along with four-stars Alex O’Connell and Jordan Tucker and three-star recruit Jordan Goldwire.
This is a massive commitment for the Blue Devils. They have struggled to find a replacement at the point guard spot since Tyus Jones went one-and-done after leading Duke to the 2015 national title. The lack of a natural point guard last season was one of the major reasons that the Duke, as talented as they were, ended up with a thoroughly underwhelming season.
Landing Duval is the difference-maker. Even after missing out on Kevin Knox, who committed to Kentucky, and losing Frank Jackson to the NBA Draft, Duke will have a chance to compete for ACC and National titles this year. The biggest question now becomes who will play the four. Grayson Allen, who returned for his senior season, will likely start along Trent on the wing while Wendell Carter starts in the pivot. Will Coach K play two bigs, with Carter alongside Marques Bolden, or will he use a wing like Alex O’Connell or Jordan Tucker as an undersized four?
That’s where losing out on Knox hurt. He would’ve fit perfectly in that spot. Duke has not played with two big men on the front line since Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee patrolled the paint, and even Kelly shot better than 40 percent from three while attempting more than three threes per game his last two seasons. You have to go all the way back to 2010, the year when Duke won a national title, to find a team that played two paint-oriented players in their front court.