Duke was considered by many to be the leader in the clubhouse to receive a commitment from top ten prospect Kevin Knox largely due to the fact that Knox was built in the small-ball four mold that the Blue Devils have had so much success with in recent years.
Jabari Parker, Justise Winslow, Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum, even Kyle Singler.
You have to go all the way back to 2013 to find a Duke team whose best lineup included two big men, and that would have been Ryan Kelly, who was a stretch four through and through. Other than the nine games in which Amile Jefferson was healthy in 2016, the last time Duke played two paint-locked big men together was when they won a national title back in 2010.
Mike Krzyzewski missed on Knox, who ended up at Kentucky, meaning that he doesn’t have that small-ball four this season, and yesterday, he confirmed to reporters that his team is going to feature a two-big lineup this season, with Wendell Carter and Marques Bolden at the four and the five.
“We’ll actually be a pretty big team. Those two guys will play together,” K said. “It’s a big year for Marques. He’s been training, he’s going to tryout for the U19 team.”
Bolden struggled with injuries early on in his freshman season and then looked like he was two steps behind the action down the stretch of the year. He never made it into Duke’s rotation consistently. Carter is a top five prospect in the Class of 2017 and should, in theory, be able to replace the low-post scoring that is gone with Jefferson’s graduation.