Busting Brackets has a pretty good look at Duke’s recruiting class and a look back at last year’s flaws.
They did a nice job of looking at the new kids but this the comments on Luke Kennard are perhaps the most important point:
“He is ranked No. 84 on ESPN’s Top 100 and comes in a bit smaller than the others at 6-5 and 175 pounds, much like one of last year’s Blue Devils who has now declared for the NBA Draft, Luke Kennard. Kennard is relatively the same height as O’Connell, and he came to Duke weighing just 180 pounds.
“As a freshman, he received a healthy amount of playing time, though was far from being the team’s first offensive option, averaging 11.8 points per game. But in his sophomore year, Kennard looked like a completely different player. He gained 20 lbs, and had a new quickness while handling the ball that allowed him to do much more than just shoot. He became Duke’s go-to guy, averaging over 35 minutes and 19.5 points per game.
“If Kennard’s career is any indication, O’Connell is a prospect with high potential who is worth putting on the court early in his time at Duke.”
And that’s what makes it so hard to understand what player will excel, much less what team, and that includes “predicting” the NCAA tournament.
Only a handful of people know how hard Kennard worked over the summer and only a handful of people know how much time O’ Connell is putting in, much less Jordan Goldwire.
When Christian Laettner was a senior, a lot of people thought that Crawford Palmer was a better prospect. Very few people understood his competitive fire at that point in his career.
We’re not saying that O’ Connell or Goldwire are going to be huge surprises. Odds are they’ll develop at normal speed. For one thing, at this point, O’ Connell is woefully thin for college basketball.
There’s no way to measure desire and a competitive nature other than on the court, and we won’t see these guys on one for a while yet.
And actually, seeing that emerge is a big part of the fun.
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