Si’s Joan Niesen has a column up arguing that Trevon Duval is not just Duke’s most important recruit but that “[t]he 6’3”, 191-pound point guard is the best guard in the class of 2017, and he’ll arrive in Durham as the best player at his position on the Blue Devils’ roster. “
It’s an audacious thing to say but it might be true, particularly since the only significant upperclassman is Grayson Allen.
Only time will tell how good he is.
Point guard is a funny position in some ways. Look at Duke’s great ones - Tommy Amaker, Bobby Hurley, Wojo, Chris Duhon, Jon Scheyer, Tyus Jones - you have to give a pass to Hurley and Scheyer, who had career-ending injuries, but Duke’s point guards haven’t necessarily done well in the NBA (Jones is still early in his career so we can’t say yet in his case).
It’s not a big surprise though. Look around.
Sidney Lowe, Butch Lee, Jimmy Black, Othell Wilson, Mateen Cleaves, Khalid El-Amin and you could list dozens more who were great in college but barely scratched in the NBA.
The ideal point guard is talented and really grasps the game on a high level but the talent level in the NBA is dramatically higher. That’s why a guy like Jones, who was phenomenally smart at Duke, was drafted 24th behind less accomplished point guards like Emmanuel Mudiay Denver/#7), Cameron Payne (OKC/#14), Terry Rozier (Boston/#16) and Delon Wright (Toronto/#20).
The thing about Duval is he might be the most physically gifted PG Duke has ever had. Some people think his athleticism is in a class with that of Russell Westbrook but he’s also said to be a really smart point guard.
That’s pretty rare. In fact we’d argue that great talent is much more common than a great intelligence for the game and that the combination is exceedingly rare.
If Duke has that in Duval, then it has lightning in a bottle.
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