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The Final Piece Of Duke’s Freshman Class

An intriguing development.

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NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Duke
Feb 9, 2017; Durham, NC, USA; The Cameron Crazies get pumped up before the start of the Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke walk-ons are typically not that great largely because there’s a small pool of candidates and they typically can’t keep up with scholarship athletes. At UNC or State, you can find a number of guys who are almost as good as the scholarship players, or who at least won’t be embarrassed on the same court.

It’s just tougher at Duke.

There have been exceptions of course, notably Bruce Bell, who stepped up in the Foster years and became a critical part of the team in (we think) 1977, when Tate Armstrong was injured and Steve Gray had two devastating mistakes as point guard, both in tight games: in one, the ball bounced off of his leg out of bounds. And against Maryland, he tried to pass the ball backwards to a teammate only to see it bounce off Maryland’s rim.

His confidence was shot and Bell was given his shot and he came through.

Reggie Love was counted as a walk-on but he came from the football team and was recruited for basketball out of high school.

Now Justin Robinson came to Duke as a preferred walk-on but he came at 6-8. That’s very atypical for Duke.

So is the newest walk-on, Mike Buckmire, who was an outstanding high school point guard.

He averaged 22.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as a senior and finished his career with 1,144 points. It wasn’t the greatest league in Pennsylvania, but any way you look at it, that’s a pretty good high school career.

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