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Next Year’s NBA Draft Could Be Very Good To Duke

As four Blue Devils are projected to go in the first round

NCAA Basketball: Duke Countdown to Craziness
Oct 15, 2021; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) reacts after dunking as guard Trevor Keels (1) watches the replay during Duke Countdown to Craziness at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always a bit ludicrous to talk about the NBA Draft before the first games have been played but what the heck. Let’s roll with it, not least of all because CBS lists four Blue Devils in the first round:

  • #1 Paolo Banchero
  • #9 AJ Griffin
  • #21 Trevor Keels
  • #25 Mark Williams

Obviously this is a major reversal from last year when only Jalen Johnson was taken in the first round despite only playing in a handful of games before quitting (it’s early but so far he’s next to the last in minutes played).

Matthew Hurt and DJ Steward also left but neither was drafted, so if Duke gets four this year, that’s a pretty impressive rebound (pun intended). Given Duke’s branding and NIL changes, it’s likely to continue well into the future.

Other names of interest -

  • Chet Holmgren at #2
  • Patrick Baldwin at #11
  • Matthew Cleveland at #24
  • Marcus Bagley at #26