In the new era of instant transfers and NIL, it’s almost impossible to get a sense of a roster in early April. The portal action alone is crazy, and there is still high school talent to consider.
But this is portal season and Duke could use a big guy. Not that these are the only prospects, but three names have been prominently mentioned: Virginia’s Kadin Shedrick, Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson and Kentucky’s Ugonna Onyenso.
Dickinson would obviously be the big prize. He’s possibly the best player to ever enter the portal. Whoever lands him gets a huge upgrade and a guy with a bit of a mean streak too. He’s a really solid post player.
As we mentioned the other day, Maryland’s Kevin Willard has hired Dickinson’s high school coach, Mike Jones, and reportedly the two are close. It might not close the sale, but it certainly shouldn’t hurt.
Kentucky has been pursuing him as well, along with, well, pretty much everyone of note.
Kentucky needs more bigs because promising freshman Onyenso is on the way out. At 7-0 and with a 7-5 wingspan, he has immense potential as a defender. And Duke can point to Mark Williams and Dereck Lively, both now in or almost in the NBA, as Blue Devils he could emulate.
Shedrick is interesting too. Unless there was an undisclosed injury or some other reason, he clearly fell out of favor with Tony Bennett and Virginia and a transfer is not a surprise.
He’s had to play defense at Virginia of course, and while Duke’s system is quite different than UVA’s, he could be a big asset. And Duke’s philosophy has long been to let people play to their strengths and not be limited by positional concepts. Virginia’s system is effective but if you’re not a scorer your role - and growth - are pretty restricted.
In other words, it’s entirely possible that when he leaves Charlottesville, no matter where he goes, that Shedrick may show aspects of his game that no one has seen yet.