Coach K says Duke's Marques Bolden can be one of the best big men in the nation despite his slow start
Bolden is a former five-star prospect who has yet to breakthrough at Duke
Duke's top-ranked incoming recruiting class is loaded with talent from point guard to forward, and while the lack of true incoming big men talent is a glaring hole, it could open the door for another blue-chip signee already on the roster.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said this week on the FanRag Sports' College Hoops Today Podcast that he's confident Marques Bolden, a former five-star center prospect who joined Duke two seasons ago, is in line for a breakout junior season despite averaging only 2.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 10.1 minutes per game in his first two seasons as a Blue Devil.
"In Marques, I think we could have as good a big guy as there is in the country," Krzyzewski said. "In his first two years, he got hurt during the season. ... Marques has really improved. We think he could have a huge year."
Bolden was the No. 14 overall player in Duke's 2016 signing class, but hasn't yet been able to play up to expectations set upon him when he joined the program. Playing behind Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. last season didn't help his odds of contributing, but with both in the NBA, he could develop into a go-to option as a true post.
Krzyzewski pointed to injuries as a contributing factor to Bolden's lack of overall success, but hopes that better health -- and a more versatile roster -- will help him become an impact player in his junior season.
"This group of [incoming] freshmen, it's a little bit easier to play with them because they're positionless, whereas last year, we had a terrific team, great guys, but we were really big; Four of our top seven were big guys. We had to do things a little bit different," said Krzyzewski.
Duke's 2018 recruiting class features three of the top five rated prospects in R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson, who can all play several positions on the court. Their versatility will be a boon for the Blue Devils -- and for Bolden -- as they look to win their sixth national title in 2018-19.
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