Duke junior guard Alex O'Connell announced Saturday he will transfer from the Blue Devils program after three seasons, the second defection of the weekend for Duke after sophomore guard Tre Jones announced earlier on Saturday his intentions to leave early for the NBA Draft.
"These past three years have been filled with nothing but blessings and love from Duke," said O'Connell. "However, I will be opening my recruitment and exploring other options. I want to thank all of the Duke fans and crazies as well as the Duke coaches and staff."
O'Connell, a 6-foot-6 guard from Georgia, appeared in 101 games during his three-year Duke tenure, making 14 starts and averaging 4.3 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. As a junior this season, he averaged career-highs in points per game (5.2 points), rebounds per game (2.2), assists per game (0.8), but played the fewest minutes per game since his freshman season. His playing time was hit-or-miss throughout the season, and his final Duke game he played just 3 minutes in a loss to Virginia on Feb. 29.
O'Connell committed to Duke in 2017 and was considered to be a sharpshooting coup for Duke and Mike Krzyzewski, but after hitting 48.9% of his 3-pointers as a freshman, his averages dipped, hitting a 37.5% clip as a sophomore and just 27.3% from 3-point range as a junior.
Nonetheless, O'Connell in the right situation could be a valuable transfer addition for a number of schools given his size and scoring ability. The former top-75 recruit garnered nearly two dozen scholarship offers out of high school, including Louisville, Auburn, Syracuse, Georgia and Georgia Tech, before picking Duke.
O'Connell likely won't be the last of the Duke defections this offseason, either. Jones is one of a handful of Duke players expected to jump to the NBA, and the possibility exists that Duke's Vernon Carey, Cassius Stanley, Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore could all follow suit.