- Stop the presses: Duke is going to be good. But it's still too early to know how exactly freshman guard Gary Trent Jr. will be utilized.
It should come as no surprise to college basketball fans that freshmen have come to possess a significant portion of the star power in the sport. Just look at this year’s NBA draft, where the first upperclassman was not selected until Duke sophomore Luke Kennard with 12th pick. So while some returning players will undoubtedly have a major impact in 2017–18 season, it’s important to get to know the new faces who may come to occupy the spotlight.
With that in mind, SI.com will be introducing you to the top 25 incoming freshmen in college basketball and breaking down the impact those players could have this season. We move to the No. 12 overall recruit (finishing in a tie with Kentucky’s Jarred Vanderbilt), Duke’s Gary Trent Jr.
What he means for Duke’s recruiting class
The 12th-ranked recruit in the nation is the third-ranked prospect among Blue Devils newcomers, a shooting guard who should pair well with point guard and No. 4 overall recruit Trevon Duval. The son of the 10-year NBA vet and former Ohio star of the same name, Gary Trent Jr. is the most capable and ready-made scorer in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 2017 haul, a group considered the second strongest in the country after Kentucky’s. While he may not be Duke’s most vaunted recruit, Trent’s scoring ability will help him stand out right away.
How he fits
With Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum departed, the Blue Devils have a lot of shots to distribute among this year’s lineup. (Each took more than a quarter of Duke’s shots while on the floor; they combined to average 36.3 points per game.) Trent’s scoring knack should come in handy quickly, as he’s demonstrated an ability to create his own shot and get points on multiple levels. It’s hard to say exactly how his playing time and role will shake out, however, as Duval should have the one held down, two-guard Grayson Allen is Duke’s top returning scorer and four-star freshman Jordan Tucker and rising sophomore Javin DeLaurier will be in the mix on the wing as well.
Stop the presses: Duke is going to be good. A lock for a top-10 ranking entering the season, the Blue Devils will feature a talent-loaded mix of the experienced Allen and the precocious newcomers in Duval, Trent, and five-star power forward Wendell Carter. That group will have to replace the entirety of Duke’s late-season starting lineup (remember, Allen came off the bench late last season), and its youth may produce some bumps in the road, but there is plenty for Krzyzewski to mold into another ACC and deep-tourney-run contender.