Incoming Duke Basketball Giant's Recovery From Injury Appears Complete

Duke basketball newcomer Patrick Ngongba II put up some encouraging per-minute averages in helping Team USA win gold in Buenos Aires.
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There's nothing eye-popping about Patrick Ngongba's final numbers from his time with the USA Basketball U18 National Team at the FIBA AmeriCup in Buenos Aires this past week. But in light of the 6-foot-11 Duke basketball signee's season-long absence as a senior big man at Paul VI Catholic (Va.) after undergoing surgery to his right foot back in November, it's safe to say his consistent efforts off the bench for Team USA indicate all is now well with his recovery.

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In Sunday night's 110-70 win over Argentina to capture the country's seventh straight AmeriCup gold medal, the 18-year-old Ngongba posted six points, four rebounds, one steal, and two blocks. He shot 3-for-3 from the field in his 11 minutes on the floor.

The five-star prospect, No. 25 overall on the 247Sports 2024 Composite and part of the six-deep, top-ranked recruiting class heading to Durham this summer, scored in all six contests, consisting of 3-0 marches through group play and tournament action.

Sure, Ngongba, projected to be the backup to a fellow Duke basketball recruiting prize in the 7-foot-1 Khaman Maluach next season, averaged only 4.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks on the international stage.

However, he did so in only 11.5 minutes per game. And while it's worth noting he was a bit foul-prone, committing 2.5 per outing, his averages per 40 minutes are undoubtedly encouraging given his recent recovery: 15.7 points, 16.7 boards, and 4.2 blocks.

Ngongba shot 66.7 percent from the field and 58.3 percent at the charity stripe.

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Matt Giles

MATT GILES

Matt Giles is the editor and publisher of FanNation's Blue Devil Country and All Tar Heels, covering the Duke Blue Devils and UNC Tar Heels on SI.com.