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. 4 overall recruit, Duke’s Trevon Duval.
What he means for Duke’s recruiting class
Duke signed two of the top 10 players in this class and three of the top 12—and Duval is the best of the bunch. The 6’3”, 191-pound point guard is the best guard in the class of 2017, and he’ll arrive in Durham as the best player at his position on the Blue Devils’ roster. Duke needs Duval, who signed on May 15; last season, the Blue Devils lacked a true point guard, and Mike Krzyzewski’s teams thrive when they have a talented, natural player at the position. Duval, who’s a pass-first player, should be able to spark Duke’s offense and make everyone on the court with him better.
How he fits
The fit here is a no-brainer. Duke had no returning point guard on its roster, and though Grayson Allen will see time playing there, he’s better deployed at the perimeter as more of a scorer. Duval should start from day one, and he’s one of just two point guards on the Blue Devils’ roster, the other being freshman Jordan Goldwire, who should have a tough time cracking the rotation.
Duke lost plenty of talent to the NBA this spring, but it’s restocking as always, with five of the top 65 recruits in the class of 2017, according to RSCI. Duval and the other top signees will make up part of the backbone of Coach K’s team, and they’re crucial to the Blue Devils’ very real title hopes. In fact, Duke will likely start three freshman from day one: Duval, power forward Wendell Carter and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. That youth is not necessarily a bad thing. This year’s fresh roster may be an upgrade from last season’s squad.