Coach K snatched up another 5-star player to add next to Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum. Marques Bolden, a 6-10, 240-pound center from Texas, is ranked as the nation’s second-best center and 16th best overall recruit in the ESPN 100.
Bolden’s top-2 schools were widdled down to Duke and Kentucky, and both coaches got into a heated battle for the talented center. He said, to Scout.com, that the tipping point was “the relationship I had with the coaching staff.”
Not only did the Blue Devils secure the number one and three players in the class with Tatum and Giles, but they had also already secured a commitment from Frank Jackson, the number-10 overall recruit in his class. Bolden’s excellent size gives Duke another player to crash the backboards, something that really hurt them when Amile Jefferson went down with his season-ending foot injury. Marshall Plumlee was ridiculous on the boards, but when he would rest, coach K would be running with a relatively short frontcourt lineup.
The odds of Bolden going one-and-done are slim, but anything’s possible. Extensive work would be needed to put himself on notice as a potential first round pick. A 15-foot jump shot and improved handle are where Bolden highlighted he wanted to improve, and those two qualities will help him with the way the NBA is shifting.
As with a lot of guys who are entering their first year of college, Bolden will need to put on some size. Especially since a majority of his time will come in the post. With the signing of another big-time player, Duke looks even more like the way-too-early 2017 National Champ.