Duke has become the "one-and-done" factory | Bonehead Picks

Duke has become the “one-and-done” factory

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The 2018-19 Duke Blue Devils appear to be loaded. They will add another five-star prospect to its highly ranked 2018 recruiting class. Five-star forward Joey Baker has announced he is reclassifying into 2018 and will enroll at Duke in the fall. Baker will join other mega recruits such as R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones as the latest batch of super freshmen playing for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. Those many of those freshmen will be expected to enter the 2019 NBA Draft after their freshmen seasons and join the growing list of Duke freshmen leaving for the NBA after one year of college basketball.

In college basketball, Kentucky basketball has long been considered the school most known for “one-and-dones”, highly recruited high school players who leave college after their freshman season to declare for the NBA Draft. Former Kentucky standouts like John Wall, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Karl-Anthony Towns are some of the many “one-and-dones” associated with head coach John Calipari’s Kentucky program. Kentucky and Calipari has been so associated with having high impact freshmen that ESPN aired a documentary One and Not Done about Calipari’s coaching career and his recruiting.

Kentucky has now been usurped by Duke as the program for “one-and-dones”. R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, Tre Jones, and now Joey Baker will have to replace last year’s talented freshmen Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr.,  Trevon Duval and Gary Trent Jr. Coach K isn’t just getting big-time recruits in pairs, he is getting them to come to Duke in bunches. At the beginning of this decade, guard Kyrie Irving left Duke after his freshman year to enter the 2011 NBA Draft which started the constant flow of big time freshmen talent to enter and leave Duke following their freshmen year.  The proceeding Duke seasons after Irving extremely regarded high school recruits like Austin Rivers and Jabari Parker left Duke after their freshmen years.

The 2014-15 college basketball season was special for Duke. They won the National Championship largely due to a strong trio of freshmen including Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, and Justise Winslow. Those freshmen entered the 2015 NBA Draft after helping lead Duke to the National Championship. By winning the title with a team led by true freshmen, Mike Krzyzewski took a page from John Calipari’s 2011-12 Kentucky Wildcats, which had freshmen phenoms Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marquis Teague to win the NCAA title.

Although Mike Krzyzewski has been at Duke for seemingly forever, he has shown the ability to get elite high school talent to come to a high level academic institution in Duke. Players like Jayson Tatum and Brandon Ingram and their selections as high NBA Draft picks will further to increase the pipeline of talented Duke freshmen to the NBA. It doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.


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