Update: After his initial report, Adam Rowe of 247sports updated his story at 7 p.m. Monday to say that Marques Bolden is staying at Duke after noting at 10:40 p.m. Sunday that Bolden had not reached a final decision on transferring. The team confirmed his latest report Monday at 7:55 p.m. in a press release. Rowe originally reported Sunday that Bolden had decided to transfer.
Many wondered what might happen after the Blue Devils did not utilize their bench very much during the 2016-17 season, but for now, it appears that only two Duke big men will transfer this offseason.
Freshman center Marques Bolden has elected to return after considering whether or not to transfer, Adam Rowe of 247sports reported Monday. Rowe originally reported Sunday that Bolden had decided to transfer before noting that he was still pondering his decision in an update Sunday night.
The team confirmed Bolden's return with a press release Monday evening.
“Despite rumors about my future that have circulated in recent days, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be returning to Duke for my sophomore year,” Bolden said in the release. “I have unbelievable support from my family, teammates and coaches. I’m ready to get to work for next season and I’m excited for what should be a great year for our program.”
If he had transferred, the 6-foot-11 big man would have joined fellow frontcourt players Chase Jeter and Sean Obi in transferring after not being able to crack the rotation and dealing with injuries during his time at Duke.
After committing to Duke in mid-May, Bolden was expected to contribute right away as a true rim protector and post presence. At first, it seemed as though the DeSoto, Texas, native would deliver, as he was expected to start heading into the season and blocked five shots in the team's first exhibition against Virginia State.
But the 245-pound center suffered a left lower-leg injury shortly after that performance that changed his season. Bolden missed the first eight games of the regular season and never looked comfortable on the offensive end when he returned, averaging just 1.5 points and 1.1 rebounds in 6.5 minutes per contest.
Although he had a few bright spots on defense, especially against Miami Jan. 21 when he posted season-highs with eight points and 23 minutes, Bolden never found his niche as the Blue Devils navigated their roller-coaster season that ended with a Round of 32 loss in the NCAA tournament.
“We’re thrilled that Marques will continue to be part of our program,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the release. “In addition to being a talented basketball player, he’s an outstanding young man from a great family. It’s unfortunate that his freshman season was impacted by injury, but he has an opportunity to have a great summer and a special sophomore season.”
Now, Bolden will look to bounce back next season and establish himself as a steady frontcourt presence with plenty of minutes up for grabs. The Blue Devils have already lost its starting frontcourt of Jayson Tatum and Amile Jefferson, in addition to reserve forward Harry Giles, and currently only have signed one forward in the Class of 2017.