Marques Bolden

· Year: Sophomore

· Height: 6-foot-11

· Position: Center

· Last year’s statline: 1.5 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.1 APG

Game Breakdown: Despite posting 13 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks in a promising preseason debut, last season did not turn out as expected for Bolden. After missing the first eight games of the season after suffering a leg injury, the former McDonald’s All-American never seemed to get back in rhythm and struggled to defend without fouling. 

Bolden played more than eight minutes only six times last year, and often looked overwhelmed with the speed of the college game. While the DeSoto, TX, native certainly has the tools to succeed at the college level—and possibly even the NBA level—he will need to stay healthy and learn to control his body to reach his full potential.

Role on the Team: After electing to stay at Duke following a disappointing sophomore campaign, Marques Bolden will have a chance to earn significant minutes for a young Blue Devil team this time around. However, with the additions of top-five recruits Wendell Carter and Marvin Bagley, Bolden will likely begin the season off the bench, trying to keep up with what could be the most crowded and talented frontcourt that Coach K has ever had.

In addition to the two highly touted freshmen, Bolden will also likely compete with fellow sophomore Javin DeLaurier and junior Antonio Vrankovic for minutes in the post. In order for Bolden to remain in the rotation, it will be essential for him to use the rule of verticality to his advantage when protecting the rim, given his size and length. The big man must improve on his average of eight fouls per 40 minutes last year. 

NBA Comparison: Bolden can be compared to Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in that he provides size and physicality, but finds almost all of his effectiveness at and around the rim. Jordan is an elite shot-blocker, having posted four seasons with two or more blocks per game, and has led the league in rebounds twice in his career. On the offensive end, Jordan imposes every ounce of his 265-pound frame to punish defenders at the rim, but is a non-threat from outside the post, similar to Bolden.

Projected stats: 2.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.7 APG

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews with sophomore Justin Robinson tomorrow. Previous players previewed include Jordan Goldwire, Alex O'Connell, Jordan Tucker, Gary Trent Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., Trevon Duval, Marvin Bagley III, Javin DeLaurier and Jack White.