The Blue Zone will be running a summer series bringing you the latest on some of Duke basketball’s former stars. To cap off the series, The Blue Zone will take a look at those players who transferred away from Duke.
Not every player who comes through Durham stays at Duke. Some players forego seasons at the college level to make the jump to the NBA, but others decide to move to another school to pursue new opportunities. Although often forgotten, Eric Boateng, Jamal Boykin and Olek Czyz have taken long journeys from being benchwarmers at Duke to carving out international basketball careers.
Boateng came to Duke for the 2005-06 season, but he played sparingly. Stuck behind Shelden Williams and Josh McRoberts on the depth chart, Boateng appeared in just 20 games his freshman year, averaging 2.5 minutes and 0.7 points per game. His freshman year would be his only one as a Blue Devil—Boateng decided to transfer to Arizona State after his first season.
After sitting out the 2006-07 season, Boateng became an impact rotation player for the Sun Devils. As a senior, Boateng was Arizona State's starting center, averaging 27.1 minutes per game and recordinging 8.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Despite his strong season, the Sun Devils were knocked out in the first round of the NIT.
Boateng didn't draw interest in the NBA Draft, but he did get a contract from the Denver Nuggets to play in the preseason. Through five games Boateng averaged 1.6 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, though he did not ultimately make the team. Boateng split the 2010-2011 season between the Austin Toros and Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League.
The 6-foot-10 center spent the 2011-12 season with Peristeri in Greece, but his season was cut short after just seven games due to injury. Luckily for Boateng, he was over his injury in time for him to represent Great Britain for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where he averaged 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in three games.
Boateng's most recent club was New Yorker Phantom in Germany. Playing alongside new Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroeder, Boateng averaged 7.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season.
Boykin, like Boateng, arrived at Duke for his freshman season in 2005-06. That first season Boykin played just 26 games, averaging 2.7 minutes per game. Unlike Boateng, Boykin was on the roster for the beginning of his sophomore year. As Boykin told The Chronicle in 2010, he ultimately decided to leave Duke after coming down with mononucleosis. The forward realized that he couldn't provide the team with 100 percent on the practice court and so would prefer to pursue a bigger role with a different program.
The new program Boykin would join turned out to be California, where he retained three years of his eligibility after suiting up in just three games for Duke during his sophomore year. Boykin played a full redshirt sophomore season in 2007-08 and improved every season with the Golden Bears. His senior season was his best, where he averaged 11.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. His collegiate career would, ironically, come to an end against the very Blue Devil team he walked away from. In the Round of 32 in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, Cal and Duke were pitted against each other. Duke would wind up winning the head-to-head matchup on its way to a national championship.
Since graduating from California, Boykin has bounced around leagues overseas. His first professional season was spent in Turkey playing for Gazientep, where he was extremely successful, averaging 17.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The following season Boykin joined the Iwate Big Bulls in Japan where he took a step backwards, averaging just 10.7 points with his new club. Last season Boykin was in Holland with Groningen where he averaged 12.7 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Czyz came to campus for the 2008-09 season, but like the other transfers was used sparingly. In 13 games the Polish forward averaged just 3.9 minutes per game, averaging 0.6 points and 0.9 rebounds per game. Like Boykin, Czyz opened his sophomore year as a Blue Devil, but played just three games before transferring to Nevada, where Czyz played his high school basketball. The decision to leave Duke was due to his lack of playing time, which resulted in Czyz deciding he needed to "press a reset button" on his collegiate career. Czyz emerged as a key contributor at Nevada in his two seasons with the Wolf Pack, averaging 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game during his senior season.
After his career at Nevada, Czyz was invited to play for the Chicago Bulls' Summer League team. Czyz played in five games with the Bulls, playing 12.0 minutes per game and scoring 4.6 points per game. After failing to land an NBA contract, Czyz took his talents to Italy, joining Virtus Roma.
Czyz was once again participating in the NBA Summer League in 2013, playing two games with the Portland Trailblazers. In the two games Czyz averaged 13.0 minutes per game, scoring 4.5 points. Czyz has yet to decide where he will be playing for the 2013-14 season.