When Antonio Vrankovic gets the ball in the paint, he can draw fouls against smaller defenders or ...

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player preview: Antonio Vrankovic

Antonio Vrankovic

  • Year: Sophomore
  • Height: 7-feet
  • Position: Center
  • Last year’s statline: 0.8 PPG, 1.4 RPG

Game Breakdown: The biggest player on Duke's team, Vrankovic can stand in the paint and protect the rim effectively on defense. He can outmuscle undersized opponents when he is on the floor and score on putbacks after offensive rebounds. Although the Delray Beach, Fla., native does not have a very polished offensive game in the post, he can still get position and draw fouls while crashing the boards. Vrankovic is a solid free-throw shooter and even stepped out to knock down a deep midrange jumper at Countdown to Craziness two weeks ago.

Role on the Team: Vrankovic did not see the floor much as a freshman behind centers Marshall Plumlee and Chase Jeter, and though Plumlee has moved on to the NBA, the Blue Devils added reinforcements inside with freshmen Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and Harry Giles. With such a crowded frontcourt rotation, Vrankovic is unlikely to get any meaningful minutes unless Duke has several players in foul trouble, but the 7-foot big man could give Bolden and Jeter some rest on the court with a few minutes in nonconference games.

NBA Comparison: As a big, strong center that is solid on defense, Vrankovic can be compared to Detroit Pistons' center Boban Marjanovic. At 7-foot-3, Marjanovic is not the most athletic center in the pros, but he has still carved out a role with his size and rebounding ability. The Pistons' offense does not revolve around Marjanovic when he is on the court, but he can clean up the offensive glass and parlayed his skillset into a 3-year, $21-million salary in the offseason last year.

Projected stats: 1.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.5 APG

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews with sophomore Chase Jeter tomorrow. Previous players previewed include Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, Frank Jackson, Marques Bolden, Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles and Justin Robinson.

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