Marques Bolden has a solid low post game on offense and is also athletic enough to play above the ...

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player preview: Marques Bolden

Marques Bolden

  • Year: Freshman
  • Height: 6-foot-11
  • Position: Center

Game Breakdown: Ranked as the No. 2 center in the 2016 class by ESPN, Bolden is the type of talented post presence Duke was missing last year. The DeSoto, Texas, native will be replacing former Blue Devil and current NBA big man Marshall Plumlee at the center position. Bolden possesses long arms, soft hands, a large frame and solid mobility for a big man. He is primarily a catch-and-finish player offensively, using his strength to seal off defenders effectively as well as finishing with dunks off cuts and pick-and-rolls. He can play above the rim and has the ability and strength to develop a solid low post game.

Bolden can be a great defensive rebounder and is capable of hauling in offensive rebounds against undersized opponents given his size. On the defensive end, Bolden should be a force inside as a rim protector, and his agility and wingspan should allow him to step out and defend the pick-and-roll as well.

Role on the Team: With forward Harry Giles sidelined indefinitely due to injury, Bolden will likely open the season as the starting center. The 6-foot-11 big man will give the Blue Devils rebounding, blocked shots and a strong interior presence. The freshman will be counted on to finish in the post and play above the rim on the offensive end. Bolden should be able get in position under the basket to find easy opportunities to score given Duke’s myriad talent on the perimeter. 

But Bolden's main role will be on the defensive end. After averaging 2.6 blocks per game as a senior in high school, Bolden swatted away five shots in the Blue Devils' first exhibition against Virginia State and could develop into a force on the defensive end, disrupting anyone that drives into the paint.

NBA Comparison: Bolden’s raw athleticism, size, defensive potential and ability to finish above the rim draw a comparison to Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside. Much of Bolden's game is modeled after Whiteside’s defensive prowess as well as his ability to finish at the rim. Like Whiteside early in his career, Bolden’s offensive repertoire remains raw, but as the center continues to improve and adjusts to the pace of the college game, his offensive game could become more polished.

Projected stats: 8.9 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.7 BPG

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