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Duke men's basketball 2015-16 player preview: Amile Jefferson

Amile Jefferson

  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 6-foot-9
  • Position: Forward
  • Last year's statline: 6.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.8 APG

Game Breakdown: If there’s anyone who works harder than Jefferson, don’t let him know. The Philadelphia native is a fierce competitor and will constantly battle on the defensive end of the court. He blocked a career-high 26 shots last season and played especially well on defense during the NCAA tournament. Jefferson is not afraid to grab the ball off the glass and although his defensive rebounding has always been solid, it is the offensive boards where he excels. Jefferson’s opportunistic rebounds often lead to second-chance points for his teammates and with a wide variety of scoring threats on this Blue Devils team, too many chances to score may prove overwhelming for opponents.

On the offensive side of things, Jefferson has never stood out. Over the course of his first three seasons at Duke, he has averaged just 5.6 points per game and most teams are willing to let him hold the ball anywhere past the free-throw line. But after adding more weight this offseason, expect to see Jefferson spending more time around with the big bodies in the post. A big improvement Jefferson will need to make this season is on his 55-percent mark from the foul line a year ago. 

Role on the Team: A second-year captain, Jefferson is unquestionably the leader of this team. Whether he is a starter or a sixth man coming off the bench, he has proven to be a voice on and off the court, bringing a constant energy to the floor and showing his younger teammates the way. Along with senior Matt Jones and graduate student Marshall Plumlee, head coach Mike Krzyzewski can expect the 6-foot-9 forward to be a physical presence at all times.

Although the Blue Devils have a varied offensive arsenal, the makeup of this year’s team appears to be an aggressive defensive unit. The constant pressure of sophomore guard Grayson Allen along with Jones and Plumlee will enable Jefferson to only add to that intensity on the defensive end. Jefferson excels at making the little plays such as absorbing charges or affecting passing lanes and  with the shorter shot clock, Jefferson’s activity will force opponents to work even harder to get a quality shot off in time.

NBA Comparison: Although Jefferson’s skill set suits the college game significantly better than that of the NBA, his style of play and leadership abilities are similar to the Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem. The former Florida Gator has never been a dominant scorer—averaging just 8.2 points per game for his career—but has made his presence felt alongside NBA All-Stars  such Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Both Jefferson and Haslem have collected championships during their college career not because they were dominant players, but because they both are consistent vocal leaders and providers of consistent energy on the defensive end.

Projected stats: 9.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 0.9 BPG, 60% FT

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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