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Duke men's basketball 2018-19 player preview: Antonio Vrankovic

<p>Antonio Vrankovic could see the most playing time of his career this winter.</p>

Antonio Vrankovic could see the most playing time of his career this winter.

Antonio Vrankovic

  • Year: Senior
  • Height: 7 feet
  • Position: Center
  • Last year's statline: 1.6 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 5.7 MPG

Game Breakdown: In his first three years as a Blue Devil, Vrankovic has struggled to find any type of consistent playing time. Granted, he's had to deal with some talented big men ahead of him—Marshall Plumlee, Amile Jefferson, Harry Giles, Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr.—but even so, the now-senior has appeared in just 32 career games.Vrankovic is a true center and the tallest player on this Duke team. But the Croatian doesn't have the range to be effective on the outside in the Blue Devils' five-out motion offense, meaning his playing time will likely be limited again in his final season in Durham. Duke has plenty of rebounders, yet if Vrankovic can show himself an improved defense, he will be useful in matchups against other true centers.

Role on the Team: Vrankovic appears to be buried down the bench again, behind fellow veteran big men Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden. Coach K didn't put him into the game in the second half against Virginia Union, and unless there's an injury, it's hard to see Vrankovic's role growing any time soon.

NBA Comparison: It's probably too easy a comparison with their eastern European bloodlines, but Vrankovic's game lines up pretty well with former Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic. The Montenegrin played six seasons in the states, never attempting a 3-pointer but still posting four seasons with double-digit points per game. Vrankovic, like Pekovic, could show himself if he sees time, but that's a question that remains to be seen.

Projected stats: 1.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 0.4 APG

The Blue Zone already previewed Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker and Justin Robinson. Stay tuned as we continue our player previews with junior Jack White tomorrow.

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