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Duke men's basketball 2018-19 player review: Javin DeLaurier

<p>Javin DeLaurier dunks against Central Florida.</p>

Javin DeLaurier dunks against Central Florida.

Javin DeLaurier

Season breakdown: With an already loaded front court of Zion Williamson and Marques Bolden, it was unclear how Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski would assemble his big men. At the start of the season, DeLaurier, who was named co-captain with Jack White, started at the five with Williamson at the four, but the Shipman, Va., native was quickly relegated to the bench when Bolden showed major strides in lateral quickness and rim protection.

Although DeLaurier had the athleticism and length to finish easily on drives and run the floor for transition buckets and stops, the junior struggled to post up against heftier bigs and saw his usage severely stymied by constant foul trouble. Throughout the season, DeLaurier averaged 2.7 fouls per game, oftentimes getting caught reaching when defending drives and struggling to effectively guard under the basket.

However, Bolden sometimes struggled to defend switches against guard-heavy lineups, and DeLaurier made his way to the floor frequently, playing in all 38 games of the season. The junior captain finally got his chance to shine when Bolden went down at the end of the regular season with a MCL sprain, forcing DeLaurier to take the majority of minutes at the five during the post season. When the Blue Devils needed him most in March, DeLaurier shined, averaging 4.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.

In the ACC and NCAA tournaments, the now-starter showed a defensive proficiency that he previously lacked during the regular season, guarding the likes of Central Florida's 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall and Michigan State's Nick Ward. Against the Spartans, DeLaurier put together his most impressive performance of the season, notching his first career double double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Unfortunately, that would be the end of the line for Duke, as Michigan State would end the Blue Devils' season in a one-point heartbreaker.

Results relative to expectations: 

DeLaurier's junior year was truly a tale of two halves. The newly-anointed team captain brought his trademark energy off the bench, but his constant fouling severely limited his usage for much of the regular season. Although no one expected DeLaurier to step in as a shooting threat or an offensive driver, his inability to create any real offense never made him an effective substitution option for Williamson or R.J. Barrett when the younger Blue Devils needed a breather.

However, the Javin DeLaurier that showed up throughout the post season looked like a far improved player, finally finding a defensive rhythm without sacrificing his high-energy motor and quick plays in the paint. Although the Blue Devils will yet again have a talented front court presence with incoming freshman Vernon Carey Jr. and the rising senior Bolden, DeLaurier's late-season heroics certainly secured him a spot in next season's rotation.

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player reviews. Previous players previewed include Justin Robinson, Joey Baker, Jordan Goldwire, Jack White, Alex O'Connell and Marques Bolden.


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