Last year’s statline: N/A
Game Breakdown: Matthew Hurt comes to Duke as the No. 11 overall recruit in the country—according to ESPN—after excelling in both the high school and AAU circuits. The 2019 Minnesota Mr. Basketball award winner and McDonald’s All-American averaged 37.4 points and 12.4 rebounds his senior season for John Marshall High School, finishing out his high school career with 3,550 points to accompany 1,451 boards. The 6-foot-9 forward has the size to score near the paint and basket, but will likely make his greatest impact knocking down shots from long range on a consistent basis. At the same time, he can consistently make a midrange jumper after fading away from his defender, a shot that's difficult to defend against a 6-foot-9 frame.
Off of misses, Hurt can rebound the ball and quickly put it back up or find a teammate for an open shot. The freshman is also a quality distributer in the open court, while his size running the lane during a fast break can open up the offense. Hurt can also drive and create his own shot when receiving the ball at the perimeter.
Role on the Team: The Rochester, Minn., native will receive the bulk of the minutes at the power forward position on this year’s team. Hurt has the ability to drain 3-pointers while also utilizing his size to score in the post, just like he's been doing on the AAU circuit for years. The talent that surrounds Hurt at Duke will not be the first time he's played consistently on a team with some of the top players in the country. As a member of D1 Minnesota on the Adidas AAU circuit, Hurt played alongside four other current Power 5 student-athletes in Patrick McCaffery (Iowa), Tyrell Terry (Stanford), Zeke Nnaji (Arizona) and Tyler Wahl (Wisconsin).
Playing alongside classmate Vernon Carey Jr., Hurt will rotate from playing in the low post and moving to the wing. Tre Jones will look for Hurt wherever he is situated on the floor to maximize the team’s offensive efficiency.
NBA Comparison: Gordon Hayward is a good comparison for Hurt in both the positions they play as well as their overall basketball abilities. At 6-foot-7, Hayward plays on the wing but has the strength to score inside the paint and from short range. At the same time, Hayward can knock down 3-pointers at a high rate, hitting them at a 36.5 percent clip for his career. Like Hayward, Hurt can also mix up his game from beyond the arc and inside the paint.
Projected stats: 13.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 31.8 MPG
Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews. Previous players previewed include Michael Savarino, Keenan Worthington, Mike Buckmire, Justin Robinson, Jordan Goldwire, Joey Baker, Cassius Stanley, Alex O'Connell, Jack White, Javin DeLaurier and Wendell Moore Jr.
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