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Duke women's basketball 2019-20 player preview: Uchenna Nwoke

Uchenna Nwoke played in just eight games last season, totaling two points and three rebounds
Uchenna Nwoke played in just eight games last season, totaling two points and three rebounds

Uchenna Nwoke

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6-foot-6

Positon: Center

Last year’s statline: 0.3 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 2.5 MPG

Game Breakdown: Nwoke stands alone as the tallest player for Duke women’s basketball—the question is whether she can use that height to her advantage. The Texas native has been praised as an aggressive and intimidating post defender, but didn’t seem to have the offensive skillset or stamina to garner meaningful playing time last season. Nwoke appeared in just eight games on the year— shooting 1-of-4 from the field for two total points—before suffering a season-ending hyperextended knee in February. Even on the glass, the then-freshman managed just three rebounds over 20 minutes, a rate she must improve upon if she wants to become an impact player for the Blue Devils.

It remains to be seen whether Nwoke has improved upon the weaknesses that kept her off the floor for most of her initial season in Durham. If she’s developed on her skills around the basket and overall athleticism, she could easily end up being one of the most dominant forces in the ACC. If not, she can expect another year riding the bench.

Role on the Team: In Duke’s Blue-White scrimmage last Sunday, Nwoke played a team-low 15 minutes, hitting her only field goal attempt, grabbing two rebounds and turning the ball over three times. None of those numbers indicate that the South Grand Prairie product is prime for an increase in playing time this season.

Nevertheless, head coach Joanne P. McCallie’s squad only has one other true center on the roster and only two other athletes 6-foot-4 or taller. Thus, it’s reasonable to assume the Blue Devils may have no choice but to rely on Nwoke’s height at some point. Hopefully, she’ll be ready for the challenge.

Projected Stats: 0.5 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 3.5 MPG

Stay tuned to the Blue Zone for our continuing player previews.

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