As the calendar shifts to November, it is becoming apparent that basketball season is on the horizon. That means that it is time for our player previews of every member of Duke men's basketball. Read the previous previews: Mike Buckmire, Michael Savarino, Kennan Worthington, Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman III, DJ Steward, Jeremy Roach, Mark Williams, Jalen Johnson and Matthew Hurt.
Wendell Moore Jr.
Last year’s statline: 7.4 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.9 APG
Game breakdown: A highly-versatile small forward, Wendell Moore Jr. is projected to break out this year as he possesses NBA-level length and athleticism. The former McDonald’s All-American saw many ups and downs last season, as he was sidelined in the middle of the season by a hand injury, yet his stellar performance at the Dean Dome will go down as one of the most iconic moments for the Blue Devils and Duke fans.
In his freshman season, Moore showcased his ability to drive to the basket and defend opponents, but often struggled with inconsistency, which made his performance moon cycle-like. Perhaps one of Moore’s major areas of improvement this season will be his jumpshot, as he only made 21.1 percent of his three-pointers last season. He has proven his potential however, as his free throw percentage last year stood at 80.6 percent, the second highest on the team. He will also need to mitigate the 2.4 turnovers per game from last season, as he averaged only 1.9 assists per game in comparison.
Role on the team: While he started 11 of the 25 games he played in as a freshman, the Charlotte native has a lot of untapped potential as he was a standout defender and is capable of becoming a better scorer. With his experiences last year, along with improvements from the offseason, there would be no doubt that he will lead the team along with fellow sophomore Matthew Hurt.
What’s more interesting to see is how the coaching staff will utilize this year’s deep roster. While last year’s team often utilized a three-guard starting lineup featuring Tre Jones, Cassius Stanley and Jordan Goldwire, this year’s team will likely feature a three-forward lineup starring Moore, Hurt and Jalen Johnson, the most highly-touted player in the freshman class.
NBA comparison: Perhaps one of the closest NBA comparisons to Moore is Josh Richardson of the 76ers, who, in addition to his prolific defensive capabilities, has also had great upsides in mid-range and perimeter-shooting. While Moore already demonstrated his superb rebounding abilities last season, he can also develop into a capable playmaker with improved precision and court vision.
Projected stats: 12.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 29.3 MPG
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