As the calendar shifts to November, it is becoming apparent that the 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, Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore.
Year: Graduate student
Last year’s statline: N/A
Game breakdown: Patrick Tapé joins Duke after dominating in the Ivy League for three years at Columbia. The power forward played in 69 games before having to sit out his senior year with a foot injury. Tapé finished his Ivy League career as the Lions’ all-time leader in field goal percentage. In his three seasons with the team, he shot 61.3 percent from the field, but most notably averaged 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals per game in his junior season.
Tapé is a tenacious defender with quick reflexes and great play recognition. He can get up and down the floor quickly, which makes him a threat in transition. The Charlotte native can play both sides of the ball extremely effectively. His offensive game has space for improvement, but his 233-pound frame makes him a force on the interior.
Role on the team: It is possible, but unlikely that Tapé will start for the Blue Devils. He will compete for floor time with Matthew Hurt and Mark Williams, but will undoubtedly play valuable minutes off the bench. The only question surrounds his ability to remain as effective in the higher level of ACC play.
The most important role Tapé will play is as a leader. Duke lost seniors Javin DeLaruier, Jack White and Justin Robinson, as well as captain Tre Jones after last season, so he will look to fill that veteran position on the team. Despite this being his first year with the Blue Devils, this is his fifth year in a collegiate basketball program, which is invaluable to a team with six freshman.
NBA comparison: Tapé’s game is most similar to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Although Gobert is a little bigger and typically runs the center position, both guys are defense-first players who work efficiently under the basket. Gobert is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner and has four straight appearances on the All-Defensive First Team. Both players have high basketball IQs and cat-like reflexes, which make them threats on both ends of the floor.
Projected stats: 6.8 PPG, 3.7 RBG, 10.1 MPG
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