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, Wendell Moore, Patrick Tapé and Joey Baker.
Last year’s statline: 4.7 PPG, 2.3 APG, 24.1 MPG
Game breakdown: Despite not being a notable offensive player, senior point guard Jordan Goldwire showed improvement toward the end of last year’s cut-short season. In his final eight games, Goldwire shot 53.7 percent from the field, a solid improvement from his previous two years. He also boasted an impressive 2.6 assists to turnover ratio, meaning this season he’ll likely look to improve that number and move the ball around the court.
While Goldwire hasn’t always seen the most minutes, he is a defensive powerhouse that this year’s team needs. Since his awe-inspiring showing against Louisville his sophomore year, Goldwire has proved time and time again that he can bring a defensive energy to the game matched by very few other players. After years of developing his skills under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Goldwire can defend virtually anyone. Last season, he was averaging 1.52 steals per game, earning him ninth place in the ACC. His undeniable tenaciousness on defense makes him a critical player beyond what his stat line shows.
Role on the team: With Tre Jones out of the lineup this year, Jordan Goldwire will be Krzyzewski's natural choice for a leader on the court. As one of two seniors and the primary senior option on the court, Goldwire’s experience will be valuable for such a young team. Over the past two years, the dynamic between Jones and Goldwire allowed them both to mature incredibly as point guards, and with Goldwire on his own, expect to see his skills shine. On such an offensive-heavy roster, Goldwire brings a much-needed defensive mind to the game.
With his solid passing ability, Goldwire will be able to facilitate good looks for natural shooters like Jalen Johnson and Matthew Hurt. With such a strong point guard in Jeremy Roach, the two will likely each start at one of the guard positions. Given that Goldwire saw minutes in every single game last season, he’ll likely see a fair amount of minutes again this season. Despite not having the Cameron Crazies in the stadium with him, Goldwire will be able to bring a defensive spark and excitement to the court, making the senior guard not just an important defensive piece, but a team leader for the Blue Devils this season.
NBA comparison: In looking at Goldwire’s unique skill set, one NBA player comes to mind as the perfect comparison: Marcus Smart. Goldwire’s defensive prowess mirrors Smart’s success in the NBA, with Smart being named to the All-Defensive First Team for the last two seasons. Just as Smart often struggles on the scoring end of the game, Goldwire still has room to grow as a shooter and a scorer. Above all else, though, Goldwire and Smart both have the special ability to lead the team through more than just points, and we expect to see much of the same in Goldwire’s senior year.
Projected stats: 5.3 PPG, 3.1 APG, 25.2 MPG
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