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Duke men's basketball 2020-2021 player preview: Matthew Hurt

Matthew Hurt quickly won over the Cameron Crazies last season with his ability to convert from the land of plenty.
Matthew Hurt quickly won over the Cameron Crazies last season with his ability to convert from the land of plenty.

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 and Jalen Johnson.

Matthew Hurt

Year: Sophomore

Height: 6-foot-9

Last year’s statline: 9.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 20.5 MPG

Game breakdown: The sophomore forward from Rochester, Minn. had a decent first year but will look to take up a more sizeable role in the 2020-21 season. In his class of 2019, ESPN ranked Hurt 11th in the nation and while we saw promising highlights during the season, he needs to improve on his consistency. Even still, Hurt finished shooting 48.7 percent from the field and converted on 39.3 percent of his attempts from three-point range. His strong shooting and effectiveness in the mid-post make Hurt an exciting forward with the potential to be an elite scorer. 

He has always had a keen ability to stretch the floor and has great off-ball movement, two skills that will only increase his minutes. One of the criticisms of Hurt though was his strength and how it affected his ability to attack the rim and be effective on defense. However, during this offseason, Hurt gained 20 pounds and will look to leverage this to be more aggressive. His scoring potential combined with his improvements during the offseason will make him a strong contributor to a successful Duke season.

Role on the team: Looking towards this season, Hurt is almost certain to serve a starting role as a power forward. Being one of the only returning players likely to start, his experience will be needed on this young Duke team. The skilled frontcourt includes freshmen Jalen Johnson, Mark Williams and Jaemyn Brakefield and when their chemisty develops, these players should elevate Hurt’s game and allow him to reach his scoring potential. 

The primary talk around Hurt is a bounce-back season and all signs point to this becoming a reality. His electrifying threes and potent scoring will continue to give his team the necessary momentum to finish as a top-ten team. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski has praised Hurt’s play in training, which not only shows Hurt has improved but points toward more playing time. Overall, Hurt is in line to have an impressive season that will be a highlight of his time as a Blue Devil.

NBA comparison: Hurt is a lanky power forward that can shoot and play the perimeter well, making Maxi Kleber of the Dallas Mavericks a perfect comparision. In fact, their 2019-20 season stats are very similar. Hurt averaged 9.7 points per game and shot 39.3 percent at the three-point line while Kleber averaged 9.1 points and shot 37.3 percent from beyond the arc. Although Hurt should play a bigger role on his team, when watching both in a game, the similarities are evident from everything from shooting style to attacking the rim. 

Projected stats: 12.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 24.2 MPG

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