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Duke women's basketball 2020-2021 player preview: Uchenna Nwoke

Uchenna Nwoke is looking for a more prominent role this year. She has the talent but has yet to put it all together in a game.
Uchenna Nwoke is looking for a more prominent role this year. She has the talent but has yet to put it all together in a game.

College basketball season is approaching, and with that the Blue Zone gives you a breakdown of the 2020-2021 women's basketball squad. Be sure to check out the previous previews: Vanessa de Jesus.

Uchenna Nwoke

Year: Junior

Height: 6-foot-6 

Position: Center

Last year’s statline: 2.7 MPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.4 PPG

Game breakdown: The Texas native knows what to do when she gets the ball in the low post. Nwoke is one of the most physical players on this Duke squad, but she has just not been able to get significant minutes in her first two seasons in Durham. Last year was an uptick in nearly every statistical category, so if she continued her improvement in the offseason expect to see a continuation of the trend.

Her statline does not have much glamour to it, but anyone that has seen Nwoke play knows she can get big blocks and be a nightmare for opponents’ offenses. When she’s at her best, she can completely nullify any impact an opponent’s center has on offense. 

Since her arrival in Durham, she’s only gotten better with the ball in her hands and with an offseason under the wisdom of new head coach Kara Lawson, we will have to see if she added a couple more tools to her offensive game. It’s still unclear how Lawson is expected to use the talent on her team, but Nwoke is the perfect candidate if Lawson wants to roll out a lineup with a traditional center and play old school basketball. 

Role on the team: Nwoke did not see much playing time last year, and barring injury, it is unlikely she will this year. Regardless, she is a player that can come up huge on defensive possessions for the Blue Devils. She is the tallest player on this roster, and with that comes the responsibility of stepping up when opponents are scoring too much in the paint. 

Nwoke’s not going to get the attention that the major point scorers on this roster get, but make no mistake, she can impact a game when the right matchup presents itself. The big knock on her game is keeping up when opponents go to an uptempo, transitional offense, but when team’s try to run half court plays against Duke, Nwoke can wreak havoc. 

She will likely be one of the last players off of the bench this season, but if Nwoke continues to apply her suffocating defense and show offensive improvement, she will find her way into more minutes. 

Projected stats: 0.8 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 3.1 MPG

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