As Duke men's basketball wraps up its season, the Blue Zone gives individual breakdowns of each player's season with comparisons to their pre-season projections. Read the previous player breakdowns here: Mike Buckmire.
- Year: Graduate student
- Height: 6-foot-9
- Position: Center
- This year’s stat line: 1.1 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 4.5 MPG
- The Blue Zone’s projected stat line: 6.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 10.1 MPG
Season breakdown: Tapé appeared in just 10 games this season, never surpassing the 10-minute mark, and was often inserted when one of Duke’s frontcourt members were in foul trouble. He made his biggest in-game impact during the Blue Devils’ first ACC game against Notre Dame, in which he earned his only start of the season and finished with two assists, three rebounds and two points.
It’s important to remember that the Blue Devils’ matchup with the Fighting Irish came a week after their loss to Illinois, and as they searched for a team identity, Tapé provided Duke with quality minutes in the opening of the contest as the freshman acclimated to their first ACC contest.
Outside of that Notre Dame game, Tapé’s minutes primarily came in short intervals during the middle and end of games, and although his time was brief, the Charlotte, N.C. native found a way to register his name on the stat sheet in many of the games he appeared in.
While the graduate transfer may not have had the glorious in-game moments, his off-the-court role was directly correlated to Mark Williams’ growth and therefore, the team’s late-season run. In addition to associate head coach Nate James, Tapé put in countless hours practicing with Williams, helping him adjust to the physicality and playing style of college basketball.
Results relative to expectations: The 2020-21 campaign was not what most expected for Duke or for Tapé. After a 2018-19 season at Columbia where he averaged 11.3 points and 22.8 minutes per game, the graduate transfer saw his role diminish to a fraction of what it was as a Lion.
Heading into the season, the big question was whether or not head coach Mike Krzyzewski would roll with a small-ball or traditional lineup, and if he did in fact go traditional, who would he plug in to play center? We’ll never know if Tapé was a mere moments away from getting his chance at the five before Williams emerged, but it’s safe to say that the usage of Tapé was surprising considering the big man’s experience and Duke’s thin frontcourt.
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