Duke women's basketball adds 5th offseason transfer Imani Lewis

<p>Head coach Kara Lawson has now gotten five transfers since January.</p>

Head coach Kara Lawson has now gotten five transfers since January.

For the second time in the past five days, the Blue Devils have added to their frontcourt.

Former Second-Team All-Big Ten power forward Imani Lewis announced her transfer to Duke Monday afternoon via Instagram.

Lewis, a 6-foot-1 junior, joins the Blue Devils after having spent her first three years at Wisconsin, and retains two years of eligibility. She was given all-conference honors after her sophomore season.

Lewis brings a valuable and versatile offensive skillset to Durham. The forward plays entirely within the 3-point line, but is an efficient scorer from both the midrange and at the rim, averaging clips at or above the NCAA average in both categories according to CBB Analytics

Lewis can score on a variety of actions, from basket cuts and post-ups to midrange spot-ups and putbacks, and has a good understanding of spacing and positioning despite her lack of range. She’s particularly excellent at drawing free throws as well, ranking above the 80th percentile in free throw attempt rate each of the past three years, according to CBB Analytics.

Where Lewis excels most, however, is on the glass. Her defensive rebound percentage has ranked above the 90th percentile each of the past three years, per Synergy Sports. On the other hand, the rest of Lewis’s defensive skillset isn’t something to write home about. It’s hard to evaluate her individual ability when Wisconsin struggled as a team, but she has trouble using her length and size in a positive way in the post, and isn’t a particularly active off-ball or help defender. And against post-ups, according to Synergy Sports, she’s committed shooting fouls at just above a 20% clip, an especially poor number.

She does bring defensive versatility, though, and that’s exactly what the Blue Devils needed. Before Lewis’s transfer, Duke’s backcourt consisted of two centers in Jade Williams and Amaya Finklea-Guity, and a power forward/center tweener in Onome Akinbode-James. 

Now, with the addition of Lewis, Duke has two natural power forwards in her and Akinbode-James. And Lewis is quite capable, if not especially good, at playing center, having spent roughly a third of her time there, according to CBB Analytics. The Blue Devils were already likely to play a spread system given their perimeter talent, but Lewis's addition allows them the option of going small with her at the 5 and Lexi Gordon at the 4.

You’d think that the addition of an 11th player to a fairly crowded rotation would seal Duke’s 2021-22 depth chart, but it’s still possible that the program might add another backcourt facilitator to bolster its thinnest position.


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