Another member of the 2020-21 Duke squad will no longer be in Durham next season.
Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft, per a release from the team. Hurt led the ACC with 18.3 points per game this past season on his way to first team All-ACC and the conference's Most Improved Player honors.
"First I want to thank God and my family for blessing me with this opportunity and helping me continue to achieve my goals," Hurt said in the release. "And of course, I'm so appreciative of Coach K, the coaches and staff at Duke for always trusting and believing in me. It was always a dream of mine to play at Duke, and it's also a dream of mine to play in the NBA. Duke has made me become a better player and person, and has put me in a position to take this next step in my career. I know this has been a difficult year for so many people, and although our Cameron Crazies didn't get to see us play this season, know that we appreciate all the love the and support you show our team. Finally, I want to thank all of my past and current teammates for driving me to get better every day. Although I will miss putting on the Duke jersey, it means so much that I'll have a part in the Duke Brotherhood for life."
The general consensus among mock draft services is that Hurt will go no higher than the late second round, with both Bleacher Report and NBA Draft Room not listing him as being drafted, though it is worth noting the latter has Hurt as the 61st-ranked player heading into the draft.
What is known is that Hurt can get a bucket from all three levels. The Rochester, Minn., native proved time and time again that he is more than apt in shooting the three, and largely thanks to his body transformation between his freshman and sophomore years, he was also able to show off a mix of post moves throughout the 2020-21 season. Of his tricks down low, none became more notable than his Dirk Nowitzki-esque fadeaway that he often pulled out on smaller defenders.
As much as NBA front offices may like Hurt’s offense, there’s no denying that he has a tremendous amount of growing to do defensively. The 6-foot-9 shooter still struggles to play pick-and-roll defense, and he often gets caught in poor positioning in the paint which led to foul trouble for him throughout the year.
With the NBA Draft not being until July 29, Hurt has plenty of time for pre-draft workouts with NBA teams, and subsequently, to cement his name on general managers’ big boards for the big day.
"The NBA team that drafts Matthew is getting a player very dedicated to his craft," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He is already a pro in how he approaches the game and approaches his development as a player and a person. I want to thank Matthew and his family for being a part of our program for two years, and I can't wait to follow his growth at the next level. He is a skilled offensive player and it's a shame our fans didn't get a chance to appreciate in person the incredible season he had as a sophomore. We will miss Matthew and wish him all of the best as he attacks the next phase of his journey."