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Duke men's basketball 2021-22 player preview: Stanley Borden

Stanley Borden is a freshman walk-on from Istanbul, Turkey.
Stanley Borden is a freshman walk-on from Istanbul, Turkey.

It's just a matter of time before the Blue Devils take to the court, so the Blue Zone brings an in-depth analysis of the Duke men's basketball roster with a preview for every player. First, let's take a look at Stanley Borden:  

Stanley Borden

Year: Freshman

Height: 7-foot

Position: Center

Last year’s stat line: N/A

Game breakdown: Since he arrived in Durham in August, Stanley Borden has been the talk of the campus. It’s not every day that we see a 7-foot student who just so happens to have played on the Portuguese U20 National Team. And if they hadn’t already heard about him, the Cameron Crazies were fueled with excitement in September after hearing that another 7-footer would be joining this year’s squad, forming one of the tallest teams Cameron Indoor Stadium has seen since the 2017-18 season.

His bout in the FIBA U20 European Challengers this past summer can give a glimpse of what to expect in the upcoming season. Borden served as one of the pack leaders, averaging 24.4 MPG, 6.2 RPG and 7.6 PPG. He also persistently stood up in difficult matches; his two highest point totals came in Portugal’s two worst losses.

Borden is one of a select few, if not the only NCAA player to have competed in the FIBA European Challengers competition this summer. This season will be his first in the United States, and it won’t all be smooth sailing. Given Duke’s elite starting lineup, we likely won’t be seeing much of Borden this year. If he wants to put up the same stats he did with Portugal, Borden will have to demonstrate that he can play with the top dogs at practice.

Role on the team: The Blue Devils already have a 7-foot, 242-pound center in sophomore Mark Williams, so it is unlikely that Borden will be used to his ultimate potential initially. Yet, his height is an asset that Duke can undoubtedly use defensively against certain opponents.

Borden has also proved himself a team player through his perseverance through losing games this past summer. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski prides himself in building a team that will stand up and put in the work, and in his last season as a coach, Krzyzewski would only take a player if they could contribute to the team. Walk-ons are a rarity for Duke basketball and Borden is doubtful to be a one-and-done. So while he may not get many minutes this season, his experience in practice and in supporting the team will be what he will grow from to form a strong foundation for the next three years.

NBA comparison: Miami Heat center Dewayne Dedmon plays like a dead ringer for Borden. The 7-foot, 245-pound Lancaster, Calif. native averaged 7.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG and 13.2 MPG in 16 regular season games for the Heat last season after signing a veteran’s minimum contract in April 2021. Given his agility and similar structure, Borden could play similarly if he gets on the court, and if his European talents can translate to American basketball, Borden could potentially start grabbing stats closer to Dedmon’s later on in his Duke career.

Projected stats: 0 PPG, 0 RPG, 0 MPG 

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