With the college basketball season right around the corner, it's time for the Blue Zone to take a look at the 2023-24 Duke women's basketball roster. We previously looked at Emma Koabel, Oluchi Okananwa, Delaney Thomas, Jordan Wood, Camilla Emsbo and Kennedy Brown. Next up is freshman Jadyn Donovan:
Last year’s stat line: N/A
Game breakdown: The Washington native is this year’s highest-rated Blue Devil freshman, and for good reason. Ranked at No. 3 in the class of 2023 by espnW, Donovan was a dominant force for Sidwell Friends in high school, averaging 14.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.7 steals as a senior.
While the 2023 District of Columbia Gatorade Player of the Year is strong in preset offenses, the best part of her game comes in the fast break. Her speed and athleticism allow her to get out and run the open floor, laying the foundations for easy buckets off turnovers and quick transition finishes.
On defense, Donovan is incredibly capable. She can guard at least 1-3, and her length and quick hands produce a lot of turnovers to generate fast-break opportunities. She can lurk in passing lanes, lock down point guards in the open floor and play respectable interior defense when she needs to. Overall, she is a very well-rounded addition to an ambitious Duke group.
Role on the team: Out of this year’s freshman class, there is no player who better exemplifies head coach Kara Lawson’s approach to the game. Donovan is quick in transition, potent and versatile on defense and flexible enough to play in several different spots depending on where she is needed. As a result, she will probably see a decent chunk of minutes this year.
Whether or not there is a starting spot for Donovan remains to be seen. Sophomore transfer guard Taina Mair will most likely be playing at the point, and returning junior Reigan Richardson is probably a lock at the shooting guard position. Donovan could start at the small forward spot but would be slightly undersized and in competition with sophomore Ashlon Jackson, as well as fellow freshmen Jordan Wood and Delaney Thomas, for the position.
Regardless of whether or not she ends up starting, the Sidwell Friends alum will almost certainly be a key piece of this year’s team. Her athleticism and quickness on both ends of the floor will prove to be valuable assets to a squad that has in years past enjoyed pushing the pace and playing hard-nosed defense. Look for the hyped-up freshman to make an immediate impact in her first season of college ball.
Projected stats: 19.2 MPG, 7.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.6 APG
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