<
>
Insider

Jefferson gives Duke frontcourt depth

5/15/2012

By adding ESPN 100 PF Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia/Friends Central), Duke helps fill its void in the frontcourt left by the departure of Miles Plumlee.

Jefferson isn't likely to be an immediate starter -- those frontcourt roles are likely to be filled by Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee -- but he will be in the running for first big off the bench along with Alex Murphy, Josh Hairston and Marshall Plumlee.

Regardless, the McDonald's All-American gives the Blue Devils immediate depth. His length, feel for the game and craftiness along the baseline, especially going to the short corner, make him special. The majority of his points come in the paint -- where he uses his reach, body control and soft touch -- or at the foul line, and you will very rarely see him shoot it beyond midrange. Jefferson is also a very active rebounder on both ends and he’s not afraid to track them down out of his area.

Jefferson is an important piece of the puzzle on both ends of the floor and when you combine him with fellow McDonald's All-American SG Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston/Strake Jesuit Prep), the Blue Devils are bringing in the No. 11-ranked recruiting class in the country. Both bring a consistent approach, competitive nature and energy to the floor, which will also elevate the defense as well as contribute to Duke’s offensive efficiency.

Duke prides itself on playing extended man-to-man defense in the half court. On ball screens, the Blue Devils like to switch and Jefferson’s and Sulaimon’s athleticism and length allow them to guard multiple defenders. Jefferson's terrific length will especially help block some shots, but he needs to make a commitment to getting stronger.

Overall, Duke's incoming class is small in number but will help lessen the blow of losing Austin Rivers and Miles Plumlee and help make Duke a contender in the ACC.