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Duke didn’t ask much from Jefferson last season. The freshman only averaged 12.7 minutes per game last season. Nevertheless, in limited minutes Jefferson was impressive.
When called upon, Jefferson came up with big rebounds and solid interior defense. He even added a few buckets off offensive boards or excellent cuts to the basket.
Next season Jefferson will certainly see more time on the court. Though he still won’t be asked to be a big-time scorer, Jefferson’s contribution will be integral to Duke’s effort.
Unless Marshall Plumlee joins him on the floor, Jefferson will be the Blue Devils’ tallest player. He’ll have to guard opposing centers. That’ll require a high basketball IQ, because he’ll typically be giving up size and strength.
Jefferson will also have to fight for rebounds on a team that’s full of shooters. Again, due to being out-sized, Jefferson will need to be smart. He can’t do anything about his height, but some of the greatest rebounders ever—like Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman—weren’t terribly tall. If Jefferson can refine the skill of hunting down rebounds, then he’ll see a lot of playing time and make Duke a difficult team to beat.
He's got the IQ and hustle, but he'll need to put that combination together quickly next season.