Duke Basketball: Breaking Down Exciting Freshman Class

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIOctober 30, 2013

Apr 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonald's All American West forward Jabari Parker (22) dribbles the ball against McDonald's All American East forward Andrew Wiggins (22) during the second half at the United Center. McDonald's All American West defeats the East 110-99. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry may all be gone, but the Duke Blue Devils will still be in great shape with their exciting freshman class for the 2013-2014 season.

ESPN had the Blue Devils ranked as the seventh-best recruiting class in the country in 2013 thanks to their exciting young recruits.  It will be hard to match their 30-6 record from last season, but if these freshmen can live up to the hype, then they should be in good position to make another run in the ACC.

Let's take a look at each current freshman on the team, breaking down their high school careers and the overall expectations for each player.

Note: All information regarding recruit grades is courtesy of Rivals.com


Matt Jones, Guard

Coming out of DeSoto, Texas, Matt Jones was a 4-star recruit as a shooting guard and was a McDonald's All-American.  At 6'4'', he has ideal size at the position, but needs to work on getting stronger.

The good news is that Jones was a terrific scorer coming out of high school, showing some outstanding range and an excellent release.  During his senior season, he averaged 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game according to his official bio from the school's site.  During the exhibition against Bowie State, he had 15 points coming off of the bench.

While it may take some time for Jones to develop as a top-tier scorer, his upside is big.  He has the potential to replace Curry in his role as a spot-up shooter at the position, and that's great news for a team that's looking for some go-to scorers.


Semi Ojeleye, Forward

The first thing you notice when watching Semi Ojeleye is his athleticism.  At 6'7'' and 230 pounds, he is more physically gifted than most freshman as far as strength and toughness, meaning that he can dominate opposing forwards defensively.

Ojeleye was another 4-star recruit for the Blue Devils and the No. 7 small forward in the nation.  He scored 38.1 points per game during his senior season and led his high school team to four straight state championship appearances, according to GoDuke.com.

As good as he was in high school, raw athleticism can only take you so far at the next level.  Ojeleye will need to focus on being an overall more aggressive player and work on polishing his jump shot before he can be a star for the Blue Devils.


Jabari Parker, Forward

When it comes to top-tier recruits, the Blue Devils got one of the best in the 2013 recruiting class with Jabari Parker out of Chicago.

As a 5-star recruit and the No. 4 player in the country, Parker has the potential to be a star player in college right away.  He's 6'8'' and 235 pounds yet plays as a small forward thanks to his impressive athleticism and ability to score from almost anywhere on the court.

If you don't believe me, just watch Parker split two defenders and finish with a monster dunk during the scrimmage against Bowie State.

Like most incoming freshmen, Parker needs to get a bit stronger in order to match up with other elite college players.  He shouldn't have much of a problem playing either small or power forward, but there's a chance he could struggle against tougher defenders.

Unfortunately for Duke fans, the odds of Parker staying longer than one year are quite small.  He's already a legitimate NBA prospect, and he will likely be a lottery pick after this season.