The updated score is looking like Duke seven, Carolina six.
Following a spectacular season, All-American shooting guard Luke Kennard announced he will be entering the NBA draft after only his second year with the Blue Devils. His departure continues a mass purge from Mike Krzyzewski’s program which has lost two seniors, two transfers and three to the NBA draft – and it might not end there.
Freshman center Marques Bolden announced he is staying after saying he might transfer to a school in his home state of Texas. Coach K likely convinced Bolden he would get plenty of playing time now that Amile Jefferson is finally gone and highly recruited big man Harry Giles declared for the draft despite a disappointing freshman season. Bolden could still leave Duke, and then there is fellow frosh big man Javin DeLaurier, who also rode the bench and is a rumored transfer.
Grayson Allen has been quiet, and the basketball world awaits his decision. Considered a sure first-round draft pick after his sophomore season, Allen’s controversial junior year ruined not only his All-ACC and All-American balloting but also dropped him on the mock pro draft boards. Allen will likely enter the draft without signing with an agent and attend the combine to meet personally with NBA teams.
Though no UNC player has announced his plans, juniors Justin Jackson and Joel Berry are prime candidates to go pro after the Tar Heels won the NCAA championship and elevated their stock to the highest point yet. JJ had a sensational season and is considered by most a lock to enter the draft, while Berry’s NBA prospects are more debatable. But let’s assume that No. 2 joins No. 44 in turning pro, leaving UNC with two starters, Theo Pinson and Kenny Williams.
Together with seniors Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks, Nate Britt and Stilman White, losing Jackson and Berry would make Carolina’s attrition almost as severe as at Duke and could be worse if freshman Tony Bradley bolts. Even with their own top 20 recruiting class, the Tar Heels might still be ranked below the Blue Devils who have signed the top post player and swing man from the incoming freshman class.
More 5-star recruits than ever remain unsigned, waiting to see who stays and who goes at all of the blue blood programs. Stay tuned.