Will Duke land four players in the first round of the draft in 2018?


Let’s party like it’s 1999!

Guard Frank Jackson was selected with the No. 31 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He was the fourth Blue Devils drafted that night, and the debut selection of the second round. If Jackson had gone in the first round, though, it would’ve tied a record for Duke.

Duke, especially under Mike Krzyzewski, has an amazing record of putting players in the NBA. But back in 1999, a school-record four Blue Devils were selected in the first round.

PlayerPick numberTeam
Elton BrandNo. 1Chicago Bulls
Trajan LangdonNo. 11Cleveland Cavaliers
Corey MaggetteeNo. 13Seattle SuperSonics
William AveryNo. 14Minnesota Timberwolves

The other three Duke players select in the draft this were Jayson Tatum, Luke Kennard and Harry Giles. All guys went inside the top 20 picks.


So, what does next year look like?

Duke basketball will once again be really good in 2018. Big surprise, I know. However, will the 2017-18 Blue Devils be able to once again land four players in the first round? It’s unlikely, but certainly not impossible.

DraftExpress already has a mock draft ready for 2018; there are two soon-to-be Duke players in the top 10. Incoming freshman Wendell Carter (No. 7) and Trevon Duval (No. 10) are at the top of the list.

Grayson Allen could’ve left school after his sophomore season and been a 2016 first round pick, like Brandon Ingram. Allen elected to return, and things didn’t quite go according to the plan.

However, if Allen can put together a productive final season in Durham, he can vault back up into first round territory. DraftExpress currently has Allen slotted as the No. 24 prospect.

If Carter and Duval are the two certainties, and Allen is the on the fence, then who are the two other possibilities?


Bolden and Trent: Not a law firm

That distinction belongs to two previous 5-star recruits: Marques Bolden and Gary Trent Jr. — a classmate of Duval and Carter.

The 2016-17 season was a struggle for Bolden; as a freshman, the Texan appeared in just 24 games and played only 157 minutes. The center was expected to play with Team USA basketball this summer, but that didn’t happen, thanks in part to a hip injury.

Bolden is the No. 34 prospect in DraftExpress’ mock. It wasn’t so long ago, though — last October, as a matter of fact — that Bolden was considered a potential 2017 first round pick. In fact, DraftExpress, rated him as the ACC’s fifth-best prospect — behind Dennis Smith Jr., Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Jonathan Isaac.

If Bolden can play to his lofty expectations, and get in better shape, he will climb draft boards quickly.

DraftExpress currently doesn’t have Trent rated, but he’s a 5-star prospect and the son of a nine-year NBA veteran. Trent — a 6-foot-5 wing — will also have the benefit of playing in Duke’s motion offense, which is excellent at highlighting wing shooters. All I’m saying here: Trent has the pedigree to quickly become a draft prospect.


What are the chances?

Is it likely that Duke lands four players in the first round next summer? Well, no. That’s a rather challenging thing to accomplish.

However, Duke looks already halfway to that total right out of the gate because of Duval and Carter. It will be interesting to see if a combination of Allen, Bolden or Trent plays their way to first round status and millions of guaranteed dollars, too.