Duke has playing time to offer for 2017 big men

DURHAM, N.C. — Amile Jefferson’s foot injury left Duke vulnerable in the post last season, and that’s a big reason why the Blue Devils finished with the most losses they’ve had in a single season (11) in nine years.

Barring a string of injuries, that won’t be the case this season as the Blue Devils have the 6-9 Jefferson back for his redshirt senior season as well as incoming freshmen in 6-10 Harry Giles and 6-8 Javin DeLaurier plus 6-10 Chase Jeter back for his sophomore season.

Deeper on the depth chart are 6-11 Antonio Vrankovic, who played very few minutes as a freshman last season, and the similarly seldom used 6-9 Sean Obi.

Another freshman, 6-9 Jayson Tatum, will arrive on campus this summer with high expectations, but his game is on the wing as much as inside.

Along these lines, Duke is also aiming to have interior depth for the 2017-18 season.

As consensus top-five prospects in the 2016 class, Giles and Tatum are expected to be one-and-done players. The same would be true if 6-11 center Marques Bolden picks Duke over Kentucky and joins the Blue Devils for the 2016-17 season.

Jefferson’s eligibility ends when the 2016-17 season is done.

Looking ahead, Duke would have Jeter, DeLaurier, Obi and Vrankovic as its post players for 2017-18.

Those are the safe bets on coach Mike Krzyzewski’s projected depth chart. As long as they don’t transfer or suffer catastrophic injuries, they are four-year players who provide a base year after year.

For Duke to remain among the nation’s best teams, which is annually the plan, the Blue Devils seek big fish in recruiting. That’s why they are targeting potential one-and-done talents like…