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Marques Bolden to forego his final year of eligibility, remain in the 2019 NBA Draft

Back in late April, the two men that platooned at center for Duke this season — Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier — declared for the 2019 NBA Draft. While DeLaurier’s final decision remains up in the air, Bolden has come to his conclusion.

According to Chris Hayes of Yahoo, Bolden will forego his senior season and remain in the draft.

During his three-season career at Duke, Bolden played in 88 games and made 24 starts. After battling health and conditioning issues for two seasons, Bolden was in good shape as a junior, and it made a difference. The 6-foot-11 center showed a solid skill set on the defensive side of the floor.

As the last line of defense in Duke’s aggressive man-to-man scheme, Bolden blocked 3.5 shots per 40 minutes. Not only a productive rim protector, Bolden showcased the ability to switch out, guard multiple positions and slide with quicker ball handlers. That skill, while not fully developed, could be a critical swing piece for Bolden as he turns pro.

NBA teams need defensive-minded centers — rim protection and rebounding. Bolden isn’t a prolific back-to-the-basket scorer, and he doesn’t provide much vertical spacing as a lob threat, though he was efficient around the rim (34 dunks, 71.4 FG%). Bolden will need to work on his foot speed and hip flexibility; his chances in the pros would benefit if he could continue to evolve as a switch defender. However, that may prove to be too much against NBA guards and wings.

Bolden wasn’t invited to the NBA Draft Combine or the G League Elite Camp.

As for Duke, the Blue Devils lose out on what would’ve been one of the better defensive big men in the ACC next season. The frontcourt has plenty of bodies, though: 5-star frontcourt players Matthew Hurt and Vernon Carey Jr. are headed to town. Of course, DeLaurier could be of help here, too.

Regardless, this is a bit of a hit for a team that looked like it would be stout up the middle defensively next season — with Tre Jones leading the charge.

 

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