Duke: Who stays, who goes?

More than a half dozen Blue Devils could leave in offseason

Mark Dolejs—USA Today Sports
Duke Blue Devils guard Luke Kennard (5) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) are all smiles as they head down the court in the closing seconds in the second half of their game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament last Sunday, in an upset loss to South Carolina. It’s very likely that the losses will continue for the Blue Devils into the offseason, as more than a half-dozen underclassmen may depart the team.Fifth-year graduate student Amile Jefferson and senior Matt Jones will obviously not be back, as their collegiate eligibility expired with Duke’s tournament loss. Here’s a look at the other contributors on the roster, and the possibility of their return:On their way outJayson TatumThe freshman forward missed the start of the season with injury, but once healthy, he showed one-and-done ability. Tatum finished second in scoring (16.8) and rebounding (7.3), and his spectacular slashing moves to the basket made him the team’s top offensive threat by the end of the season. Expected to be a top-five pick in the NBA Draft with a chance at number one overall, Tatum declaring for the NBA Draft this week was a no-brainer. Verdict: Gone.Harry GilesThe freshman power forward was considered the best incoming recruit in the nation, but knee surgery derailed his freshman year. After missing more than a month, Giles played the season with a bulky knee brace and was just beginning to show flashes of potential by the end of the year. Despite the unimpressive numbers (3.9 ppg 3.8 rpg), Giles will most likely go through the NBA Draft evaluation process, and, with another month of recovery and rehab under his belt, should impress teams enough to stay in the draft. Verdict: Gone.Marques Bolden The freshman center was the third of Duke’s five-star recruits. Like Giles and Tatum, injuries delayed the start of his season. Unlike the other two, he never really found a groove and played sparingly, finishing with 1.5 ppg and 1.1 rpg averages. The best bet is that he will go through the Draft evaluation process, in the hope that teams will be swayed by his potential. If they aren’t, things get interesting. Bolden came to Duke with visions of a one-and-done year. Does he return to school? Does he transfer, sitting out next year and delaying his NBA career by two more seasons? Or does he stay in the draft and work his way into the NBA through the D League?Verdict: Gone.Chase JeterThe sophomore center played sparingly for the second straight year. His confidence appeared to suffer, and he was mistake prone, which usually resulted in a quick trip back to the bench. Jeter could develop into a productive team leader, much the way Marshall Plumlee did. Jeter announced he would transfer on Thursday, and there’s a good chance he’ll choose a school closer to home, possibly UNLV or Nevada. Verdict: Gone.Should I stay or should I go?Luke KennardThe sophomore was Duke’s breakout star and the best player throughout the injury plagued first two-third of the season. Kennard led the team in scoring at 19.5 ppg and was first-team All-ACC. He’s slated for mid-to-late first round in most mock drafts, about the same spot as Grayson Allen was last year. Kennard will almost assuredly test the waters and go through the NBA Draft evaluation process. The question is what feedback he’ll get from teams. If he’s not assured of a lottery spot, he may, like Allen and UNC’s Justin Jackson last year, choose to return to school with a better picture of what he needs to work on.Verdict: Likely gone.Grayson AllenThe junior passed up the NBA Draft last year, then suffered through a year of nagging injuries, on-court misbehavior and a reduced role. He’ll likely test the waters in the NBA Draft, but right now, he’s not showing up as a first rounder in most mocks. He was close to his Duke degree before this season and should graduate in May, but he’s unlikely to use the NCAA’s transfer rule. Verdict: More likely to return than leave.Sean ObiThe big man played sparingly last year after transferring from Rice. After undergoing offseason knee surgery, Obi missed the entire season. After sitting the bench in street clothes all year, he’ll likely graduate in May. He may decide to move on with life rather than attempting to return to the court. Verdict: More likely to leave than return.Probably returningFrank JacksonThe point guard emerged as an offensive threat as the year went on. He may declare for the Draft to get feedback, but he’s expected to be one of Duke’s main weapons next season. Verdict: Back.Javin DeLaurierLike many Duke freshmen, he saw his playing time limited in Coach K’s limited rotation. He showed flashes of potential and should get an expanded role next year. Verdict: Back.Antonio VrankovicThe sophomore forward also played limited minutes, but he did get the call at key moments, including impressive stints in the ACC Tournament and NCAAs. Verdict: Back.Jack WhiteThe freshman appeared in just 10 games, but he seemed content to wait his turn at Duke. Verdict: Back.