In recent years, Duke has increasingly adopted the Kentucky model in terms of stacking their team with talent. This means heavy doses of one and done talent year after year, while reducing a reliance on veteran talent. This has led to the rise of players like Jabari Parker, Kyrie Irving and Brandon Ingram who have all been high NBA draft picks and have promising professional careers.
However, Coach K does not want to put all his eggs in one basket and wants some veteran players around who can establish a culture and teach the young freshman the ways of Duke Basketball. It is why players like Quinn Cook, Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones have risen through the ranks and become key contributors for Duke later in their careers.
I’m sure that it was with this thought in mind that Coach K extended a scholarship offer to Jordan Goldwire this past spring. The three-star point guard was about to commit to Eastern Kentucky when Duke swooped in and plucked him away. Goldwire is no one and done talent, he will be in Durham for the long haul.
This is crucial for the culture of Duke Basketball because Goldwire comes in with no expectations. It would not be surprising if he never steps onto the court during his freshman year and even possibly his sophomore year. He is not close to being able to contribute to a team of Duke’s caliber at this point in his development and that is completely fine.
He will be able to sit on the bench and learn from the incoming five star recruits who will play big minutes and from the current veterans like Grayson Allen. Goldwire will go up against them every day in practice and compete and slowly but surely will become a better player.
It will likely take years, but Coach K has a talent for molding point guards. He has produced several of the most decorated point guards in college basketball history in Bobby Hurley and Jay Williams. Goldwire will never be on the same level as either of those players, but he doesn’t have to be. He is the perfect insurance.
Since Tyus Jones unexpectedly left after his freshman season, Duke has lacked a true point guard and that hole has undone several very talented teams including this past years. This coming season will not be a problem with the addition of five-star freshman point guard Trevon Duval, but who knows what the coming years hold? Goldwire will have developed and learned the Duke system and if the coaching staff fails to land the latest high school stud, he will be able to step in and run the offense well.
Goldwire will never have to be spectacular which is precisely the point. With low expectations any contribution from him will ultimately be a positive. He has the potential to follow in Tyler Thornton’s footsteps, who came in as an unheralded recruit, but ultimately rose to be the Blue Devils’ starting point guard by his senior year.
This is a classic low risk, high reward gamble. Coach K obviously saw something in this young man and he will have every opportunity to make Krzyzewski look like a genius. Best case scenario: Goldwire develops like Quinn Cook and becomes a pivotal piece on a championship team. Worst case: he fails to live up to his potential and doesn’t receive playing time leaving the door open for more minutes for the latest high school phenom. Either way, Duke Basketball will be in great shape.