It’s rare to see Duke players go one-and-done, or at least it used to be. Jahlil Okafor was never going to stick around for long, and he has a mostly impressive list of players to follow in that regard.
Okafor was the best recruit going into this college basketball season, but he might not be the number one overall draft pick as concerns about his defense and declining offensive form through the season might cause Karl-Anthony Towns, who seems like a slightly more polished offensive player, to become the number one overall pick in 2015.
Okafor didn’t do badly this season – he 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, but was more than once placed in the shadow of fellow freshmen Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones. The latter won the Final’s Four Most Outstanding player award. Both of them have yet to decide whether to stay in school or enter the draft, consulting with draft experts at the moment.
Okafor is the sixth Duke player to enter the draft after just one season under Mike Krzyzewski, who couldn’t be more happy for Okafor, at least through his comments.
Corey Maggette was first in 1999. Maggette never made an All-Star game or made too many fans during his 14-year career, but had a solid time in the league, averaging 16 points per game.
In 2004 Luol Deng surprised everyone by going to the draft, becoming the 7th overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. He is a two-time NBA All-Star with a career average of 16 points per game.
In 2011 Kyrie Irving hardly played for Duke before becoming the number one overall pick by the Cavaliers to be their post-LeBron James savior. Now they’re teammates, still in Cleveland, and Irving, despite his flaws as a playmaker and sometimes as a defender, is one of the biggest young stars in the league, and among it’s best point guards.
Austin Rivers shouldn’t even be in the NBA. The 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft has a team paying him money only because his dad thinks it’s OK to abuse his power as a general manager/head coach and give his son a job.
Jabari Parker also left after just one season. He had a solid start to his career with Milwaukee Bucks (12.3 points per game), but he has played in only 25 games before a season ending injury, something that happened to a few more promising rookies this season.