NBA Draft

Duke big man Marques Bolden to stay in 2019 NBA Draft

He won’t be a high lottery pick like three of his former teammates at Duke, but Marques Bolden is staying in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The top of the 2019 NBA Draft will be filled with Duke blue, with Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish all set to go within the first 10 picks, max. Marques Bolden is not on that level, but according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! he has signed with an agent and will stay in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Bolden played in 35 games and started 21 for the Blue Devils last season, and he averaged 5.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game over 19 minutes per game. He missed the ACC Tournament with a knee injury, the latest setback in a injury-plagued college career, and scored six points in four NCAA Tournament games.

Over three years for the Blue Devils (88 games) after being five-star recruit out of the state of Texas, Bolden averaged 3.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. That doesn’t scream top NBA prospect, though Bolden’s per-40 minute numbers for his career at Duke point to some upside (11.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.5 blocks).

Bolden is hardly guaranteed to even be drafted, let alone as high as his three former teammates. But there’s an argument for going pro, even if he spends some time in the G-League, rather than playing his final college season and risking another injury while not being paid to play.

That said, professional drafts are riddled with early-entry players who were drafted very late (or not all) and thus probably should have stayed in school. Bolden may not have succumbed to bad advice, like many in his position do, as workouts with multiple NBA teams seems to have given him some sense of how he’s regarded.

Next: 2019 NBA Draft: 5 targets for the Memphis Grizzlies

When it comes to NBA draft gambles, there are worse ones for teams to take than an athletic 6-foot-11 big man who has shown defensive presence. But Bolden himself is taking a gamble, and hoping it turns out in his favor.

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