Busting Brackets

Duke Basketball: Analyzing transfer pickups Mason Gillis, Sion James and Maliq Brown

Legends of Basketball Showcase - Tulane v George Mason
Legends of Basketball Showcase - Tulane v George Mason / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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Maliq Brown - Syracuse Orange

Speaking of proven power conference players, Duke knows that if nothing else, Brown is capable of playing at the ACC level. He was one of the best players at Syracuse this past season, playing at both the power forward and center positions.

Listed at 6’8 and 215 pounds, Brown had a good freshman year at Syracuse, before having a large role this past season. In 18 starts at around 30 mpg, the sophomore forward averaged 9.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, and 2.2 spg, shooting 70% from the field. He earned All-ACC defensive honors as an all-around big man, while also having 17 double-digit scoring games. That includes a 26-point effort at Duke, along with three straight double-doubles to end the season.

Brown’s ability to play and defend multiple positions inside makes him an even better backup option compared to Ryan Young, who was a one-dimensional big for Duke. When Brown will likely play at the center spot, potentially as a starter. 5-star prospects Patrick Ngongba II and Khaman Maluach are extremely talented but also raw and might not be ready for primetime next season as a freshman.

So it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Brown start to give Duke more experience up front but since he’s used to coming off the bench like Gillis, he very well could be the 7th man in the rotation. It’ll likely come down to how good the freshmen bigs are but as far as “backups” go, Brown is a nice pickup for them.