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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Sion James - Tulane Green Wave

The one true backcourt player Duke landed was James, a 6’5 guard from Tulane. The Green Wave has been known for its stellar guard play under Coach Ron Hunter but James has flown under the radar until this past season. He started as a freshman and in four seasons has a total of 107 starts, upping his season average up to a career-high 14.0 ppg.

James also averaged 5.4 rpg and 2.7 apg, all while shooting a highly efficient 51% from the field and 38% from three-point range. The lead guard had five games of at least 20 points this past year, including a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds versus North Texas in the AAC Tournament.

With both Jeremy Roach and Jared McCain gone, Duke’s new projected starting backcourt will feature at least Tyrese Proctor. There’s a strong chance that former five-star prospect Caleb Foster will start alongside him but James also could. If guys like Darren Harris and Kon Knueppel aren’t ready for big minutes, James could start and allow Foster to be the backup ball-handler.

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James may be the most talented player among the four but it’s not a guarantee the former All-AAC guard will excel in the ACC. Plus, his role in the backcourt is unclear, thanks to the other guards. If Foster is a breakout candidate, it’ll be hard to see how much James contributes. Still, he’s another proven and needed ball-handler to give depth and experience to the Blue Devils.