Unable to trade, Blazers bet on future with Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent

Unable to trade, Blazers bet on future with Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent

Unable to make a trade, Neil Olshey on Thursday decided the Trail Blazers’ best path was to gamble.

So the Blazers’ president of basketball operations took a chance in the first round, drafting guard Anfernee Simons, who earlier this month turned 19. Simons bypassed college last season and trained at the renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

For Blazers’ fans who were hoping for a trade to land a proven veteran, or at least prospect who has a proven track record, the selection of Simons could be viewed as risky.

And Olshey wouldn’t dispute that.

“But it’s not our job to play it safe,’’ Olshey said. “Our job is to go get the guy who has the talent, that if he pans out, you’re not going to get as a free agent, and that nobody is going to trade him to you. That’s what we are trying to find.’’

Olshey thinks he might have that in Simons, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard who is slight of build but heavy in potential.

“He’s really gifted,’’ Olshey said. “We felt like he was the most talented guy (left) on the board. He has a really bright future … When the physical growth catches up to his natural, God-given ability, he’s going to be a really good player.’’

Later, in the second round, the Blazers traded with Sacramento to acquire Gary Trent Jr. with the 37th overall pick. Trent, another 19-year-old who just finished his freshman season at Duke, is a wing who is expected to have more of a chance to play next season.

“We are all looking for shooting and this is a guy we think can step in right away and fill a void,’’ Olshey said. “How much or how little is up to (coach) Terry (Stotts). But I don’t think we are going to need to be as patient with Gary.’’

Since the Blazers were swept in the playoffs, Olshey has been transparent about seeking veterans to add to one of the youngest rosters in the NBA. And on Thursday, he directly said the Blazers are looking for wings. 

Ideally, Olshey said he would have liked to execute a trade using the team’s $12.9 traded-player-exception from last July’s move of Allen Crabbe, but the rest of the league was more focused on the draft, and not player movement.  

“We were trying to look for teams where trading 24 could get us an impact rotation guy into the trade exception,’’ Olshey said. “But tonight wasn’t about existing players (for other teams); it was about the draft. 

“We were aggressive leading up to the draft – but we know it was to be a specific fit, a specific guy in terms of skill set. And a guy we believe could make an impact,’’ Olshey said. “Tonight wasn’t the night to do that.’’

So, the Blazers looked ahead, hoping that a player most had targeted in the second round because of his youth and inexperience on the big stage, will one day develop into a star.

“At that point in the draft, we are looking for the guy with the highest ceiling that we could possibly find,’’ Olshey said. “He’s really gifted.’’

Olshey said Simons will likely be an off-the-ball guard, but could someday develop into a point. The Blazers have established guards in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but have question marks behind them, as Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton are free agents and Wade Baldwin is working on a partially guaranteed contract. 

“But this was not a need pick, this was a pick as far as who had the highest ceiling,’’ Olshey said. “There are things he can do that can’t be replicated by a lot of guys in this draft. He just needs to get physically strong enough to do it against NBA competition and do it more consistently.’’

Trent, meanwhile, is more ready and Olshey said he hopes for him to contribute at some level next season. Trent was a McDonald’s All-American and has played for various Team USA teams.

“He’s been on track for this his whole life,’’ Olshey said.

Trent is 6-foot-6 and Olshey said he envisions him as a something between a shooting guard and small forward – needing to improve his quickness to guard elite shooting guards and “having to play up” to guard a small forward.

Many of the mock drafts had Trent being a mid-to-late first round pick. That he lasted to the 37th pick will stick with him.

“Chip on my shoulder? It’s more than that,’’ Trent said. “Going in the second round … I believe I was a first rounder. I’m going to have to come in and work and prove I belong, prove I can stay in this league and prove that I’m better than a second round pick. I’m up for that challenge.’’

Trent’s father played for the Blazers from 1995-1998, a coincidence not lost on the younger Trent.

“It’s crazy. That can’t be nothing but God’s work,’’ Trent said. “To put me in the same place that my dad played – it’s a surreal feeling. It’s unexplainable. Crazy to think about.’’ 

Trail Blazers keep it simple with Simons -- but why?

Trail Blazers keep it simple with Simons -- but why?

When I heard the Trail Blazers had selected Anfernee Simons with the No. 24 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night my first thought was that they turned this draft over to Paul Allen.

The Trail Blazer owner loves the draft, evaluating the prospects and enjoys projecting young players into the league.

And when it comes to young players, it’s simple … Simons. The most inexperienced player available – he spurned college for the IMG Academy – was the one that Portland chose. If you enjoy watching player development for a few years, this, by all accounts, is your man.

But this is a team that vowed it was in the hunt for older and more experienced players who could help this group navigate through the first round of the playoffs, right?

Well, no. Not with the draft. That stuff will have to come later on. Most scouting reports on Simons say he could someday turn out to be a very good player – but that day is not anytime soon. Perhaps two years away, in fact.

This is obviously not someone who fits the Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum time line. He’s not going to provide immediate help -- unless Portland knows something about him that other teams don’t.

Draft choices often come with questions and Simons comes with the shortest one of all:

Why?

"He's got a really bright future. He works. He can dribble, he can pass, he can shoot, he's a high-level athlete, we know he's going to work," said Blazer president, basketball operations Neil Olshey. "His skillset translates and when the physical growth catches up to his natural God-given ability, he's going to be a really good player."

And when you are drafting 24th, it's sometimes best to take a chance on a player with a promising future rather than a mediocre present.

Trail Blazers go young, select Anfernee Simons with 24th overall pick

Trail Blazers go young, select Anfernee Simons with 24th overall pick

One of the NBA's youngest rosters became even younger on Thursday.

The Trail Blazers drafted 19-year-old guard Anfernee Simons with the 24th overall pick on Thursday, a move that perhaps signaled earlier in the week when the Blazers flew him into Portland for a second workout. 

Simons, who last season attended the renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., instead of  Louisville, is a 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard who is known for his shooting. 

Simons, who turned 19 on June 8, was taken over French guard Elie Okobo, who impressed with his shooting at his Blazers workout, and wings Khyri Thomas, Keita Bates-Diop, Jacob Evans and Dzanan Musa. 

Depth at guard was among the Blazers’ needs entering the draft. After starters Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Blazers have Wade Baldwin, and soon-to-be free agents Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton. 

The biggest question mark about Simons is his build. He is slight and in his second workout in Portland he was backed down by bigger, older guards. But Simons said he thinks he can contribute right away with his scoring. Besides guard depth, the Blazers also need shooting, and Simons is regarded as a good shooter. He made 45 percent of his three-pointers while playing for IMG Academy. 

He was originally slated to attend Louisville, but withdrew in September of 2017 after then-coach Rick Pitino was placed on administrative leave. 

He first worked out for the Blazers on June 4, then again on Tuesday. He was originally scheduled to workout for Memphis on Tuesday, but the Blazers made a late call and expressed interest. Memphis owned the 32ndpick, and the chance to workout for a first-round team swayed Simons. 

The Blazers entered the draft with the NBA's second youngest roster. 

 

Blazers finish pre-draft process with some buzz by inviting Anfernee Simons for second workout

Blazers finish pre-draft process with some buzz by inviting Anfernee Simons for second workout

The Trail Blazers on Tuesday finished their predraft workouts, but not before creating a stir with their final group.

Highlighting an otherwise non-descript group were two 19 year olds – guard Anfernee Simons, and Bosnian wing Dzanan Musa. 

The buzz was mostly created by Simons, the 19-year-old high-flying, slick-shooting guard, who cancelled a scheduled workout with Memphis in order to accept a second workout with the Blazers on Tuesday. 

“I feel like (Portland) wanted me more,’’ Simons said in explaining why he made the late switch. 

Of the 30 prospects the Blazers looked at this month, Simons is the only player to perform a second workout. The 6-foot-4 Florida native committed to Louisville, but bypassed college last season and trained at the renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton.

Simons (pronounced SIGH-Mons) said the Blazers join the Lakers (25thpick) and Orlando (35thpick) as the only teams to ask for a second workout. 

Meanwhile, Musa – a 6-foot-8 wing who played two seasons on the Bosnian national team with Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic – made the last of his six workouts on Tuesday. He says he can play both guard positions and small forward and possesses a level of passion that few, if any, prospects can claim.

Musa left his family at age 11 to attend a basketball academy for four years.. He later played professionally for four seasons.

“I have sacrificed almost everything for basketball,’’ Musa said. “I have that passion that I don’t think anyone has in my country or in this draft.’’

Musa has worked out for Denver (14thpick), San Antonio (18th), Utah (21), Indiana (23) and Brooklyn (29). The Blazers own the 24thpick.

But it was Simons’ return to Portland that created the most intrigue. 

He said the Blazers told him they liked him and wanted to see more of him, and judging from the limited availability of Tuesday’s workout, it appeared the Blazers wanted to see how he could handle himself against more physical guards. 

In his first workout on June 4, Simons went mostly against Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo and Duke’s Trevon Duval, both fellow teenagers who are also of slight build (Simons is 6-4, 180).

On Tuesday, Simons went mostly against Arkansas senior Jaylen Barford, who at 6-3, 202 is stronger and plays more physical than what Simons went against in the first workout. 

On one play, Barford was able to back down Simons into the key before Simons caromed off his body and out of bounds as Barford scored uncontested.

“The guard play was much better, a lot more physical,’’ Simons said. “So that was kind of a challenge.’’

Simons, who turned 19 earlier in June, said he knows his strength will be an issue, but he figures that will come with time.

“Obviously, I need to get stronger, and it’s going to take time to get stronger,’’ he said. “But I felt I held my own pretty well.’’

Well enough to earn the Blazers’ trust with the 24thpick? That will be the question come Thursday. If anything, he said the Blazers showed more interest than any other team.

“A couple of teams expressed lot of interest, but (the Blazers) are different,’’ Simons said. “They interacted with me more and tried to learn more about me off the court.’’

How the Blazers can trade for Kawhi Leonard

How the Blazers can trade for Kawhi Leonard

NBA Twitter was on fire Friday morning when news broke that Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants out of San Antonio. There isn’t a team in the NBA that wouldn't want to add Leonard to their roster, but trades are always easier said than done. That being said, let’s see how the Portland Trail Blazers can trade for Kawhi Leonard:

Two things to keep in mind before we lay this out: The Seven Year Rule and the Stepien Rule.

  • The Seven Year Rule states that teams can trade future first-round draft picks up to seven years in advance. Since it is still technically the 2017-2018 season, the Blazers can trade their first-round picks from now through 2024.
  • The Stepien Rule states that teams cannot trade future first-round picks in consecutive years. For example, if the Blazers trade the 2018 first-round pick right now, they cannot trade their 2019 first-round pick.

Now that these two rules are out of the way, let's break down how the Blazers can land Leonard.

Option 1 – Evan Turner + Picks in exchange for Kawhi Leonard.

  • This option is unlikely, but we suggest it because it is the simplest trade financially. Turner makes $17.1 million, while Leonard makes $18.9 million. This works within the NBA’s 125% rule for taxpaying teams. Since the return on talent to San Antonio isn’t high, Portland would likely have to throw in every pick they can – following the Seven Year Rule and the Stepien Rule, Portland tosses in multiple first-round picks to San Antonio. 
  • Blazers get Kawhi Leonard
  • Spurs get Evan Turner and the Blazers first-round picks in multiple years (maximum four 1st rounders).

Option 2 – Any two-player package of Meyers Leonard/Maurice Harkless/ Al-Farouq Aminu + Picks in exchange for Kawhi Leonard.

  • Financially, any pairing of those three Blazers would work to get Kawhi Leonard. However, for what the Spurs would need talent wise the best package would be Aminu and Harkless. Sending away Kawhi would leave a void at small forward that both Harkless and Aminu could fill. But still, like the Turner trade, the Spurs would need more to sweeten the pot. This is where the picks come into play. This deal may be able to get done by adding two future first-round picks, but if you want to leave zero doubt you might have to add more.
  • Blazers get Kawhi Leonard
  • Spurs get Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and multiple first-round picks

Option 3 – CJ McCollum + 2019 1st Rounder for Kawhi Leonard and Derrick White (As suggested by ESPN)

  • For the Spurs to realistically part with Leonard they are going to need a substantial amount of talent in return. Enter CJ McCollum. McCollum is the most talented player the Blazers have outside of Damian Lillard and could be an attractive piece for any team on the trade market. However, it is a tough trade to work out financially with the current cap holds and impending free agents each team has. So, in this scenario, the Spurs send Derrick White to make the financials work. The Spurs get a a ball-dominant guard in McCollum to run the offense. The Spurs core could be McCollum, Danny Green (if he picks up his player-option), LaMarcus Aldridge, and Pau Gasol. That's really not bad considering they are losing Kawhi Leonard. Portland may still have to add picks in this trade, but would probably try to keep the No.24 pick to draft a guard.
  • Blazers get Kawhi Leonard and Derrick White
  • Spurs get CJ McCollum and the Blazers 2019 first round draft pick.

Isn't summer fun?

Oregon's Troy Brown: point guard trapped inside a wing's body

Oregon's Troy Brown: point guard trapped inside a wing's body

Troy Brown Jr. on Thursday was among the latest batch of 3-and-D players to workout for the Trail Blazers, but the University of Oregon wing says he has something different than the other prospects who have passed through the Blazers’ Tualatin facility this month.

He says he is not just a shooter and defender, he can also pass like a point guard.

“I feel like a lot of guys when they say they are 3-and-D it’s offensive scoring and being a defensive player, but I feel like I bring more than that,’’ Brown said. 

The Las Vegas native, who was a 5-star recruit heading into Oregon, says he is a play-maker, which is borne from his playing point guard until his senior year in high school, when his 6-foot-7 height forced him to small forward.

“The versatility side to things,’’ Brown said, referring to how he is different than other prospects. “Being able to make plays for teammates and being that point-guard figure rather than just being a two or three.’’

The Blazers, who own the 24th pick in the June 21 draft, could use depth at the wing behind Evan Turner and Maurice Harkless, and the team seems to value extra play-makers as evidence by their 2016 free agent signing of Turner. 

In the Blazers’ first four draft workouts, the prospects have been mostly wings and guards, with nearly all the wings carrying a reputation of being able to shoot and defend. 

Owner Paul Allen has yet to attend one of the four workouts this month. Usually, Allen’s attendance is a sure sign that day’s prospects are targets to be drafted by Portland. However, on Thursday, Allen’s right-hand-man -- Bert Kolde -- made his second appearance at the workouts to see Brown and guards Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech), Landry Shamet (Wichita State) and De’Anthony Melton (Southern California). Creighton wing Khyri Thomas was also at the facility, but he did not workout for undisclosed reasons.

All told, the Blazers this month have worked out wings Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Melvin Frazier (Tulane), Gary Trent Jr. (Duke), Shake Milton (SMU), Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Bruce Brown (Miami), Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova), Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy) and Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky).

Brown, who is the first player in Oregon history to leave after one season, said he “didn’t feel great” in his workout with the Blazers, but overall he said he feels he has improved his draft stock during his workouts with 10 teams. He says he still has sessions left with Minnesota and Charlotte. 

He averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 assists and 6.2 rebounds while playing 31 minutes a game for the Ducks this season. He said he focused more on being a glue guy at Oregon, where he did the little things to help the team win. 

The NBA, he says, is more suited to showcase his all-around skills, and it’s one reason why he feels like his “stock has risen” during his workouts. 

“I feel like coming out of college there weren’t a lot of people touting me as a very good player,’’ Brown said. “I didn’t have a great year, so people didn’t think I was good at basketball, period. So just being able to show what I’m capable of doing and having that chip on my shoulder … it has definitely done a lot for me.’’

If there is one question mark around Brown’s game, it’s his outside shooting. Last season at Oregon, he went 32-for-110 (29.1 percent) from three-point range. He said his shooting has been a point of emphasis during his personal workouts.

“We all have things to work on and I feel like shooting is one of mine … along with a lot of other people,’’ Brown said.

Some things, though, come naturally, and are hard to label. That’s why Oregon teammate MiKyle McIntosh – who also worked out in Portland on Thursday – said it didn’t take long for him to know Brown had an NBA future.

“Immediately, when I saw him the first time,’’ McIntosh said. “He just had something to him. His guard skills for his size and the way he passed the ball … just how versatile. But definitely what I saw and was most impressed with at first was the way he could play defense. He has very long arms and is able to guard every position pretty much.’’

Brown has been projected to be drafted as early as 18 and nearly all mocks have him going in the first round. Where ever he goes, he says that team will be getting more than just 3’s and D. There’s passing, play-making, and smarts.

“My IQ level,’’ Brown said. “It comes from playing point guard in high school.’’

Schedule released for Las Vegas Summer League

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Summer League

Schedule released for Las Vegas Summer League

MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018 in Las Vegas is just around the corner and on Tuesday the NBA released the schedule for the annual summer basketball event.

The Portland Trail Blazers will open up play on July 7 against the Utah Jazz, follow that up the next day with a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, and wrap up pool play on July 10 with a game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Tournament play will begin on July 11.

A detailed schedule for the Blazers is below:

Game 1: Saturday, July 7 - 12 p.m. – Portland vs. Utah (Cox Pavilion/NBA TV)

Game 2: Sunday, July 8 - 2:30 p.m. – Portland vs. Atlanta (Thomas & Mack/ESPN2)

Game 3: Tuesday, July 10 - 1 p.m. – San Antonio vs. Portland (Cox Pavilion/NBA TV)

The first round of the Summer League Tournament will begin on July 11, ending with the championship game on July 17.

The Blazers will play at least five games (three in pool play and a minimum of two tournament games) and as many as eight if they make it to the championship game. 

Be sure to follow Jason Quick and Jamie Hudson for full coverage of the Trail Blazers in Las Vegas from the opening tip-off until the end of the tournament and check back here at NBCSportsNorthwest.com daily!

To see the complete schedule for the Las Vegas Summer League visit NBA.com. Tickets are available now and can be purchased at NBATickets.com

LeBron throws some serious shade on Portland

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USA Today

LeBron throws some serious shade on Portland

Have you ever had a day where you were sitting down minding your own business when out of nowhere LeBron James sends a verbal barb your way? Today was that day for Portland.

During today's media availability at Quicken Loans Arena James was asked about the performance of Kevin Durant and what he saw from him when Durant as in OKC. His response, "you knew he was built for greatness from the time he was drafted. I mean, everybody knew that besides Portland... sorry Portland."

Too soon, Lebron. Too soon. 

Doesn't he remember Oden helped his Heat get to the NBA Finals in 2014? Well, he probably blames Oden for Miami losing the series, so maybe he is just a little salty.

But let's be real here, this draft "advice" is coming from a guy who plays for the team that drafted Anthony Bennett first overall. The Cavs could have drafted Victor Oladipo, CJ McCollum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or Rudy Gobert. The point is, hindsight is always 20-20 Mr. James, don't forget it.

 

Draft Profile: Victor Sanders (6'5'' Guard, Idaho)

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Idaho Vandals

Draft Profile: Victor Sanders (6'5'' Guard, Idaho)

Name: Victor Sanders

Height:  6’5”

Weight: 195lbs

Position: Guard

School: Senior, Idaho

2017-18 season averages: 19.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.3 apg

Career Highlights (via GoVandals.com)

CAREER: Finished his career in second on the all-time scoring list with 1,804 points, one of 16 Vandals to reach 1000 points in his career… connected on 440 free throws, the most ever by a Vandal... scored 272 career 3’s, the second most ever at Idaho… had 130 career steals, the third most all-time at Idaho... made 546 field goals, the fifth most ever at Idaho

2017-18: Second Team All-Big Sky… NABC All-District 6 Second Team… Preseason All-Big Sky…started in all 31 games…led the team averaging 19.0 points per game, the fourth highest average in the conference…scored 589 points on the season, the seventh most in a single-season in program history…made 81 3-point field goals on the season, the eighth most in a single-season in program history…scored in double-figures in 29-of-31 games…scored 20 or more points 15 times…recorded first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds in season opener at Nevada…shot 45.7 percent from the floor, 38.8 percent from 3-point range, and 77.8 percent from the line…averaged 3.3 assists per game, the eighth best total in the conference…led the team with 102 assists and 32 steals

2016-17: Preseason All-Big Sky… First Team All-Big Sky… Big Sky All-Tournament Team… started 32 games… averaged 20.9 points per game, the fifth best average in program history… has 670 points on the season, the sixth most in a single season in program history… knocked down 101 3’s, the second most in program history… shot 43.9 percent from beyond the arc, the ninth best average in team history… made 157 free throws, the sixth best in program history… topped 20 points 16 times, including five 30-plus point games and one 40 point game… scored 40 points, the seventh most in a game in program history, in Idaho’s win over Portland State… also hit seven 3’s in that game, the eighth most in a single game in team history… picked up seven steals at Washington State, tying the most ever in a game at Idaho… scored in double-figures 31 times in 32 games.
 
2015-16: Second Team All-Big Sky… Big Sky All-Tournament Team… appeared in 27 games, starting 25… led the Vandals with 15.9 points per game… averaged 17.9 points per game in Big Sky play, also the highest on the team… missed a brief stretch of the season in conference play due to injury, but bounced back immediately… averaged 29.3 points per game during a three-game stretch in conference play without fellow guard Perrion Callandret… topped 20 points seven times, including a career-high 33-point output against NAU… scored in double-figures in 24-of-27 games… averaged 17.5 points per game during the Big Sky Tournament in Reno… shot 41.6 percent from beyond the arc, the 44th best average in the nation… shot 84.8 percent from the charity stripe, the seventh best average in program history.
 
2014-15: Appeared in all 30 games for the Vandals, starting one... averaged 3.8 points per game on the season... scored a season-high 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds against Walla Walla... scored seven points in the season finale against Eastern Washington.

Draft Profile: Trevon Duval (6'3'' Guard, Duke)

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USA Today

Draft Profile: Trevon Duval (6'3'' Guard, Duke)

Name:Trevon Duval

Height:  6’3”

Weight: 186lbs

Position: Guard

School: Freshman, Duke

2017-18 season averages: 10.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 5.6 apg

Career Highlights (via GoDuke.com)

Career
• Played in 37 games his rookie season and made 34 starts
• His 207 assists were the fourth-most in a season by a Duke freshman
• A slashing, highlight-reel guard with excellent court vision and speed
 Declared for the NBA Draft on April 4, 2018

2017-18
• Played in all 37 games and made 34 starts, averaging 10.3 points, 5.6 assists, 2.0 rebounds, and 29.8 minutes per game
• One of four Blue Devils to play in every game
• Named to the NCAA All-Midwest Region Team
• His 207 assists were the fourth-most by a Duke freshman in a season, while his 5.6 assists per game ranked third on the Duke freshman list and ranked third in the ACC
• His 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio was 12th in the ACC, while his 1.5 steals per game ranked 11th in the conference
• Posted four different games with 10 or more assists, the third-most by a Duke freshman in history
• Scored eight points with eight assists and three steals in his Duke debut versus Elon (11/10)
• Followed his performance against Elon with a double-double against Utah Valley (11/11), scoring 15 points with 12 assists and just one turnover in 30 minutes
• Three nights late against Michigan State in the Champions Classic (11/14), recorded his second double-double with 17 points, 10 assists and six steals.
• Accumulated 30 assists against four turnovers in his first three collegiate games
• Netted a career-high 22 points against Portland State (11/23) in the opening game of the PK80 in Portland, shooting 7-of-14 from the field and hitting 7-of-9 at the free throw line
• Had 15 points, six assists and no turnovers at Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (11/29)
• Dished out 11 assists in just 20 minutes against St. Francis (12/5)
• Scored 16 points with four assists against Florida State (12/30)
• Shot 7-of-11 from the field, knocked down both of his three-point attempts and totaled 17 points with eight assists at Miami (1/15)
• Scored six points, had four assists and set a career-high with five steals against Louisville (2/21)
• In the home win over North Carolina (3/3), made three of four shots from the field, including his only three, and totaled seven points, six assists and no turnovers
• Dished out 11 assists versus Notre Dame in the quarterfinals (3/8), which were one shy of his career high and tied for the third-most by a freshman in an ACC Tournament game
• Totaled 18 assists over Duke’s two games in the ACC Tournament, the third-most by a player over two games in ACC Tournament history
• Poured in 19 points on a career-best 4-of-5 from three-point range and totaled eight assists in the NCAA Tournament First Round against Iona (3/15)
• His 4-of-5 performance from distance against Iona set a Duke freshman record for three-point accuracy in an NCAA Tournament game
• Had 11 points and seven assists versus Rhode Island in the NCAA Second Round (3/17)
• Exploded for 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting and six assists against Kansas in the Elite Eight (3/25), coming two points shy of his career high and playing a career-high 43 minutes in the overtime thriller
• Finished the NCAA Tournament shooting 7-of-18 from three-point range, the fifth-best percentage by a Duke freshman in the NCAA Tournament