The Duke men’s basketball program matched a school record on Thursday night with four selections in the 2017 NBA Draft. Freshman Jayson Tatum (third overall), sophomore Luke Kennard (12th) and freshman Harry Giles (20th) were each first-round picks, while freshman Frank Jackson (31) was the first pick in the second round.
Duke has had at least one player selected in 30 of 37 drafts under the direction of head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K has tutored a total of 57 draft picks since taking over the Duke program in 1980, including a Draft-record 35 first-round selections. The Blue Devils previously had four players selected in the NBA Draft in both 1986 and 1999.
The Blue Devils have produced 15 first-round picks in the last nine seasons, including at least one in each of the last seven years. Seventeen of Duke’s last 21 draft picks have come in the first round, including 11 lottery picks.
With Tatum and Kennard coming off the board in the lottery, Duke and Coach K both increased their Draft-record totals of lottery picks to 23.
Tatum became Duke’s 10th top-three pick since 1992, the best total in the nation and double the next-closest team.
The St. Louis native averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Blue Devils in 2016-17, ranking second on the team and among ACC freshmen in both categories. He shot .452 from the floor and .849 from the free throw line in 33.3 minutes per game.
“Jayson’s skill set and work ethic will make him a star with the Boston Celtics,” Krzyzewski said. “His game translates to the NBA as well or better than anyone else in the draft. The Celtics are getting a humble, thoughtful, talented young man who should be able to help them right away.”
Tatum set a Duke single-season record with six games of at least 10 points/5 rebounds/3 assists/2 steals/2 blocks; those six occasions are also the third-most in Duke history for a career. He is just the third Duke player under Coach K, alongside Parker and Okafor, to average 16+ points and 7+ rebounds as a freshman.
On Duke’s single-season freshman charts, Tatum ranks fourth in free throws made (118), fifth in free throw percentage (.849) and rebound average (7.3), seventh in scoring average (16.8), eighth in blocks per game (1.1) and 10th in steals (1.3) and minutes (33.3) per game.
Tatum’s 26 double-figure scoring game and seven 20-point games are also both the 10th-most in Duke history by a freshman.
A three-time ACC Freshman of the Week, Tatum was a third-team All-ACC selection and a member of the ACC All-Freshman Team. He is one of five final candidates for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award, as well a USBWA All-District III honoree.
Kennard, a consensus second-team All-American, led Duke in scoring with an average of 19.5 points per game while shooting .489 from the floor, .438 from outside the arc and .856 from the free throw line. His 722 total points on the year represented the 16th-best single-season total in program history, while his .438 three-point percentage ranked 10th on Duke’s single-season chart.
“Luke’s skill set is a perfect fit for the modern NBA game and I’m excited to watch his promising career with the Detroit Pistons get underway,” Krzyzewski said. “Luke is a team-first young man who should immediately be an asset to the Pistons. With his size and ability to score at all three levels, his best basketball is still ahead of him.”
The Franklin, Ohio, native scored in double figures in 35 of Duke’s 37 games on the season, eclipsing the 20-point mark a team-high 19 times. He ranked second in the ACC in scoring and three-point field goal percentage, fourth in free throw percentage, seventh in three-pointers per game (2.38) and eighth in field goal percentage while averaging the third-most minutes per game (35.5) in the conference.
He made at least one three-point field goal in 40 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Duke history and the 10th-longest stretch in ACC history.
Kennard eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his career on Feb. 25 at Miami, becoming just the 12th Duke player (and fifth under Coach K) to hit that milestone prior to the end of his second season. His 1,147 career points were the fourth-most in Duke history by a player in his first two seasons, trailing only Jason Williams (1,333), Art Heyman (1,237) and Johnny Dawkins (1,165).
For his career, Kennard averaged 15.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.2 minutes. He was a career .461 shooter from the floor and .383 from three-point range. Kennard’s .867 career free throw percentage is the second-best in Duke history (min. 200 FTs made).
He scored at least 20 points in 35.6 percent (26-of-73) of his games in a Duke uniform.
Kennard was the only unanimous choice for first-team All-ACC honors in 2017 and was also a first-team NABC All-District 2 member and an All-District III selection by the USBWA. He was named a member of the John R. Wooden Award All-America Team and a final-five candidate for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.
Kennard was selected MVP of the ACC Tournament after averaging 20.0 points and 5.3 rebounds to help Duke become the first team in league history to win four games in as many days to claim the ACC championship.
Giles played in 26 games for the Blue Devils, making six starts and being part of Duke’s first sub group in 10 games. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting .577 from the field.
“With his uplifting personality, love for the game, talent and work ethic, Harry is a joy to coach,” Krzyzewski said. “He should prove to be a great selection for the Sacramento Kings because he is only beginning to scratch the surface of how good he can be on a basketball court. The further removed he becomes from his injuries, the more accelerated his progress toward a great NBA career will be.”
The Winston-Salem, N.C., native had one double-double on the year – a 10-point, 12-rebound effort against Georgia Tech on Jan. 4 – and scored a season-high 12 points against Boston College on Jan. 7. He was integral in Duke’s historic four-day run to the ACC Tournament championship, where he posted six points, seven rebounds and four blocks in the win over sixth-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals.
Jackson was a major contributor for the Blue Devils as a freshman in 2016-17, playing in 36 games and making 16 starts. He averaged 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 24.9 minutes per contest.
“Frank is a great pickup for the New Orleans Pelicans,” Krzyzewski said. “He has a bright future ahead of him. His combination of athleticism and fearlessness makes him a special player. The next step for him is to continue to develop with the Pelicans so he can maximize his exceptional potential.”
He was named to the All-ACC Tournament second team after averaging 13.0 points and shooting .515 from the floor in Brooklyn as Duke made history by becoming the first team to win four games in as many days to claim the title.
The Alpine, Utah, native made 51 three-pointers and shot .395 from outside the arc in 2016-17, both of which rank eighth on Duke’s freshman charts.
Jackson scored in double figures 20 times as a freshman, reaching the 20-point mark on three occasions. He led the Blue Devils in scoring six times on the year and delivered a season-high 22 points against No. 15 Florida State on Feb. 28 to help spark Duke to victory in its home finale.
The Blue Devils have produced a total of 90 NBA Draft picks since 1952. Duke has now had 12 freshmen selected in the NBA Draft, including 11 first-round picks. Ten of the 12 Duke freshmen taken in the NBA Draft were lottery picks.