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With two big men still in the NBA draft, Duke goes after 6-11, three-star center

Duke’s Coach K talks about winning ACC Tournament and his 39 years of recruiting

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski talks about winning the ACC Tournament and having Jay Bilas present the award after the Blue Devils' victory over Florida State in the ACC Tournament finals in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019.
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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski talks about winning the ACC Tournament and having Jay Bilas present the award after the Blue Devils' victory over Florida State in the ACC Tournament finals in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019.

Its roster thin in the post due to two early departures to the NBA draft, Duke is in the market for a 6-foot-11 center.

The Blue Devils ramped up their recruiting chase for Boston’s Charles Coleman this month and offered a scholarship to the three-star big man on Wednesday, according to his Twitter feed.

The 240-pound center was once a Wake Forest commit, having pledged to the Demon Deacons in March. But he backed off that commitment on Monday.

Duke, Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Georgia have offered him scholarships since then, according to recruiting sites 247sports.com and rivals.com.

Coleman played at Dexter Southfield School in Brookline, Mass., and with the Wright Way Skills AAU program. The Blue Devils had been recruiting him prior to his Wake Forest commitment but hadn’t offered until Wednesday.

Duke has one interior player, 6-10, 275-pound Vernon Carey, in its 2019 recruiting class. Carey is rated a five-star recruit and the No. 6 player in the country.

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Duke had planned to have veteran depth in the post along with Carey. But 6-11 Marques Bolden and 6-10 Javin DeLaurier, both rising seniors, entered their names in the NBA draft last month.

Bolden played in 35 games, with 21 starts, last season as Duke went 32-6 and won the ACC championship. He averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while finishing second on the team with 58 blocked shots.

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Duke’s Marques Bolden (20) pulls in a rebound in front of North Dakota State’s Sam Griesel (5) during the first half of Duke’s game against North Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Columbia, S.C., Friday, March 22, 2019. Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

DeLaurier, one of Duke’s team captains, played in all 38 games with 16 starts. He averaged 3.8 points and 4.4 rebounds.

Both players have until May 29 to withdraw from the draft and return to school for their final seasons at Duke. Neither were invited to this week’s NBA Scouting Combine in Chicago.

At the same time, neither have committed to returning to Duke, so the Blue Devils coaching staff is in need of depth because Carey is the only post player on the projected roster for next season.

The Blue Devils also signed 6-9 forward Matthew Hurt, a five-star player rated as the No. 11 overall player in the 2019 class. But Hurt is a wing player, more comfortable on the perimeter scorer than as a true post player like Carey or Coleman.

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An Illinois native, Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. Prior to his arrival in Durham, he worked for newspapers in Columbia and Spartanburg, S.C., Biloxi, Miss., and Charlotte covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the S.C. General Assembly.
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