Duke basketball uses transfer portal to add Jacob Grandison

Illinois' Jacob Grandison pumps up the crowd during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State Thursday, Feb.  24, 2022.

Illinois’ Jacob Grandison pumps up the crowd during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.

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The experienced perimeter scoring threat Duke sought to add this offseason is coming to play for the Blue Devils.

Jacob Grandison, a 6-6 small forward who hit 41% of his 3-pointers at Illinois last season, committed to Duke on Saturday as a transfer with immediate eligibility.

A starter for the Illini the past two seasons after beginning his career at Holy Cross, Grandison picked Duke after visiting campus last Thursday. He averaged 9.6 points and 3.8 rebounds last season, starting 23 of the 30 games he played as Illinois went 23-10 and shared the Big Ten regular-season championship with Wisconsin.

Grandison also considered transferring to USC, BYU, UCLA, DePaul, Arizona, Iowa State, Michigan, Kentucky and Oregon.

In 2020-21, Grandison averaged 4.6 points while starting 16 games and playing in 30 for the Illini’s Big Ten tournament championship team. He hit 52.6% of his shots overall that season, including 41.5% of his 3-pointers.

The Blue Devils have only one of the top nine players from last season’s team returning for Jon Scheyer’s first season as head coach following Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement. Rising junior Jeremy Roach is the lone major contributor back from Duke’s ACC regular-season championship and Final Four team.

The 24-year-old Grandison gives them a veteran college player to pair with Roach. That’s in addition to talented freshman, rated the nation’s No. 1 incoming recruiting class, that features seven players. Perimeter players in that group include 6-6 small forward Dariq Whitehead, 6-5 shooting guard Jaden Schutt and 6-4 point guard Tyrese Proctor.

In addition to Roach, Duke returns rising sophomore point guard Jaylen Blakes, who played just 4.5 minutes per game in 21 appearances as a freshman.

Grandison is the third transfer Duke has added for next season. He joins 6-6 small forward Kale Catchings from Harvard and 6-10 center Ryan Young from Northwestern. Duke also showed interest in two other transfer guards in 6-4 AJ Green from Northern Iowa and 6-3 Courtney Ramey from Texas.

Green opted to stay in the NBA draft while the Blue Devils stopped their recruitment of Ramey after Proctor announced his plans on June 2 to reclassify from the 2023 class to play at Duke this season.

The Blue Devils lost five players to the NBA draft, including 6-6 forward Wendell Moore, 7-2 center Mark Williams and three freshman in 6-10 forward Paolo Banchero, 6-6 forward AJ Griffin and 6-5 guard Trevor Keels.

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Steve Wiseman has covered Duke athletics since 2010 for the Durham Herald-Sun and Raleigh News & Observer. He placed second in both beat writing and breaking news in the 2019 Associated Press Sports Editors national contest. Previously, Steve worked for The State (Columbia, SC), Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC), The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.), Charlotte Observer and Hickory (NC) Daily Record covering beats including the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, University of South Carolina athletics and the SC General Assembly. He’s won numerous state-level press association awards. Steve graduated from Illinois State University in 1989.

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