LAS VEGAS — Nets hopeful David Duke Jr. figures protection, hustle and arduous work is how he’s going to make a reputation for himself.
Be aware we mentioned a reputation for himself, not the title he shares with that different man.
Every week into the NBA Summer time League, Duke has drawn consideration along with his work ethic. The Nets drafted 5 gamers, however regardless of going unselected himself, Duke earned an Exhibit 10 deal, then acquired the beginning in Monday’s opener over all however a kind of 5 draftees.
“He earned it. We’re right here in summer time league, and he brings it every single day,” coach Jordan Ott mentioned. “You noticed it within the recreation. That’s what he’s completed every single day in observe. His defensive mentality we cherished. We thought it match with that first unit, the model of play we wished to play right here in summer time league and for our massive membership: Toughness, aggressiveness.
“We’re out right here looking for guys that need to get after it defensively, and he displayed it every single day in observe. He displayed it once more [Monday]. He was unbelievable on the purpose of assault, the ball stress. … So, we had been actually proud of the way in which he performed [Monday] and all through the week earlier than.”
For the Nets, first-round picks Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe are givens, and Kessler Edwards might be part of them within the rotation. They picked Marcus Zegarowski and RaiQuon Grey forty ninth and 59th, however referred to as Duke within the midst of the second spherical and laid out a path during which the 6-foot-5 combo guard might come to summer time league after which combat for a spot in camp.
“It was a scenario the place I might’ve had my title referred to as,” Duke mentioned. “The Nets, they mentioned you are able to do that, or go the undrafted route. And also you’d principally do that, this and this; be capable to go into coaching camp, combat for a spot. I had a great exercise with them, they usually had been actually enthusiastic about me.
“Doing this route, having the ability to decide my very own scenario, for me it was nearly my confidence in myself. It wasn’t a lot about getting my title referred to as, I simply need the chance and an opportunity. This manner, I undoubtedly will [get one], and be capable to have issues in my hand.”
Controlling what he can management is massive to Duke. Although he averaged 16.3 factors in his final 12 months at Windfall, it’s how he defends that would decide whether or not he can land a G-League deal, or perhaps a two-way contract. His 6-9 wingspan and 39-inch vertical present he has the instruments to protect.
“Undoubtedly, I do really feel prefer it could possibly be one thing that I can all the time hold my hat on, simply because it’s one of many issues which you could management extra,” Duke mentioned. “I used to be blessed with God-given athleticism to have the ability to defend and I attempt to use that as my benefit to get into the rotation.
“Coming into observe the previous few days, coach was telling me, ‘You’ll be able to actually be one of many higher defenders, simply attempt to concentrate on that.’ And that’s what I’ve been doing. … Management what I can management on the defensive aspect, rebounding, defending all that.”
He has taken that very same strategy to the undesirable consideration introduced on by having the identical title because the unrelated David Duke, a convicted felon, neo-Nazi and former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Duke Jr. has been listening to feedback about his title since he was in center faculty.
“I’ll use this entire factor as motivation to me. Sooner or later while you look it up it’s simply gonna be me and never the opposite dude,” Duke mentioned. “If anyone ought to change his title, it needs to be him. I needs to be the one to maintain it.
“I really feel prefer it’s a pleasant title, it type of flows easily. However in the future I’m simply hoping that while you look it up, it gained’t be a lot unfavorable round it. We’re progressing as a society and as a rustic and for me, I simply need it to imply one thing in a constructive mild.”