For the first time since the NCAA relaxed the graduate transfer rule in 2011 and it subsequently became a popular route for college player movement, Duke is adding a player in that manner.
Patrick Tape, a 6-10 forward from Charlotte who played three seasons at Columbia, told Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on Tuesday he’d joining the Blue Devils for his final season of college eligibility.
After playing three seasons from 2016-18 at Columbia, and being named all-Ivy League honorable mention as a junior, Tape was injured and expected to miss part of his senior season when he left the team last October. He informed Columbia’s coaches he planned to sit out the season to save a final year of eligibility for a graduate transfer season.
Tape visited Syracuse and Maryland. He was in the Carrier Dome on Feb. 1 when Duke beat the Orange, 97-88. He was also considering Georgetown, Southern California and Ohio State.
But everything changed last week when Duke offered him a scholarship.
Tape was one of the Ivy League’s top interior players in 2017-18 when, as a junior at Columbia, he averaged 11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots. He played in 27 games with 21 starts.
As a sophomore in 2017-18, Tape started 23 games and played 25 overall for the Lions. He averaged 4.4 points and 5.1 rebounds with 1.2 blocked shots.
Prior to Columbia, Tape played at Mint Hill’s Queens Grant High where he named all-Uwharrie Conference as a junior and senior.
Jay Forsythe, who coached Tape in high school and mentored him through the transfer process, said the Blue Devils are getting a big man with skill.
“Even as a high school kid, he was thin but he was very good with his back to the basket, finishing over his shoulder,” Forsythe said Tuesday. “He was good at finishing on the block and passing out of the post. He was a good shot blocker. Off hand I know twice he had quad doubles (points, rebounds, assists and blocks) in high school.”
When he joins the Blue Devils this summer, Tape will provide much-needed experience in the post. Duke lost senior reserves Javin DeLaurier, Jack White and Justin Robinson from last season’s 25-6 team. Vernon Carey, a 6-10 freshman who started 30 games for the Blue Devils, is expected to enter the NBA Draft after being named a consensus second team all-American.
Duke’s incoming recruiting class, rated No. 2 nationally by 247sports.com, features 7-0 center Mark Williams and a pair of 6-8 power forwards in Henry Coleman and Jaeymn Brakefield.
In addition to its three senior players completing their careers, Duke is also losing sophomore point guard Tre Jones (NBA Draft) and junior reserve guard Alex O’Connell (transfer).
Tape is the first player to transfer into Duke since 6-9 forward Sean Obi arrived from Rice in 2014 following his freshman season. Obi played sparingly in an injury-plagued career at Duke before finishing his college career at Maryland as a graduate transfer in 2017-18.