The Duke Blue Devils have been a force to be reckoned with in the college basketball landscape for many years. Duke only missed the NCAA tournament once in the last 30 years and has won five championships in that same span. This year will be no different with a strong group that is capable of making a run at the championship. This team has very little competition in the college basketball landscape, are predicted to go all the way in a majority of college basketball polls, something that says a lot considering that the ACC is one of the toughest conferences in basketball.
One of the first major reasons that support my belief is the experience that being brought back this year, the roster this year has seven upperclassmen that have playe the least role player minutes for the Blue Devils in the past. the players include the above average role players Luke Kennard, Matt Jones, Chase Jeter and Sean Obi who will all have major contributions to the team this year. Luke Kennard, who was known mainly as a shooter last year has the opportunity to contribute a bit more as a play maker both on and off the ball. While Matt Jones will bring his veteran experience as a senior and a 2nd year captain who is able to knock down three as well as defend and play the point when needed. Then we have the two big men in Chase Jeter and Sean Obi who were both used in small roles last year, but became more trusted as the year progressed. This is a very uncommon bonus for a team that has been dominated by freshman for the past couple years.
YOUTH & DEPTH
With a long season like college basketball, you need two things to help get through it smoothly, a deep roster and a young player with fresher legs. These are two things that have never been a problem for the Blue Devils, who have adjusted to the one and done college style very well. The freshman recruiting class which was ranked number 1 in the country is highlighted by Jayson Tatum the no.1 overall small forward, Marques Bolden the no.1 overall center, Frank Jackson the no.4 overall point guard and Harry Giles the no.1 overall power forward who is currently recovering from a knee injury but has the possibility of being dominant upon his return. Another huge piece of this Duke team is their depth, Coach K has been known to play with usually an 8 man rotation at max and for a long season this is dangerous with the risk of injury, fatigue and many other things that could happen to your player, this year is the first year in a while where the team can go 10-12 player deep to allow some of the stars on the team like Grayson Allen who averaged 36.6 minuted per game out of a usual 40 minute game to get some much-needed rest throughout the year
GRAYSON AND AMILE
The two players on the Duke team that we have yet to mention is Grayson Allen and Amile Jefferson, who will be brought on to lead the team both on the court and off of it. First, we discuss Amile Jefferson, who has often been described as the Heart and Soul of the Duke Team, who was injured early last year with a broken foot. Before his injury he was averaging a double-double and was leading the team with his play and aggression, as well as vocally. He was able to get a second chance at his senior year when he was granted a medical red shirt to enable him to do what he does best which is lead and help use experience to bring this excellent team to another championship. The last player that needs to be talked about is arguably the best player not just on this team, but in all of college basketball. Often described as the next white Duke basketball player that everyone outside of Durham, North Carolina loves to hate. Allen is coming off a monster year being named second-team All-American and 1st-team All-ACC. He decided to come back for his junior year, even though he was predicted to go top-20 in the draft. Allen has proven that he is a capable scorer, this is the year for him to round out his game and improve as an all around play-maker and defender. He will also be asked to become more of a leader this year and will have to do a better job at controlling some of his emotions on the court
COACH K & HIS COURT
The one X-factor that the Blue Devils have that no other team does is Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K is the all time winningest coach in College basketball history with over 1,000 wins and counting. He is among the best coaches of all time who has continued to adapt to the changing times. He also has a history of coaching incredibly talented player to huge successes with the likes of player like Christian Laettner, Grant Hill and Jabari Parker. You also have to remember that Coach K isn’t alone in this, he is flanked by some of the best assistants who have worked along side Krzyzewski for many years, both as coaches and players with the likes of Jeff Capel, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith. These coaches are making sure that their athletes are in the best shape possible to endure this long season and reach the ultimate goal. Another huge factor that comes along with Duke is the court that is named after the incredible coach, one of the hardest places in college basketball to win on the road at. The Cameron Crazies are one of the rowdiest student sections in college basketball that can hold 1,200 students who will do just about anything to get inside the head of the opposing team.
For a team with so much talent from top to bottom, the leadership that will be exhibited, the excellent coaching staff, the extreme fandom and the excellent facilities will all add together to bring about a team that if all goes well and i believe that it will you can expect to see them hoisting the NCAA Championship high over their heads for the second time in three years. Judging by the research I have done while looking around, I’m not the only one who believes this.
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) October 20, 2016
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) October 20, 2016