ACC Preview: Duke Blue Devils

The numbers would indicate that Duke had a great season last year. They finished with a 26-9 (13-5) record, ran one of the top offenses in the country, and made 40% of their three point shots as a team, all while being led by freshman Jabari Parker. However, at this point in Coach Krzyzewski’s career, his teams’ success is determined in the postseason. Duke fell short against Virginia in the ACC tournament final, and again fell flat in a disappointing first round exit in the NCAA Tournament.

This offseason, the roster saw the departure of several key contributors, as well as the additions of several top prospects in the country. Duke will compete among the best next season, as they always do; with their incoming recruiting class that is tops in the country, they have the talent to vie for the ACC title against UNC, Louisville and the other tough ACC competition, and they will be primed to make a deep tournament run come March.

Key Losses
-Jabari Parker, F (19.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.2 APG)
Parker was arguably the best player in college basketball last year. A consensus all-American, Freshman POTY, and Wooden Award runner-up, more cannot be said about his contributions on the basketball floor. Now on the Milwaukee Bucks, Parker’s all-around game will be tough to replace at Duke, but Coach K recruited an excellent forward for this precise situation.

-Rodney Hood, G (16.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 42.0 3FG%)
Hood was one of the top shooters in the nation last year, and he made a killing against ACC opponents from behind the line. With length and size, he could shoot right over the defense and lose defenders off the screen. Hood, picked 23rd overall and widely regarded as the steal of the draft, is now playing for the Utah Jazz in the NBA.

Key Additions
-Jahlil Okafor, C (Nationally ranked 1st by ESPN)
The number one prospect in the nation, Okafor will have an instant impact on the floor. At 7’ he is a dominating interior presence, both offensively and defensively; he can swat shots, back defenders down in the paint, and face up from midrange. Okafor has been said to be the most NBA ready freshmen this season, and will be one of the key pieces to a potential Duke championship run.

-Tyus Jones, PG (Nationally ranked 4th by ESPN)
The best word to describe Jones’ game is smooth. He knows what to do with the ball at any given moment, and he is a willing passer who knows how to find and set his teammates up. Although his long range shooting is shaky, he has time to improve in that regard. Jones was recruited by Duke to run the show, and run the show he will.

-Justise Winslow, SF (Nationally ranked 15th by ESPN)
Winslow has big shoes to fill replacing Parker, but, similar to Jabari, he too plays an all around game. His three point shot is not as accurate as it could be, but Winslow is an athletic scorer who can put the ball in the hoop from just about anywhere. His strongest asset is his defense, though; Winslow’s combination of athleticism, quickness, and strength allows him to lock down multiple positions effectively.

*Section Photo credit to Streeter Lecka, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Mark Dolejs, USA Today Sports

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