Duke Basketball: Blue Devils Have Perfect Mix Of Experience And Youth
Normally, when a team loses one of the best players in all of NCAA basketball to the NBA Draft, there is inevitable letdown. This will not be the case in Durham as Duke Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski once again reloaded his roster with the No. 1 recruiting class in all the land.
The class starts with highly-touted superstar inside player Jahlil Okafor. He will give the Blue Devils a post game that will make the team an inside-out threat right from the get-go. Okafor will allow the shooters to get more open space, and his offensive rebounding ability will also lead to many more baskets. Duke had its problems on the boards last season, but this will be solved immediately if Okafor lives up to the hype.
Another freshman, Tyus Jones, may be the most important player on the roster. Jones is considered one of, if not the best point guard in the 2014 class. Jones is mature despite being a freshman and will not need much, if any time to get accustomed to the college game. He will not turn the ball over and has a terrific ability and sense to find open players even if they do not realize they are open.
Scouts have fallen in love with Jones because he is a do-everything guard who is in no way a selfish player. He has the talent to take over games, but can do so without scoring. Jones and Okafor could be the perfect combo and make the Blue Devils a nearly impossible team to defend.
The rest of the starting five all have experience and should blend well with the freshmen. Quinn Cook showed he could be relied on for quick spurts of offense last season. He will basically have the same role as last season, but the added experience will make him more valuable.
Amile Jefferson is solid forward who will help Okafor avoid double-teams in the post. He will benefit from only seeing single coverage, and his scoring should go up. Rasheed Sulaimon averaged nearly 10 PPG last season and finished the season strong. He is a steady 3-point shooter and gritty player all over the court.
Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen are freshmen who should offer plenty off of the bench. Allen is a terrific athlete with a smoother shooting stroke. His ability to score quickly will give Duke a nice punch off of the bench. Scouts believe Winslow will get his time because of his defense first and his offense second. He will need time to develop a clean offensive game, but his defense should get Duke flying on breaks.
Duke lost a lot from last season, but the team should be even better with the perfect mix of experience and youth waiting to hit the hardwood in the 2014-15 NCAA season.