The last memory we have of the Duke basketball team is their anemic offense as Mercer tore them apart in the last 5 minutes to drown the Dukies national title hopes. But in typical powerhouse fashion, Coach K reloads once again, with the top recruiting class in the nation.
Duke devotees and Cameron Crazies alike, I’m prompting you to move on, and shift your focus towards the storm of talent as it floods Cameron Indoor Stadium next year. With integral pieces to last years puzzle Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood leaving Durham to cash in with careers in the NBA, Duke needs a savior.
The Blue Devils will have to turn elsewhere in order to return to the ACC title game, and make a run deep into March. Coach K has some players returning from last year’s squad who will perfectly compliment this recruiting class. Quinn Cook can be relied upon to make shots, while Amile Jefferson has the potential to be a force in the paint.
The point I’m trying to make is simple, next year’s Duke team deserves to start the season ranked #1, and I expect them to finish there. I have faith that the legendary coach with the most wins ever pulls out another one, and cuts down the nets for the 5th time in his illustrious career.
Duke tips off next year with Division 1’s top recruiting class, and a team hungry for redemption. Freshman studs Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones have the talent to make fans quickly forget about last year’s failures. Okafor is a 6-foot-11 monster whose footwork and giant, soft hands allow him to make moves most players his size don’t even carry in their repertoire. It’s not everyday you see a banger like the Chicago native who is able to run the court, dribble behind his back, and break players’ ankles the way Okafor has been doing all his life. Jahlil was the consensus number one recruit coming out of high school, and his ball is life mix tape proves he is a man among boys. Surprisingly, his best year statistically came as a sophomore where he averaged 21 points and just slightly over 12 boards a game. Okafor has the highest ceiling of any big man since Anthony Davis, and is a strong bet to be a household name by the time he finishes flourishing at Duke. Fellow AAU and USA teammate Tyus Jones followed through on his pact to play together, and will surely stabilize Krzyzewski’s offense.
Both players are top 5 talents who have been dreaming of dominating college basketball since they connected through the AAU circuit in eighth grade. The undersized Jones won’t blow you back with freakish athleticism like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook; what separates Jones is his uncanny basketball IQ, and his ability to quarterback an offense maximizing everyone’s potential around him.
Tyus torched the McDonalds All-American skills competition like a savvy veteran, and is the best prototypical point guard to emerge from the Minnesota tundra in the past decade. Both players have matured beyond their years on and off the court, citing academics as a real determinant in where they chose to play. This dynamic duo will play a monstrous role in Coach K’s system next year, and hopefully restore faith in the Duke way. College basketball is truly blessed to have a squad with so much buzz and potential surrounding a program that is destined to do what Duke does; win championships the right way.