I was surprised at the blow-back I got for writing an article/blog-post that spoke about what I thought would be the impact of the current group of freshmen this coming season. It’s understandable to a certain extent considering the amount of harping I do about the youth-obsessed culture that is college and pro-basketball. I have however written articles highlighting how I think the upperclassmen and older players will impact next year. I believe that Duke will need (as most teams need) to blend old and new. I don’t for a second think that Duke will start 5 freshmen, I don’t believe Duke will start 3 freshmen. I am not discounting what remains from last years team, in fact, what we have coming back is what will actually make this freshmen class better. Duke will be lucky enough to have players that have been through big games…players that have won and lost on the big stage. That sort of leadership is a definite plus for this incoming class.
Duke does not have a good year without Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon, Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee among others. What could and should put Duke over the top is for the players that did not have huge roles last year to use this off-season to make themselves into players that will demand minutes. Nothing at Duke is promised, well that’s not entirely true, you are promised the opportunity to earn. If you earn, you play. I think that if Duke can get players like Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye on the court and playing at a higher level then it makes this team completely dangerous. I expect them to improve and I think they will be huge parts of what Duke will do this year.
So, yes I believe Duke will get major contributions from freshmen this coming season but I do not believe for a minute that Coach K will serve up a team dominated by freshmen—unless those freshmen completely outplay the players from last year. I’m not sure I see that happening at least not at first.