There are no shortage of Duke fans who for one reason or another would love for Coach K to abandon his recruiting of one and one players. Some think that Duke recruiting these players devalues in some way what it means to be a Duke student, some think it's not possible to fully grasp the defensive principles that Duke and Coach K tends to want to employ in just one season and that the only benefit Duke is reaping is in terms of hype. Others think that this "experiment" is simply not working in terms of results in the post-season. From strictly a basketball standpoint I disagree completely.
Coaches must adjust to the realities of todays rules and he realities of todays players. Perhaps Duke is a prisoner of sorts of their own success or perhaps the program is just dealing with the reality that Coach K is only going to be around for a finite number of games and seasons. I honestly want the best players regardless of how long they play to be there, and I do not prescribe to the theory that there has been some twist in recruiting logic. There has never been some time where Coach K said that he was going to only recruit players that will be around for a year. He's always recruited the best players...period. That hasn't changed. Despite what we choose to believe. What has changed is Duke's ability to land more of them.
Let's look year by year beginning in 2003. Duke signed Luol Deng, Duke also recruited Lebron James, but we all know how that turned out. Luol ended up being Duke's best player and was only around for a season. Not a player that was expected to go early but nonetheless it happened. 2004 Duke recruits Shaun Livingston but he never played. In 2005 Duke recruited Brandon Wright but he settled on UNC. Duke got Kyrie in 2010, he played 8 games game back but Duke only got to the sweet 16. In 2011 Duke recruited another one and done in Austin Rivers and in 2013 Duke signed Jabari Parker. In that 10 year span to call Duke a one and done school would be a ludicrous statement to make. They recruited some, signed a few and those players were surrounded with older talent.
Has Duke gotten worse in recent years defensively, undoubtedly but it's hard to truly point the finger at one and done players as the reason for Duke's defensive decline. You could perhaps make the argument for the type of player being recruited is the reason but again even with Duke's early exits the one and done players they've had were surrounded by multi-year players. So perhaps its an offensive mindset of players coming in? I'm not sure I have the answer there.
The truth of the matter is that there have only been 3 years that Duke has signed multiple one and done players obviously the first resulted in a championship. The second, the class featuring Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles & Frank Jackson was riddled with multiple injuries. Hardly a year to use as a use case. The third is this year and while Duke is not a great defensive team, they have made strides, we'll have to judge them in March.
When people say it's not working to that I say, "what are you even talking about?" When you measure the success of before and after you cannot definitely say that it's resulted in less post season success - because it hasn't been done at Duke on a measurable scale.
Defensive Eff. Rank
|One & Done|
|2002-2003||26-7||11-5||15||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||None|
|2003-2004||31-6||13-3||3||NCAA Final Four||Luol Deng|
|2004-2005||27-6||11-5||2||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||None|
|2005-2006||32-4||14-2||16||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||None|
|2006-2007||22-11||8-8||6||NCAA Round 64||None|
|2007-2008||28-6||13-3||7||NCAA Round of 32||None|
|2008-2009||30-7||11-5||28||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||None|
|2010-2011||32-5||13-3||9||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||Kyrie Irving|
|2011-2012||27-7||13-3||79||NCAA Round 64||Austin Rivers|
|2012-2013||30-6||14-4||26||NCAA Elite Eight||None|
|2013-2014||26-9||13-5||86||NCAA Round 64||Jabari Parker|
|2014-2015||35-4||15-3||11||National Champions||Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones*, Justise Winslow*|
|2015-2016||25-11||11-7||86||NCAA Sweet Sixteen||Brandon Ingram|
|2016-2017||28-9||11-7||47||NCAA Round of 32||Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Frank Jackson*|