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Duke Without Henderson

So Gerald Henderson has declared for the draft. Obviously it hurts Duke - he's a guy who could be a phenomenal player as a senior - but assuming he stays in the draft (a reasonable assumption), how does it affect Duke next year?

Well, for one thing, Duke is going to be a really big team. With Brian Zoubek, Miles and Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas and Olek Czyz, who should be improved, Duke has more size than they've had in years.

If Nolan Smith can bring his point game up another notch, he and Elliot Williams can be a powerful defensive backcourt. And that's where Duke is likely to miss Henderson the most.

In a lot of ways, Henderson was a safety net for this year's team. He gave them a level of versatility that was pretty amazing, and most of all on defense. That's going to be tough to replace.

Obviously John Wall would make a huge difference if he ended up at Duke. If he doesn't however, there are some responsibilities that will have to be fulfilled and again, particularly on defense. In a way it's a shame that Dave McClure is leaving because he could pick up a lot of the non-offensive responsibilities.

He's not, though, so someone will have to change their game to cover the 6-4 to 6-8 sort of players that Henderson and McClure defended so well. Jon Scheyer is a superb defender, but he lacks the athleticism Henderson brings. Singler can do some of it but not all. Our guess is that Thomas will be asked to change his game somewhat, and that if he can improve fast enough, Czyz might get a crack. Those guys will sort out Henderson's duties.

And there's also the possibility of a late recruit, which has happened before. But that's nothing to plan around.

The fall after this, though, Duke will add in Seth Curry, Tyler Thornton, Andre Dawkins, and Josh Hairston, and that's a lot of talent to add to a solid base.