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An Early Look At Next Year

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What to expect next season? It's a bit early to more than just speculate, but there are things to be excited about, aside from the natural improvement of returning players. Rasheed Sulaimon may or may not be as good as Austin Rivers, but he'll likely be steadier and almost certainly a better defender. We like the potential of Sulaimon and Tyler Thornton defensively. Like Thornton, Sulaimon works hard on defense. That'll be fun to watch.

Duke's freshman class will also have redshirts Marshall Plumlee and Alex Murphy. The youngest Plumlee is more of a natural center than either of his brothers, and should be a lot stronger by the fall. And in case you had forgotten, before he was injured, Murphy started an exhibition game.

Why does that matter? Here's why: the original plan, pre-injury, was to redshirt him. Yet he was good enough to be in the starting lineup from the beginning and that the plan to redshirt him had changed. What does that tell you about what he brought to the team - and what he could bring this season?

Finally, we saw enough of Quinn Cook last year to understand what the excitement was about before his high school knee injury. There were some periods where he was a commanding point guard, and a guy who was going to be very difficult to contain. He did some things that were really eye-opening.

An off-season of hard work should help his knee immensely. You'll recall that he was held out during the China trip over concerns that his recovery was not far enough along.

We're very excited about his future, and the future for Duke in general. It should be a really good group with solid chemistry.

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