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Presbyterian Visit Starts Duke Basketball Season

Coming off of a six-win season, the game should be rather challenging for Presbyterian.

Nov 8, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Justise Winslow (12) pulls down one of his six rebounds against the Central Missouri Mules at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Nov 8, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Justise Winslow (12) pulls down one of his six rebounds against the Central Missouri Mules at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke kicks off the 2014-15 season with Presbyterian Blue Hose, out of Clinton, South Carolina.

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The Scottish connection is obvious from the name - the mascot is Scotty the Scotsman too - but Blue Hose is a bit less obvious.

In our day, hoser is a mildly offensive term, but if you go back a bit and exchange hose for stocking (or socks) then the Blue Sox makes sporting sense.

It would be an improvement over Blue Hose, but that's their call.

Presbyterian is out of the Big South, which has periodically made some noise: Charleston Southern (what could possibly be more southern than being the southern part of Charleston? Fire away!), Coastal Carolina, where Clif Ellis found a nice second act, Liberty, where Seth Curry began his career, and Asheville, which came so very close to upsetting Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament not too long ago.

Last year was not like that for the Blue Hose.

Presbyterian's wins could nearly be listed on one hand: Toccoa Falls, Greensboro, Montreat, App State, Longwood and Asheville. The team suffered a 10-game losing streak too.

Presbyterian does have at least one dangerous player  in 6-5 Jordan Downing, who averaged 20.2 ppg last season (the N&O says that he's 7-0, but the Presbyterian site lists him at 6-5).

Not surprisingly, he also averaged about 37 mpg.

Reggie Dillard, a 6-4, 220 lb. soph from Greensboro Day, averaged 12.1 ppg.

A lot of schools at this level don't have much size, but Presbyterian has a bit of size and bulk too: Jake Campbell (RSo) is 7-0 and 235; Stephen Osu is a 6-9, 260 lb. freshman, and William Truss is a 6-8, 260 lb. senior.

Campbell didn't play much last year but big guys develop at their own pace.

Truss is a different story: he averaged 10.9 ppg and 9 rebounds. That's pretty good no matter where you play.

If the exhibition season is any indication, look for Presbyterian to use their impressive size to put pressure on freshman Jahlil Okafor.

On Thursday, Okafor was named SB Nation's Freshman of The Year, which we would agree with, and the Preseason National Player Of The Year, which is ludicrous.

And that's not Okafor's fault, certainly. He's going to be a very good player. In the exhibition games we saw glimpses of a wonderful player.

But no freshman outside of maybe a Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who wasn't eligible as a freshman in 1966) should be hyped like this.

It really should be someone with at least a year under his belt.

An Alcindor would be an exception. Just as a note of how great he was, his freshman class beat UCLA's varsity team. That team was ranked #1 and was the defending national champs. It lost to the freshmen, 75-60. The rising young big man had 31 points and 21 rebounds.

Outside of that level of brilliance, it should go to a returning player, say Frank Kaminski, Marcus Paige or Montrezl Harrell. If Okafor turns out to be as good as everyone expects, he'll get his hardware at the end, which is fair.