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An Early Look At Duke’s Upcoming Basketball Season

Past the Dominican tour, what can we expect?

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South Carolina v Duke
GREENVILLE, SC - MARCH 19: Grayson Allen #3 of the Duke Blue Devils drives to the basket in the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the second round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 19, 2017 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

This SI article looks at Duke’s upcoming season and asks the following questions:

  1. Who will be the Blue Devils' fifth starter?
  2. How big of a deal is it that Coach K won’t have any USA Basketball duties this off-season?
  3. What will Grayson Allen’s senior year bring?

Let’s answer the last first: yes, he’ll have a target on his back for sure but we’ll be shocked if there are any issues. Why? Two reasons. First, he’s a senior and should have worked through whatever issues caused his tripping episodes. And Coach K is a brilliant psychologist. He’s had time to get under the hood with Allen.

And second, just on a practical level, he’s an NBA talent. He’ll get drafted and have a shot at an NBA career.

Any character issues this year could cost Allen, quite literally, millions of dollars. You could see an addict perhaps not being able to control his urges but in this case, Allen has millions of reasons to do well.

One of the less noticed things about Coach K’s time with the Olympic team was that Duke’s summer work really didn’t miss a beat. That’s the mark of a very well organized program. With Coach K around, you can expect more to get done early.

As for the first question, everyone assumes it should be Gary Trent. That may well be, but it depends on how the pieces fit together. He’s going to play and is easily starter material, but watching Coach K move the pieces around is pretty fascinating. We expect Wendell Carter to start and everyone thinks Marques Bolden will too and we hope he does.

However, if Duke needs an inside player who can defend and rebound and that’s really key, don’t be surprised if Javin DeLaurier emerges.

Why not? He’s 6-10 and highly athletic. He’s not the best big man on this team but he’s certainly the most athletic.

What if it turns out that the best starting lineup is Trevon Duval, Allen, Carter, Jordan Tucker and DeLaurier?

The point is it’s foolish to even try. Duval will start and Allen will probably start too. After that?

It depends on how the parts fit together - as we’ve seen before.

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