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So Who Steps Up For Duke Basketball This Fall?

That’s really the main question

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Florida State vs Duke
Mar 16, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Tre Jones (3) reacts after a play in the second half against the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC conference tournament at Spectrum Center. 
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Over at The Sporting News, Ameer Tyree holds forth on three questions he thinks Duke needs to answer:

  • Where do they get their shooting?
  • Who should pair with Tre Jones in the backcourt?
  • What’s the focal point of the offense?

Shooting shouldn’t be too big of a problem. Matthew Hurt, Alex O’ Connell, Joey Banger (we want full credit for that one) and Vern Carey can all shoot. Other guys can score even if they’re not great shooters - think Jack White, Wendell Moore and Cassius Stanley, who should be able to put points up.

As far as question #2 goes, that’s kind of open. What people are overlooking is that Duke has the outlines of a great defensive team. Start with Jones, then add Moore, Javin DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire and build out from there. We’re not saying that those guys will necessarily start, just that there are a lot of options. Why isn’t Goldwire mentioned? Jones and Goldwire are a superb defensive backcourt. Neither one can score but if the other guys can’t either, who cares?

Just take your choice and mix and match. Lots of offensive and defensive options. It’s not a big concern. If Plan A doesn’t work, then Plan B. Or C. Or D.

As to who the focus will be, it probably won’t be one guy. Hurt can help spread the court. Carey can play all over but may be Duke’s primary inside guy.

For all of this, while we don’t expect Tre Jones to turn into Trae Young overnight, he’s going to be a better offensive performer as a sophomore. He doesn’t have to be hugely improved, just enough to be a credible outside threat.

Duke will be fine as soon as everyone’s roles are sorted out.

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