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The Chronicle’s Season Preview

All the links, all the previews, all the news

BASKETBALL: JUNE 02 Pangos All-American Camp
NORWALK, CA - JUNE 02: Jaemyn Brakefield from Huntington Prep drives to the basket during the Pangos All-American Camp on June 2, 2018 at Cerritos College in Norwalk, CA.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here are all the links from the Duke Chronicle’s season profile. We just wanted to mention a couple of things about the article on Gene Banks, which we hope everyone reads as Banks was a hugely important figure in Duke basketball history.

Bill Foster was not particularly laid back. He was funny, at times irreverent, and laconic. But laconic shouldn’t be mistaken for laid back. He was a good man and an excellent coach, but Foster was very tightly wound, as Duke fans came to know in the painful 1979 season.

Coach K corrected the idea that Duke wasn’t on national TV a lot because nobody was on national TV a lot. 1978 was the first year that the ACC Tournament was broadcast nationwide and ESPN was still a year away.

And not to nitpick but with regards the Kenny and Nadine Dennard, every wife has a major influence on her husband’s life. You can be a brilliant college student, but at the end of the day, you haven’t been married for decades and some knowledge is hard-won.

One quick note on the Jalen Johnson article: word about his unusual passing abilities is getting out and what Nate James says got us thinking: who are the best passers in Duke history? It’s a great question really.

Near the top of the list you have to have Bobby Hurley, who is still the NCAA’s career leader in assists and Dick Groat, who led the nation in scoring and assists in 1951-52.

After that though?

It’s a little less certain.

We’d certainly put Danny Ferry on the list. He was a tremendous passer. And we’d certainly consider Chris Duhon and probably Kyrie Irving, though he played so few games it’s hard to put him on the list. Then we’d look at Tommy Amaker and Jon Scheyer, who hardly ever made a bad pass.

And we’d consider Banks too. Banks did everything with flair, including passing.

The truth is though, for whatever reason, Duke really hasn’t had that many guys who consistently made you jump out of your seat, or better yet had you on the edge of your seat, because either a spectacular pass just happened or you’re expecting it.

That’s not surprising though - that kind of passer is incredibly rare. Guys like Bob Cousy, Pete Maravich, Ernie DiGregorio, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and (the other) Jason Williams are, well, exceedingly rare birds. They see things that most people can’t even imagine and then have the nerve to try it.

We’re not saying Duke’s Johnson is in that class. But we will say this: his ability to pass is the most exciting thing about this season. It’s going to be fun to watch.

One final note for the Chronicle’s generally admirable series: Duke won national titles in 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015.

Duke also made the Final Four in 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994, 1999 and 2004. In all those seasons, Duke only started a traditional center in 1994 (Cherokee Parks), 2004 (Shelden Williams), 2010 (Brian Zoubek) and 2015 (Jahlil Okafor).