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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

A tough year for Duke but the future is very bright

Duke v North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 06: Leaky Black #1 of the North Carolina Tar Heels is guarded by Wendell Moore Jr. #0 of the Duke Blue Devils during the first half of their game at Dean E. Smith Center on March 06, 2021 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Saturday wasn’t much fun for anyone so we kind of took a breather Sunday. It’s possible a great run in the ACC Tournament could get Duke in the NCAA Tournament but it’s not a great feeling that it’s come to that. Nonetheless, you can’t rule it out and we’ll be watching and pulling the rest of the way and we hope you will be too.

We were down after the UNC game but on Sunday we started to think about the future and we weren’t down for long.

You can’t thin too far ahead these days but next year, Duke should have a front line of Mark Williams, Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin. We think Wendell Moore will be back also and so should the backcourt, Jaemyn Brakefield, Joey Baker, Henry Coleman and maybe Jordan Goldwire and Patrick Tapé as well since they get a bonus year from the NCAA.

There was one play on Saturday when Williams basically got out of the way when one of UNC’s big men flew in for a dunk.

He’s shown immense potential and great intelligence for the game, but he’s still quite thin. Next year he’ll be much stronger and when guys come at him, he won’t have to get out of the way. Moreover, when he gets the ball under the basket, he’ll be able to to go straight up.

Seven months of weight training could completely transform his body.

Griffin and Banchero should be ready on Day One and Banchero, in particular, is going to be a load.

And of course Duke isn’t done recruiting. Patrick Baldwin is still on the board and we’re sure the Blue Devils are working on perimeter players as well, notably Trevor Keels who was a high-school teammate of Roach’s.

Presumably Duke will not have to deal with the issues it dealt with during the pandemic and can start incorporating the freshmen during summer school, exhibition season and early non-conference play.

And best of all, we expect we’ll be able to be in Cameron again and won't that be grand after a year away?