#2 Duke Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Duke Blue Devils
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #2
Conference Rank: #1 ACC
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All five starters are gone from last year’s Elite Eight squad that lost to Kansas in an overtime thriller with a trip to the Final Four on the line. However, Coach Mike Krzyzewski had some talent sitting down his bench last season and he brings in an amazing recruiting class. This team will look very different compared to last year, but by March they should be even better.
2017-18 Record: 29-8, 13-5
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
Coach Record: 1,027-279 at Duke, 1,100-338 overall
Key Departed Players:
Marvin Bagley III, Forward, 21.0 ppg
Grayson Allen, Guard, 15.5 ppg
Gary Trent Jr, Guard, 14.5 ppg
Wendell Carter Jr, Forward, 13.5 ppg
Trevon Duval, Guard, 10.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Marques Bolden, Junior, Center, 3.9 ppg
Javin DeLaurier, Junior, Forward, 3.4 ppg
Alex O’Connell, Sophomore, Guard, 3.3 ppg
Justin Robinson, Junior, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Jordan Goldwire, Sophomore, Guard, 1.0 ppg
Jack White, Junior, Forward, 0.8 ppg
Key New Players:
Joey Baker, Freshman, Forward
RJ Barrett, Freshman, Forward
Tre Jones, Freshman, Guard
Cam Reddish, Freshman, Forward
Zion Williamson, Freshman, Forward
RJ Barrett highlights a recruiting class that includes three players ranked in the top five of the College Sports Madness 2018 recruit rankings. The 6-7 Canadian will be able to attack the basket with ease and he could be the team’s top scorer if his outside shot is falling consistently. Cam Reddish is a big 6-8 forward who can play at a variety of positions. His future probably lies at the small forward spot, but Reddish can run the point and will spend lots of time at the shooting guard position this season. With his size, strength and ability to shoot the ball, there are not going to be many teams who can defend him. Zion Williamson is the other top five recruit and he is a great athlete who is known for his dunking. Joey Baker is yet another versatile forward who has the talent to make an immediate impact. Perhaps the most important newcomer is Tre Jones. He is a smart point guard who will be asked to quickly emerge as a leader. Sophomore Jordan Goldwire will help out at the point and Alex O’Connell should provide some depth at the shooting guard spot. The most productive returning players were in the frontcourt though where Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier will battle with the newcomers for minutes. It may take some time for all the pieces to come together, but by the time conference play rolls around, this could be the team to beat in the always tough ACC.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 84.4 (9th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.6 (101, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.2 (16, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.5 (17, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (102, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.2 (72, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.0 (184, 10)
Rebound Margin: 8.1 (6, 2)
Assists Per Game: 17.5 (8, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (129, 9)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#1 RJ Barrett
#2 Cameron Reddish
#5 Zion Williamson
#56 Marques Bolden
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#1 RJ Barrett
#2 Cameron Reddish
#5 Zion Williamson
#14 Tre Jones
#38 Joey Baker