#3 Duke Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Duke Blue Devils
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 ACC
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After failing to make the Final Four for the fourth consecutive year, Duke and Coach K will try to get back with a reloaded roster once again in 2019-20. Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett more than left their mark with the Blue Devils last season, and a new group of high-profile freshmen will take their place. Despite losing the top three scorers, Duke does still return multiple rotation players from last season, highlighted by the return of Tre Jones. Jones’ return, along with Coach K’s success coaching one-and-done freshmen, place Duke back towards the top of the rankings.
2018-19 Record: 32-6, 14-4
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
Coach Record: 1,059-285 at Duke, 1,132-344 overall
Key Departed Players:
R.J. Barrett, Guard, 22.6 ppg
Zion Williamson, Forward, 22.6 ppg
Cam Reddish, Guard, 13.5 ppg
Marques Bolden, Forward, 5.3 ppg
Antonio Vrankovic, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Tre Jones, Sophomore, Guard, 9.4 ppg
Alex O’Connell, Junior, Guard, 4.4 ppg

Jack White, Senior, Forward, 4.1 ppg
Javin DeLaurier, Senior, Forward, 3.8 ppg
Justin Robinson, Senior, Forward, 1.2 ppg
Jordan Goldwire, Junior, Guard, 0.9 ppg
Joey Baker, Sophomore, Forward, 0.8 ppg
Key New Players:
Vernon Carey, Freshman, Center
Matthew Hurt, Freshman, Forward
Wendell Moore, Freshman, Forward
Cassius Stanley, Freshman, Guard
The decision of Tre Jones to return to Duke for his sophomore year was one of the biggest decisions in the country. Jones earned ACC All-Freshman honors last year behind 9.4 points, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. He was reliable on both ends of the floor as he set a Duke single-season record for assist-turnover ratio and was named a national semifinalist for Defensive Player of the Year. Jones will be the on-court leader that the incoming freshmen will need this season. Duke also gets back several role players from last year’s Elite Eight squad. Alex O’Connell, Jack White and Javin DeLaurier all played double-digit minutes per game last year. All three players will likely have similar roles this year, and that familiarity off the bench will be vital for the Blue Devils. Meanwhile, Justin Robinson, Jordan Goldwire and Joey Baker were used sparingly last season, but have the experience to be role players this year. Baker especially could see an uptick in minutes as a former four-star, top-50 recruit who burned his redshirt last season and only played in four games. As usual, the biggest key to Duke’s success will be the play of the freshmen. Coach K has brought in two five-star recruits along with two four-stars, all of which are top-40 prospects. Vernon Carey and Matthew Hurt are five-star big men that will instantly start and play major minutes in the frontcourt. Wendell Moore and Cassius Stanley are both four-star, 6-foot-5 wings that will play next to Jones in the backcourt. The success of the first-year players will likely be what makes or breaks Duke as Final Four contenders this season. Coach K is used to that challenge though, and the return of Tre Jones along with an experienced bench will help mightily.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 82.7 (11th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.8 (75, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.8 (26, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (17, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.3 (215, 10)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.8 (328, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (247, 14)
Rebound Margin: 5.8 (22, 2)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (23, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (164, 9)
Madness 2020 NBA Draft Rankings:
#21 Vernon Carey
#23 Matthew Hurt
#31 Tre Jones
#46 Wendell Moore
Madness 2019 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#5 Vernon Carey
#9 Matthew Hurt
#21 Wendell Moore
#34 Cassius Stanley