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Monday, October 20, 2014

Geno's Preseason Top Ten- No. 10 Duke Blue Devils

                                                                   Photo: Duke Athletics


No. 10 Duke Blue Devils:
2013-14 Record: 26-9 overall (13-5 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Result: 78-71 loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 14-seeded Mercer.
Key Games:
Nov. 18 vs. Michigan State in Indianapolis, Ind.
Dec. 3 at Wisconsin (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
Dec. 18 vs. Connecticut in East Rutherford, N.J.
Jan. 17 at Louisville
Jan. 31 at Virginia
Feb. 14 at Syracuse
Feb. 18 vs. North Carolina
March 7 at North Carolina

Key Losses: Jabari Parker (19.1 PPG) and Rodney Hood (16.1 PPG)

Led by true freshman Jabari Parker, the Duke Blue Devils had lofty expectations to make a deep run in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
However, the Mercer Bears happened to stand in the way of Duke’s plan as it pulled a monumental upset in the second round. The No. 3-seeded Blue Devils’ season came to an abrupt end as it went down 78-71.
Duke’s early exit would be the second time in three seasons in which it dropped its opening tournament game (Lehigh, 2012).
With Jabari Parker leaving early for the NBA Draft, another true freshman is expected to fill the void in 7-foot center Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor is projected to be the potential first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft depending on how well he plays this season (ESPN.com).
Before stepping on to the court to the court for the season opener on Nov. 14 against Presbyterian, Okafor was named the CBSSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year on Oct. 7.
Okafor is taking the preseason hype in stride as he talked about whether or not experience matters in college.
“When I step on the court, it really doesn’t matter if I’m a freshman or a senior,” Okafor said on CBSSports.com. “It’s basketball, and I’ve been playing basketball my entire life.”
Freshman guard Tyus Jones also chose to play at Duke last season and is expected to log heavy minutes.
Senior Quinn Cook returns as he is expected to run the show at point guard again. Cook averaged 11.6 points per game and dished out an average of 4.6 assists in the 2013-14 campaign.
Swingman Rasheed Sulaimon returns for his junior season. Sulaimon averaged 9.9 PPG and 25.6 minutes per game in 2013-14.
Juniors Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee are expected to play big roles in the frontcourt. Jefferson finished second on the team last season with 6.9 rebounds per game, while Plumlee averaged 2.2 RPG.

Expected Starting Lineup:
G Quinn Cook 6’2 180
G Tyus Jones 6’1 180
G Rasheed Sulaimon 6’4 190
F Amile Jefferson 6’9 210
C Jahlil Okafor 7’0 265

Social Media:
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.

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