Duke 2017 National Champs?

The college basketball season is still very early and I haven’t seen all the Top 20 Teams play, but Duke is as experienced and talented as any team I have seen in years.  Grayson AllenNo other college team has the 1-2 scoring punch of Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard!  Those guys can rain 3’s, get to the rim and shoot free throws.  Allen is a little more athletic and plays with a chip on his shoulder, but man I like Kennard’s game.  Rounding out Coach K’s current “Big 3″ is Amile Jefferson.  The 6’9” Jefferson is a double double machine and seems to make all the right decisions of when to score and when to pass that many big guys struggle with.  He is playing his way into an NBA opportunity as a role player.  He was trending in this direction last season, averaging a double-double in Duke’s first nine games before suffering a right foot fracture on Dec. 12.  His absence decimated an already thin frontcourt, and while he may have been able to come back for the NCAA tournament, Duke not going that route made him eligible for a medical redshirt so he could come back for 2016-17. In turn, his play has prevented coach Mike Krzyzewski from having to rush his freshmen onto the court.

Which leads me into the real reason that I am predicting another National Basketball Title for Coach K.  The freshman!  We have seen 6’8″ Jayson Tatum play a few games.  He is another great wing player that can do it all.  He shoots, drives and rebounds like a poised upperclassmen.  His upside is as high as any of the prized freshman across the country.  Preseason injuries to Tatum and center Marques Bolden and power forward Harry Giles’ slow recovery from knee surgeries necessitated a redistribution of the responsibilities.  Bolden has played a few minutes here and there, but is obviously getting himself into game shape and will have a definite expanded role by the end of the season.  They need his 6’11” size and post play.  The 6’10” Giles has yet to debut despite looking pretty darn healthy in pregame warm-ups.  Rumor is that he might be the BEST player on the team!  Wow!!!

This will be a team that has everything except a true point guard.  Matt Jones and freshman Frank Jackson are the point guards on the roster.  Both are capable, but just aren’t the creators that Hurley and Jay Williams were in the past for the Blue Devils.  This won’t be a problem though.  When you combine the fore-mentioned talent and Coach K’s experience and ability to define roles and have everyone buy in to a unselfish team approach — a Final Four is guaranteed and they have the best chance to win it all!!!

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