2016-2017 Season Review
Duke entered the season as the favorite to win it all, but it ended up being a disappointing season by Blue Devil terms. Harry Giles came nowhere close to what people thought he'd be, the Grayson Allen drama continued and Coach K missed time while recovering from back surgery. You know you have one of the best programs in the country, though, when a 28-9 (11-7) season is a disappointment. The Blue Devils still had six wins over top 25 teams during the regular season and won four games in four days to win the ACC Tournament. They earned a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and defeated Troy in the first round. But they we're then upset in the second round by #7 seed South Carolina, cementing the season as a disappointing one.
Duke lost seven of their top eight players in terms of minutes played from last season, whether it be due to graduation, the NBA or the transfer market. After two seasons in Blue Devil jersey, Luke Kennard declared for the NBA Draft. He was a first team All ACC selection and second team All American that averaged 19.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 2.5 APG and hit 88 threes at a 43.8% clip. Jayson Tatum declared for the NBA Draft after a freshman season that saw him average 16.8 PPG and 7.3 RPG while being named a third team All ACC selection. Frank Jackson also declared for the NBA Draft after one season in Durham. He averaged 10.9 PPG and hit 51 threes last season. Amile Jefferson graduated after averaging 10.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, and 1.9 BPG. Jefferson played in a school record 150 games during his career at Duke. Matt Jones also graduated after a senior season that saw him score 7.0 PPG and pick off 1.7 SPG. Jones was a member of the ACC All Defensive team. Former #1 recruit Harry Giles declared for the NBA Draft after a disappointing freshman season in which he played just 11.5 MPG, averaging 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Chase Jeter decided to use his last two years of eligibility elsewhere, as he transferred to Arizona. Jeter played 14.9 MPG in 16 games and battled a back injury the second half of the season.
Grayson Allen made the big decision to return for his senior season at Duke. The 6'4 guard averaged 14.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.5 APG and hit 81 threes last season. Allen has the tools to be one of the best players in the country, but he needs to grow as a leader for what will be a young team. 6'11 sophomore Marques Bolden is back and should be ready for a break out season. He only played 6.5 MPG in 24 games but did battle an injury at the beginning of the season. He was the #1 center in the 2016 class and will have a much larger role this season. Antonio Vrankovic played 7.8 MPG in 13 games last seasons. The 7'1 big man led the team in rebounds per 40 minutes last season with 13.5. Jack White is a 6'7 sophomore that played in 19 games last season that can shoot the ball, while Javin DeLaurier is a 6'10 sophomore that played in 12 games that was a top 40 recruit in 2016.
Mike Krzyzewski brings in the second ranked recruiting class in the nation according to 247Sports. It features three five star recruits. Wendell Carter is the fourth ranked player in the 2017 class. The 6'10, 260 pound PF has a 7'3 wingspan, is polished around the rim with his back to the basket and facing up, he can pass well out of the post and he's also a tough, explosive athlete that can rebound and block shots.
Trevon Duval is a 6'3 PG that is the top ranked player at his position and #5 overall. Duval has a long 6'9 wingspan that has an excellent combination of speed, quickness and strength. He has solid vision and good intangibles that will only improve when he gets in Coach K's system.
Gary Trent Jr. is a 6'6 SG that is the #16 rated player in the class. Trent is an aggresive player that has great scoring instincts. He can get hot from the outside, though he's more of a streaky shooter than a pure shooter. He needs to improve as a passer as he can be selfish at times.
Jordan Tucker is a 6'7, four star SF. Tucker is an excellent shooter from deep that plays smart and knows when to shoot it and when it to give it up. Alex O'Connell is four star 6'5 SG that has a good mixture of skill and athleticism. He can score from all three levels. Rounding out the 2017 recruiting class is Jordan Goldwire, a 6'2 three star guard. Goldwire is a pass first guard that is a very good defender. Coach K also hit a home run at the last second as he picked up 2018 #1 recruit and the potential #1 pick in the NBA Draft, Marvin Bagley III. The 6'11 PF announced on August 14 he would be reclassifying to the 2017 class and committing to Duke, making him eligible to play this season. Bagley is an elite athlete that has guard skills. He can score in the post or from the perimeter and can be a game-changer defensively.
Besides Grayson Allen, Coach K is going to have a very young squad. That does raise some questions. How well will all these young guys mesh? Is there a clear leader on this team? Can Grayson Allen grow up and be that leader/role model the young guys need? The talent is most certainly there to make a trip to San Antonio and cut down the nets there, but the answer needs to be yes to those questions. Duke will likely be the preseason #1 and will for sure be in the top two (with Arizona). They have a proven high level scorer in Grayson Allen, highly touted guards Duval and Trent Jr., and a loaded front court with Bagley, Bolden, and Carter, among others. If everything meshes together and works out unlike last season, the Blue Devils are the favorites to be the last team standing.