Scouting the Blue Devils projected starting five.
PG Quinn Cook
Soph., 6-1, 175
4.4 points, 1.9 assists
Cook is the unquestioned starter at the point. Last year he was playing catch-up after taking the summer to recover from a knee injury, but a full offseason of work has his confidence back. Hell need to make smart decisions and avoid the temptation to try to make every play a highlight-reel show.
Strong point guard play will be critical for conference play, coach Mike Krzyzewski said. There are a number of good point guards out there. There are a lot of guys that are trying to prove themselves. Theres not a Kendall Marshall there. And certainly no Kyrie Irving.
SG Rasheed Sulaimon
Fr., 6-4, 185
If Seth Curry were healthy, he would be the starting shooting guard, but hes limited with a leg injury that Krzyzewski said could hamper him all season. So, at least initially, Sulaimon will get the nod. He can drive and provide on-ball defense if necessary. Hell make mistakes early, but if he can develop, Sulaimon could be a huge factor in Duke making a deep run in March.
There have been two different types of adjustments Ive had to make, one mentally and one physically, he said. Definitely all the strenuous workouts are nothing like you do in high school. Mentally, you just try and push through fatigue.
PF Mason Plumlee
Sr., 6-10, 235
11.1 points, 9.2 rebounds
Make no mistake, Plumlee is the key guy. He will be expected to produce consistently on offense, showing off his improved jump shot or finding teammates open looks when he draws a double team. Plumlee was also named one of Dukes captains last spring, giving him more time to asset his leadership.
Youll see, I think hes as good of player as there is in the country, Krzyzewski said. Hes almost 7-feet tall, and hes shooting, handling, leading, wants to score inside. I really like where hes at.
PF Ryan Kelly
Sr., 6-11, 230
11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds
Fully recovered from his knee injury the kept him out of the ACC and NCAA tournament, the Blue Devils also need more consistency out of Kelly, who can stretch the defense with his outside shooting. While he remains the second-best outside shooter (behind Seth Curry), Kelly spent the summer working on his post game.
I scored well at times, but then sometimes when I was cold and wasnt shooting, I just didnt help our team on the offensive side of the ball, Kelly said of last year. I need to be more consistent this year.
SF Alex Murphy
Fr., 6-8, 220
The redshirt freshman instantly provides Duke with a piece last years team sorely missed: a lengthy wing. At 6-8, Murphy will be able to guard bigger guards, a task the fell to Andre Dawkins, Curry or Tyler Thornton last year. Murphy also should be able to help Plumlee and Kelly collect rebounds as well.
Murph, I think a lot of the preseason ratings and stuff you guys are talking about, they dont take into account Marshall and Alex Murphy, Mason Plumlee said. Theres no doubt in my mind that Alex would have started some games for us last year. Hes athletic, hes going to turn some heads right out of the gate.