Apparently ESPN has decided that the No. 1 ranked team in the Nation can’t be a super team. Heading into the 2018-2019 NCAA Basketball season, Duke looks straight up nasty. Duke is currently ranked No. 2 in the Nation in preseason rankings, behind only Kansas, who’s roster will prove to be a literal joke compared to Duke next year. Duke is boasting four prime incoming freshman with Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Tre Jones. Each of these new guys is in the top 10 of their recruiting class, with Barrett, Reddish and Williamson sitting comfortably as the best three recruits in the entire class and Jones chilling as the best Point Guard in the class. Oh yeah, and they also have Joey Baker who is No. 24 in the recruiting class as well. The incoming talent to Duke next year is so good that we all forgot about a top 25 recruit that’s coming in. There’s no other school in the country that would forget about a top recruit like Baker, not even the Jayhawks.
Not only do each of these guys bring an incredible amount of talent to a storied program, but they offer an absolutely unmatched level of flexibility on the court. I am ecstatic to see what the greatest coach in NCAA history (Coach K) is going to be able to do with this incoming freshman talent and roster flexibility. Undoubtably, the biggest downside to next year’s Duke roster is that they are likely not returning a single starter from last years Elite 8 team. However, the team is certainly not without players with Tournament experience. Some notable returning players for the Blue Devils are Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, Alex O’Connell, Justin Robinson, Antonio Vrankovic, Jordan Goldwire and Jack White. I would expect to see DeLaurier make an impact on the court as an experienced veteran.
A tremendous amount of the success of next year’s Blue Devil roster will depend on the off-court guidance of the more experienced veterans on the roster. I expect that the Duke starting lineup next season will include: Jones, Reddish, Barrett, Williamson and DeLaurier, in order from positions one to five. I would expect Joey Baker to provide additional depth off of the bench as the sixth or seventh option. With the right leadership and guidance, I can say with confidence that the Duke Blue Devil’s will be an absolute force to be reckon with all of next season and especially in the Tournament next March. I already have $20 on the Blue Devils winning it all, so they better end up being as good as I think they will be. The only reason why the Duke Blue Devils are not ranked No. 1 in the NCAA heading into the 2018-2019 season is because they are a literal super team, with four players on the roster likely to get drafted at the very top of the 2019 Draft Class. Rankings are getting way too political now, Duke is flat out better. I don’t care if they’re a super team and if they do go on to win a championship in April, then we might be witnessing the beginning of a new era in College Basketball.