Five reasons for optimism, five for pessimism as Duke begins its season

Jonathan M. Alexander, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Basketball

"We're just an average shooting team right now," Krzyzewski said last month during the ACC media day.

-- 5. Missed classes and tardiness

Krzyzewski has shown that he won't tolerate missed classes and tardiness. He suspended three freshmen -- Trevon Duval, Jordan Goldwire and Alex O'Connell -- for a game for doing so. There's no reason to believe it will happen again. Krzyzewski said that the problem will be fixed. But it was a cause for concern.

"These kids have been a pleasure to coach, but a little momentary setback here, you know, it's like righting the ship," Krzyzewski said last week. "And understanding they're representing not just themselves and our basketball program, but they're representing, I think, the greatest university on this planet. And we all have to understand that we all have that honor."

Five reasons for optimism

-- 1. Duke has a true point guard

One of the things that hurt Duke last season, was its lack of a true point guard. Both Allen and Frank Jackson handled those duties at times, but both were primarily scoring guards. Now Duke has that true point guard in Duval, who can push the ball and will look for his teammates in the open floor. That will free Allen up to be a scorer and find his jump shot.

-- 2. One of Duke's biggest teams ever

One of Duke's biggest strengths this season should be its height. Duke has six players who are 6-9 or taller. Four of them will likely be in the primary rotation. Not too many teams can claim that. The Blue Devils will try to use their height to their advantage to control the boards and get out in transition.

-- 3. Grayson Allen


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