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Return to the 2005-06 Top 144 Preview List

     

#1 Duke Blue Devils

Atlantic Coast Conference

 

2004-05: 27-6, 11-5, 3rd

2004-05 postseason: NCAA

By Joel Welser

 

It is rare in Duke’s recent history for the team to have a tremendous amount of depth.  One doesn’t have to look too far back to see the latest example.  Reggie Love started four games last year.  He’s not a bad player, but if he was still around he wouldn’t see much time this year.  The lack of depth happens when you have so much talent.  The good players want to play and they want to get paid.  This year the Blue Devils will have no depth issues and that is what makes this the best team in the nation.

 

Who’s Out: While the rest of us will miss Shavlik Randolph, his 4.4 points and 4.3 rebounds won’t be missed by Duke.  Even Daniel Ewing’s 15.3 points and 4.0 assists are replaceable.  The aforementioned Reggie Love, who averaged 1.6 points and 2.7 rebounds as a senior, has wrapped up his collegiate career.  Sophomore David McClure will be redshirted while recovering from knee surgery.  The 6-6 forward was hampered by injuries last season and averaged 1.7 points and 1.4 points per game.

 

Who’s In: Josh McRoberts anchors another stellar Coach Mike Krzyzewski recruiting class.  The 6-10 power forward is expected to compete for a starting job and see significant action from day one.  The all-everything Carmel, Indiana native can rebound, score inside and out and do everything else you’d expect from one of the top recruits in his class.  Joining him on that shortlist is point guard Greg Paulus.  The 6-1 Syracuse product averaged 26.8 points and 8.2 assists as a senior at Christian Brothers Academy.  Paulus most likely won’t start right away, but he’ll see playing time backing up returnee Sean Dockery, and Dockery will have to look over his shoulder as the season progresses.  Eric Boateng joined McRoberts and Paulus in the 2005 McDonald’s All-America game and the 6-10, 255 pound center will battle McRoberts for a starting spot.  Boateng is a tremendous shot blocker who, even as a freshman, will be a force under the basket.  Martynas Pocius, a native of Lithuania, has a tremendous outside shot.  He’s a smart wing and will provide quality depth off the bench.  Jamal Boykin would be a star in most other classes.  The 6-7 forward is very competitive and will leave it all on the court.  He won’t be the best athlete on the team, but he’ll hustle under the basket and can step out and hit the jumper.  Walk-on guard Jordan Davidson rounds out the group and will join his brother Patrick on the Duke squad.

 

Who to Watch: The most fun thing to watch early in the year will be the battle for minutes.  J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams will start but everything else is up for grabs.  Will it be Sean Dockery or Greg Paulus at the point; Lee Melchionni, DeMarcus Nelson or Martynas Pocius on the wing; Josh McRoberts or Eric Boateng alongside Williams in the paint?  It really doesn’t matter who starts.  Coach K will have plenty of choices depending on the situation when it matters at the finish.

 

Projected Conference Rank: The number one team must finish 1st in their conference and this time it might not even be that close.  Boston College, Maryland, Wake Forest, NC State…and so on, have quality teams, but the Blue Devils are a step ahead of the rest in the ACC.  The talent is great, the coaching is second to none, and with a little help from the Crazies, another banner might be hanging in Cameron.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Sean Dockery, Senior, Guard, 6.2 points per game

J.J. Redick, Senior, Guard, 21.8 points per game

DeMarcus Nelson, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 points per game

Josh McRoberts, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

Shelden Williams, Senior, Forward, 15.5 points per game

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