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4 | DUKE

Nov. 09, 2015
Nov. 09, 2015

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Nov. 9, 2015

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  • FOR THREE DECADES THE ROYALS WANDERED IN THE BASEBALL DESERT, LOSING MORE GAMES THAN ANY OTHER CLUB. THE DROUGHT IS OVER, THE RESULT OF A NEW MODEL FOR HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED, THOUGH ONE THAT IS NOT EASILY REPLICATED

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FRED VANVLEET
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4 | DUKE

A NEW CLASS RISES

This is an article from the Nov. 9, 2015 issue

Matt Jones is a known quantity, if not a dazzling one. The lone returning starter from last year's national championship team is a dogged, conscientious defender who quickly identifies opponents' weaknesses and then exposes them. At 6'5" and 200 pounds, Jones can do this against point guards or power forwards, permitting coach Mike Krzyzewski to deploy different defensive looks as needed. "If I take the best player out on each team," Jones says, "we'll have a good chance of winning."

Such dependability is valued in Durham, where roster overhaul is now an annual rite. But the Blue Devils did retain sophomore guard Grayson Allen, a fearless dribble-driver, who's an ideal fit for an offense predicated on applying pressure from the perimeter. Freshman point guard Derryck Thornton's quick hands and feet can push the tempo, while center Chase Jeter, 6'10" and an athletic 240 pounds, can pile up putback dunks and weakside blocks. And Brandon Ingram may be the most gifted newcomer of them all. The versatile 6'9" forward, a top five recruit, can create mismatches all over the floor.

Relying on freshmen worked for Duke in the not-so-distant past. But as senior Amile Jefferson cautions, "It's not about what we did last year."

PROJECTED TEAM STATS

OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 118.8 (3rd)

DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 94.9 (37th)

ACC RECORD 13--5 (T-1st)

X-FACTOR

Freshman forward Brandon Ingram, 6'9" with a 7'4" wingspan, has the frame, explosiveness, ballhandling skills and shooting range to play four positions.

STAT SHEET

With 2015--16 projections for the top six scorers

Coach Mike Krzyzewski (36th season)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG RPG APG OFF. RATING USAGE
SG Grayson Allen* 6'5" Soph. 16.4 4.0 1.7 119.7 22.8%
G-F Brandon Ingram* 6'9" Fr. 15.6 6.9 1.6 114.7 24.0%
PG Derryck Thornton 6'2" Fr. 11.9 3.9 4.1 109.4 21.6%
PF Amile Jefferson* 6'9" Sr. 10.2 8.6 1.3 126.2 17.8%
SG Matt Jones* 6'5" Jr. 9.5 3.4 1.3 116.5 16.8%
F-C Chase Jeter 6'10" Fr. 7.9 4.8 0.6 109.4 21.6%

*Starter

TOURNAMENT TRACKER

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

NCAA CHAMPS

TITLE GAME

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 64

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

'14--15

'15--16

PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (JONES)PHOTOLANCE KING/GETTY IMAGES (INGRAM)CHART