It has been unusually quiet this summer for Duke Basketball Fans, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of action going on behind the scenes.
The offseason began in a very inauspicious manner when Duke fell to Lehigh in the first (second) round of the NCAA Tournament. The bad news continued with the departure of Austin Rivers, though many Blue Devil fans feel that was a good thing. Duke missed on seemingly all of their top recruiting targets and then rising senior Andre Dawkins elected to considering taking a redshirt.
At that point there were far more questions surrounding next year’s team and Summer hadn’t even begun. Mike Krzyzewski would be heading to London to lead USA Basketball in an attempt at back to back Olympic Gold medals, and there was still one recruiting target remaining in Amile Jefferson and a lot of Duke fans, myself included, weren’t all that hopeful.
But at about that point things started turning around for Duke. Mason Plumlee announced he would stay for his senior years, Jefferson chose to become a Blue Devil and then Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood followed his childhood dream and become a Duke Basketball player.
All of that came in a tumultuous spring and a very active first half of summer. Now, from a headline perspective, it is all quiet on the Duke front, or at least it seems that way.
Krzyzewski begins his quest for another gold medal this weekend. Back in Durham assistants Jeff Capel and Nate James are active on the recruiting trail having recently added Theo Pinson as well as Justise Winslow to the list of targets for the class of 2014 which has grown to four. The class of 2013 list has ballooned to 11 with only one commitment so far so Duke still has its work cut out for them.
Duke fans have relaxed a little bit with none of the bigger targets set to make any decisions anytime soon. The Blue Devils are high on a lot of targets and while Krzyzewski is away it is up to James and Capel to keep Duke on the mind of thoe recruits, as the head coaches of the other schools continue their pursuit.
The program tournaments as well as the AAU circuit are already in full swing. Duke has several players who have played or are playing in international competitions. Alex Murphy was impressive in his stint with the Finish National team. Marshall Plumlee and Quinn Cook will be taking their games to Estonia in a four nation competition appropriately called the Four Nations Cup.
So, with the experience these guys are picking up it can only be a good thing for next year’s team.
The mood around Duke Basketball though seems very relaxed as fans are excited about the prospect of next years teams especially with the news guys and what they can possibly bring. But I guess that is better than the tension and questions that could be surrounding the program especially after another early exit from the NCAA Tournament.
It really seems like just a bad dream at this point and fans are free to watch the Olympics and even start thinking about football, even Duke Football.