After the abrupt end to the 2019-20 season that saw both the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duke men’s basketball team returned to campus Sunday to begin preparation for the 2020-21 campaign.
The players reported to the Washington Duke Inn where they underwent COVID-19 screening and checked into their rooms to begin a mandatory quarantine period. The team will meet with coaches and staff tonight via Zoom, and have other virtual meetings throughout the week with Duke Athletics staff to review academics, compliance, nutrition, behavioral health and other areas.
“It’s exciting,” said junior forward Joey Baker. “Obviously things are different and there are different guidelines we have to follow to keep everyone safe. But it’s just great to be back around and see all the guys that I haven’t seen in five months, meet the new teammates and hopefully get back to work pretty soon.”
Later this week, the team is scheduled to begin individual medical testing to include MRI screening, biomechanical assessments and VO2 max testing, with combine testing set for the end of the week.
The Blue Devils welcome seven returnees and will introduce seven newcomers to the fold for the upcoming season – the program’s 116th all-time and the 41st under Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Sophomore forward Matthew Hurt (9.7 ppg, .393 three-point pct.), sophomore forward Wendell Moore Jr. (7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg), Baker (5.0 ppg, .394 three-point pct.) and senior guard Jordan Goldwire (4.7 ppg, 2.3 apg) lead the list of returnees, while the incoming freshman class was ranked No. 2 nationally by ESPN.com.
Duke finished 25-6 in the abbreviated 2019-20 season and was ranked No. 11 in the final AP Poll and No. 8 in the final USA Today Coaches poll. The Blue Devils have been ranked in 83 consecutive AP Polls, the second-longest active streak in the nation.