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Basketball Pre-season Preview: Duke

Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
By: Accsports Staff

November 11, 2002

Track Record

Year ACC Overall Postseason
1993 10-6 (3) 24-8 NCAA 2nd Round
1994 12-4 (1) 28-6 NCAA Runner-up
1995 2-14 (9) 13-18 None
1996 8-8 (4) 18-13 NCAA 1st Round
1997 12-4 (1) 24-9 NCAA 2nd Round
1998 15-1 (1) 32-4 NCAA Elite Eight
1999 16-0 (1x) 37-2 NCAA Runner-up
2000 15-1 (1x) 29-5 NCAA Sweet 16
2001 13-3 (1x) 35-4 NCAA Champion
2002 13-3 (2x) 31-4 NCAA Sweet 16

x — won ACC title

2002-03 Roster

Name Ht./Wt. Pos. Class
Andre Buckner 5-10/170 PG Sr.
Chris Duhon* 6-1/190 PG Sr.
Dahntay Jones* 6-6/210 WF Sr.
Casey Sanders 6-11/235 C Sr.
Nick Horvath 6-10/235 BF Jr.
Daniel Ewing 6-3/170 WG So.
Sean Dockery 6-2/175 PG Fr.
Lee Melchionni 6-6/215 WF Fr.
Shavlik Randolph 6-10/215 BF Fr.
J.J. Redick 6-4/200 WG Fr.
Michael Thompson 6-10/250 C Fr.
Shelden Williams 6-9/255 BF Fr.
  • — returning starter

Building Blocks
The Blue Devils are a bit light in this category for a team resoundingly picked by the ACC media to win the conference title. Basically, it's a three-player foundation. Junior point guard Chris Duhon, the (absurdly optimistic) choice for preseason player of the year in the league, averaged 8.9 points and 5.9 assists last season. Senior small forward Dahntay Jones (11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds) is a superior athlete and defender who worked hard this summer on his shot. Sophomore shooting guard Daniel Ewing (6.5 points), one of the best shooters in the league, worked on his defense during the offseason.

Other Key Returnees
Duke has just two other rotation candidates who played last season, but neither played much. Casey Sanders, a senior center best known for subbing suitably for the injured Carlos Boozer late in the 2000-01 national championship season, remains a great athlete whose potential goes untapped. Nick Horvath, a junior forward with a good shot but a history of injuries, scored 13 points in six minutes of a preseason exhibition against Team Nike and could be a spot starter this season.

Some Introductions
Duke has six freshmen, and all six will play — although center Michael Thompson and forward Lee Melchionni figure to be further down in the rotation than the other four. Only two of the rookies started in the preseason, but the following four could see similar minutes this year: big men Shavlik Randolph and Shelden Williams, the early starters, and backcourt reserves Sean Dockery and J.J. Redick. Randolph has been exquisite, displaying better athletic ability than people might have expected, along with the super inside-out skills everyone has heard about. Williams will become a better rebounder as he fills out, but already he's strong enough to be a 10-rebound guy on most nights. Dockery is quicker than Duhon, if that's possible, and is an entertaining passer and defender who clearly applies the best ball pressure on the team (which makes up for a so-so jumper). Redick is a sublime shooter who is in range almost the second he crosses halfcourt. Thompson is more skilled than Sanders but not as athletic. Melchionni looks like a potentially fabulous shooter who will need help getting open shots.

Also Worth Noting
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he expects to play eight or nine guys in his rotation, possibly more. In the exhibition against Team Nike, 10 players had seen action within the first 3:43. … The team picked up a late walk-on, 6-9, 225-pound forward Patrick Johnson of Georgia, to join holdovers Andy Borman and Andy Means. … Andre Buckner, a scholarship player who has almost never played in meaningful situations, is a valuable practice player who returns for his senior year. … Williams hit a three-pointer against Team Nike, and Krzyzewski said that was no fluke. … Reggie Love, the 6-5 football receiver who had filled a valuable reserve role in the post, isn't playing basketball this season. … Dockery and Duhon will play together at times, and woe to the opponent without two dependable ball-handlers.

CHART BY: THE DUKE INSIDER