November 11, 2002
|1993||10-6 (3)||24-8||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1994||12-4 (1)||28-6||NCAA Runner-up|
|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
- returning starter
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.
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