The Duke Blue Devils got even more good news on Thursday when five-star center Marques Bolden picked the school over Kentucky. Bolden, who ranks as the top center in the class, now gives the Blue Devils the No. 1 class overall, edging out John Calipari and Kentucky.
With Bolden’s pledge the Blue Devils will now feature a roster with nine five-star prospects. That type of talent all under one roof is a great thing for any college coach. Mike Krzyzewski is as accomplished as any coach in any sport, and his coaching combined with talent and depth is looking like a scary thing for college basketball next season.
Now the question becomes, is there something that could stop the Blue Devils from a truly historic season next year?
We recently saw Kentucky go undefeated all the way to the Final Four before losing, which qualified as the longest undefeated stretch in one season in college basketball history, and expectations are going to be equal to that for Duke next season.
When you look at it from a simple talent perspective the Blue Devils have it all. They have knockdown shooters in Matt Jones, Luke Kennard, and Grayson Allen. They have low post scorers in Bolden and Harry Giles, they have versatile athletes in Jayson Tatum and Frank Jackson, and then they have experience and leadership with Amile Jefferson.
Quite simply there is nothing more a coach could want. Maybe the point guard depth leaves a little to be desired behind Jackson, but that is nitpicking.
If backup point guard is your only personnel problem, things are looking really good. In reality however there is another problem, and that is that there is only one basketball.
There is no questioning Coach K as a tactician, motivator, or psychologist, so in reality this might not end up being a problem, but if you have to pick one thing that could slow Duke down next year it would be finding a way to keep everybody involved and happy.
Jackson is a ball dominant player, Tatum is an extremely ball dominant player, and Allen also needs numerous dribbles to be effective. Add in that Giles will expect to get touches, and Bolden will want to score as well, and at least early on finding the chemistry for this ultra-talented team will be the biggest question that the Blue Devils have.
Given Krzyzewski’s clout with his players one has to think that he will find a way to make this work, and this is absolutely the definition of “first world problems”, but it can be a problem none the less.
Assuming Duke can figure out their chemistry early on, we could be looking at another historic run next season. Common sense and history tell us that the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers don’t have to worry about their undefeated mark for an entire season being matched, but the Blue Devils at least right now have the look of a team that could be remembered as one of the great ones in college basketball.