DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s basketball team debuted at No. 5 in the preseason Associated Press Poll, released Monday afternoon.
Duke has been ranked in an NCAA-best 156 consecutive AP polls, the second-longest stretch in program history and the seventh-longest in NCAA history.
Seven teams on the Blue Devils’ 2015-16 schedule are ranked in the preseason AP poll, with six additional teams on the slate among the others receiving votes.
Duke returns six letterwinners from last year’s national title team, headlined by captains Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones and Marshall Plumlee.
Jefferson has played in more than 100 games in a Duke uniform with nearly 60 starts, and owns career averages of 5.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while his .614 career field goal percentage ranks second in program history (min. 200 field goals made). Jones established himself as a perimeter threat on offense and a lockdown defender in 2014-15, increasing his scoring output by more than four points per game from his freshman season, while Plumlee has seen his playing time increase in each of his three seasons with the Blue Devils as a high-energy big man off the bench.
Duke also returns sophomore Grayson Allen, a breakout star in the latter portion of last season, while classmate Sean Obi is set to take the floor after sitting out the 2014-15 season as a transfer from Rice.
For the second year in a row, Duke’s recruiting class topped the ESPN RecruitingNation rankings, as Brandon Ingram, Chase Jeter, Luke Kennard, Derryck Thornton and Antonio Vrankovic headline a seven-man class of newcomers. Ingram, Jeter and Kennard were McDonald’s All-Americans in 2015, and Thornton was considered a frontrunner to make the 2016 game before reclassifying.
Allen was recently named to the preseason watch list for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award and Ingram was selected for the preseason watch list for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.
Duke opens the regular season on Nov. 13 when it hosts Siena as part of the 2K Classic benefitting Wounded Warrior Project. Prior to the regular-season opener, the Blue Devils will host and exhibition game against Livingstone on Nov. 4.