Sport: In this new era of Duke basketball, an 'old fashioned' throwback to teams past - - PressFrom - US
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Sport In this new era of Duke basketball, an 'old fashioned' throwback to teams past

03:15  24 september  2019
03:15  24 september  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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DURHAM, N.C. — Like the operator of a carnival tilt-a-whirl, albeit with presumably less vomit to clean up, Mike Krzyzewski has once again ushered one class of freshmen off the Duke basketball roller coaster and guided another one aboard.

a man standing in front of a crowd: Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski instructs his players during the first half against Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament at the Specturm Center in Charlotte, N.C., on March 14, 2019.© Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski instructs his players during the first half against Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament at the Specturm Center in Charlotte, N.C., on March 14, 2019.

After almost a decade of this, it’s not even considered noteworthy anymore, merely accepted, like the changing of the seasons or the waxing and waning of the moon.

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Talent arrives and goes for a spin. Talent exits. More talent arrives. It will shortly exit.

It is the routine now. However many years Krzyzewski, 72, will continue to coach, and he shows no signs of slowing, this is how he’s going to do it. After a decade of this, it’s the subtle differences that stand out now, like the variance between vintages of the same wine.

This jump from season to season may be the biggest of them all, thanks in part to the departure of Zion Williamson, who spent his one season of college basketball destroying rims and opposing defenders and his own shoes, a meteor that went streaking across the sky only too fast. But this team will be a departure not only from Williamson and RJ Barrett but Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. before them.

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There isn’t that NBA-ready star choosing to take the year he’s forced to spend in college basketball at Duke, the ball-dominant human isolation play like Williamson or Bagley. And there’s more left behind, whether that’s back-for-more sophomore point guard Tre Jones or senior role players like Javin DeLaurier and Jack White, the latter a bit of an endangered species at Duke in this era of one-and-done players and the transfer portal.

Williamson is gone, taking the traveling circus with him. Mike Buckmire, the walk-on who became Zion’s sidekick, is still here, back in the shadows, albeit with a scholarship for his trouble.

There’s talent in this freshman class, to be sure, starting with rangy swingman Matthew Hurt and a traditional post player in Vernon Carey. But it’s a different mix, one where the freshmen are expected to adapt to the program rather than the other way around.

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While Duke has been a mainstay at the top of college basketball since then, the Terps have spent the last “We are aware of the situation regarding men’s head basketball coach Jason Gardner and are looking into the circumstances Pitino is another guy where it is hard to believe he’s just 36 years old .

3. Duke is the new one-and-done hotbed. The days of floor slapping aren't exactly over, but last season's national championship run was a product of a different era of Duke basketball — one that was spearheaded by three one-and-done players in lottery picks Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow

“They’re a little bit younger,” Krzyzewski said. “They’re good. But they’re not as savvy as like an RJ or Zion were.”

Krzyzewski has always prided himself on tweaking his offense and defense to match the talent at hand, something less noticeable in years past when those players often looked a lot like the players from the year before, and would look the same the year after. In this revolving-door era, the swings can be dizzying from season to season, from the defense-optional, high-low game of Bagley and Carter to the high-pressure, perimeter slashing of Williamson and Barrett, both teams that came within a basket of the Final Four but followed wildly different paths to get there.

And now, another departure: Without that nucleus of white-hot talent, this team is a bit of a — dare we say — throwback?

The words Krzyzewski used to describe this group on Monday — “balanced,” “old-fashioned” — suggest a return to a more traditional approach, largely by necessity, one that melds veteran experience with raw talent in more equal measures, one where the point guard is the unquestioned star charged with creating opportunities for his teammates, not handing the ball over to a lottery pick and getting open in case the ball happens to come back his way, where defense is part of the foundation, not a crack to be papered over.

“Hopefully we can play really good defense, team defense,” Krzyzewski said. “We’ll have more guys capable of playing, I think, at the level we need to in order to win.”

The “new” way of doing things at Duke is hardly new anymore. Even so, this team appears to straddle some blurry dividing line between past and present, everything old becoming new again, as it always does.

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©2019 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

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Brakefield becomes Duke's 4th 5-star commit for 2020 .
aemyn Brakefield announced his commitment to the Blue Devils on Friday, just one day after Duke offered him a scholarship. Jaemyn Brakefield announced his commitment to the Blue Devils on Friday, just one day after Duke offered him a scholarship.

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