With four of the eight scholarship players who took Duke on a run to its fifth national title in April having moved on, Mike Krzyzewski’s team will have a much different look in 2015-16. Duke did manage to add one of the top recruiting classes in the country (and Rice transfer Sean Obi is eligible, too), and with returnees Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee expected to serve as leaders the Blue Devils are expected to once again be a national title contender.
But with all of those new pieces the team is still a work in progress, which isn’t an issue given the fact that we’re in mid-October. Saturday Duke held its annual “Countdown to Craziness” event at Cameron Indoor Stadium, unveiling their newest national championship banner and also holding an intrasquad scrimmage.
The scrimmage consisted of two 12-minute periods, with Allen (four rebounds, three steals) and Jefferson (seven rebounds) leading the way offensively with 13 points apiece. Freshman guard Luke Kennard added 12 points in his Cameron debut and forward Chase Jeter tallied 11 points and a team-best nine rebounds. Marshall Plumlee scored in double figures as well, finishing with ten points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Above are the top five plays from the scrimmage, courtesy of Duke Athletics.
Duke will rely on Derryck Thornton Jr. and Luke Kennard — two five-star guards from the Class of 2015 — this season in the back court, playing alongside Grayson Allen and Matt Jones.
On Thursday night, Thornton, the only true point guard on the roster, cleared the 6-foot-5 Kennard for a one-handed dunk. The right hand may have helped Thornton complete the slam, but it’s still impressive athleticism for floor general known for his high IQ.
Earlier this offseason, Brandon Ingram, the team’s top incoming freshman, showed off his hops in vertical jump testing, leaving his teammates stunned.
Duke opens the 2015-16 season on Nov. 13 against Siena.
Duke rising freshman Luke Kennard was named the Parade National Player of the Year on Friday, capping a very decorated career for the Ohio native.
The 6-foot-5 Kennard is the third consecutive future Blue Devil to receive the honor after Jahlil Okafor and Semi Ojeleye won the same honors the past two years.
Kennard led Franklin High School to a 26-2 record during his senior season as he averaged 38.4 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists per game. He also shot 59 percent from the field, 49 percent from 3-point range and 89 percent from the free-throw line. During his senior season, Kennard had five 50-point games.
Also a participant in the McDonald’s All-American Game, Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Brand Classic, Kennard had a very busy spring and this award caps off a tremendous high school career before he heads to the ACC next season.
Kennard joins a deep Duke 2015 recruiting haul that includes five-star wing Brandon Ingram, five-star big man Chase Jeter, reclassified five-star point guard Derryck Thornton, and three-star big men Antonio Vrankovic and Justin Robinson.