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Steve Wiseman | The Herald-Sun | October 23, 2016

No. 1 Duke prepares for season of lofty expectations

  Coach Mike Krzyzewski wants the talented No. 1 Blue Devils to "stay hungry" throughout the season.

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke's talented basketball team made more than half of the 3-pointers they attempted during a 20-minute intra-squad scrimmage at Saturday night's Countdown to Craziness event.

The Blue Devils had depth in the post, allowing them to defend and rebound there as well.

In short, Duke had all of the things you'd expect the nation's No. 1 team to have as it enters a season filled with lofty expectations.

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When the play was done, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski grabbed a microphone to address jam-packed Cameron Indoor Stadium.

He had a message about expectations and achievements.

"I hope we don't take anything for granted," Krzyzewski said, "and stay hungry."

That remains to be seen, but as Duke prepares for its first exhibition game this Friday against Virginia State, the Blue Devils are clearly a talented bunch.

Veterans Amile Jefferson, Grayson Allen and Matt Jones are all back to lead the team. They were part of the 2015 NCAA championship team.

A freshman class that features smooth swing man Jayson Tatum, shifty guard Frank Jackson and talented big men Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier provide a huge influx of talent.

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Duke is so good it looked strong even with 6-foot-10 Harry Giles, another freshman, not playing because he is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month.

"We have good talent," Krzyzewski said. "It looked like a real game instead of a Countdown to Craziness."

Giles, Krzyzewski said, is recovering better than expected from the knee surgery. Duke is still taking it slow with him this preseason.

The other freshmen showed plenty of ability.

Over the first eight minutes, Jackson and Tatum took eight shots between them for their respective teams and made them all.

Tatum, playing on the White team in the scrimmage, finished with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Jackson, on the Blue team, scored 12 on 5-of-8 shooting.

Combined, the two teams made 12 of 23 3-pointers as the White team topped the Blue 52-37.

"Our kids love one another," Krzyzewski said. "You can tell they are having fun playing together."

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The only moment that wasn't fun during the night came late in the scrimmage when Allen dived for a loose ball near midcourt and hit Jefferson, whose knee bent awkwardly.

Cameron fell silent but Jefferson eventually ran off the court in no discomfort. He later returned to finish the scrimmage.

"I really felt he wasn't going to be hurt," Krzyzewski said. "He was more scared."

This article was written by Steve Wiseman from The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

 

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