Last season, the Blue Devils were hampered by a lack of depth. Head coach Mike Krzyzewski took care of that problem in a big way during the offseason, hauling in five players to compose the nation's second-best recruiting class, according to scout.com.
"Initially, they add spirit, enthusiasm and hard work," Krzyzewski said. "When they are doing that, they will pick up the other things. You're not going to learn it all at one time. When you have conscientious kids, they tend to stop at a point where they're not doing one of the things well, and they forget about all of the things that they do well. That is one of the keys for us is to remind them of what they are doing well."
Forward Josh McRoberts, one of the top-two freshmen in the country on most recruiting rankings, is the gem of Krzyzewski's class, and appears to be the only freshman that will start to begin the season. The 6-foot-10 McRoberts is a very effective shotblocker, rebounder and passes extremely well for his size. He is also remarkably athletic, as evidenced by his second-place showing at the McDonald's All-American Dunk Contest last year. McRoberts is more than capable of replacing the departed Shavlik Randolph as the team's power forward.
Two-sport star Greg Paulus terrorized both his high school football and basketball teams with his precision passing and sharp vision. Paulus' questionable defense will keep him out of the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, but his passing ability is too good to leave on the bench. He will likely receive substantial playing time as the top backup to starting point guard Sean Dockery, and may challenge him for his spot.
Of the other freshmen, power forward Jamal Boykin is most likely to contribute immediately. The 6-foot-7 Boykin is a fiery player who rebounds well for his size. His offensive skill set remains somewhat limited, but his work on the glass, defensive ability and energy could earn him the last bench spot in Duke's eight-man rotation.
The remaining two freshmen, Eric Boateng and Martynas Pocius, both possess tremendous potential. The 6-foot-10 Boateng is a long and athletic center with many of the physical attributes needed to become an All-ACC center someday. Pocius, a shooting guard, has athleticism to spare and an accurate long-range shot. Both, however, will need to refine their games somewhat before their abilities can be realized.
"I expect all of our freshmen to help us in some way," Krzyzewski said. "It's now just a matter of seeing how they do in practice. One of the best things about having a little bit more depth is that we actually can have a practice where two teams are going after one another."
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