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The Chronicle's Duke men's basketball 2018-19 season preview

Welcome to the 114th season of Duke men's basketball. Another season brings hopes of another national title, less than eight months removed from a fateful two inches that nearly sent the Blue Devils to last year's Final Four.

As we have been for so many years, The Chronicle is back to bring you the best of the Blue Devils. We will criss-cross the country, going all the way from New York to Maui, as head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his young Duke team set their sights on Minneapolis and more.

To get you introduced to this group of Blue Devils, we start with the nation's top-ranked recruiting class. R.J Barrett, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones got to know each other well before they came to Durham, but it was a process that stretched across many months.

Speaking of Williamson, he's known for his high-flying jams—but there's more to the chiseled freshman. Coach K has called him "the most unique athlete" he's ever coached and Duke's players have described Williamson as both "humble" and "a goofball." 

And although the Blue Devils may have a future No. 1 draft pick in Barrett and a YouTube sensation in Williamson, Reddish may be the guy who fits perfectly within Duke's run-and-gun offense.

As far as that offense, the Blue Devils plan to try something new this season. Think a mix of the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets and you'll get Duke's five-out motion attack. It's a little NBA flair that could transform Coach K's future teams in Durham.

So who starts alongside the four freshmen? Captains Jack White and Javin DeLaurier certainly make a compelling case, but junior Marques Bolden has gotten the nod in both of the Blue Devils' exhibitions and Alex O'Connell could provide a shooting threat that none of the other starters truly provide.

White and DeLaurier will have to shoulder a major load this season—neither has ever played a big on-court role, but as captains, they have the extra task of bringing together a young group. But they've opened their doors, literally. And Coach K should have some extra help in leading this team with a reshaped coaching staff following the departure of top associate Jeff Capel, who headed to Pittsburgh in the offseason.

In all of this, don't forget about a guy who may not see much time on the court for Duke this season. Joey Baker, the final piece of the Blue Devil freshman class, opted to reclassify and come to college a year early in order to practice and learn alongside some of the best young ballers right now. Does his situation provide a case study for future high-schoolers considering an early jump to college?

If you aren't already, follow us on Twitter @dukebasketball or on Facebook at the Duke Chronicle's page. Keep your eyes peeled for the second season of Cameron Chronicles, our podcast which will soon have new episodes up on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other sites. And sign up here for our Overtime newsletter, which will pop into your inbox this Monday and every Monday throughout the season.

This season, The Chronicle is launching a subscription-based service for the first time ever. We have created a Facebook group for the most attentive Duke men's basketball viewers with exclusive content and analysis. We want to create an engaging community for those who care about the program and want to discuss it with others like them. Sign up here (scroll to the bottom)! It's completely free for students. 

Of course, check back here as often as you want—our great content will always be free and available at The stage is set for another exciting season of Duke basketball and we're looking forward to bringing you more of the best coverage of the Blue Devils you'll find anywhere.


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