Duke basketball: 5 questions the Blue Devils must answer in 2020-2021

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

1. Duke questions: Who will be the Blue Devils’ leader?

One of the big challenges with having a team that is primarily run by freshmen is a lack of leadership. Duke did win a national championship with freshmen like Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones in 2015, but that team had strong upperclassmen as well like Quinn Cook and Amile Jefferson.

That leadership component isn’t nearly as important during the regular season as it is in March when freshmen experience the pressure of one-and-done situations for the first time. Freshmen-led teams winning the NCAA Tournament have been the exception, not the rule, as squads like Virginia and Villanova have claimed titles over the past few years.

Duke had the potential of upper-class leadership last season with sophomore Tre Jones, but he is off to the NBA now. Seniors Javin DeLaurier and Jack White graduated while Alex O’Connell, who would have been a senior this season, transferred out.

The only senior with a meaningful role on Duke’s roster is Jordan Goldwire, who likely won’t be starting this season. Grad transfer Tape brings experience to the locker room as well, but he hasn’t played in an NCAA Tournament game in his career.

Figuring out who the leader of this team will be is absolutely critical if Duke wants to take a legitimate swing at a national championship. The Blue Devils certainly have the talent to win it all, but without finding true leadership this group could potentially fall short of the Final Four once again.

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