Duke's men's basketball program got some anticipated good news this morning, when it was announced that Amile Jefferson had received his medical hardship waiver. The Blue Devils' senior forward, who missed most of the 2015-16 season with a foot injury, is eligible for the 2016-17 season.
">@AmileJefferson will be BACK and we're feeling like pic.twitter.com/swbQem3I8x
— Duke Basketball (@dukeblueplanet) April 22, 2016
How good could Coach K's team be in Jefferson's final year with the program? Scary good. Duke will likely be the No. 1 team in everyone's preseason top 25. The Blue Devils return Jefferson, first-team All-ACC guard Grayson Allen, Matt Jones, Luke Kennard and Chase Jeter, among others. They bring in the No. 2 recruiting class in the country, highlighted by two top-five players: five-star forwards Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum. They were a Sweet 16 a year ago and anything short of a Final Four appearance in 2017 will probably be seen as a disappointment. Here's what Duke's starting five and rotation could look like next season:
- PG - Freshman Frank Jackson, a five-star recruit.
- SG - Junior Grayson Allen, a potential All-American.
- SF - Freshman Jayson Tatum, a five-star recruit.
- PF - Senior Amile Jefferson
- C - Harry Giles, a five-star recruit.
Giles is viewed as a power forward, but both him and Jefferson are probably locks to start, so this is probably the lineup Coach K will roll out on opening night. The bench will look like this:
- Senior Matt Jones
- Sophomore Luke Kennard
- Sophomore Chase Jeter
- Freshman Javin DeLaurier, a four-star recruit
- Freshman Jack White, a three-star recruit
Duke is also in contention to land five-star center Marques Bolden. The 6-foot-11, 250-pound prospect out of Texas is likely to decide between the Blue Devils and Kentucky sometime soon.
">April 22, 2016
Bolden is a starter-quality player, but due to Jefferson and Giles both being on the roster, he'd likely come off the bench.
Duke will simply be the most talented team in the country in 2016-17.
We can't wait to watch.