Coach: Mike Krzyzewski
USA Today: 2
Heading into the 2014-2015 season, Duke was considered one of the best teams in the country. Nine games into the season for the Blue Devils, and they still are one of the top teams. They have been considered by many analysts to be in the top tier of teams along with Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
In every game this season, Duke has won by double digits including 10-point victories over Michigan State and Wisconsin. Ranked 19th at the time, Michigan State could not contain senior Quinn Cook, who led all scorers with 19 in the Blue Devils' 81-71 victory. Playing at No. 2 Wisconsin, Duke had its best shooting performance of the year, going 65 percent from the field, including shooting 71 percent in the second half in their 80-70 win. Freshman Tyus Jones led the team with 22 points on 7 of 11 shooting.
Statistically, Duke ranks very high in points, assists and field goal percentage. They are averaging 87.6 points per game, which currently ranks third in the nation, while averaging 18.4 assists per game, which ranks ninth in the nation. The Blue Devils shoot the ball at an extremely high percentage at 53.7 percent which ranks third.
While Duke has not had a ton of success with heralded freshmen in the past couple of years, this team is different. Mike Krzyzewski is fortunate to have the combination of talented freshmen to go along with the experience of upperclassmen. The Blue Devils start three freshmen to go along with one junior and one senior, while they have another experienced junior as their sixth man in Rasheed Sulaimon.
Overall, they go seven deep – eight if you want to include junior Marshall Plumlee who plays 10.9 minutes per game. Sophomore Matt Jones, the second player off the bench, is averaging 6.6 points in 18.2 minutes per game while shooting 10-for-22 from 3-point range.
No. 15 Jahlil Okafor, Freshman, Center (6-11, 270): Leads team in points (18), rebounds (9) and blocks (1.7) per game. The top recruit in the Class of 2014, Okafor has lived up to the hype and will probably be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He has a variety of post moves once he gets the ball on the block and has the ability to face-up and knock down a 15-footer. The big man has been compared to Tim Duncan by some analysts, and CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein said that Okafor is the best center in college since Wake Forest's Tim Duncan. Like Duncan did in college, Okafor has an extremely high shooting percentage at 65.5 percent, which ranks 21st in the nation. His Achilles' heel, however, is that he is only shooting 50 percent from the free-throw line. The freshman is coming off his best game of the season, a 25-point, 20-rebound performance in a win over Elon.
No. 2 Quinn Cook, Senior, Guard (6-2, 185): The team's only senior, he leads Duke in minutes at 31.2 per game. Cook is off to a hot start this season averaging 14.3 points with 3.7 assists while committing only one turnover per game. The senior is shooting the ball extremely well, shooting 50 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from three. He does not miss much from the free throw line either, shooting 92.9 percent. Cook was the team's point guard the past two seasons, but has slid more into a shooting guard role with the addition of Jones. While Cook will still handle the ball, the move to shooting guard has been a success for him as he is a great shooter, knocking down at least one three in every game this season. He has scored in double figures in all but one game so far this season.
No. 12 Justise Winslow, Freshman, Forward (6-6, 225): Another top recruit, Winslow's best quality is his defense. While he is averaging 12.0 points per game this season, he is known to be an excellent wing defender with his 6-foot-6-inch frame. A year ago, Winslow was considered the most impressive defensive player on the all-star circuit. To go along with his defense, he is a great rebounder (4.4 rebounds per game this season), and does very well in transition and driving the basketball. Winslow has not been a great shooter this season as he is only shooting 36.7 percent from three. While he has had some struggles on offense, Coach K recognizes his impact as a great defender as he has played over 30 minutes in Duke's three biggest games this season against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Stanford.
No. 5 Tyus Jones, Freshman, Guard (6-1, 190): The third top recruit for Krzyzewski, Jones has proved himself as one of the better point guards in the country. He is averaging 9.8 points with 5.6 assists and 1.6 steals, both of which lead the Blue Devils. The 6-foot-1-inch guard is 9-for-25 from three on the season and is another great free throw shooter at 81.6 percent. Jones can change speed, shoot and drive to the hoop at very high level, and most importantly, he has been a proven winner. He has won in high school, AAU and at the international level. So far this season, the trend has continued for Duke's newest point guard. Jones scored 17 points against Michigan State and took over late in the victory over Wisconsin, scoring 22 points.
No. 21 Amile Jefferson, Junior, Forward, (6-9, 215): Has been able to slide over to the power forward position this season with the addition of Okafor. Jefferson is off to a great start this season, averaging 9.3 points and 7.9 rebounds. He is shooting a ridiculous 71.4 percent from the field which ranks fifth in the nation among those who have qualified. Jefferson is an excellent offensive rebounder. Almost half of his rebounds this season have come on the offensive end. Jefferson has scored in double figures three times this season, including a 16-point, 12-rebound performance against Furman on 8 of 9 shooting.
No. 14 Rasheed Sulaimon, Junior, Guard (6-5, 195): Duke's sixth man this season, he is averaging 7.8 points and 2.1 assists while shooting 8-for-21 from three. Sulaimon has had an up-and-down career at Duke and was mostly in Krzyzewski's doghouse last season. He will constantly have to prove himself to the coaching staff for the rest of his time at Duke and can potentially do that on the defensive end. Sulaimon's best attribute on defense is his ability to pressure the ball as he is very quick. He has scored in double figures in Duke's last three games, including a 14-point performance against Wisconsin on 5 of 8 shooting, 2 of 3 from deep.
Krzyzewski is in his 35 season with the Blue Devils where he is 919-247. Before Duke, he spent five years at Army where he went 73-59. Overall, "Coach K" is 992-306 and is the all-time winningest coach in Division I men's basketball. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Krzyzewski has won four national championships at Duke and has made the NCAA tournament every year since 1983, with the exception of 1995, when Krzyzewski missed the second half of the season due to back surgery. Duke finished that season 13-18 after starting 9-3.
Krzyzewski has also won two gold medals as the head coach of the United States Olympic men's basketball team.