Following the departure of Austin Rivers to the NBA and the graduation of senior Miles Plumlee, the Blue Devils have two considerable holes to fill in their rotation. Duke will be a fairly experienced team next year, with five seniors, two juniors, and four sophomores. All five seniors were freshmen on the last Duke team to win the NCAA Tournament, and both juniors played on the squad with Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith, and Kyle Singler that lost in the Sweet Sixteen to the Derrick Williams-led Arizona Wildcats.
Duke has already secured a letter-of-intent from Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston, TX, Strake Jesuit College Prep), who is currently ranked as the third-best shooting guard in the class of 2016. Standing at 6’3″ and weighing 175 pounds, Sulaimon will be competing with senior guards Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry for playing time at both guard spots, and will be expected to provide some much-needed scoring punch following the departure of Rivers. Duke is still in the mix for the #1 player in the country, Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas, NV, Bishop Gorman High School), who could serve as a Grant Hill-like player for the Blue Devils, a long, athletic perimeter player who would start right away and impact the game on both the offensive and defensive sides of the floor. Duke is also recruiting to big men, Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia, PA, Friends Central High School), and Tony Parker (Lithonia, GA, Miller Grove High School). Jefferson and Parker, who are 6’7″ and 6’9″ respectively, would be able to fill the void that Miles Plumlee left, as rim-protectors that would also be expected rebound and finish plays.
According to ESPN, last year Duke had the #2 recruiting class behind Kentucky, signing five ESPNU 100 players. Though the Blue Devils have only secured one commitment so far, the addition of Muhammad, Jefferson and Parker would easily propel the incoming Blue Devil class into the top-10 nationally, and could establish the foundation for an elite Duke team for years to come.