Three Things to Look For Ahead of Duke’s Countdown to Craziness Tonight


As any well-informed Duke Blue Devils’ fan knows, tonight is the official kickoff of the new season for the Duke basketball team. Duke is coming off a National Championship and they have to replace stars such as Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones as well as Quinn Cook. Tonight is all about fun and fans getting their first taste of the Blue Devils this year. The festivities include the unvealing of the 2015 National Championship Banner, the Blue-White scrimmage and a dunk contest. Is there anything to look for during the scrimmage? Usually there is not because this is strictly a scrimmage to showcase the player’s skills, like an all-star game. But everything has some kind of meaning. Here are some things to look for. 

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1. The Newcomers

Freshmen are the rage in college basketball. They win and lose you games, as showcased last season. Duke has a whole new crop of exciting and talented youngsters that are ready to put their mark on the historic Duke program. Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard, Derryck Thornton and Chase Jeter are the headliners but it is the under-the-radar freshmen that you should really keep an eye on.

Antonio Vrankovic is a massive 7’1, 270 pounder from Delray Beach, Florida. Now I would not count on young Vrankovic is make a massive impact this season but tonight I would watch for his fundamentals, footwork and how competent he looks with high level athletes on the floor.

Another newcomer that everyone should keep their eyes on is Rice transfer, sophomore Sean Obi. Obi is capable of averaging a double-double this year as he has high skill level in the post as well as being a tenacious rebounder. Obi has not seen college action for over a year because of the transfer rules and I am sure he will want to go out and show the fans why Coach K wanted him so badly.

2. Recruiting

Countdown to Craziness is not just about this upcoming year but also about the future. Duke is expected to host 2016 commits Jayson Tatum and Javin DeLaurier as well as 2017 recruits Wendell Carter and Gary Trent Jr. Look for Carter and Trent Jr. to potentially commit tonight as the hype and hoopla of the event is sometimes just the spark needed to pull the trigger. They have also been rumored to be Duke leans for many months.

3. The Leaders of the Team

While the core of the championship team from last year is gone, there are returning players such as title game hero, Grayson Allen, as well as reliable players Matt Jones, Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee. These four will be responsible for guiding the freshmen in the early parts of the year. Each of them showed the heart of a champion last year and Duke will need that same sort of heart this year. Look for these four to command and dictate the communication between the team.

Remember folks the goal of tonight is to HAVE FUN! Let’s start off the year with a bang and get crazy!