Duke Basketball: Why the 2018-19 Blue Devils deserve undivided attention

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) /

Stressing over what the 2019-20 Duke basketball roster may look like is cutting into the time that could be better spent by embracing the crazy-talented Blue Devils on campus right now.

Full-on worrywart mode. Many fans, myself included, have reached this point when thinking about the Duke basketball coaches’ lack of a 2019 recruiting class.

Considering that within the past decade, until now, never has the month of October arrived without at least one of the Blue Devils’ targets to have announced that he will join the next season’s squad, it’s totally understandable for many of us to let despair consume our fandom — not all fans have, though, as some of you persistently keep your pom-poms raised to the sky no matter how gloomy the forecast appears to the cynics.

But seeing that it is now October and the better-than-any-before-it 2018 recruiting class is less than five weeks away from debuting in its entirety — against Kentucky on Nov. 6 in Indianapolis — shouldn’t the minds of Duke fans be filled with nothing other than peace, love, and happiness?


Personally, I’m fed up with the unnecessary sorrow stemming from Duke’s recent losses in recruiting battles. The last straw came on Tuesday as I noticed fans on Twitter and message boards put their woe-is-us feelings on full display after 2019 combo guard Anthony Harris announced his commitment to Virginia Tech.

What sense does this make?

After all, he’s just a four-star recruit — ranked just No. 64 on the 247Sports Composite — who likely didn’t even receive an offer from Mike Krzyzewski and his staff during his official visit last weekend.

So what’s the big deal?

Well, pessimists (confession: I’m often one of them) might be wondering why Coach K and Co. are at this point not just trying to snag anyone — regardless of star level — just to get the ball rolling on the 2019 class.

But who cares?

Forget about that. And remember this: Zion Williamson is in Durham.

And so is R.J. Barrett. Cam Reddish. Tre Jones. Joey Baker. Jack White. Marques Bolden. Javin DeLaurier. Alex O’Connell. Jordan Goldwire. Antonio Vrankovic. Justin Robinson.

We should all spend more time studying these names than concerning ourselves with the names of prospects who may never even end up as Blue Devils. Because by the time April rolls around, history might just be remembering the above names as national champions.

Whose mind isn’t blown — and workday often interrupted — when daydreaming about the sky-is-the-limit possibilities of the current Duke roster?

Why would any sane fan let anything distract from that excitement?

No longer.

More from Ball Durham

That being said, it doesn’t mean that there should no longer be recruiting coverage on this site or any other. It also doesn’t mean that the world of Twitter and discussion forums shouldn’t contain opinions about Duke’s recruiting.

But as you discuss recruiting, just remember that winning invariably solves everything. And the 2018-19 team is likely to do plenty of that in such a way that will frequently force spectators to pick their jaws up off the floor.

Also, almost all of the games will be televised for all of America — including high school phenoms — to see. Assuming the Duke basketball team advances to the final of the Maui Invitational, 28 of its 31 regular-season contests will be on either ESPN, ESPN2, or ESPNU.

And just to whet appetites and further convince fans to forget about recruiting for a moment, here are a few predictions of what will occur during the 2018-19 season and beyond:

  • The high-flying acrobatics and beyond-their-years basketball talents of Williamson, Barrett, Reddish, and Jones this season will do plenty to make wearing a Duke jersey remain fashionable in future seasons.
  • Teenagers — including potential future Blue Devils — will be admiring them from afar while taking notice of the four-letter word displayed on the front of their chests.
  • After all four leave for the NBA — a likely occurrence for all four after just one college season — they will become invaluable ambassadors for the program.
  • It will be an absolute delight to watch the youngsters on this team learn The Duke Way on the fly while banding together with the veterans.
  • When leaving after home games, fans will often be contemplating whether what they just watched was the greatest show ever performed in the history of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
  • There will be hiccups. But the unselfish characters of the guys on this squad — obvious to any viewers of the five episodes of Duke Blue Planet released so far — will ensure that the Blue Devils find a way to persevere.

In summary, none of us have a clue what the far-off future holds. What is far easier to see, though, is what lies just ahead.

And, from this fan’s perspective, the soon-to-be-present season is sure to frequently provide some of the most beautiful sights these two eyes have ever seen. And I’m choosing, here and now, to let no recruiting news — good or bad — get in the way of embracing them all.

dark. Next. Top five small forwards of the Coach K era

However, still stay tuned to Ball Durham for frequent Duke basketball recruiting updates, analysis, opinions, and predictions.