The projected Duke basketball starting five for next season

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A self-proclaimed Duke basketball clairvoyant has already released the names of the program’s next crop of starters.

Whether months beforehand, just before the first game, or at any point during the season, no writer or fan anywhere accurately identified the 2019-20 Duke basketball team’s full-time starting five.

That’s because there never was one. And that’s not because of bumps and bruises; no, the Blue Devils were lucky on the injury front. Instead, Mike Krzyzewski strategically coached the group to a 25-6 record, rolling out 14 different lineups for tipoffs along the way. Eleven players each saw at least one start. Each selection reflected the staff’s responses to hot hands and opponents’ strengths.

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Next season, there could be more of the same approach. But let’s assume for the purpose of this article that continuity in this regard will return. Or we could just say this isn’t so much a list of Dukies who look to begin all the games on the court but, rather, who will be the most frequent starters at their positions. Or you could say it’s the collection that will emerge by March (you get the point).

While Twitter prophets still argue what the roster makeup will be, Ball Durham holds the most wondrous tarot cards for foretelling one-and-done departures and whatnot (important note on that assertion: the word “tarot” comes from a word that was once used as a synonym for “foolish”). So here’s what’s in the cards, i.e., the 12-deep pool of scholarship Blue Devils to pick five from (if you don’t see a name you were hoping to below, sorry, it means this forecast tags him “NBA-bound”):

  • Six freshmen: Jeremy Roach, D.J. Steward, Jalen Johnson, Jaemyn Brakefield, Henry Coleman, and Mark Williams
  • Two sophomores: Wendell Moore and Matthew Hurt
  • One junior: Joey Baker
  • Three seniors: Jordan Goldwire, Patrick Tape, and Mike Buckmire

OK, let’s get started with the starter at the one-spot and work our way to the surprise pick at the five (we’ll also dub the primary backup for each position as we go along):