Duke basketball: Joey Baker should be captain after offseason recruitment

Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

Joey Baker has been one of the driving forces in recruiting players to remain in Durham, and for his efforts, he should be named a captain of the 2020-21 Duke basketball team.

Understanding and thriving in your role is a major factor in being a successful player for the Duke basketball program.

There are several players that come to mind when thinking about that definition, but perhaps no one exhibits that as well as rising junior Joey Baker.

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It’s been a strange two seasons for Baker to say the least, but there’s no debating that he’s a Duke man through and through.

In what should have been a redshirt season for the wing last season, he entered Mike Krzyzewski‘s office and said he was ready to help the team if need be as the Blue Devils were struggling with injuries.

After not playing in any game, Coach K burned Baker’s redshirt for four games and a total of 18 minutes.

The sophomore returned to Durham for a larger role, and that’s what he got, and despite seeing more minutes in some games than others, he always remained positive and upbeat.

Fast-forward through the abrupt end to the 2019-20 season. Baker confirmed on his social media that he would be returning to Duke for his junior season despite speculation from fans that the North Carolina native could find himself in the transfer portal.

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Entering his junior season in the late fall, Baker will be expected to see an even bigger role despite the loaded recruiting class of wings and guards that will be entering Durham, but the sophomore wants one of his freshman teammates to also return to Duke for one more season.

Joey Baker has created the movement ‘#2TAY’ on social media platforms in an attempt to lure Cassius Stanley back to Durham.

Whether or not Stanley returns is a different conversation, but the fact that Baker wants his teammate to return, knowing that it would take minutes away from him, is the perfect example of what it means to be a Blue Devil.

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Mike Krzyzewski regularly picks upperclassmen to serve as his captains, using Tre Jones as an exception, but with all four captains leaving, seniors Jack White, Javin DeLaurier, and Justin Robinson graduating, and Jones heading to the NBA after his sophomore season, the Hall of Famer will need new leaders for the 2020-21 squad.

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If Krzyzewski continues with his tradition of having upperclassmen as captains, he shouldn’t look much further than would-be junior Joey Baker and would-be senior Jordan Goldwire, two players who know what it takes to be a Blue Devil and understand your role on a team.