Could Duke basketball’s one-and-done system be sabotaging Blue Devils?

Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) /

Celebrated Duke basketball recruiting hauls do come with some consequences.

I know what you’re thinking: Duke basketball is always a top contender in the tournament no matter who stays and who goes. While that’s entirely true, the goal isn’t to be a contender. It’s to win championships.

Of course, there’s nothing like the feeling of being stacked with a five-star roster. Witnessing the sheer athleticism of the recruits who come every year is the entire reason Cameron Indoor Stadium gets so crazy.

Recruits like Zion Williamson and Jayson Tatum are the kind of guys who didn’t necessarily need college basketball. It’s obvious they wanted to be coached by the one and only Mike Krzyzewski, but other than that reason, they could have pulled a LeBron and headed straight to the draft.

Watching them represent Duke in the NBA today makes fans nothing short of proud, but imagine if they stayed just a few more years. If Tatum stayed until his junior year, he would have been the leader of Zion and his five-star recruiting class.

Then a 2019-20 team led by Tatum, with the support of Williamson, Wendell Moore, Vernon Carey Jr., and friends, is something that can only be conceptualized as a surefire championship team.

With the outrageous amount of talent that comes in and out of Duke’s locker room, there has to be a reason behind the fact Duke hasn’t won a championship in the last five years. Let’s take a look at the 2015 National Championship team, why the dynamic was so successful, and why it was also successful for more recent champions…