Duke basketball: 3 crazy lineups that just might work

Duke basketball (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Crazy Duke basketball lineup: Newcomers

  • PG: Jaylen Blakes
  • SG: Trevor Keels
  • SF: AJ Griffin
  • PF: Paolo Banchero
  • C: Theo John

It’s understandable if many Duke basketball fans hope to see at least one 2021-22 lineup that doesn’t feature a single member from last season’s 13-11 squad. After all, as if anyone needs a reminder, the 2020-21 bunch became the program’s first in 26 years not to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Thankfully, new Blue Devils are now in ample supply. Besides, all five of the above talents should be among the nine best on the roster. And anywhere from two to four of them ought to be starters.

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Three are five-star freshmen: Trevor Keels, Paolo Banchero, and AJ Griffin. A fourth rookie, point guard Jaylen Blakes, appears to be an underrated four-star prospect.

And the five-spot here belongs to a fifth-year college player in former three-year Marquette starter Theo John, who will be 23 years old by the time Duke tips off its schedule on Nov. 9 with a Champions Classic battle against Kentucky in Madison Square Garden.

Therefore, among the three proposed “crazy” lineups in this article, this last one comes across as the most realistic. Additionally, consider that all five pieces pretty much fit with their listed positions.

Simply put, this quintet is likely to naturally appear anyway from time to time, regardless of whether Mike Krzyzewski has a returnee-free strategy in mind.

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Yet maybe Coach K will consciously satisfy this particular hunger for fresh faces. Perhaps the legend will intentionally roll out the group with zero guys to blame for snapping his personal Big Dance streak, which had dated back to 1984 (he sat out all but the first 12 games of the dismal 1994-95 Duke basketball campaign).