Young Duke basketball team prepares for August China trip
Duke will start practicing next week for its August trip to China. NCAA rules allow teams to practice 10 times before such a trip, but not necessarily in succession prior to leaving. So Duke will sprinkle in its practices during the month of July.
But the practices and the games in China, especially against the Chinese junior national team, will have significant meaning for the Blue Devils' season. Duke is ending an era with Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith as its anchors for the past four seasons. The year of Kyrie Irving is over, too, after the No. 1 pick played in a total of 11 games.
At stake for Duke is how it will determine its talented, but young, perimeter rotation. Duke associate head coach Chris Collins said the Blue Devils can look to a number of combinations. They could go with two ballhandlers in rising sophomore Tyler Thornton and incoming freshman Quinn Cook. Highly touted freshman Austin Rivers is more a wing than a point, even with the ball in his hands. Collins said the Blue Devils may look to play Rivers and Seth Curry together as wings who handle the ball, much like Duke did when it won the title two years ago with Smith and Jon Scheyer playing the position. Somehow, Andre Dawkins will fit into the rotation as a sharpshooter that Duke will need to be on the court.