Duke Basketball: 4 Players Who Need to Step Up for Blue Devils Next Year

Madison GuernseyContributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

Duke Basketball: 4 Players Who Need to Step Up for Blue Devils Next Year

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    The Duke Blue Devils were uncharacteristically ousted very early in the 2012 NCAA tournament with a loss to the No. 15-seeded Mountain Hawks of Lehigh.

    For Coach K's team the early elimination is unacceptable and clearly improvements need to be made. Freshman phenom Austin Rivers is likely on his way to the NBA, and Miles Plumlee is due to graduate, meaning some players will need to step up next season if Duke has a chance to make a deep tourney run.

    Here are four Blue Devils who need to bring their best game in 2012-13. 

Andre Dawkins

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    Dawkins experienced an increase in nearly every statistical category in his sophomore year, but the improvements were halted last season, as he experienced declines in field-goal percentage, three-point shooting and free-throw shooting, as well as scoring just 0.3 more points per game in 1.4 more minutes per contest.

    With Rivers likely leaving, Dawkins needs to be an integral piece of Duke's offense and have his best season in his senior year. 

Tyler Thornton

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    Thornton greatly improved in his sophomore season, as his minutes shot from under 10 per game to just over 21, and his stats followed suit.

    The 6'1'' junior needs to keep improving and taking shots. He only took three field-goal attempts per game, and as a result averaged 4.1 points. 

    He has the potential to be a great point guard and will help Duke next season in Durham.

Ryan Kelly

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    Kelly's stats have improved every season and he's a surprisingly good outside shooter considering his 6'11'' frame.

    Two thirds of the Plumlee brothers could leave, which would open the door for Kelly to step up and be the star post he has the potential to be.

    His shooting percentages of 40.8 from three-point range and 80.7 from the charity stripe suggest Kelly's all-around versatility.

    The most important area for improvement would be Kelly's rebounding. The center grabbed 5.4 boards per game in his junior season. 

Seth Curry

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    Assuming he doesn't declare for the draft, Seth Curry will be the go-to guy for the Blue Devils next season.

    Lights out shooting from downtown and the free-throw line makes Curry a dynamite player in college basketball, and he'll need to embrace his role as the star player for a historically great team if he stays for his senior season.