The Final Four is next week and all the participants have yet to be determined, but we know at least one team that will be view one of the greatest spectacles in American sport from the comfort of their couch, Duke.
They have been doing so since 2004.
As a program, Duke should be fighting for NCAA title every year, as opposed to the every decade pace that they are on now.
Duke has a problem. Yes they win consistently and occasionally get the fans hopes up, but they can’t win it all.
It’s a tad bit comical because the answer is so obvious that my little cousin who is 10 pointed it out. “Hey T.W. why the players on that blue team (Villanova) look better than the white team (Duke)?"
That whole ordeal was followed by me trying to teach a fifth grader about recruiting (who says they are that smart?).
The point is painstakingly clear—Duke doesn't recruit the good enough athletes to win championships.
If this were Wake Forest, Texas, Tennessee, or any other mid-high level school the scenario of winning 25 games every year, being a consistent 1, 2, or 3 seed in the tournament, and every blue moon popping up and finding themselves in the Final Four would be perfectly alright.
That does not hold true for Duke. There should not be a senior class cycle that doesn’t get to the Final Four at least once in their time there.
Back to the point though. It seems as if Coach K has precepts as to what Blue Devils should look like.
Small, quick, intelligent point guard: Jeff Caple, Jay Williams, Nolan Smith
Best player on the floor regardless of skill set shooting guard: Johnny Dawkins, J.J Reddick, Gerald Henderson
Tall jump shooting forwards: Christian Laettner, Mike Dunleavy. Jr, Kyle Singler
Talented bigs: Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer, Shelton Williams (certainly not any on this team)
The thing that is becoming a bad trend is more and more of these tall, jump shooting, no-post-game forwards who lack toughness and less of the physically dominating bigs.
Duke possibly could get away with it if all these types of player were the caliber of Kyle Singler.
Too bad they are not—it’s a lot more Taylor Kings and Shavlik Randolphs.
Things don’t seem to be looking up much either this year; Duke has already signed Ryan Kelley and Mason Plumlee—the same type of players who let VCU out-rebound them.
If Coach K wants to continue on this path of relative mediocrity, then by all means continue the recruitment of soft players who seem almost scared to bang in the paint. On the other hand, if he want to get back to achieving the platform of ultimate success, then its time for Coach K to institute a few changes.
Duke needs better athletes.