Despite coming up just short in its quest to reach this year's Final Four, the Duke Blue Devils produced another successful 30-win season while appearing in its 19th Elite Eight in school history.
More than that though, with the 2012-13 season in the books for Duke, so are the college careers of three of its best and most important players from this year's team—Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee.
Looking ahead to next season, the question that will be asked the most is how will Mike Krzyzewski replace three senior leaders and more than half of the Blue Devils total scoring?
The answer is simple.
A stellar three-man recruiting class, a terrific incoming transfer and one familiar face.
Additionally, next year's Duke basketball team is shaping up to be one of the most talented and deepest squads that hasn't been seen in Durham for the past 10 seasons.
With a lot to look forward to next season, here is the projected rotation for the Duke Blue Devils.
Starter: Quinn Cook (Jr.)
Reserves: Tyler Thornton (Sr.)
If you'll recall, it was Tyler Thornton who began the year as the Blue Devils' starting point guard. However, it took only three games until the more skilled Quinn Cook seized the role.
And it was clear that it was the appropriate decision going forward.
Cook capped off an outstanding sophomore campaign by nearly tripling his scoring output from his freshman year from 4.4 points to 11.7 points per game. He also finished with a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio while logging the second-most minutes for the Blue Devils with 33.6 per game.
Next season, Cook will assume the role as the most important player for the Blue Devils in terms of his play and level of consistency with the talent that will be placed around him.
For Thornton, he provided Duke—and Cook specifically—with solid minutes off the bench. The hard-nosed guard showed tenacious defense, though, a severely lacking offensive game is holding him back from becoming a vital scoring contributor.
Nevertheless, Duke will have few flaws at the most critical position in basketball with invaluable leadership at its disposal.
Starter: Rasheed Sulaimon (So.)
Reserves: Andre Dawkins (Sr.), Matt Jones (Fr.)
While he didn't receive any individual accolades after his freshman season, Rasheed Sulaimon's first season at Duke was nothing but successful.
Despite ending the season on a bad note against Louisville in the NCAA tournament with a 1-for-10 shooting performance, Sulaimon displayed the potential to become a star for the Blue Devils throughout the course of his career.
Slated to rejoin the Duke rotation as a fifth-year senior is the sharpshooting Andre Dawkins.
After taking a year off from the game of basketball stemming from the death of his younger sister in 2009, Dawkins will return with a clear mind, an improved all-around game and will give the Blue Devils a tremendous offensive threat off the bench.
As Sulaimon and Dawkins will occupy the majority of the minutes at the shooting guard position, it will be hard for incoming freshman Matt Jones to see much playing time in his first season. However, Jones is heralded as the best shooter from the class of 2013 and will have the luxury of competing with two terrific players to better improve his overall game.
Starter: Rodney Hood (So.)
Reserves: Alex Murphy (So.), Semi Ojeleye (Fr.)
Shortly after practices began for Duke before the start of the 2012-13 season, Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood was already being viewed as one of the best players for the Blue Devils.
Forced to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules, Hood has had time to get acquainted to the Duke system. And with the amount of praise he has received from his redshirt year in Durham, the starting small forward position will belong to the 6'8" lefty.
For those that aren't familiar, Hood was a consensus top-30 recruit from the class of 2011. He went on to earn All-SEC freshman team honors after averaging 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He will bring in great scoring and tremendous defense to go along with excellent length and athleticism.
It was a puzzling season for Alex Murphy.
After months of chatter that Murphy had earned a starting position for Duke this season, he was rarely used off the bench. A lack of confidence for the first few months was a contributing factor.
In any case, his talent cannot be ignored. He's a solid inside-out player with good upside.
Incoming freshman Semi Ojeleye will also make competition for minutes intriguing. He possesses an NBA-ready body for a small forward and is a big-time scorer out of high school after ending his career as the record-holder for most points in a season (952) and a career (2,763) in the state of Kansas.
Starter: Jabari Parker (Fr.)
Reserves: Josh Hairston (Sr.)
Mike Krzyzewski and his Duke Blue Devils hit the recruiting jackpot back on December 20, as it received a verbal commitment from the most publicized recruit in recent memory, Jabari Parker.
Parker is a consensus top-three ranked senior and will bring a bevy of skills with him into Durham next season.
The versatile 6'9" forward will instantly slide into the power forward position with the talent to excel as a stretch-4. He can score in the low post, as well as from the perimeter. In addition, he can handle the basketball as well as most point guards.
Although his best trait is his knowledge of the game.
While his stay at Duke may be short-lived for a maximum of two years, Parker is still highly regarded as a program-changer. Most importantly for the Blue Devils, he is a winner that produces championships, as was the case when he led Simeon Career Academy to four consecutive Illinois state titles.
Josh Hairston will enter his final season at Duke and the all-hustle power forward will bring experience and tons of energy off the bench at either the 4 or the 5.
Starter: Amile Jefferson (So.)
Reserves: Marshall Plumlee (So.), Josh Hairston (Sr.)
With the departure of All-ACC first-teamer Mason Plumlee, there is a lot of uncertainty at the forward-center position for Duke.
The Blue Devils have one true center on the team in the youngest of the three Plumlee brothers, Marshall. Although he hasn't developed enough to become a key contributor in the frontcourt.
Nevertheless, it's April.
And with that being said, Plumlee has plenty of time to improve his overall game before the start of the 2013-14 season.
However, when talking about present day, Amile Jefferson is the best option to start at the 5.
His effort and energy is second to none, and he is very skilled around the basket. Obviously, he will need to become a workhorse in the weight room to add strength to his 6'8" frame, but his length and versatility presents matchup issues for opposing big men.