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Boasting a formidable group of perimeter players, Duke's biggest challenge in the 2014 season will be dealing with a lack of depth in its frontcourt.
Mason Plumlee, the Pete Newell Big Man of the Year recipient, is gone. So is stretch-4 power forward Ryan Kelly.
Both are tremendous players in their own right.
Returning to the team next season will be undersized senior Josh Hairston, sporadic sophomore Amile Jefferson and the slowly developing Marshall Plumlee.
When speaking of Jefferson, the wiry 6'8" forward showed glimpses of success during his freshman season that, in turn, will likely allow him to occupy the 5 for Duke next season. Although, he will need to spend a great deal of time working solely on his strength in the offseason to compete with opposing big men.
Of course, when examining Plumlee, he looks like the perfect fit with his 6'11" frame. However, his progression took a turn for the worse at the beginning of this season after suffering a stress fracture in his left foot.
Despite standing 6'7", Hairston has spent his entire college career playing at either the 4 or the 5. His contributions in his senior season will be critical, as he will provide the Blue Devils with toughness on the inside, though, it will need to be consistent throughout the year.
Those three players will be accompanied by incoming freshman Jabari Parker, though recruited as a small forward, possesses the ability to play multiple positions on the floor and will likely earn the starting power forward position for Duke.
It's also worth noting that, according to Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports, Duke has expressed serious interest in Memphis Tigers forward Tarik Black (h/t Bobby Colton of The Chronicle). The 6'9", 262-pound forward is graduating this semester and intends to transfer for his final college basketball season.
His addition would most certainly lessen the blow in the frontcourt for Duke in its quest for a fifth national championship.