After a somewhat unexpected championship run last season, the Duke Blue Devils are set to begin the 2010-11 season as the nation's top team.
Blue Devil fans have a lot to look forward to as the season approaches.
Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are back for their senior campaigns, Kyrie Irving has as much promise as any Duke freshman in recent memory, and Mason Plumlee should get more alley oops than ever.
But while those are all exciting things to anticipate, one of the most intriguing aspects of Duke's upcoming season is, without doubt, the addition of Seth Curry to the active roster.
Curry transferred to Duke after his freshman season at Liberty College in 2008-09 and spent all of last season practicing with the team but unable to play due to transfer rules.
I had the chance to talk with Curry recently, and it's clear that after redshirting during Duke's championship season, he's as ready as ever to get back on the court and show the nation what he can do.
"I'm so anxious," Curry said. "It seems like I haven't played in like five years or something like that."
He may have missed being on the court, but the time on the bench is something Curry put to good use.
"It's great to be around a championship team like this, working and practicing every day," Curry said. "It's been great to see what this team can accomplish, and how fun it is, the journey of winning a championship. I've just tried to take it all in and learn from the experience."
From his spot at the end of the Blue Devils bench, Curry had the opportunity to watch his teammates come together and play with more unity than is typical in today's college game. Every Duke player on last year's team knew and embraced their role, whether it involved putting points on the board or going after rebounds.
The result was spectacular as the Blue Devils won every tournament they played in from the beginning of the season to the end.
Curry will likely take on a role he isn't used to as Duke tries to re-create last year's success—bench player.
With Smith and Irving starting, Curry will probably be the first guard off Duke's bench.
Of course, being a Curry (in case you're one of the only basketball fans that didn't know, Seth is the son of former NBA player Dell Curry and the younger brother of current NBAer and recent college great Stephen Curry) means added expectations regardless of whether or not you start.
Curry doesn't mind the added pressure that comes along with his family's reputation though. In fact, he embraces it.
"I definitely try to be my own person, but having that Curry name, you have to go out there and represent it well," he said. "That just gives me extra motivation to go out there and live up to the billing."
It isn't just the family name that Curry is looking to live up to, however. He's also got the expectations brought on by his own accomplishments adding to the hype.
As a freshmen at Liberty, Curry led all NCAA freshmen in scoring at 20.2 points per game. He had big games against Virginia and Clemson that season, averaging 25 points per game against the ACC teams.
Last season, reports from Duke practices gushed with praise for Curry's ability to shoot the ball.
Smith tweeted early in the season that when all was said and done, Curry might be remembered as the best shooter in Duke history instead of J.J. Redick. Maybe Smith felt the expectations for Curry weren't high enough.
Curry certainly appreciates the comparison, but he's quick to assert his desire to leave his own mark on the college game.
"I'm not really trying to be better than [Redick]," Curry said. "I'm just going to go out there and be me."
Comparisons are something that Curry will have to get used to.
If he's not getting compared to great shooters like Redick, he'll certainly be likened to his older brother frequently.
Neither comparison is entirely accurate—Seth certainly has his own style of play. But that doesn't mean the comparisons won't come.
Though Curry may still be in his older brother's shadow, he'll have a chance to establish his own reputation as a great college player when the season begins.
Don't be surprised if he does so sooner than later.