Duke Basketball: Evaluating the Blue Devils' Seasoned 2011-12 Upperclassmen

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Duke Basketball: Evaluating the Blue Devils' Seasoned 2011-12 Upperclassmen
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Last week, I wrote an article that analyzed each of the freshmen on Duke's roster and their potential roles on next year's team. 

Although the incoming recruiting class is ranked No. 2 by most online recruiting services and is one of the top classes during the past few seasons in Durham, it will take time for the younger players to adjust to the style of play that college offers.

That's why upperclassmen are crucial for any team to have success in college basketball, especially since they have the experiences and games played necessary to help the freshmen adjust.

Plus, with three key players from last year leaving to go the the NBA (Nolan Smith, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Singler), proven veterans will be counted on more than ever this upcoming season for coach Mike Krzyzewski.

With the 2011-12 Duke team returning such veterans as Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins and the Plumlee brothers, amongst others, the upperclassmen should have little trouble preparing this year's highly-touted freshmen class for the challenges they soon await. 

What kind of impact will the returning players, however, have on next season's team? Will one or two players specifically step up and lead the team? Can the frontcourt veterans come together and become a force to be reckoned with in the ACC? 

The following slideshow evaluates each of the seven upperclassmen heading back to Durham next season, as well as what sets them apart from the rest of the players throughout the country. 

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