Like its coach, Jon Scheyer, this Duke squad is young but the future looks bright despite the loss to Kansas

The state of affairs: It’s the third sport as Duke’s head coach, and he is solely simply starting to get a really feel and understanding of what it means to maintain a publish at this noble, intimidating, I-won-the-lottery sort of job. Two freebies after which it will get actual: the new coach is confronted with an unnerving matchup on a impartial court docket towards a blue-blood opponent ranked in the prime 10.

It’s no marvel Mike Krzyzewski misplaced that sport 42 years in the past.

And it is no shock the identical state of affairs led to the identical consequence for Jon Scheyer on Tuesday evening.

Krzyzewski’s first L got here on Dec. 5, 1980. He was 33 years previous. Duke was 2-0 heading into that sport the method it was 2-0 heading into Tuesday evening’s tilt with Kansas in the Champions Classic. But as a substitute of enjoying the Jayhawks, Krzyzewski had to play his program’s hated rival: North Carolina. UNC received by two and gave Krzyzewski his first loss at Duke. (If you are questioning why Duke and Carolina met on a impartial court docket in December, the Triangle’s three huge colleges used to have a two-day showcase. Forty-two years later, UNC would additionally hand Coach Okay his final loss, in the Final Four, but you already know that story.)

This is not to counsel that Scheyer, 35, is three video games right into a Hall of Fame profession, but the preliminary parallels are too sturdy to deny. Scheyer’s No. 7 Blue Devils had a win snatched from their grasp by a plucky and newly assured No. 6 Kansas crew. The reigning nationwide champs have habits that will not shake so shortly.

Jayhawks 69, Blue Devils 64.

Duke was given a decent top-10 preseason rating thanks to program pedigree and Scheyer serving to to recruit the top-rated class in the nation. There could possibly be at the least 5 future NBA Draft picks on this roster. That alone will not lower it towards most top-10 groups, as Tuesday evening proved.

“To be in this setting and in this state of affairs in Game 3 for our group was, I believe, going to be a big-time studying expertise,” Scheyer mentioned. “It hurts, that is the way it ought to really feel.”

Among the Blue Devils anticipated to earn double-digit minutes this season, six of them are freshmen. Because of this, Duke has the youngest rotation in the nation. Not a brand new downside for Duke, but a wily and envious experiment for Scheyer, who employs certainly one of the youngest staffs at the power-conference degree and is himself the youngest man amongst all head coaches in energy leagues.

It appears inevitable that Scheyer will, at the least, have the dudes to outrun, overpower and out-athlete many groups on the schedule this season. Here’s a wow from Tuesday evening: Freshman huge Kyle Filipowski (17 factors, 14 rebounds) is the first Duke freshman to begin his profession with three double-doubles. He was terrific, and the lone returning minutes-getter from final season’s crew, Jeremy Roach (16 factors) was additionally a gentle presence.

But it was one other freshman, Kansas’ Gradey Dick, who proved to be the difference-maker. Kansas closed the sport on a 15-5 run, seven of these factors coming from Dick on three consecutive possessions to flip the lead to KU. The Jayhawks by no means regarded again. Dick was quiet a lot of the evening but got here up big in a spot the place his crew wanted it. Kansas junior Jalen Wilson scored a career-high 25 factors, whereas Dajuan Harris had a personal-best 10 assists.

Dick was bolstered by the veterans round him. Scheyer will not have that luxurious in Year 1. Kansas regarded prepared to take the sport the minute Duke regarded shaky. That was it. No extra, no much less.

“Just being in these moments, there is not any method to simulate it,” Scheyer mentioned. “That doesn’t suggest I’m completely happy or I’m having fun with this loss by any means. You have to hate it and be taught from it, develop from it. But enjoying in the Champions Classic yearly, in fact you need to come away profitable, but you most likely be taught extra while you lose. Even if we received that sport, we might’ve received not being at our greatest with the method we took care of the ball and a few of the performs we will make and do a greater job of. But completely enjoying in this makes you higher as a crew and as a program.”

Your annual reminder that it is fatuous to draw grand conclusions from any faculty basketball crew in any faculty basketball sport in mid-November, not to mention one which is studying by the day with a unique individual working the program after 42 years underneath the earlier man.

It regarded unusual: watching a high-profile Duke sport and never seeing Krzyzewski scowling from the sidelines, firing up his crew or haranguing the officers. It additionally felt proper; Scheyer appears to be the correct choose to do this. He brings a unique vibe. This is a program amid extra profound change than some other, and no one can really know what to anticipate over the subsequent few months.

That first Krzyzewski crew went 17-13, completed fifth in the ACC and missed the NCAA Tournament. Hopes are a lot increased for Scheyer’s debut marketing campaign, and with good cause. Loads has modified with Duke over the previous seven months, but boasting first-round NBA Draft picks is not a kind of issues. Experience cannot be faked. Scheyer is aware of it. His gamers are about to be taught why.

“They have championship DNA, they have been there earlier than,” Scheyer mentioned of Kansas.

Duke cannot declare championship DNA with this roster, but it does have as a lot expertise as any crew in the nation. How that expertise blends with Scheyer’s teaching philosophy will mix for certainly one of the sport’s most intriguing plot factors this season.

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