Some of you, myself included, have probably asked yourself at some point during the last couple of weeks: “Who is going to be able to compete with our team next year? We have 9 McDonald’s All-Americans on our roster… and 5 of them are returning with experience.” It’s a logical question. But honestly, there’s a logical answer as well. Which team might be able to compete with a roster stacked with 9 McDonald’s All-Americans? Well, perhaps another team who enters college basketball next season equipped with a roster filled by 9 McDonald’s All-Americans as well. As if the storyline didn’t already ooze with potential, that team just happens to be Duke… a bitter rival of Kentucky.
Kentucky and Duke. Two of the most recognizable names in college basketball. Two of the bluest of the blue bloods. Two programs spoiled with more national titles than most other schools could ever dream to have… Calipari. Coach K. The two teams who participated in arguably one of the best college basketball games of all-time (we won’t mention the details).
Next year will be fun. College basketball might be blessed with two juggernaut teams, loaded with an absurd amount of talent. How do the two stack up though? Let’s check it out…
Who does each team return from last year?
Kentucky: 3 starters, 2 players who played 18+ minutes per game, 2 role players
Duke: 3 starters, 2 role players
Aaron Harrison: 13.7 ppg, 1.9 apg, 32.6 mpg
Andrew Harrison: 10.9 ppg, 4.0 apg, 31.7 mpg
Willie Cauley-Stein: 6.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 23.8 mpg
Alex Poythress: 5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 18.4 mpg
Dakari Johnson: 5.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 14.1 mpg
Marcus Lee: 2.4 ppg, 6.3 mpg,
Dominique Hawkins: 0.8 ppg, 8.6 mpg
Quinn Cook: 11.6 ppg, 4.4 apg, 29.8 mpg
Rasheed Suilamon: 9.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 25.6 mpg
Amile Jefferson: 6.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 22.7 mpg
Matt Jones: 1.8 ppg, 7.3 mpg
Marshall Plumlee: 1.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 8.5 mpg
What each team lost from last year:
Kentucky: Kentucky lost its top 2 scorers and arguably its best 2 players to the NBA draft (Julius Randle, 15.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg and James Young 14.3 ppg)
Duke: Duke lost its top 2 scorers from last season to the NBA draft (Jabari Parker, 19.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg and Rodney Hood, 16.1 ppg), and an experienced guard in Andre Dawkins.
What each team brings in from the 2014 recruiting class:
*Rankings according to Scout.com’s Final 2014 rankings
#4 Karl Towns (7-0 Center)
#11 Trey Lyles (6-10 Power Forward)
#20 Tyler Ulis (5-9 Point Guard)
#29 Devin Booker (6-5 Shooting Guard)
#1 Jahlil Okafor (6-11 Center)
#9 Tyus Jones (6-1 Point Guard)
#12 Justise Winslow (6-6 Small Forward)
#22 Grayson Allen (6-3 Shooting Guard)
These two teams won’t meet in the regular season, but what a classic we would have on our hands if these two teams met in the NCAA tournament… especially late in the tournament.