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Duke hopes new versatility leads to a Final Four run

Sep 28, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

Mike Krzyzewski AP

Duke is hoping that it’s newfound versatility will help the Blue Devils advance to the Final Four.

Final Fours are always the expectation in Durham and although they lost three experienced seniors in Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry, they gain two of the most versatile wings in the country in Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood and highly-touted incoming freshman Jabari Parker.

With the start of practice yesterday, the AP’s Joedy McCreary gained some insight on how the Blue Devils might play this season with the new-look lineup.

“It’s not like one guy is trying to beat out one guy — basically, you’re trying to blend,” Krzyzewski said in the AP story. “The two guys you initially want to blend with are Rodney and Jabari because they’re two very talented and versatile players. So that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Among the most interesting tidbits from the story is Coach K explaining how Duke is not a conventional team this season and he also sheds some light on a potential starting lineup.

Krzyzewski said his 34th Duke team is “not your conventional team of, ‘Here are your two big guys, your wing, your shooter and your point guard.’

“It’s going to be a team that has, I think, very good versatility,” he added. “Guys are going to have to be able to guard multiple positions. I hope that we’ll be able to make sure they do that.”

The coach said the only starters he’s settled on so far are Hood, Parker, high-energy forward Amile Jefferson “and probably Quinn” Cook, last year’s starting point guard.

Krzyzewski also compared this Duke team to the ultra-athletic late ’90s, early 2000s teams, which is an interesting comparison.

If this year’s Blue Devils are going to compare to those late ’90s, early 2000s teams, Hood and Parker are going to have to do the brunt of the scoring and Duke is also going to need a third scoring option to step up.

But with Hood and Parker being matchup nightmares with great size and versatility on the wing, most teams will be hard-pressed to defend both of them well every possession.

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