Good news for friends of Duke basketball: Coach Mike Krzyzewski didn't do anything rash in the off-season. Then again, if he had, people would have understood. From a team that won 37 games and fell three points shy of the NCAA championship, Duke graduated three four-year starters plus an invaluable sixth man. "I haven't gone into a depression," says Coach K. "For four years we had a great time, and now I'm excited about this team."
So is senior playmaker Tommy Amaker, who has spent the last three seasons, Krzyzewski says, "trying to make everybody happy." Others will now defer to Amaker, whose jump shot will soon be a secret no more. With Coach K's blessing, Amaker will shoot first and ask questions ("Could I have dished that one off?") later.
Forward Danny Ferry's days in the on-deck circle are also over. As a freshman, the 6'10" Ferry avoided stepping on upper-class toes, a tendency reflected in his 5.9 points-per-game average. "This season," says Krzyzewski, "the screens are being set for him."
But for the Blue Devils to avoid being overmatched under the basket, reserve center Martin Nessley must play over his head until freshman Alaa (the Pharaoh) Abdelnaby is ready. The 6'10", Egyptian-born Abdelnaby runs well and has a soft touch, but he will see—and feel—some aggressive opponents. Says Krzyzewski, "He's going to get banged around." Until February or so, ditto for Duke.