Due on newsstands across America this week will be the glossy pre-season college basketball magazines, the publication of which means that the start of practice is not far away.
We've learned that the Duke Men's Basketball team will be ranked 4th in the nation by the Sporting News, which has Kentucky in the top spot. IN addition to the Blue Devils, the ACC is represented in the top ten by Syracuse and North Carolina.
The Duke Women are ranked second in all the land, just behind UConn. Blue Devils Elizabeth Williams and Chelsea Gray will be named to their ten player first team All-American squad.
On the men's side, the pre-season All-American teams consist of five players each, and the interesting thing is that neither of the two Blue Devils who made the teams have ever dribbled a ball in a Duke uniform in an actual game. This is certainly consistent with the trend in selecting these types of teams these days, where the choices often seem to be based more on potential than actual performance.
Jabari Parker was selected pre-season First Team All-American. He is perhaps the first true freshman at Duke to earn such pre-season honors. Parker, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a high school player, is no stranger to this kind of hype. Parker is also predicted to be the top player in the ACC.
Joining Parker as an All-American selection is redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood, who is picked to the magazine's Third Team. Hood, a rare transfer to Duke from Mississippi State, sat out a season ago per NCAA transfer rules, but has garnered high praise since arriving in Durham, and consequently now has high expectations.
Rasheed Sulaimon, who seems like a veteran on the Blue Devils squad even though he's just a sophomore, was selected High Honorable Mention and if you ask me, he'll be right there for honors higher than that by season's end.
In the projected standings, the Blue Devils are picked to win the Atlantic Coast Conference, followed by Syracuse and North Carolina.
In full, the predicted ACC standings are as follows:
3- North Carolina
4- Notre Dame
8- Boston College
9- Florida State
The Sporting News merged with old school legend Street and Smith's. The magazine doesn't have a lot of meat to it anymore, which is disappointing given its history. For instance, it doesn't even include the teams' schedules anymore. But it is the first glossy magazine to hit the stands. The Triangle area cover will feature a UNC and an N.C. State player.
Practice for Duke starts in mid-October and Countdown to Craziness kicks off the season on October 18th at 8:00 in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils will then play their first exhibition game against Bowie State on October 26th and open the regular season against the Davidson Wildcats on November 8th.
The Blue Devils will then travel to Chicago to meet Kansas, ranked #7 in The Sporting News preview magazine. There the top two incoming freshman in the nation, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins -- both pre-season All-Americans on the TSN teams -- go head-to-head in the Champions Classic.