Tre Jones Goes Back to Apple Valley

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Source: NOAA Flickr

If you live in North Carolina, or really, if you watch the news in general, you’ll probably know that now-Tropical Depression Florence has left and is still leaving in some areas a slow, grinding path of enormous destruction over North and South Carolina over the last few days. Duke University students were basically all sent home, including, of course, the basketball team. Tre Jones went home to Minnesota and caught up with KSTP at home.

A trip home is not a bad thing for these players who’ve spent pretty minimal time with their families in the past few months, as terrible as this storm has been. It’s a pretty good interview and you get an insight into how the players have chemistry and his injury, which kept him out in the three games played in Canada simply as a precaution.

He also talks a little bit about the approaching Champions’ Classic in which Duke will open the regular season (a few exhibition games before that) against Kentucky, this year’s preseason number one. Last year, though the Classic wasn’t at the beginning of the season, Duke defeated Michigan State, 88-81. The four teams that traditionally play in the Classic are Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky, and Kansas.

Kentucky is formidable this year because, yes, they lost Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and a few other guys, but they do have a few transfers here and there. Now, let’s remember which team made history by recruiting the top three guys in the entire 2018 class. Just sayin’, if you’re getting any ideas about the whole Cal vs. Coach K thing. It’s not even a contest. But they have a few returning (mostly transferred, of course) vets and a few guys that can play the ball well, so don’t expect Kentucky to be as slapped together as some of the teams have appeared over the past few years when Coach Cal’s turnover has been even bigger than this year.

Non-Conference Schedule is Out

Duke Basketball has officially released the non-conference schedule for 2018-2019 Duke Basketball, though a noticable dropoff for games at home, which absolutely sucks for us Crazies and Crazies-In-Training.A few highlights:

Champion’s Classic: Kentucky

The Wildcats, yet again, lost a lot of talent last year and will be arguably younger than Duke is this year. However, John Calipari is almost (but not really) as ingenious at the GOAT himself at reloading and firing into the front lines of the college basketball race. Except, the beginning of the season is almost always rough for the Cats as they aren’t quite exposed to college basketball and need a veteran to groud them. Vets like Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden, and Antonio Vrankovic will be able to help out the Blue Devils.

Maui Invitational

You can read more here, but basically, it’s Duke, Arizona, and Gonzaga as the big guys here. Auburn and Xavier are good, but Xavier’s lost Chris Mack and their former star, Trevon Bluiett, and Auburn is good but no Duke. Don’t underestimate either team, but barring a loss, Duke will likely take on West Coast giants Arizona and Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational Championship. Then again, Arizona crashed and burned in the Battle 4 Atlantis last year, going 0-3 and Gonzaga gets minimal exposure until the postseason. Who knows?

Texas Tech

I know a lot of Jayhawks fans. My family is comprised (on my dad’s side, at least) of Jayhawks fans, to whom I am grateful to for not rubbing in last year’s loss. And from what I’ve seen, these Red Raiders have given the Jayhawks a lot of trouble in the past. We’ll need to be wary here.

St. John’s

St. John’s. Sigh. Those guys have given Duke trouble for years. In 2015, they nearly beat us before Coach K garnered his 1000th win in Madison Square Garden, that being the only happy memory I can think of with St. John’s. Last year, the Red Storm beat us in MSG, a total embarrassment. I’ve got to be honest with you all, I hope we kick some behind in New York next year (no disrespect to St. John’s, who thouroughly kicked OUR behinds last year. Naturally, I was pretty unhappy and would like to return the favor).