With NCAA rules allowing college basketball programs to take one foreign trip every four years, the Duke Blue Devils were in the midst of preparing for a trip to the Dominican Republic later this month. Those plans have been cancelled however, as head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Thursday afternoon that his need to undergo knee replacement surgery (right knee) is the reason for the cancellation.
By undergoing the knee replacement surgery now, Krzyzewski and his doctors expect the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame member to be ready to go when the team begins practice for the 2017-18 season on September 30.
“While it’s disappointing that we aren’t able to make the Dominican Republic trip, this is a positive development for both our team and myself because it will allow us to be at full strength for the start of practice this fall,” Mike Krzyzewski said Thursday. “After three consecutive days of working with the team, it became clear that the condition of my knee wouldn’t be sustainable through next season. The best course of action is to correct the problem now rather than later, when our team would be more profoundly impacted.”
Duke, which won 28 games and the ACC tournament title last season, has to account for the loss of six of its top seven scorers from a season ago. Luke Kennard, Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson and Harry Giles were all early entrants into the 2017 NBA Draft, and senior captains Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones exhausted their eligibility.
Guard Grayson Allen is the team’s lone returnee among its top seven scorers from last season, but he’ll be joined by a highly regarded six-player recruiting class that includes guards Travon Duval and Gary Trent Jr., and forward Wendell Carter Jr.