Busting Brackets

ACC Basketball: Louisville, Wake Forest rise in updated way-too-early ranking for 2024-25

Wake Forest v Pittsburgh
Wake Forest v Pittsburgh / G Fiume/GettyImages
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1. Duke Blue Devils

Not even Duke is immune to the transfer portal comings and goings, with everyone looking for playing time. Former five-star prospects TJ Power and Sean Stewart are among those who transferred out, along with the annual NBA Draft departures (Kyle Filipowski and Jared McCain). The biggest loss was Jeremy Roach, a rare starter who transferred out, now at Baylor.

The lone two returning rotation players are Tyrese Proctor (10.5 ppg and 3.7 apg) and Caleb Foster, a former 5-star recruit who dealt with injuries last season but when healthy, could be a key piece. And the team landed four transfers from the portal, including Tulane starting guard Sion James, Big Ten 6th Man of the Year Mason Gillis (Purdue) and Maliq Brown, an all-league defender and big man from Syracuse.

In the end, Duke’s season will depend on how good it’s incoming recruiting class will be. It’s another No. 1 overall group, led by No. 1 overall prospect, forward Cooper Flagg. There are four other five-star prospects, including forwards Khaman Maluach and Patrick Ngongba II, as well as wings Isaiah Evans and Kon Knueppel. Who breaks out into an early star will be a big storyline to watch for.

Next. Updated Big East power rankings for 2024-25. Updated Big East power rankings for 2024-25. dark

Although Duke remains fairly young compared to other top teams in the country, the needed mix of transfers to provide experience should help the upcoming growing pains. It’ll come down to what kind of leap Proctor can make as a junior lead guard without Roach around. If he becomes an all-league player himself, the odds of the Blue Devils winning the regular-season title will be good.