Duke is facing its annual list of offseason questions — who stays, who goes — much earlier than anyone expected.
The Blue Devils started the season as a favorite to win its sixth national title but instead failed to make it out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
“Your mood is definitely down,” guard Luke Kennard said. “You’re ashamed of another loss and the season being over. There’s definitely, definitely a quiet atmosphere.”
The second-seeded Blue Devils (28-9) lost to the seventh-seeded Gamecocks 88-81 , bringing an abrupt end to season that will be remembered for a relentless string of distractions and sideshows.
So now, Duke shifts into offseason mode, waiting to find out what its roster will look like in the fall.
Freshman Jayson Tatum is a likely one-and-done player, and Harry Giles could be one, too. Kennard could investigate his NBA options as well, after a sophomore season in which he averaged a team-best 19.5 points. Maybe guard Grayson Allen also turns pro after his distraction-filled junior year.
“I’ll start getting time to think about it, I guess,” Allen said. “There hasn’t been any time for that or any of those thoughts in my head.”
What will linger for Duke fans are those memorable hiccups during the season, before South Carolina out-toughed the top-ranked team in the preseason and sent the Blue Devils to their earliest NCAA exit since their first-round loss to Mercer in 2014.
— Three key freshmen missed time at the beginning of the season with injuries. Giles, who had a third knee surgery in…
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