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By LARRY VAUGHT
North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried is either trying to put a little extra pressure on Duke — something UK fans can’t mind — or he’s not as sold on the Kentucky and Louisville basketball teams as fans in the Bluegrass are.
Gotffried recently told David Morrison of the News & Record in Greensboro that he believes Duke and coach Mike Krzyzewski should go into next season ranked No. 1. Not UK with six McDonald’s All-Americans joining the roster or Louisville, the defending national champion that returns Russ Smith, Luke Hancock, Chane Behanan and Montrezl Harrell to go with a talented recruiting class.
“I can’t imagine anybody else being picked No. 1 in the country than Duke. There’s a lot of attention around (freshman) Jabari Parker, but wait until you see (Mississippi State transfer) Rodney Hood. He’s that good. They’re loaded,” Gottfried said.
Many feel Parker is as good as Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) or Julius Randle (Kentucky). And Hood was brilliant at Mississippi State before transferring when coach Rick Stansbury retired. However, he’s also recovering from an Achilles’ tendon injury. But Duke also lost Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee off last year’s team.
Duke will be good, but No. 1 in the preseason? I don’t think so.