Well, it’s official: later this summer, Duke basketball is headed north of the border. In August, Duke will trek north to Canada for three exhibition games and a series of (10) practices. This announcement comes about three weeks after news started to surface that Duke was likely to make this trip a reality.
You may remember: last fall, Duke was scheduled to take a trip to the Dominican Republic; however, that idea was shelved due to Mike Krzyzewski’s surgery. Under NCAA rules, college basketball teams are allowed to make foreign trips once every four years.
Duke Canada Schedule
Aug. 15: Duke — Ryerson, 7 p.m.
Aug. 17: Duke — University of Toronto, 6 p.m.
Aug. 19: Duke vs. McGill, 3 p.m.
The Appeal of Canada
Duke is in the process of replacing its entire starting lineup — the majority of which will be drafted next month into the NBA. This affords Duke’s star-studded recruiting class extra time to gel and work together, which could prove to be invaluable come the start of the regular season.
There is a recruiting appeal, too. Duke’s top incoming freshman — RJ Barrett — hails from Canada. This season in the NBA, there were 11 Canadians in the league; some of the top rising talents in the association — Andrew Wiggins (Maple Jordan!), Jamal Murray (a serious stud) — are products of Canada.
The upshot: Canada is a basketball nation on the rise. Any foothold a college team can make as an appealing destination could be a potential boon.