Photo: Kevin Cox/Getty

Once again, the loathsome Duke Blue Devils are expected to be one of the best teams in the country. Remember compulsive tripping artist Grayson Allen, a preening dingus whose Very Serious suspension lasted until Duke had an important ballgame? Not only is he back, but he’ll be the captain this year once again. He’ll be joined by the nation’s top recruit, Marvin Bagley III, so maybe Duke can make it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen before stumbling out of the tournament.

Adding Bagley will help, but staying out of the massive FBI sting that’s engulfed at least one of Duke’s biggest competitors for recruits and attention might be the program’s biggest offseason accomplishment. As such, Duke is now in pole position for the best 2018 recruits. This afternoon, coach Mick Krizilonski addressed the scandal with typical Krzyzewski humility.

The landscape of basketball for a player from middle school, high school, college, pros, keeps changing. The landscape for the player keeps changing. We in college have not changed as much as the landscape has changed. The landscape before we get them has changed dramatically. And certainly, the NBA in that has changed dramatically with money, the one-and-done, whatever. We are not equipped right now to handle that. We don’t have a good model.

Coach K also insisted that college basketball was mostly clean, said Grayson Allen deserved the opportunity to lead (fair enough), and downplayed the impact of shoe companies slinging all that corruption money around. High school basketball and pro basketball? Dirty and weird! The entity in between them? Why I never.

Krzyzewski is essentially answering a systemic critique about how dirty college basketball is by pointing at trophies. Anyway, recruits probably choose Duke over $150,000 offers from other schools because they, uh, respect the basketball program’s history and want to get a taste of K’s distinctively pungent brand of leadership.