One Duke freshman says he arrived on campus here this summer so ill-prepared for the Blue Devils' intensified strength and conditioning program he could not lift 185 pounds one time off his chest.

He says he struggled initially with learning basketball plays because few positions were defined and players were taught to operate as interchangeable pieces in a fast-paced chess match.

So even Jabari Parker one of the nation' s most celebrated prospects acknowledges "confidence issues" as he adjusts to his new college team. At most schools Parker would be the dominant headliner. At Duke he is one more valuable and versatile entity on one of this season' s most intriguing rosters.

As the curtain rises on a new-look Atlantic Coast Conference a new-look Duke team is expected to be the team to beat. ACC newcomers Syracuse Notre Dame and Pittsburgh — all likely to compete with North Carolina Virginia and others for NCAA tournament berths — will find themselves trying to topple what is widely considered the most athletic Blue Devils team in more than a decade.