Jabari Parker Named ACC Rookie of the Week for 4th time

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke’s Jabari Parker was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season as announced by the league office Monday. The 6-8, forward averaged 22.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in leading the Blue Devils to wins over Gardner-Webb and No. 22 UCLA. The freshman out of Chicago shot 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from the field, including 5-of-10 from three-point range, while making all 11 free throws as the Blue Devils improved to 9-2 on the year.

In a Dec. 16 win over Gardner-Webb, Parker tallied 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. He also added six rebounds and a steal in 26 minutes of action. Parker capped off the week with an impressive all-around performance in an 80-63 win over UCLA. He recorded his ninth 20-point game and his third double-double of the season, finishing with a game-high 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Parker went 7-of-13 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from three-point range, and 5-of-5 from the foul line in the win.

Did the Blue Devils turn a corner against the Bruins?

duke-wf rick c 071The Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball team is right on track after a solid win over UCLA.

Duke fans nor the staff are accustomed to having two early season losses going into the ACC season, but the lessons will pay off for a young team and the win over the Bruins give one an idea of what is to come.

Many were set to judge the Blue Devils after a mildly sub standard performance in their win over Garner Webb but that game came after a long break and exams. At that time, they looked to be in the same mode of inconsistent play.

The Blue Devils then travelled to New York City where they bested traditional power UCLA and in doing so, the team had that look we're all accustomed to by games end where they throttled the Bruins late.

By now, everybody knows that Duke has two main go-to guys in sensational freshman Jabari Parker and the long and lean Rodney Hood. What had been missing was for the rest of the roster to blend in around them in a consistent manner

What Krzyzewski has been looking for was for players to step up their games and blend in with its top stars and that happened in a big way.

Amile Jefferson gave his team some serious stat stuffing minutes and then their was Rasheed Sulaimon who came out of an early season funk with his play.

The play of Jefferson is vital to Duke in that his length simply cannot be taught. And Sulaimon? Many felt he'd be the third wheel just behind the big two this season and he may yet still reach said speculation.

But the core for success against the Bruins may have come from the play of point guard Quinn Cook who in my opinion played his best floor game of the season.

Now, the Blue Devils will seek to build on their most recent performance with games against Eastern Michigan and Elon after the Christmas break.

What you'll want to look for in their last two non conference games before the ACC season begins is furthered consistency.

There will be games this season where the Blue Devils get beat on the boards and or struggle with some low post players, but there is reason to believe that they can off set that with match up problems of their own.

Duke has proven that they can run with most anyone early on, but four games ago, Krzyzewski got back to his old defensive ways and the team toughened up on that end.

Now, the goal is to have the offense return to its most efficient ways to go with much improved defensive play and that is what we saw late in the win over the Bruins. In other words, you caught a glimpse of how good this team can be when clicking.

There will be some more growing pains along the way for the ACC indeed has some solid contenders, but as always, we are reminded that the college basketball season is a long one.

Duke has had a lot of new parts to fit together this season and they now appear to be ready to show off a bit.

The win over UCLA was just what the doctor order for the Blue Devils heading into the Holidays. It was the kind of game that could jump-start players who need to bring their A game moving forward and I personally, think we'll start to see that.

Trust me, early season losses sting the soul for spoiled Duke fans, but winning in March has always been the goal of this team.

Duke seeks to gradually get better and peak then and not in the early season. That has always been their goal and we are simply watching the process.

UCLA vs Duke Game Notes

The Blue Devils take on UCLA tonight in Madison Square Garden -

• Duke returns to Madison Square Garden to face UCLA Thursday, Dec. 19. The Blue Devils are 1-1 at MSG on the year after splitting a pair of games in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

• Duke is ranked No. 8 in both the Associated Press and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Devils are 74-17 all-time when ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll. UCLA enters the contest unranked in the AP Poll and No. 22 in the Coaches’ Poll.

• The Blue Devils are playing their 222nd straight

game as a top-10 team in the AP poll. Duke is 183-38 (.828) in that span.

• Duke has had a 20-point scorer in all 10 games this season with Jabari Parker recording an ACC-best eight 20-point efforts.

• The Blue Devils have won 22 straight games in the month of December with the last loss coming to Wisconsin, 73-69, on Dec. 2, 2009. Duke is 178-26 under Mike Krzyzewski in the month.

The Last Time Out

• Duke posted an 85-66 win over Gardner-Webb Monday, Dec. 16 at Cameron Indoor Stadium to extend its non-conference home win streak to 108 consecutive games.

• Jabari Parker led the way with 21 points, while Andre Dawkins (18), Quinn Cook (16) and Rodney Hood (15) also scored in double figures.

• Parker went 7-of-12 from the field and added six rebounds in the victory.

• Dawkins knocked down four three-point field goals and finished 6-of-10 from the field while scoring a season-best 18 points

• Duke shot 50.0 percent (28-of-56) from the field in the game, including 58.8 percent (20-of-34) in the opening half of play.

• The Blue Devils held a 37-22 rebounding advantage, including a 15-6 edge on the offensive glass. Amile Jefferson grabbed a season-best 10 rebounds as five Blue Devils grabbed four or more rebounds in the game.

By The Numbers

• Duke and UCLA have combined for 15 NCAA Championships. UCLA has won 11, most recently in 1995, while Duke has four, most recently in 2010. The programs have combined for 3,771 wins and a .700 winning percentage.

• The Blue Devils are 28-16 all-time with a 23-8 mark under Coach K at Madison Square Garden. Duke has won 15 of their last 18 games at MSG.

• Duke has had a 20-point scorer in every game this season. The last time Duke started a season with a 20-point scorer in its first 10 games was 2000-01 when the Blue Devils had a 20-point scorer in 17 straight games to start the season.

• Jabari Parker (22.0 ppg.) and Rodney Hood (18.9 ppg.) are the top scoring tandem in the ACC (fifth in the NCAA) at 40.9 points per game. The duo combines to generate 47.6 percent of Duke’s scoring on the year.

• Junior Quinn Cook has scored in double-figures in a career-best seven straight games. He is averaging 15.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game in that span.

• Andre Dawkins is Duke’s leading scorer off the bench at 8.6 points per game. Dawkins has four double-figure scoring efforts off the bench, including a season-high 18 points last time out against Gardner-Webb. Duke averages 22.6 points from its bench per game with a double-figure scorer in seven of 10 games.

• Jabari Parker is attempting to become the first Duke freshman since Kyrie Irving (2010-2011) to score in double figures in his first 11 games of the season. Irving suffered a foot injury in his eighth game of the season before returning to play Duke’s final three games of the year.

• Jabari Parker has scored 20 or more points in eight of Duke’s 10 contests. His eight 20-point games are tied for the fifth most by a Duke freshman, matching totals set by Carlos Boozer (1999-00) and Luol Deng (2003-04).

• Duke has shot 50.0 percent or better from the field six times this season. The top-three scoring trio of Quinn Cook, Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker combine to shoot 54.2 percent (192-of-354) from the field, while seven Blue Devils are shooting 50.0 percent or better this season.

• Rodney Hood is shooting 56.5 percent (61-of-108) from the floor for the fourth-highest field goal percentage in the ACC. Hood is averaging 18.9 points per game

Expect some tweaks for Duke Basketball

SONY DSCThe Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball team returns to action tonight when they take on Garner Webb at 7:00 on ESPNU.

After a thirteen day break, expect the team to look a little different. The reason is that the aforementioned break has allowed for time to make adjustments.

Duke has two early losses on the season but to good teams, still, there has been some concern from many that the Blue Devils have not looked especially sharp by the lofty standards of the teams predecessors.

But what many seem to not be hearing is what Krzyzewski has been saying. That being that his team is a work in progress.

This years version of Duke has never been wired to succeed or peak early on. They're way too young for that with a true, yet sensational freshman taking on the main role.

You can bet that Coach Mike Kryzyzewski and his staff have broken down a lot of film and had discussions on strategy and playing to the teams strength during the break.

They've had time to analyze what the team has done to date and what they need to do moving forward.

There was very little time for adjustment on the fly for Duke from November 24th to December 3rd where they played four games in that stretch, not to mention studying for final exams.

During the last three game stretch, Krzyzewski and his troops got back to playing Duke defense and you can look for them to expand on that further moving forward.

When the season started the Duke team showed off some pretty serious offense but it became clear that the team was not picking up on it's original assignments on the defensive end.

They also started to go to Marshall Plumlee in the post more in the last outing and he continues to get in better shape and move past his injury, so this is something to look out for.

Krzyzewski also mentioned that Andre Dawkins was just now getting back to game shape after taking a year off and his role could increase as well.

Dawkins is after all, the only Blue Devil on the roster to earn a national championship ring and some timely three balls like he got against Baylor during the teams 2010 run could be forthcoming.

Then there is Rasheed Sulaimon, a very talented guard who has struggled early on. Whatever is holding Sulaimon back from success, he's simply too talented not to bring it all back together.

What Krzyzewski will look for this evening, is for other players to step up around the big two of Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker.

He's established their roles and mentioned that the sensational freshman Parker will only get better as those around him do.

I expect there could still be growing pains this season, but it is December and you certainly do not want a team peaking now instead of March when you are one and done.

The ACC schedule is looking tougher than some anticipated and Duke will go on the road to Notre Dame and undefeated Pitt, two snake pits without a return trip to Cameron.

Then there are their usual games with UNC and newcomer power Syracuse, who they of course play twice despite the unbalanced ACC schedule.

But Krzyzewski has never been one to worry about other teams, instead focusing on his own.

Duke is not without their shortcomings, but the key will be to watch and see if they can exploit their strengths.

History proves that their will be ebbs and flows to every season and despite two early season losses. the team is still firmly in the top ten.

Watching as the season unfolds moving forward will be something fans should enjoy provided they realize that the end game is what counts.

Garner Webb at Duke Game Notes

RIC_1784Duke vs. Gardner-Webb Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 • 7 p.m. Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) ESPNU • Blue Devil IMG Sports Network The Opening Tip • Duke returns from a 12-day break between games to host Gardner-Webb at Cameron Indoor Stadium Monday, Dec. 16. • The Blue Devils are seeking their 100th consecutive home win over an unranked non-conference opponent. Duke has won 107 straight games overall at Cameron Indoor Stadium against non-conference opponents. • Duke is ranked No. 8 in both the AP Poll and No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Blue Devils are 73-17 all-time when ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll. • The Blue Devils are playing their 221st straight game as a top-10 team in the AP poll. Duke is 182-38 (.827) in that span. • Jabari Parker has scored 15 or more points in all nine games this season with an ACC-leading seven 20+ point efforts. Parker is second in the ACC and 15th nationally in scoring at 22.1 ppg. The Last Time Out • Duke defeated No. 22 Michigan, 79-69, Dec. 3 to improve to 13-2 all-time in Big Ten/ACC Challenge contests. • The Blue Devils extended their non-conference home win streak to 107 consecutive games with the victory. • Quinn Cook led the team with 24 points and nine assists. He also added four rebounds and two steals in 37 minutes of action. • Cook scored all 24 points in the second half of play, going 6-of-8 from the field and 10-of-10 from the foul line. • Jabari Parker added 15 points and six rebounds, while Rodney Hood posted 14 points, five rebounds and two assists. • Duke shot 50.0 percent (28-of-56) from the field in the game, including 60.0 percent (15-of-25) over the final 20 minutes of play. • The Blue Devils held Michigan leading scorer Nick Stauskas to four points for the game. By The Numbers • The Blue Devils have won 21 consecutive games against teams currently in the Big South Conference. Duke has not lost to a team currently in the Big South Conference since falling to VMI, 32-31 in overtime, on Feb. 17, 1937. • Duke is 177-26 under Mike Krzyzewski in the month of December. The Blue Devils have won 21 straight games in the month with the last loss coming to Wisconsin, 73-69, on Dec. 2, 2009. • Duke has not lost a December home game since falling to Michigan, 62-61, on Dec. 8, 1996. The Blue Devils have won 61 straight December games at Cameron Indoor Stadium since that loss. • The Blue Devils have won an NCAA-best 107 consecutive non-conference home games. Duke has defeated seven ranked non-conference teams at home during that streak, including No. 22 Michigan on Dec. 3 in its last outing. • Duke has won 22 consecutive home games, tied for the second-longest streak in the NCAA. The Blue Devils are four wins shy of cracking the top 5 home winning streaks in program history. • Jabari Parker (22.1 ppg.) and Rodney Hood (19.3 ppg.) are the top scoring tandem in the ACC (second in the NCAA) at 41.4 points per game. The duo combines to generate 48.1 percent of Duke’s scoring on the year. • Junior Quinn Cook has scored in double-figures in a career-best six straight games. He is one of three players in the NCAA currently averaging at least 10.0 points and 6.0 assists per game with a 3.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio or better. • Duke has had a 20-point scorer in each of the first nine games this season. Jabari Parker has collected an ACC-best seven 20-point games, while Rodney Hood is tied for fifth in the league with five 20-point efforts. • Since seniors Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton joined the starting rotation prior to the Alabama game, Duke has lowered its scoring defense by 7.2 points per game. The Blue Devils have forced 44 turnovers in the last three contests. • Duke is shooting 79.4 percent from the free throw line over the last five contests. Quinn Cook is 18-of-18 from the line, while Rodney Hood is 26-of-29 (.897) during that stretch. • Jabari Parker is attempting to become the first Duke freshman since Jason Williams (1999-2000) to score in double figures in Duke’s first 10 games of the season. Williams opened his career with 12 consecutive double-figure scoring games.