Each week we will conduct an #AskBDN feature during the season. You can send in your questions with the aforementioned hashtag on the Blue Devil Nation twitter feed or in our Facebook group or page.
#AskBDN is there a reason that Coach K doesn’t lobby he refs anymore and stand up for his guys as he used to do? Personally, I’d like to see a tech from him at the appropriate time to show his team that he has their back and he’s fully invested! You know, the old Coach K style.
— Anterio Kittrell (@OnlyTheFactsPlz) February 9, 2018
Well, I am not sure what you are watching on television, but he is constantly working the refs. My vantage at the Duke games and most recently UNC game, allows me to see what most on television do not. Over the years, he has become more calm but he can often be seen asking his players or assistants to talk with refs during timeouts. If things keep going as they have of late, you may get your wish of a technical coming his way.
#AskBDN Seems like Duke gets badly outplayed during the first ten minutes of the second half on a regular basis...What's happening or not happening in the locker room during halftime?
— Argos (@Argos5USA) February 9, 2018
Well, you are right that a recent trend in losses to St. John's and UNC has reflected upon slow second half starts. Some of that is momentum and the way they closed out the first half. Duke allowed both St. John's and UNC to pull much closer in the final minutes of the first half by turning the ball over late and taking bad, contested or off balanced shots. I am not sure what is happening in the locker room but Mike Krzyzewski himself has said the team is not always sponging what the coaches preach. And if that is the case, it has to change and the team must concentrate for a full forty minutes. I think consistency is the Achilles heel of this team. They have trouble staying focused. Much of that is youth and some could be that the starters, whom are very young, play iron man minutes.
#AskBDN Does the talent, potential, and prestige of getting the so called “one and done” recruits justify not relying heavily on the lesser 50-100 recruits that are much more likely to stay 3-4 years and build continuity?
— Dale Wright (@DaleDuke7) February 9, 2018
There is not a coach or program in the nation that would not take the talent Duke has gotten on the recruiting trail. For the most part, Duke has only had three years or major one and done types on the roster. That includes this season. Now, one must realize that Duke has one title in three years and are still in the hunt this year. I think many people get caught up in last years injury riddled disappointing year and the current teams funk. And that frustration is understandable. We all like to get to know out players better and have done that over the years. Krzyzewski and the program has given fans a lot of great memories. But like it or not, the one and done era has Duke at the top in the pre season every year without rebuilding. And odds are at some point the practice could once again pay off. Now, what we can all hope for is more 2015 continuity. That team had a few more seasoned players than this years team mixed in with one and done players. As for last season, not having a point guard really hurt Duke. Hopefully, Trevon Duval can mature quickly this year and next season they pick up another Jones in Tre, brother of Tyus.
Do you think the pressure of trying not to do anything out of character (like tripping) is causing Grayson to be in this scoring slump? He's playing hard, distributing the ball well, and playing good defense. He just isn't scoring like we are all used to.#AskBDN
— Kody Lambert (@kotex21) February 9, 2018
Maybe, a little. The one good thing this season for Grayson Allen is that he has not found controversy. The bad thing of late is his lack of aggression. After starting the UNC game with 8 quick points, he disappeared beyond his assists and was not a scoring factor down the stretch. I think some of his issues could be the immense pressure of being a captain on a team with four freshman starters. Krzyzewski wants him to hunt his shot. He has said so to the press and realizes Allen needs to be a scorer. It is also worth mentioning that Allen is a great free throw shooter, so you, like me, could stand to see him go to the rack more trying to draw the foul. Allen is at his best when he is more involved on the offensive end -- that's for sure.
— Jordan Barr (@Jrdnbrr) February 9, 2018
I think Krzyzewski felt they had to be on the floor. It is not like Duke has major depth. FWIW, Marvin Bagley III is in great shape and hates to even come out of games As for Allen, ideally a breather may have been good for him. Krzyzewski plays the players he trusts in close games. You are right about the bench being better for they in fact outscored UNC's bench in the most recent loss. So, they did get some minutes for Alex O'Connell, Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and Jack White. Hopefully that will continue and I think we will see them all in the next game against Georgia Tech.
Given the way 2015 and last season worked out, do you expect this team to rebound in the same fashion?
— Nick McLamb (@neemizzle) February 9, 2018
That is hard to predict. At this time with Duke 19-5, I would say no. But I also feel the team is capable of going on a run. They need to get past Georgia Tech and then take care of business at home and they can close the season on a roll. With a gun to my head, I think this will happen. The 2015 team had great chemistry. This team needs better chemistry. The whole key is to start to play as a "fist," as Krzyzewski puts it. So, far, there has been a loose finger or two in the mix in any games. Right now, Duke just needs a win...their 20th win in order to right the ship. It is not often a Duke team lose 3 of their last 4 games. And another loss would be devastating.
#AskBDN Can we run a 3-2 zone defense, to help us better guard the perimeter and mitigate the problems of our bigs in pick and rolls? Can we run Grayson on offense like JJ and Luke?
— Jason Smith (@coachjws) February 9, 2018
Duke actually plays a lot of junk zones which are hard to recognize. You say 3-2, I say 1-3-1. The truth is we have seen more zone than we are used to already. But as for the pick and rolls, that has been an issue and teams will continue to hurt Duke unless they rotate and or plug the gap. As for Grayson, he can only play the role JJ and Luke did if the point guard position is playing well. Way too many turnovers of late for Duke to get into their offense as it is intended.
Bagley and carter have a hard time guarding smaller players. I know we have to start both of them but do u think it would better to fight over the screens instead of switching everything.
— fireeaters (@joshmorris13) February 9, 2018
It is so hard to get on the same page for freshman in one season. Honestly, I am not sure fighting over the screens would help or create fouls. Many have this concern (see question above) so it is a recognizable issue. I think maybe the answer lies in rotation of players and trying to make player aware and ready to move quickly going forward.
Thanks for the questions and keep them coming each week.