Category Archives: Duke Basketball

cd749a58-08e5-41fa-9604-2458497ef73d

Grayson Allen on the Wooden Watch List

cd749a58-08e5-41fa-9604-2458497ef73dLOS ANGELES – Duke sophomore Grayson Allen was named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20on Wednesday evening in an announcement made live on ESPNU.

The 20 individuals named to the list are considered frontrunners for one of the sport’s most prestigious honors based on their performances to this point in the 2015-16 season. Established in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is presented annually to a student-athlete who not only showcases athletic prowess on the court, but also demonstrates progress toward graduation by maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 grade-point average.

Allen has had one of the breakout years in all of college basketball this season, averaging team bests of 20.8 points and 3.6 assists to go along with 4.6 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game. He is shooting 49.4 percent from the floor, 43.9 percent from three-point range and 86.1 percent from the free throw line.

The Jacksonville, Fla., native’s scoring average ranks second in the ACC and fifth among players in the major college basketball conferences, while he also ranks third in the ACC in three-point field goal percentage, sixth in free throw percentage, eighth in three-point field goals per game (2.3) and 10th in field goal percentage.

Allen is currently on pace to become the ninth Duke player, and first since Nolan Smith in 2011, to lead the Blue Devils in both scoring and assists in a season. He has eclipsed the 20-point mark 11 times this season, including three 30-point efforts, and has led Duke in scoring a dozen times.

His scoring increase of 16.4 points per game from last season is on pace to set a new ACC record, as he averaged 4.4 points per contest in reserve duty in helping Duke win its fifth national championship a year ago. He has scored in double figures in 22 of Duke’s 24 games this season and is currently in the midst of a streak of 13 consecutive double-figure scoring games.

Allen has been named ACC Player of the Week twice this season and was tabbed 2K Classic MVP after leading Duke to the title in November. He is also among the finalists for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

A final ballot of 15 players will be announced before the NCAA Tournament begins and the announcement of the Wooden Award All-America Team will occur during the week leading up to the NCAA Tournament regional round.

Caj4kWjW0AA_2o8

Giles & DeLaurier Enjoy Cameron

Caj4kWjW0AA_2o8Duke has a couple of soon to be seen a lot visitors in Harry Giles and Javin DeLaurier for the game with N.C. State.  During the Blue Devils win, the always aware Cameron Crazies chanted, Harry Giles, sit with us!," as the lanky star came rolling over to oblige,  Team Giles have been main stays at games of late as the sure fire star recovers from injury.

 

The Crazies wasted no time in then shouting out to Javin DeLaurier who joined Giles to give fans a glimpse of the future.  

The two standout prospects to be will be joined by Frank Jackson and Jayson Tatum.  And as an FWI, Duke is looking to add two more players to the class.

 

 

 

 

   

   

vd

Mapping Out The Duke Win Over Georgia Tech

vdSome unexpected news broke less than two hours before tip-off of last nights Duke at Georgia Tech game.  HOF Coach Mike Krzyzewski would not be coaching his team in Atlanta due to some precautionary measures taken by his doctors to keep him in Durham.

Lead Assistant Coach Jeff Capel would take the reins on the sideline and his effort helped give Duke a much-needed win on the road.  But Krzyzewski's hand prints were all over these Blue Devils despite his absence.  The Duke program is a tight knit group, all knowing their duties no matter what issues arrise.

This was by no means, Capels first rodeo.  Oh no.  He's been at the helm plenty of times in the past where he started out at Virginia Commonwealth and would later recruit Blake Griffin to Oklahoma, And the Duke team has also had their staff which  consists of Nate James and Jon Scheyer in place for a good while now.

What we learned last night is that the Duke staff was ready for the challenge.  It was just that morning when the team learned their leader in Mike Krzyzewski would remain in Durham.  But there was no time for losing focus.  Duke needed a win.

Duke got that win, but early on it seemed like the dark cloud over the team of late would not go away.  Georgia Tech scored on numerous easy baskets which allowed them to take a 4 point lead into the break,

Capel made some half time adjustments and challenged his team to simply play better, and they did.  Duke would return to their old friend, man to man defense, and that was enough to stymie the Yellow Jackets offense where they sputtered down the stretch.

Duke has not been able to play its program staple, man to man defense, at times this season due to depth issues.  In this game, the move to said defense came after a long break, so there were certainly fresh legs.  Trust me, if Duke had the bodies, they would be playing plenty more of man to man.

Grayson Allen nailed a career high three-point shot made shots on his way to 27 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.  He was up for the challenge of being a leader when Duke needed him most.

Brandon Ingram was a beast on the defensive glass.  After starting off the game slowly on the offensive end, he did what good players do to shake off a slump.  That being he drove the ball to the basket and when he does that, he makes a living at the free throw stripe. Ingram ended the game with an impressive double-double of 14 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.

Duke would also be aided timely moments from Marshall Plumlee who grabbed 11 rebounds and did not miss a shot from the field. Luke Kennard, the nation's top free throw shooter would hit said shots from the charity stripe at crunch time for Duke,  And Derryck Thornton played, perhaps, his best game at Duke save some late turnovers.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was the Blue Devils ability to knock down threes.  It was that ability which allowed the team to go on a 16-2 run midway through the 2nd half.  Duke would end the game knocking down 11 three pointers at a 48% clip. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets managed just 2 of 19 from beyond the arc.

When a team has lost some close games a weight develops on them. Imaginary or not, that weight was lifted last night.  It was a program win.  It showed Jeff Capel is the best Associate Head Coach in America.  The win also showed that the Duke players could rally around one another when some serious adversity was in play with Krzyzewski resting in Durham.

Duke will have little time to celebrate in that key games are coming up with N,C, State and Louisville.  The Wolfpack has had a stellar win over Miami since Duke last played them just days ago.  And Louisville is perched at the top of the conference.

According to Capel and the players during last evenings post game talk, they'll take it one game at a time.  That sounds like their coach who wasn't at the game in body, but was certainly there in spirit.

Tidbits

During the bus trip to the flight back last evening, the team got some face time on Matt Jones phone with Mike Krzyzewski.

The game with Louisville will mark the 1000th game played in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

According to Jeff Capel - Duke did not practice anything but zone in preparing for Georgia Tech.

 

54

Duke Seeks To End Woes vs Georgia Tech

54The Duke Blue Devils take to the court tonight after a long break to face Georgia Tech in a road contest.  While the Yellow Jackets are coming off some losses of their own, don't think this game will be easy,  In fact, Duke is a slight 2 point favorite and for good reason.

Like Georgia Tech, Duke has struggled of late.  So much so, that the Blue Devils fell out of the top 25 and now have some questioning if they can get to the tournament.  A loss tonight would add credence to that question, but a win would right the ship.  And let's be honest here, Duke is a big time name and program and if they are anywhere near eligible for March Madness, they'll get in.

Duke will at some point get Amile Jefferson back from a broken foot, but it will not be tonight.  Duke will face a Georgia Tech team that has played well at home and team whose losses were very, very close.    The Yellow Jackets have beaten the likes of Virginia, Arkansas and N.C. State while losing games to top-tier conference team where they were in the contest until the end.

What makes Georgia Tech most dangerous for Duke is their depth. As a team, the Yellow Jackets, are way deeper than the Blue Devils. They play ten players and to put this into perspective, their tenth man averages 13.9 minutes per game.  Meanwhile, Duke plays six players iron man minutes, but this could be a night where the Blue Devils are forced to go seven deep.

The Yellow Jackets are led by four double figure scorers.  Charles Mitchell has been a solid inside force who averages a double-double and Marcus Georges-Hunt is their leading scorer.  Where they suffer a little bit is at the point guard spot in that, like Duke, they depend on assists by committee.

Duke has three clear leaders on the offensive end in Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram and Luke Kennard.  Anything they get from the rest of their cast of late has been a luxury on the scoring end.  In losses to Clemson, Syracuse and Miami, the offense struggled to score points.  And when the offense struggles, so does Duke.

The main reason for those struggles is that with such a short rotation, Duke has been forced to play zone defensive schemes to save their legs.  It's hard for teams to go all out on both ends of the floor when there are depth issues.  And let's not even talk about foul trouble, for that issue pretty much has doomed Duke as well in their recent losses.

Still, Duke is capable of playing good, if not better basketball than they have of late.  To do that, the offense has to get back to snapping their passes about with more certainty.  And Duke must get some sort of help defense from a player who is not Marshall Plumlee.  The player who is most capable of doing this is freshman standout Brandon Ingram.'

While just a freshman, Brandon Ingram is the one player who can cause all kinds of match up nightmares for the opposition.  He is still learning that he is as solid around the rim as he is on the perimeter. Duke needs for Ingram to take it to another level.

During the pre season media gatherings, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that an injury could derail his team.  Nobody really listened then.  What we are seeing in the Duke failures of late are mainly due to an untimely injury.  But even with Amile Jefferson, Duke is a team that must hit on all cylinders to win in a tough and unforgiving ACC.

Duke is in need of a win, but breaking out of a slump is never easy.  It's very important for Duke to get off to a good start tonight and then show they can hang on for a much-needed victory,  But like in all games, this is one of the games opponents circle on their calender.  Let's face it, there are sharks circling the water that want their chance at what at this time seems like a vulnerable Duke team.

A win won't be as easy as the fan base might like it to be,  But a win by any margin is the only thing that will stop the bleeding and breed new confidence.  Considering the time the team has had to prepare, I think Duke gets the job done.

A short bench has been an issue for Duke,

Duke at Miami Preview

A short bench has been an issue for Duke,
A short bench has been an issue for Duke,

The Duke Blue Devils took a step in the right direction this past Saturday when they defeated N.C. State with a stellar second half effort.  Duke must now face Miami tonight mere hours after that win on the road in a hostile environment with the ticket being the hottest thing in town.

To give you an idea of what Miami is capable of, they defeated Utah by 24 earlier this season, a team that took down Duke in New York. The Hurricanes are an older team while Duke leans heavily on freshman.  Miami is an athletic, quick and are a guard heavy team.

While Duke is perimeter oriented as well, the Hurricane guards are more traditional ball handling types.  Miami starts the engine with the solid duo of Shelden McClellan and Angel Rodriquez., two guards who've been through the ACC wars.  Then there is Ja'Quan Newton and Davon Reed who round out their four double-digit scorers who are also outside oriented players.

Miami is also anchored by the athletic Tonye Jekeri in the middle who will present a challenge for Marshall Plumlee with no Amile Jefferson as his sidekick.  The Hurricanes also go to their bench much more often than can Duke where they play four other players I have not mentioned double-digit minutes.  In short, they are tailored made to give the undermanned Blue Devils fits.

The Hurricanes will likely concentrate their defensive efforts on Grayson Allen who had a stellar performance at N.C. State.  Allen has become one of the clear Duke leaders this season but he will need the help of his teammates in this game if Duke is to pull an upset.

Marshall Plumlee will as always, need to stay out of foul trouble and his teammates will need to help with rebounding in a game against a team that is quick to loose balls.  Plumlee has had a solid senior season and has shouldered a lot of responsibility in the paint.  And teams are taking it to the basket on Duke after seeing others success in doing so.

This game will also be another road test for fellow freshman guards Luke Kennard and Deryck Thornton.  Kennard has been the most consistent of these two players and is depended on as one of the Blue Devils three main scoring options.  Thornton will be heavily depended on in this game due to match ups.

While Matt Jones nailed two very critical three-point shots in the win over N.C. State, his game has been a little off of late.  Jones needs to be more than jump shooter in this game and he is at his best when he mixes it up a but more.  His defense has been solid, but his offense of late has turned into simply jump shots.

The bottom line here is that this is a tough game for Duke where they have been tabbed the underdog.  Even some of the deeper Duke teams past have on occasion been defeated soundly on trips to Florida.  And this Duke team is still learning one another.

Duke is capable of coming together and winning this game but it will take mental and physical toughness and forty minutes of effort.  The Blue Devils have struggled with turnovers in ACC play and cutting down on those this evening  would work wonders.

The Blue Devils will need to get back on defense in this game while trying to push Miami off the three point stripe.  Duke will also need to hit their free throw opportunities while chasing down rebounds and loose balls.

The Blue Devils have lost some tough, close games.  Perhaps tonight they can flip the scenario.  The game tips at 7:00 on ESPN.