Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Justise

Duke Baseketball – The Season To Date

JustiseAfter a 8-0 start to the season and most recently a victory over Wisconsin on their home court, it’s clear that Duke is a national championship contender.  Since we have a break in the games, let’s take a look at the Blue Devils to date.

A team that stays together, plays together

It’s clear that the 2014-15 Duke Blue Devils like each other on and off the court.  So far, this season, the chemistry is solid as a rock.  Said chemistry comes in many forms but one aspect which goes unseen by most is a tight locker room.  There are no overblown egos with the talented freshman class who are mature beyond their years.  Meanwhile, the veterans know their roles and realize that winning is something which brings all notice.  One thing players must realize in the Duke system is that their day will come if they’re patient.  And this years group seems to have a better grasp of that concept than some teams past.

Good coaching

During the off-season, Coach Mike Krzyzewski represented his country by once again leading Team USA to Gold.  During his absence, the Blue Devils assistants meshed together well, meeting the challenges of losing Chris Collins to Northwestern and more recently, Steve Wojciechowski to Marquette.  Jeff Capel, who has been a head coach at Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth has really stepped into the role as the second man in charge.  Nate James  and Jon Scheyer add to a mature, no non sense Duke staff on game day as well.  But this group has been working hard off the court as well and they blended the team wonderfully in the off-season.  While certainly leaving instructions, Krzyzweski simply had to make his tweaks upon his return and we are seeing the results.  Those results are a better defensive team, a smooth looking offense and the ability to accomplish the mission at hand.  Duke shook things up in the off-season and the staff pushed the right buttons to make sure each and every player came back better.

marshallThe vets have all improved

It’s easy to focus in on the talented freshman class for many and for good reason.  But the veteran Duke players all made significant off season strides.  Let’s start with Quinn Cook, who has matured into his role of being a leader and captain.  Over the summer, Cook made an effort to get in tip-top shape and it shows.  He’s been the rock on this team to date in many ways and his outside shot will continue to open other opportunities for Duke.  Amile Jefferson has been oh-so solid on the boards.  His improved rebounding and spacing on defense is most noticeable.  Jefferson is taking his role of captain seriously and doing what it takes no matter what comes the Blue Devils way on the court.  Marshall Plumlee has been backing up Jahlil Okafor with good minutes as well.  And one of the stories of the new season is how consistent his free throws shooting has become where he is now efficient.  Matt Jones and Rasheed Sulaimon have made huge strides in the area of maturity and understanding their roles.  In the case of Jones, he moves much better off ball this season and has played some hard-nosed minutes where he defends well.  Sulaimon learned to deal with adversity and to let his time come when it presents himself.  Scoring points in bunches are what can happen when you buy into “the game will come to you when the time is right,” scenario.  Let me also add, that both Jones and Sulaimon have been capable and active defenders to date.

And then there are the freshman

It’s clear now just how good this years Duke class is on the court.  Having seen all of these kids while on the AAU circuit gave me an idea of what they can do.  But watching them mesh together has yielded better results  than anyone could have envisioned.  We all knew they were good and mature beyond their years, but nobody knew they’d look like a well oiled machine together this early.  Jahlil Okafor is the best big man in the country already.  He’s as solid as one can get in the post and has the skill set to do it all.  Yes, he is one and done, so enjoy him while you can Duke fans.  Okafor is moving better than ever and his short-range use of the glass on the offensive end makes him one tough match up.  Krzyzewski has been masterful in keeping him fresh and Okafor is ridiculously efficient when he’s on the court.  Tyus Jones has won at every level he’s played on.  Now he’s doing it again at the highest level of college hoops.  Jones is silky smooth and savvy and has an extra competitive gear which showed in the Blue Devils win over the Badgers.  The combination of Cook and Jones has been as good as it gets to date and that was a question going into the season.  Justise Winslow is a fan favorite for many in that he is versatile, hard nosed and tough.  Just plug Winslow into the line up and watch him produce in every aspect of the game.  These three have been rock solid and fun to watch and more importantly good teammates.  Before you think Grayson Allen is the odd man out let me speak to the big picture.  Allen will for sure be a huge contributor at Duke in the future, but don’t count him out this season just yet.  Krzyzewski has a way of pushing buttons at the right time and Allen has a way of stat stuffing on the offensive end.

Resume building wins

Okay, here is a reality check for all Duke fans.  It’s been an incredible season to date, but it’s what you do in March and hopefully April that is most remembered.  Still, Duke has had a nice November and December with some NCAA Tournament resume building wins.  The best win was the last outing versus Wisconsin in one of the toughest places to play in America.  Duke also has wins over Stanford and Michigan State, two teams sure to be in the field of teams come March.

In closing, Duke looks as good and better than most teams in the nation in early December.  The team has been fun to watch and has likable players who seem to be having fun.  Thus far in this early college basketball season, Duke fans have little to complain about and plenty to crow about.

Next up:  We’ll take a look at the road ahead for the Duke Basketball team.

 

Clemson v Duke

Duke drops Wisconsin 80-70

Clemson v DukeThe Duke Blue Devils travelled to Madison, Wisconsin for the biggest early season college hoops match up to date.  And the result was to their liking, as they knocked off the nations second ranked team 80-70.

The Blue Devils moved to 8-0 on the young season by taking the crowd out of one of basketball’s infamous venues, trailing just two times in the game.  Duke has dominated their opponents in the ACC vs Big Ten Challenge but most figured that the Badgers would be the favorite playing at home.

Duke was led by a sensational performance by Tyus Jones, their freshman point guard who was the games high scorer with 22 points.  That was also Jones career high at Duke, but he had plenty of help on this evening.

“My teammates and coach are very confident in me and they’ve been getting on me to be more aggressive on the offensive end,” said Jones after the big Duke win.  Jones also added 4 assists and 6 rebounds to his stat line.

The Blue Devils only went eight deep with their rotation tonight, but it was the bench play which stood out.  Rasheed Sulaimon played his best game of the season, scoring 14 points.  Many of those came at key moments in the game when the Blue Devils were fending off an attempted Badger run.  Matt Jones and Marshall Plumlee also contributed by playing key minutes.

Jahlil Okafor was hampered a but by foul trouble, but was effective 13 points, including one of his more emphatic dunks of the season.  The Blue Devils leading scorer this season, senior captain Quinn Cook added 13 points as well and Amile Jeffrson and Justise Winslow tallied the remaining 11 points for Duke.

The Blue Devils stymied the Badgers with a solid defensive effort where they switched off their opponents with team play.   That coupled with shooting 65,2% from the floor was the recipe for victory.  And that victory came against one of the nations most experienced and disciple teams.

While in reality this is only a December win, it is one that will stand out big time when the NCAA Selection Committee seeds teams come March.

Duke improved to 25-13 against top-5 teams under coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Duke win snapped a  23-game non conference winning streak for the Badgers.

Duke used a 6-0 run to stretch the lead to 69-60 after Wisconsin close the gap late in the game.

The Blue Devils will not enjoy one of their longest breaks of the season.  The next game on the slate for the Blue Devils will be on December the 15th against Elon in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

 

duke-wf rick c 001

Duke at Wisconsin By the Numbers

duke-wf rick c 001By the numbers

• Duke (7-0) travels to Madison to face Wisconsin (7-0) Wednesday, Dec. 1 at the Kohl Center in an ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest. Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m. (EST) with ESPN televising the contest.

• Duke enters the game ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 64-13 when ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll. Wisconsin is ranked No. 2 in the AP and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll.

• The Blue Devils are 30-14 against teams ranked in the top 25 of the AP Poll this decade (2009-10 season) with a 12-8 mark against top 10 teams.

• Wednesday’s game marks the 38th time under Mike Krzyzewski Duke has faced a team ranked in the top 5 of the AP Poll while also ranked in the top 5 of the poll. The Blue Devils are 24-13 under Coach K in matchups of top 5 teams.

• Duke is the winningest team in ACC/Big Ten Challenge history with a 13-2 (.867) record. The Blue Devils won their first 10 matchups in the event before Wisconsin snapped that streak Dec. 2, 2009.

• The Blue Devils are 3-2 overall in ACC/Big Ten Challenge road games but have lost their last two road contests in the event.

• Duke is coming off a 93-73 win over Army Sunday, Nov. 30. The Blue Devils dominated the interior, finishing with a +18 rebound margin, including a 17-6 edge on the offensive glass.

• The Blue Devils shot 65.9 percent (27-of-41) from inside the three-point arc and scored 50 points in the paint against the Black Knights. Duke is shooting 61.4 percent (162-of-264) on two-point field goals and averaging 42.3 points per game in the paint on the year.

• Jahlil Okafor scored a game-high 21 points in the win over Army, while Tyus Jones added 16 points, five rebounds and 10 assists.

By the numbers

• Duke has won each of the first seven games by 10-or-more points, marking the first time since the 2002-03 season it has accomplished that feat. The Blue Devils opened the 2002-03 campaign with nine straight double digit wins.

• The Blue Devils have trailed for just 48 seconds through the first seven games of the season. Duke has not trailed past the 16:46 mark in the first half with its largest deficit being two points.

• Eight different Blue Devils have scored in double figures this season with Quinn Cook and Jahlil Okafor reaching double figures in all seven contests.

• Freshmen Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow have started all seven games for the Blue Devils. Mike Krzyzewski has started three or more freshmen in a game 42 times at Duke, including 27 times during the 1982-83 season.

• Duke is averaging 25.7 points per game off opponent turnovers. The Blue Devils have scored 20-or-more points off turnovers in six of their seven games.

• Duke’s top-rated freshman class – Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow – combines to average 45.9 points per game while shooting an efficient 52.8 percent (113-of-214) from the field. The group has posted for 16 of Duke’s 29 double figure scoring games this season.

• Quinn Cook has scored in double figures in all seven games and ranks eighth in the ACC in scoring at 15.6 ppg. He leads the ACC in three-point field goals (3.0 3pg.), while also ranking among the conference leaders in three-point percentage (.429 – 8th), assists (4.0 apg. – T-9th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.67:1 – 3rd).

• Jahlil Okafor, a three-time ACC Freshman of the Week selection, ranks second in the ACC in scoring (17.7 ppg.) and field goal percentage (.636), while also ranking among the league leaders in rebounds (13th – 7.9 rpg.), offensive rebounds (T-4th – 4.0 orpg.) and blocks (T-9th – 1.57 bpg.). Okafor averaged 22.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game to claim last week’s award.

• Amile Jefferson continues to be active on the glass, averaging a team-high 8.9 rebounds per game (5th in the ACC). He has collected 29 of his 62 rebounds on the offensive end of the floor and is third in the league in offensive rebounds (4.14 orpg.).

• Duke’s backcourt tandem of Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones has combined for 70 assists with just 13 turnovers (5.39:1 assist-to-turnover ratio) through seven games. Both players rank in the top 10 of the ACC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.

• Matt Jones is averaging 7.6 points per game, while shooting 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from three-point range. As a freshman, Jones was just 3-of-21 (.143) from behind the arc and averaged 1.8 ppg.

• Jahlil Okafor has grabbed four or more offensive rebounds in four straight games and is averaging 5.8 offensive rebounds per game in that span.

• Tyus Jones recorded 10 assists with no turnovers in the win over Army to become the second player in Duke history to post 10-or-more assists in a game without a turnover. He currently leads the ACC and is tied for fifth nationally with a 6.00:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (minimum 4.0 apg.).

• Duke’s post rotation of Amile Jefferson, Jahlil Okafor and Marshall Plumlee combines to average 30.6 points and 19.9 rebounds per game while shooting 66.4 percent (89-of-134) from the field

Clemson v Duke

Army at Duke By The Numbers

Clemson v DukeDuke (6-0) vs. Army (5-0)

Sunday, November 30, 2014 • 12:02 p.m. • ESPNU

Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)

The Opening Tip

• Duke (6-0) hosts Army (5-0) Sunday, Nov. 30 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a battle between undefeated teams. Tipoff is set for 12:02 p.m. with ESPNU televising the contest.

• Mike Krzyzewski is facing his alma mater for the sixth time in his career. Krzyzewski led Army to three NIT appearances as a player and compiled a 73-59 record as head coach at Army from 1976-80.

• Duke is ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll and No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 63-13 all-time when ranked No. 4 in the AP Poll. Army enters the game unranked in both polls.

• The Blue Devils have won an NCAA-best 112 straight non-conference home games, more than twice as many as the next closest school (Syracuse – 53).

• Duke owns the longest active home win streak in the NCAA at 36 games. The 36-game streak is the fourth-best mark in school history and ACC history. NC State won 36 straight home games from 1972-75, while Duke matched that feat from 1991-93.

• Duke has featured a balanced scoring attack with seven players averaging at least 7.5 points per game. The Blue Devils have had 25 double figure scoring games.

• Eight different Blue Devils have scored in double-figures this season with Quinn Cook and Jahlil Okafor reaching double figures in all six contests.

• Duke is coming off a 93-54 win over Furman Wednesday, Nov. 26. The Blue Devils dominated the interior finishing with a +36 margin on points in the paint (54-18).

• The Blue Devils shot 57.6 percent (38-of-66) from the field marking the third time in three games at home that Duke has shot 57.0 percent or better from the field.

u By the numbers

• Quinn Cook has scored in double figures and made at least three three-point field goals in all six contests this season. He leads the ACC in three-point field goals (3.3 3pg.), while also ranking among the conference leaders in scoring (16.0 ppg. – T-10th), three-point percentage (.455 – 9th), assists (4.3 apg. – 9th) and assist-to-turnover ratio (5.20:1 – 3rd).

• Mike Krzyzewski has started three or more freshmen in a game 41 times at Duke, including all six games this season. Coach K started three or more freshmen 27 times during the 1982-83 season.

• Duke’s top-rated freshmen class – Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow – combines to average 46.5 points per game while shooting an efficient 52.7 percent (98-of-186) from the field. The group has combined for 14 of Duke’s 25 double figure scoring games this season.

• The Blue Devils have trailed for just 29 seconds through the first six games of the season. Duke trailed Fairfield, 2-0, for 18 seconds and Stanford, 2-0, for 11 seconds.

• Duke has won each of the first six games by 10 or more points, marking the first time since the 2010-11 season it has accomplished that feat. The Blue Devils have not opened a season with seven double-figure wins since the 2002-03 campaign.

• Duke has made 41 more three-point field goals than its opposition on the year. The Blue Devils are 59-of-144 (.410), while holding the opposition to just 18-of-90 (.200) shooting from behind the arc. Quinn Cook has more three-point field goals (20) than Duke has allowed (18) on the year.

• Jahlil Okafor scored a season-high 24 points on 12-of-14 shooting in the win over Furman. He made his final 12 shots of the contest and is second in the ACC in field goal percentage (.649) and tied for fourth in scoring (17.2 ppg.)

• Amile Jefferson continues to be active on the glass, averaging a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game (T-9th in the ACC). He has collected 24 of his 50 rebounds on the offensive end of the floor and is tied for third in the league in offensive rebounds (4.0 orpg.).

• Duke’s backcourt tandem of Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones have combined for 58 assists with just 12 turnovers (4.83:1 assist-to-turnover ratio) through six games. Both players rank in the top 10 of the ACC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.

• Matt Jones is averaging 7.8 points per game, while shooting 58.8 percent (10-of-17) from three-point range. As a freshman, Jones was just 3-of-21 (.143) from behind the arc and averaged 1.8 ppg.

• Duke has scored 90-or-more points in all three home contests this season. The Blue Devils are averaging 105.0 points per game, while shooting 60.9 percent (120-of-197) from the field at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

• Justise Winslow has done a little bit of everything for the Blue Devils ranking in the top three on the team in scoring (14.0 ppg – 3rd), rebounds (5.2 rpg. – 3rd), offensive rebounds (9 – 3rd), assists (13 – 3rd), blocks (4 – T-2nd), steals (6 – 3rd), field goals (26 – 3rd), three-point field goals (8 – 3rd) and free throws (24 – 1st).

• Duke is averaging 25.5 points per game off opponent turnovers. The Blue Devils have scored 20-or-more points off turnovers in five of their six games.

Matt Jones is Embracing His Role

Matt JonesWhen one takes an early look at the Duke Blue Devils season, several players stand out.  That makes it hard to not talk about the entire roster at times after a 6-0 start tot he season.  Thus far, it appears that every returning player on the team made significant strides from a season ago.  Some of improvements are mental, while others are better movement without the ball.  One player who is playing better this season is Matt Jones.  In the off-season, Jones returned to Texas where he hit the reset button after his freshman season.  What we see now is a player who knows his strengths and one who is moving better on the court than ever before.  Jones was in the starting rotation when the season began, but his current role is coming off the bench.   Some players would see that as a demotion, but Jones realizes that on a talented team, his role is simply to fit in and contribute.  Jones came off the bench against Furman and added instant offense, but Coach Mike Krzyzewski has also praised his toughness in earlier games.  Jones is one of the many reasons Duke looks polished early on this season.  Check out what he had to say post Furman victory –