Tag Archives: Alex O’Connell

Duke in Canada – What to Watch

Duke in Canada - What to Watch

Duke is set to play three games in Canada starting tomorrow evening.  With Cam Reddish and Tre Jones sidelined due to injury, here is what to watch.

R.J. Barrett will control the ball

While the starters have yet to be announced, Mike Krzyzewski said in his press conference that the ball would run through R.J. Barrett on the Canadia trip.  I asked Barrett last week if he was comfortable in that role and he said that he was.  Duke loves to play what they call positionless basketball but they have a true PG this season in Tre Jones when healthy.

Who might start?

Duke will likely go with Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier, R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson and Alex O'Connell.

Duke will seek to develop quality depth

With the aforementioned injuries, Duke will play their bench and they'll do so often,  BDN Premium members know who I projected as the season rotation, but Duke needs another body or two to become viable if there are injuries.  Jack White will get some quality time and he could be the likely candidate for added depth once the season starts,  Krzyzewski said he had lost ten pounds in the offseason,  Another source close to the situation said their goal was to get the Austrailian product to play with more confidence.  We can also expect to see Joey Baker, Antonio Vrankovic, Justin Robinson, and Jordan Goldwire see significant minutes.

Look for R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson to Shine

These guys are good and they're about to let the nation see that.  Barrett is a confident player who enjoys challenges.  He will thrive being the one who dictates action on a trip home.  Zion Williamson literally makes Coach K smile when he speaks of him.  All eyes will be on the South Carolina native and if his game translates to the college level right away.

Leaders will lead

Duke will look to Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden to lead as both enter their junior seasons.  Duke has also been getting some chatter from White and O'Connell while the talented newcomers adjust.

Don't expect a refined, perfect bunch

The Duke staff is just scratching the surface on conditioning and they have yet to put in major parts of the system.  Duke will play up-tempo this season with more man to man but this trip might not reveal how effective that can be.

Sideline Chemistry

This will be the first time we have seen this staff together.  Gone is Jeff Capel and entering is Chris Carrawell.  It will be interesting to watch how things are handled with the aforementioned along with Nate James, Jon Scheyer, and Nolan Smith.  While Smith is not technically a coach, he plays a major role.  It is worth noting that every coach or staff member mentioned has a national championship ring while at Duke.

Duke Defense Stymies Evansville

Alex O'Connell 9 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 assist in Duke win.

The Duke Blue Devils completed yet another undefeated season against non conference opponents in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  With a dominant 104-40 win over Evansville, the Blue Devils pushed their streak to an NCAA best 139th straight win.

Duke used a suffocating defense that held Evansville (10-3) to just 15 field goals on the evening.  In fact, there was one stretch in the game where the Blue Devils outscored the Purple Aces 42-3.

The Blue Devils defense created a 39-2 advantage on point off turnovers.  And that was aided by 13 steals to just 1 for their overwhelmed opponent, which means the team also protected the ball.  By games end,  Duke forced a season high 21 turnovers

The Blue Devils now go into the Christmas breaks with an upbeat if not feel good win.  The team is now 12 -1 on the season and will not return to the court until December the 30th against Florida State in a game that will be televised from Cameron on CBS.

Despite the students being on vacation, local and Duke fans from afar packed Cameron Indoor Stadium and were vocal in their appreciation.  Of course, with a stellar team win, that made for the festive atmosphere.

Jordan Goldwire has 7 assists

By games end, the Blue Devils had played many players and the bench guys showed well.  Jordan Goldwire would end the game with 7 assists, while Justin Robinson would knock down back to back threes which brought those at Coach K court to their feet.

Jack White would only score two points but his thunderous dunk punctuated an evening when many things went right.  Duke shared he ball, dishing out 34 assists which pleased Mike Krzyzewski in his post game press conference.

Duke shot a blistering 16 of 26 from beyond the three-point stripe and it was Duke freshman Wendell Carter Jr. that took 7 of those shots.  Carter who ended the game with a career high 27 points knocked down 4 of 7 three pointers.  Overheard was somebody saying in a light manner that he was the new JJ (Redick).

There was a sense of accomplishment in the locker room.  All the players seemed please with the team's performance.  Many mentioned the hard work on defense and it was clear they all felt good going into the Holiday break.

Wendell Carter had a career high 27

And they should feel good, for it was easy to see that their work had reamed rewards in improvement.  It was easy to see from my vantage that the players were being more vocal and switching off their man in a more seamless fashion.

This was the kind of game that cured some of the angst in wait the team had after their only loss of the season.  Duke went to their bench just four minutes into the game as it became clear that the team had a feel of togetherness.  That togetherness led to a dominant, feel good win for the team and the fan base.

Notes - The Duke players will return on December the 27th.  The coaches will be out on the road recruiting in force at the many holiday events.  We will discuss where they will be in detail in a coming update for premium members.  And remember, we have a special where you get double any membership time when you join before year's end.  Javin DeLaurier was out nursing a hamstring injury and Jordan Tucker had an undisclosed injury as well.

The margin of victory was the 7th largest in school history,  Duke has made at least one three-point shot in 997 consecutive games.   Marques Bolden matched his career high with 3 blocked shots.  Grayson Allen moved to 24th on the all time scoring list.