Tag Archives: #AskBDN

Ask BDN – Your Duke Basketball Questions Answered


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Answering Your Burning Questions on Duke Hoops

Duke held NCSU to 11 points when this picture was taken. They would go on to score 85 more points in the next 34:03 for an upset win.

Several fans have sent in questions of late via the site or social media accounts.  Each Monday, we will address some of ones which people seem most concerned about.  You can add the hashtag #AskBDN on twitter each Sunday if you have a question you would like answered.

Why is the Duke defense so bad, especially in conference games?

Well, if anyone has the answer here,the staff is interested.  There is no doubt that the offense is way ahead of the defense and it is concerning that Duke is letting up over 90 ppg in the ACC.

Part of the issue is that the starters are young with the exception of Grayson Allen.  They have only played together for a short while and shoe company basketball at their prior level does not concentrate on defense.

Duke has been trying to play man to man defense to date but they are getting beat off the dribble with picks and not protecting the rim via rotation.  With such a short bench of late, man to man defense can take a physical toll as the game wears on.

One has to think they are capable of implementing better habits for there are smart and capable players on the court.  Still, there will be no immediate fix other than to play more zone defense.

I don't anticipate much zone versus Pitt, the next Duke opponent in that this could be a good game to see if changes via practice help.  As the opposition improves, perhaps they will go to more zone.

Let me make it clear that I'm not trying to take shots at Pitt, but they on paper be the easiest team Duke faces in the league.

As crazy as this sounds, the freshman are also learning that they must fend off every teams best shot for they play the four letters on the uniform and an always lofty ranking as well.

Should we be worried that this team will continue to falter and stumble?

No.  Firstly, they will lose some more games in a very good Atlantic Coast Conference.  Secondly, there are only six teams in America with fewer losses than Duke at this time.

Duke still has a terrific offense that starts inside.  When they hit their three-point shots, they are hard to stop.  Now, Duke does have to show they can get up for teams they are favored over and that starts with Pitt this week.

Should they lose to Pitt or continue to not be prepared for road battles, then the answer will obviously change to an emphatic yes.  But they need a healthy rotation which includes Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden for continuity.

This team is developing for it is very young.  There will be mental and physical adjustments that come into play as the season progresses.  Krzyzewski said after the loss to the Wolfpack simply that they would or would not get better.  Well, that is true.  Some Duke teams have adjusted as the season goes on and won championships.  Others have not.

What went wrong in the game versus N.C. State after a good start?

Well, firstly, you are right in that they had a good start.  I even thought they were playing older than their years.  The second that thought came to mind Duke started hoisting up bad shots with a lead.  The problem was that their feet were not set, players were not in position to get rebounds and they quit moving the ball as evidenced by 10 team assists.  The many Duke turnovers were untimely and brutal, especially when your point guard has 8 of them.

Duke never had the look of a winner after allowing N.C. State to come back and gain confidence after a horrid bad stretch in the 1st half where they squandered a great start.  They would go on to not push the ball inside to Marvin Bagley who was an efficient 11-14 from the field.  They had the Wolfpack big men in foul trouble and that was due to Bagley around the rim.  They may have taken those guys out had they fed the post a tad more.

I warned people earlier in the week that the Pack front court would look to make a name for themselves against a young, but talented Duke team.  These guys played like veterans who hope to get to the next level.

The Blue Devils  shot selection doomed them the entire game as well.  Players were taking shots that showed the coaches grimace on the bench.  N.C. State just played older and better once they had confidence.  This was a team that had been on the road most of the season, struggled, yet had a win over Arizona.  Coming back home to their best crowd of the season launched a lot of intangibles which was a clear lift for their upset win.

Duke was not prepared to play a 40 minute game going into this one.  Marques Bolden being out really hampered a short rotation and the Blue Devils played their worst 2nd half of the season.

Why did Coach K not play Alex O'Connell more after saying he should have played him more in the win over Florida State?

Well, you will have to ask him that question.  And he said he should have played him more in the 1st half of that game, FWIW.  Watching the team for many years leads me to believe that he lost trust in him against N.C. State.  O'Connell had a forgettable one minute of play where he looked nervous and was not aggressive on plays.

We all know that the bench shortens under Krzyzewski at times and this is a trust issue.  He is very keen of how many possible points each player is responsible for.  If a player doesn't go after a loose ball, or makes a quick turnover that leads to a score, he may be seen as a liability.

On the other hand, some starters are making some errors as well with concern to turnovers and defensive rotation.  I think he sees these five to seven guys as the ones who have the most potential to get better and the ones who will be on the court in March when games are one and done.

I am not sure if my answer helps with understanding, but I doubt we have seen the last of Alex this season.  However, there are very few options off the bench within past coaching construct or trends and that means the light will have to go off for the starters