Tag Archives: Blue Devil Nation

Duke Seeks Continued Growth vs Miami

The Duke Blue Devils (2-0 ACC, 12-1 overall) ended 2019 with a dominating victory over Boston College and now face Miami (1-1 ACC, 9-3 overall) in their first test of the new year. The Hurricanes will sell out their arena for the premiere game on their conference home slate against Duke. And that means added emotion for a Hurricanes team which comes into the contest with a five-game winning streak.

In their last few contests where the Hurricanes have secured wins over Clemson and Illinois on the road; Miami seems to have found their comfort zone with their rotation.

As for the Blue Devils, Duke is on a six-game winning streak and sits at the #2 ranked slot in both polls. In short, Duke is getting better as they constantly stir the pot with their own rotation before the ACC schedule to come.

This is just the second true road ACC game for the young Duke cast and that means we will see how they react to an always hostile home crowd whenever they wear the visiting uniform.

Other than consistent contributors, Vernon Carey Jr. and Tre Jones, Duke has had a lot of different players step up each night. Thankfully, the Blue Devils have a deep roster and they are making this situation a strength.

Meanwhile, Miami is led by three guards who all average 15 ppg in Chris Lykes, Kameron McGusty and Dejan Vasiljevic. The emergence of two frontcourt players in Sam Wardeenberg and Rodney Miller Jr. balances out the starters and Keth Stone is a solid frontcourt contributor off the bench,

Miami will test Duke by driving the ball to the hoop and when they kick the ball out, they have solid three-point shooters. In fact, every player but Miller in their starting lineup is a threat from the three-point stripe.

The Hurricanes will also play nine players against the Blue Devils. so the Duke bench play will loom large in this game as well. It almost never fails, that one of the better Duke players on a given night will come off the bench. The reason for that is there is not major separation from competing players at this time of the season.

Duke will hope that Matthew Hurt can build off his career-high in their win over Boston College. Right now, Hurt and his other teammates seek consistency with their play.

The Blue Devils showed what they can do when hitting the three-point shot in their last outing, but all games are different. Miami will provide another test for Duke and they are better than the Eagles.

What we will watch for is Duke to continue to play good defense against a guard-heavy team. The Blue Devils have struggled a bit with teams who are physical with their drives and Miami will test Duke that area of the game.

This will also likely be a contest where the Duke wing players need to be at their best. The play of guys like Cassius Stanley, Wendell Moore and Jordan Goldwire on both ends of the floor will be critical to success.

The Blue Devils could use some continued scoring punch out of Alex O'Connell and Joey Baker as well. When just one of these guys steps up on the offensive end, it has been good for the Blue Devils winning effort.

Duke cannot afford to get caught with a lack of focus for this game could prove tougher than many think. What the staff and fans hope to see is continued growth as the season moves into ACC play.

Duke Hoops Monday Musings

Vernon Carey Coming Out Party

After four consecutive games where he tallied double-figure points and rebounds, Vernon Carey Jr. has officially arrived as one of the nation's best players. Once Carey started to take his game inside first, it has allowed him to be a stat stuffer in the Blue Devils 6-0 start. Carey leads the team in scoring and rebounding and has shown the ability to knock down various outside shots with his great touch for a big man. He is also realizing his ability to clog the lane on defense. Look for the staff to push Carey to be even more dominant moving forward.

New York Trip Beneficial for Duke

The Blue Devils took care of business with two wins over California and Georgetown during this past weeks 2K Empire Classic. In the first game, the Duke defense smothered Cal. In the second game, Duke seemed a little tired at first while learning the lesson every team will come after you hard when wearing the four letters on your chest. Duke was able to gather itself and play a complete second half defeating a Georgetown team that was playing its best basketball of the season. The team grew up a lot while defining the roles of certain players on the trip which is a major positive moving forward.

A Sign of Things to Come?

During the trip to New York, it became evident that Cassius Stanley and Wendell Moore were seeing more minutes. They did not disappoint and at times played off one another. In the win over Georgetown Stanley tallied 21 points and 8 rebounds in 27 minutes. Moore 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 36 minutes. More importantly, they showed signs of growing chemistry between themselves and teammates. If the two versatile freshmen continue their growth while playing efficient and together good things will follow.

Next - Getting Matthew Hurt Untracked

Anyone who saw Hurt in high school knows he can be a solid contributor on the court. I think Hurt has struggled a bit with the physicality of the game as he grows into his body. Sometimes a player needs to go inside first and then float out to get it going. Some buckets near the rim while working on rebounding could open his game up. It is not a question of if things will come together for the talented freshmen, but when.

Duke Still #1

The Duke Blue Devils will remain the top ranked team in the country when the polls come out later today. Duke takes on Stephen F. Austin tomorrow evening in Cameron and then entertain Winthrop this Friday at 7:00. The Eagles are better than their 3-3 record suggests (likely 4-3 after taking on Pfeifer on Monday) and likes to play a slow down style. They have a 2 point loss to St. Marys on the road

Next up - Stephen F. Austin

Duke will take on Stephen F. Austin which is off to a 4-1 start including a 30 point win over Durhams' own North Carolina Central. Guiard Kevon Harris leads the way for the Lumberjacks who have four players averaging double-figure scoring. Tomorrow night's game has a dreadful 9:00 tip off time in Cameron.

The Duke Offense is Coming Along

One of the concerns for this season's edition of Duke Basketball was where would the offense come from. Last year, it was clear that Duke was led by two of the NBA's top three draft picks in Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski while running an immensely successful program is quick to tell you that he handles each team differently. That means there is no preferred system from yeat to year.

At some point in the pre-season, the hall of fame coach will gather his assistant coaches and come up with a game plan for their rostered players.

It is obvious that this year's team does not have two alpha dogs which will lead the team in scoring. The plan this year is for Duke to get all of their rostered players prepared to score the ball.

So far, the aforementioned plan is working. Duke has only played three games but it has become clear that a different player could lead the team in scoring on a given night.

Matthew Hurt came off the bench for the first time to lead the team in scoring with a current career-high of 19 points in the win over Central Arkansas.

In the win over Colorado State, Cassius Stanley led the way with 19 points. And in the opening night win over Kansas Tre Jones led the way with 15 points. The sample size after three games points to early success in creating a new offense

The Blue Devils have had four, five and then six players in double-figure scoring during the 3-0 start. Surprisingly, to date, Duke has had little trouble finding points on the offensive end.

Krzyzewski said in the pre-season that he would play more players as well. Many scoffed at that comment in that he has in the past gotten down to a core group of players he trusts.

But many who did not believe what they were hearing had not covered some of the early years Krzyzewski coached Duke teams. And while playing time may lead to a shortened bench at crunch times in close games to come, it is clear that there is not enough separation by players to not continue to see Duke using more players than some are accustomed to seeing.

In a sense, this new trend will not allow for opponents to focus on any one player. And that is a positive as the team gets more accustomed to one another.

And if you have not figured it out by now, it is clear that Duke has no set starters past Tre Jones and that we will see a lot more combinations in the coming days before ACC play begins in earnest.

Duke is still very much a work in progress, but Krzyzewski focussed a lot of effort on his team's defense knowing the offense would come as the season progressed.

The defense has been good thus far and some of that comes from playing more players. It means, legs remain fresh and his players can go all out when playing. But more importantly, it allows for the offense to develop its identity.

While there is still plenty of work to do for this team to become all it can be, Krzyzewski has had a good start to his staff's vision. But make no mistake, there will be challenges and more adjustments along the way.

Duke is a very young team with some veterans helping the young guys along. With a win over Georgia State this Friday as the 2K Empire Classic continues, Duke will likely be the new number one rated team in the polls. That will open a whole new can of worms and teaching opportunities for the staff in how to handle the hype which comes with the honor.

Cassius Stanley Can Ball

Perhaps the number given to Cassius Stanley's was a hint that he could play. The California freshman who led Duke in scoring with 19 points against Colorado State dons number two for the Blue Devils.

A quick look at Blue Devils past shows that some good players have worn #2 over the years. A season ago the number belonged to Cam Reddish and Gary Trent Jr. before that. You can trace the number back to two national champions in Quinn Cook and Nolan Smith as well.

Whether the number assigned to Stanley has anything to do with his ability or not, after just two games he's shown he is more than capable of handling a starting nod on the 2019-20 Blue Devils.

The Los Angeles native has had immediate success on the court this season. Stanley was wonderfully efficient in the Duke win over Colorado State. The self-proclaimed LeBron James and Lakers fan, went 8-11 from the field for his 19 points,

But Stanley is more than just instant offense. A quick look at the box score shows he grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds and added a blocked shot for good measure in 25 minutes of play.

His play was noticed by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski who lauded his newcomer during his post game press conference. The long-time Duke leader called Stanley's two opening games outstanding -- high praise indeed.

Duke won a defensive slug-fest against Kansas and Stanley scored 13 points in that game on 5 of 6 shooting. He also played 30 minutes, the second-most on the team.

You can already see that Krzyzewski wants Stanley on the court. And the reason for that is his efficiency. One of the most telling stats was the fact Stanley committed 4 turnovers against Kansas only to cut that down to zero in the win over the Rams.

Stanley has the potential to be a solid on-ball defender as well. He gets his hands on the ball and has stayed with his man in the 2-0 Duke start to the season.

It's also clear that Stanley likes to run the court and his two baskets against Kansas on the break were game-changing. Despite the early success, Stanley is still learning the Duke system and getting better as a player.

We have yet to see the finished product with concern to Stanley. But it is clear that he will play a vital roll on this year's team. The one thing which is evident early on is that Cassius Stanley can ball. And that is great news for this year's Duke team.

Hunter Dickinson Has Duke in Final 4

Courtesy of Tipton Edits

Duke center prospect Hunter Dickinson has included the Blue Devils in his Final Four.  The Duke men's staff is now trying to iron out the details of a visit to Durham.

Check out what he had to say about his four finalists at Stockrisers.com

Five-star Hunter Dickinson is down to four schools, has decision timetable

There are many exciting happenings on the recruiting front.  Join BDN Premium during our yearly special for a straight forward take on the situation.

Zion Williamson Addresses New Orleans Media

Former Duke basketball standout Zion Williamson spoke with the New Orleans media today about the coming NBA season.  The Pelicans rookie talks of his adjustment and advice he is getting from teammates.  New Orleans will open their season on Tuesday, October 22nd at the defending champions Toronto Raptors in a game that will be nationally televised on TNT.