Cam Reddish drained some key 3's and more. Here is what he had to say -
Duke freshman Cam Reddish and Tre Jones are close on and off the court. The two stars addressed the media before their game with Central Florida where the winner goes to the Sweet 16 in Washington, D,.C,
It's been a pretty darn entertaining year for the 2018-19 Duke Blue Devils basketball team. The Blue Devils started the regular season with a beat down of Kentucky but ended it with their second loss to North Carolina and a third-place regular season finish.
Injuries played a big role in the late season struggles where several Duke players missed time, including Zion Williamson. Duke would right the ship with Williamson back in the lineup with three wins in the ACC Tournament and in the end, are the conference champions.
Duke enters the NCAA Tournament as the nation's number one seed and they will play not too far south in Columbia, S.C. in an effort to survive and advance. With Zion Williamson, the nations tops player, in his home state, good things are likely to happen for Duke.
The Blue Devils should be well rested with their game tipping off this Friday promptly at 7:10 on CBS. They will also get what amounts to be an easy game where they face the winner or North Carolina Central and North Dakota State. Both of those teams are 18-15 and the winners will be playing on two days rest.
Duke should be able to use their depth early and often in the opening game which will further rest any minor nagging injuries to their players. The second game will be more challenging, if not on the court, then in other ways.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski might well face his first great recruit in Johnny Dawkins and Central Florida. It is a known fact, that Krzyzewski does not like to face his former players when they are at the helm at other schools.
Then again, Duke may face Virginia Commonwealth and few Duke fans will forget losing to them in the NCAA Tournament during the 2006-07 season. The UCF and VCU game is expected to be close. The Golden Knights are a 1.5 point favorite, so it is tough to project who the opponent will be with any certainty.
Regardless of the opponent, Duke should make it through to Washington. D.C. In years past, this would seem less certain, but RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson are on this team and those two guys will be etched in Duke fans memories for years to come in that they are both destined for more greatness.
Quite simply, Duke should take care of business with a team that is peaking at the right time. They may have a challenge for a bit in games if they are not focussed but it would be a shock for them not to advance.
The Blue Devils are in a position to be a rested team as the tournament advances. What you want to avoid are injuries while working on areas of concern, such as ironing out the rotation that will be used as the team seeking its sixth national title adjusts for the prime time of the season.
It would benefit Duke for Cam Reddish to get a little more comfortable in the rotation by involving him more in Columbia. Tre Jones needs to continue being aggressive on offense for he is money from the free throw stripe, an area where the star freshmen struggle.
The Blue Devils could also use the trip to possibly shore up their three-point shooting while continuing to tweak their already good defense. What the staff is likely looking for is a more consistent effort by its rotation players as well for good things happen when all the players contribute in the box score.
And speaking of contrinutions, Marques Bolden has returned to practice. This is another key to chemistry, especially if Duke is able to get him some minutes this weekend.
The bottom line is that Duke has too much firepower on offense to stumble this early, but Krzyzewski probably rolls over when people pencil them forward with such ease. It is not for a lack of respect for the opponent that has me saying what I have but instead, the respect I have for the talent on this years team.
And did I mention that Zion Williamson will be playing in his home state this weekend? Let the games begin!
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Well, the Duke Basketball season is upon us and what a way to open things up. The Blue Devils will face off with the Kentucky Wildcats tomorrow evening in Indianapolis, IN in a matchup of college hoops heavyweights. So, what are my thoughts going into the game?
Win or lose, it will be a learning experience
Mike Krzyzewski has one of the youngest teams he's ever coached. While this group is immensely talented, they still start four new freshmen, This game will be a measuring stick for the program for Krzyzewski has in no way implemented his full hand yet with concern to how this team will look in March. This is by no means a must-win game for either team. It is instead, a game for college basketball fans around the world to celebrate the tip-off to another season. And, yes, the winner will stay atop the polls for sure, but the loser will not fall too far in the rankings.
What are the potential weaknesses for Duke this season?
If you watched the ESPN special eight-part series on Duke Basketball, you will see Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressing his team. One of the things thee things he mentioned was that players needed to be better three-point shooters via their approach. Duke does not have a lot of known three-point artists on this years team, so many of the players are getting accustomed to adding the shot to their resume, This, in turn, will reflect on two other areas of play in rebounding the ball and knocking down free throws. Duke is not as big up front and could go small, so that means all players will need to hit the boards and they could struggle against teams like Kentucky which have big, fully grown men in their frontcourt. As for free throw shooting, Duke should get to the line often, so struggling in any of the three aforementioned areas could haunt them at some point of the season,
What are the potential strengths
The defense will be improved where Krzyzewski has shown he will go man to man much more often. Duke is long and athletic and can get in passing lanes while pressuring the ball. This team will run. When the breaks are there, Duke will be off and running. Duke will also benefit from knowing their roles and or chemistry this season. asked veteran players in the locker room about this and they said this team is together on and off the court. I suppose we have to mention how ridiculously good the freshman class is as well. R.J. Barrett is an alpha dogs, alpha dog. Zion Williamson is a pleasure to watch skywalk, Cam Reddish knocking down threes is nice too. And all three can pass the ball as can true PG Tre Jones. Duke will benefit greatly from having a more traditional point this season in their positionless scheme.
How can Duke beat Kentucky
It will not be easy for Duke to beat Kentucky in that the Wildcats are a solid nine players deep and they have some grown men in their lineup. You just cannot concentrate on any one player for there is a danger at each position on the court. One thing which Duke needs to do is stay out of foul trouble early and the whole game for that matter. Duke loses a lot of talent when they go to their bench, but there are players capable of quality minutes there and they need to step up against the Cats. If those two things happen, Duke will be tight their in what should be a tense and close game before the final buzzer sounds.
Early season test will prepare Duke for the ACC and March
Duke has a very challenging early season schedule which includes tomorrow evenings opener against Kentucky. The Blue Devils will face stiff competition in Hawaii for the Maui Invitational where they can run into highly ranked Auburn and Gonzaga, not to mention Arizona. Even the opener against San Diego State is tough. Duke will take on one of the most underrated teams in the nation when they face Indiana in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge and mark my words, the Hoosiers will have move up the polls by then. These games along with a brutal ACC schedule and a late-season contest with St. Johns, where Mike Cragg now resides as the AD will have them a seasoned bunch before March Madness.
Who do I think will be good in the ACC this season?
The league is loaded. I voted for Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and Syracuse in no particular order in the top four and have Virginia Tech, Florida State close behind. N.C. State will be better than some think, never sleep on Miami. Clemson will be solid and Notre Dame has an interesting roster. I went a little outside the box and voted Tyus Battle preseason ACC POY and R.J. Barrett as the top freshman. I also place both Barrett and Zion Williamson on the first team. It is a safe bet that Duke will have no less than three newcomers on the ACC All-Freshman team at seasons end.
What is Al Featherstons take?
Al thinks this years team can reach the Final Four but that a lot has to go right. He felt Marques Bolden contributing solid minutes is a major key to success as is bench development of the seventh man in crunch time. I watched all of the games in Canada with Al before he passed on this morning and he was excited to see what the team would look like with Cam Reddish and Tre Jones in the lineup. He scanned over the last exhibitions games box score fervently before saying, they're going to be pretty damn good. I will miss talking Duke history with Al and was honored he valued my opinion. I had hoped he'd make it through what may be a special season.
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The first Mike Krzyzewski coached Duke team to take an offseason foreign trip was the 1983 group to France. Freshman at that time could not make the journey per NCAA rules, but that has now changed.
Thank goodness for said changes, in that Duke will rely heavily on freshman this season and two of them in Tre Jones and Cam Reddish will be sidelined for their upcoming Canadian trip.
It was announced earlier today, that Cam Reddish is hobbled by a groin injury and that Tre Jones had yet to recover fully from an issue with his hip. While both players will be ready to go for the season and are participating in some drills, Krzyzewski will err on the side of caution and sit his prized freshman but did call the injuries minor.
Duke has completed seven of ten allowed practices to date. "So far, I couldn't be more pleased with the chemistry that has developed and these guys have been really fun to coach," said Krzyzewski.
Krzyzewski also said they have not been pushing conditioning as of yet, stating that his team was in decent shape but the staff did not want to push them too early. "For this trip, it is impossible to put in your entire system, so we are trying to keep it simple and see how our guys play."
As for the veterans, Krzyzewski said that Javin DeLaurier has played great and not just good. And that Marques Bolden was healthy and adjusting to a new position and how he will be used.
Other notes from his press conference were that Jack White has lost ten pounds and is shooting the ball better per Krzyzewski and Alex O'Connell has been playing well.
The Duke coach also said the team would run a different offense this season with five men out and more motion. And there was a strong hint that the team would get back to playing some man to man defense.
Before Kryzewsski came out for the media, R.J. Barrett took to the podium. He was asked if there were instances where he could run the point as a lead ball handler in which he said yes. Krzyzewski would later say that as well, "Having those two guys (Jones, Reddish) out will hurt our ball handling for the trip and there will be more emphasis with R.J. being out there. Alex O'Connell will help and Zion (Williamson) will be all over the place "
Krzyzewski also said this years group would be good defensively and that they would do a lot of things differently than a season ago on offense where he expects the players to have the freedom to create.
Duke will leave for the Toronto area on Sunday where they will play three games in six days.
August 15, 2018, 7 p.m. ET Game 1 vs. Ryerson University Hershey Centre
August 17, 2018, 6 p.m. ET Game 2 vs. University of Toronto Hershey Centre
August 19, 2018, 3 p.m. ET Game 3 vs. McGill University Place Bell