Tag Archives: Coach K

Duke Set to Take on All Comers in Columbia

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!

 

10 Thoughts to Ponder on Duke-FSU, UNC win

It's nice to return to the ACC Championship Game for Duke -  The Blue Devils have won 11 of the last 22 ACC Championship games in the Mike Krzyzewski era and they have a chance to make those historic numbers more gaudy with a win over Florida State tonight in Charlotte.  The game tips off at 8:30 and the teams are meeting for the second time in the title game, Duke won that game in Atlanta vs the Seminoles.

What a game - Last nights thrilling win over North Carolina was one of the classic games in the rivalry.  After losing the regular season games, Duke got the monkey off their back by playing tough defense while the world continues to fawn over the amazing play of Zion Williamson.  I want to talk about the game, I do.  But for now, Duke needs to put this one to bed and let the final emotion out at games end providing they defeat a tough Florida State team.

FSU is playing with a chip on its shoulder -   Do not overlook Florida State for many have before you including Virginia.  This reminds me of classic Leonard Hamilton teams.  They are big, deep and athletic and they have stayed just in the shadows of the ACC's big three.  And they are out to prove they not only belong but that they are the best team in this tournament.

Duke fans should make the journey -  Last night the crowd was decidedly light blue but both Tar Heel and Cavalier fans left in droves.  That means a lot of tickets will be available and for very good prices.  You do not need to hit one of those ticket brokers.  Instead, purchase the tickets outside the venue for there will be some and they will likely be cheaper.  Turn Charlotte the right shade of blue.

The fatigue factor - Duke will need to play its bench again against the Seminoles and as I stated yesterday, it is vital all players produce some numbers on the stat sheet when out there.  How about the play of Jordan Goldwire?  Well, one thing to watch today is his legs for he is not accustomed to the minutes and he was dragging last evening after some sensational, soon to be legendary minutes in the Duke-Carolina series.

FSU will test Duke in the paint - With Marques Bolden out and limited depth, the Seminoles will try to exploit Duke inside with their size.  And, oh, are they big.  Duke will need to spread the court to loosen things up.

Speaking of the paint - I know I said minimal talk on the win over UNC, but the Blue Devils scored more points in the pain on their rival than any team in the last eight years.  I just had to get that out.

Seeding -  Most think Duke has earned the number one line in seeding with last nights win.  But a win today cements that and could vault them to the top line depending on which of the way to many bracket projections types.  BTW, if you haven't done so yet, enter the Blue Devil Nation Tournament Challenge through ESPN.  The group name is, of course, Blue Devil Nation and here is the link - Click HERE.

All the negativity -  Perhaps it is the fact that I have seen Duke Basketball up close and personal since 1980 when Coach Mike Krzyzewski stood on the side of Cameron being introduced as their new coach that gives me perspective.  But it was amazing how negative some in the fanbase got after losing to UNC last week.  All the rumors on Zion Williamson when in fact Duke has been up front the whole time on what is happening.  If Duke wins the game today, people who were up in arms will realize what some wiser minds said, that being, see the big picture.  It is clear Williamson is healthy and rested now and at the right time of the season.

What I think will happen - FSU lost to Duke on a three-point shot from Cam Reddish in Cameron earlier this season.   Zion Williamson scored 11 in that game and was sidelined for part of it.  The Noles nailed a lot of threes in that game and Duke must chase their shooters off the stripe.  Everything points to this game being a grinder and the Noles are tolled to defend Williamson better than most.  I look for a very physical game and one that will make both teams reach really deep.  I think Duke wins another banner but it will not be easy on such short rest and missing Marques Bolden who is expected to return next week.   This will be a major test for the young Blue Devils who win or lose will need to get back to Durham in one piece for selection Sunday.

 

Duke Basketball Press Conference Tidbits

Duke Basketball tidbits - Reddish will not play in Canada.

Here are some highlights from Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and players Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and R.J. Barret before the teams trip to Canada.

Quick hits -

  • Marques Bolden said that the freshman are fundamentally sound and know how to do the little things already.
  • Bolden was asked about the transfer rumors a season ago and said it was never a true option for him.
  • Bolden said that much of his offseason work concentrated on his motor and eating habits.
  • Javin DeLaurier worked out with teammate Justin Robinson and his Dad David in the offseason where he took kickboxing lessons and also yoga while in San Antonio.
  • DeLaurier said his role was to lead as an upperclassman and that he joked with Bolden that they were the older guys now.  He joked that the freshman came up and asked if there were practices on Saturdays in which they laughed.
  • The freshman are especially close and work hard and are ready to listen according to DeLaurier.
  • R.J. Barrett said he was excited to return home with Duke and see his friends.
  • Barrett said he had worked on his outside game and hoped people backed off him in games.
  • Barrett said that a big part of his game was to make plays and that he could run the point if needed.
  • Barrett said he has achieved good things while in Canada and grew up watching Andrew Wiggins and that the younger generation now looks up to him.
  • Barrett said Javin was one of the hardest workers he has seen.
  • Barrett said that Krzyzewski just allows him to play and he was one of the funniest guys he knows.
  • Krzyzewski said he just wanted his players to play to their strengths without position worries.
  • Krzyzewski glowed when he talked about Zion Williamson calling him a great player and young man on and off the court.  He said his weight was proportioned to his body type and that he had good lateral quickness.

 

Coach K Talks Practices to Date

Coach K

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.

GAME SCHEDULE
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

 

Four Blue Devils Tabbed in NBA Draft

 

Marvin Bagley headlines four new Duke players headed to the NBA.

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Duke men's basketball matched a program record with four selections during the 2018 NBA Draft Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, including two of the top seven picks and three first-round selections.

 Freshman Marvin Bagley III went second overall to the Sacramento Kings, while classmate Wendell Carter, Jr. went seventh to the Chicago Bulls. Senior Grayson Allen joined Bagley and Carter in the first round as the 21st pick by the Utah Jazz, running the Blue Devils’ total to 44 all-time first-round picks – the third-best total in history.

 Bagley and Carter coming off the board in the lottery now gives head coach Mike Krzyzewski 25 lottery selections – extending the record for most lottery picks for a school and coach. Duke has boasted a top-3 pick in each of the last five NBA Drafts, surpassing the record of four straight by UCLA between 1974 and 1977.

 Rounding out the four Blue Devils in the Draft was freshmen Gary Trent, Jr., who was drafted by Sacramento in the second round with the 37th overall pick and traded to the Portland Trailblazers. Duke previously had four draft picks in 1986, 1999 and 2017.

 The Blue Devils have had at least one player selected in 31 of 38 drafts under Krzyzewski. Coach K has tutored a total of 61 draft picks since taking over the Duke program in 1980, including a Draft-record 38 first-round selections.

 The Blue Devils have produced 18 first-round picks in the last 10 seasons, including at least one in each of the last eight years. Thirteen of Duke’s last 15 picks, and 20 of the last 25, have come in the first round, including 13 lottery picks.

 Coach K on Bagley:

“Marvin was as good as anyone in college basketball last season. A high double-double guy, and no one runs – as a big guy – any better. He’s shown he can put the ball on the floor, and he can shoot. He’s just going to get better. He’s a position-less big guy, which in today’s NBA is important.”

 Coach K on Carter

“With Wendell, you have that double-double guy, who faced the basket for the first time once he got here to Duke. He can really shoot, and I liken him a lot to Al Horford – he’s taller, but he has a huge upside. He’s an incredible passer for any position, but especially for a big guy. He’s an easy kid to coach and fun to be around every day.”

 Coach K on Grayson Allen:

“In Grayson, you have a 22-year-old mature player. His body of work is there. No player that I can think of has been scrutinized more than him, and has come through it on a huge upside. An almost 2,000-point scorer, an All-American, an Academic All-American, but he has shown he can score the ball. He’s one of the best shooters in the draft, but he can also be a combo – he’s an off-the-charts athlete. He fits in really well in today’s NBA.”

 Coach K on Trent

“Gary is physically ready to play in the league, and he has a huge upside. He is a tremendous shooter. He can really compliment really good players, and he can be an asset to a team right away with his ability to score.”
Duke in the Draft
• Duke has produced a total of 94 NBA Draft picks since 1952.
• Duke has had 61 draft picks under head coach Mike Krzyzewski (since 1981), fourth-most nationally over that time.
• The Blue Devils have had at least one player selected in 19 of the last 21 NBA Drafts, including 30 first-round picks.
• Duke has had at least one player taken in 31 of the 38 NBA Drafts in the Krzyzewski Era.
• Duke players have been selected by 29 of the 30 NBA teams all-time.
• The team to have drafted the most Blue Devils is Detroit (nine), followed by seven for Chicago, and six each for Golden State and Boston. Toronto remains the only team yet to draft a Duke player.

Duke in the First Round
• Duke’s 45 first-round selections are third most all-time, including 38 under Coach K.
• Coach K's 38 first-round picks are the most by a college coach in the history of the NBA Draft.

• Duke has produced a top-3 pick in five consecutive NBA Drafts to set a draft record. The previous record was held by UCLA (1974-77).
• Duke’s 25 NBA lottery picks – all coached by Coach K – are the most by both a college program and college coach.
• An NCAA-leading 20 lottery selections have come from Duke since 1999.
• In the Lottery Era (since 1985), Duke has produced 12 top-three picks; the next-closest total nationally is four (each by Georgetown, LSU, Ohio State, Kansas and Kentucky).
• Duke's 14 top-10 picks since 2000 are the most in the nation in that timeframe, leading Kentucky (12), Connecticut (8), Arizona (8) and Kansas (7).
• Duke has produced at least one first-round pick in each of the last eight years.