Tag Archives: Duke Basketball News


Welcome the second installment of "10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball," where we take time to reflect during the break in competition.  Give it a read.  It gets better and you go...

Duke is coming off a bad loss -- Look!  I am as big an optimist as anybody, but there is no sugar-coating the fact that Duke Basketball is coming off a bad loss.  The team was a 16 point favorite on the road and it was the all important ACC opener.  But what's done is done.

Good things can come from bad losses --  Nothing gets a good teams attention like an upset loss on the road.  Fans storm the court making an exit difficult and then the players are peppered with questions about what happened.  The young Duke players found out that they will get every teams best shot and that they are not as good as the hype which surrounded them.  Now, the team must look at the ACC standings where they are 0-1 and in last place until they can do something about it on December the 30th against Florida State.  If this does not motivate the team, then there is no hope.

Practice counts -- As I look around I see a lot of people complaining about what the current group of players need to do better.  Well, they are finally getting some time for practice, sort of.  The team will be taking exams this week and that makes for a stressful time.

What needs to happen in coming practices -- Get better on defense.  The team to date is very efficient on the offensive end but their defense, especially against the perimeter has been suspect at best.  One of the hardest tasks the staff has is to teach one and done or young players how to play defense.  But to win and win big, the team must buy into what they are about to learn.  In fact, I would bet that 75% of practices will concentrate on teaching the defensive aspects of the game.  Teams will continue to jack threes against Duke until they prove they can run players off the stripe.

Marvin Bagley III

A little perspective -- Before I go on, may I remind you that Duke has wins over Florida, Michigan State and Texas.  They have a single loss which everyone with the exception of Villanova, Arizona Sate and one or two other contenders do as well.  The team has a bevy of freshman playing key roles who have played together in 12 games and they will get better with the aforementioned practice time and another break to come after the Evansville game.  The teams talent alone will win games, but once they improve things will get even better.  Number four in the country in December is not a bad place to be.  And better to learn lessons now than later.

However -- The ACC is once again good this year and Duke will face a test almost every night out in league play.  A game with Florida State is looming and the Seminoles are ranked and undefeated.   Six league teams are currently ranked and Virginia Tech should be.  UNC is adjusting as is every other team in what will be another brutal league schedule.  There will be many wars ahead as the season progresses.

Evansville is good -- It is always fun to hear fans say, we'll take it out on our next opponent which in this case Evansville.  Well, a look at the standing shows a team that is currently 8-2 and likely to be 10-2 when entering Cameron on December 20th.  The students will be gone for this game and the ACC home opener with FSU, so the fans who have closest to Coach K Court will need to be loud and proud.

The mental part of the game  --  So many things can happen when you have a youthful team.  But the one thing that will no matter how talented the youth might be is there will be a learning curve.  As good as Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval are, they are going up against grown men.  And as grown  men, it is not just their physical aspects which come into play, but the mental part of the game where they can take advantage via experience.  In short, improving mentally is important.  Shot selection, consistency, team play and much else fall into the mental category.

Development -- It is already clear to many what Javin DeLaurier brings off the bench with his motor that helps with energy.  But another freshman in Alex O'Connell seems to be developing and earning the staffs trust.  The key is to play within yourself and not try to do too much when earning burn.

Lastly -- Nobody involved was happy with the loss at Boston College.  But basketball can be a cruel sport at times.  Duke faced a team that had players step up for great games and flirting with a loss via having to stage a comeback caught up with the team.  But the future is bright and this group while not immensely deep is talented.  Keep in mind that this is December basketball and while it counts, the goal will always be to  develop fully come March.  This has and will be a fun group to watch, so enjoy the ride for Duke Basketball never stops.

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10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball

10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball Volume 1 - Lance King for BDN

Here is the first edition of "10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball."  I will be covering various tidbits worth mentioning that will consist of little known facts and things to ponder.

Marvin Bagley III is only scratching the surface - What a phenomenal week for Marvin Bagley III.  He wins ACC Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week while setting various freshman records at Duke.  But he could be in high school for his final season.  What I am saying is he is young and learning and will realize more and more what he is capable of doing as the season wears on.

Duke is more than just Marvin Bagley III - Take a look at Wendell Carter Jr. for a second.  He is having a solid freshman season as are all of the starters.  It is his play and ability to help protect the lane and garner rebounds that helps Bagley to be great.

Duke is going to get a lot better soon - Okay, so you know they will have played 9 games in 20 days after they take on Indiana tomorrow night.  But have you considered that during this stretch there has been little to no practice time?  Once Mike Krzyzewski and his staff has time to break down the film from this run, Duke will make major adjustments and tweak what they are doing.  In short, you ain't see nothing yet.

Duke Basketball players should run their own race and in time their goals will be met.

Run your own race - I have covered Duke basketball for many years.  In that time I have seen great players in time not have the success they would like in their freshman and sophomore seasons.  Heck, ask Nolan Smith about sticking with it after barely playing as a freshman.  Duke has some guys on the roster that may not fully blossom until their junior years, but if they stick with the system, they will become stars with key roles.

What we have learned to date -  You can never count this Duke team out.  Fans should look over their timelines to see how they reacted when Duke was down 17 to good teams.  Moving forward, they should know this team is talented and can wear their opponents down over the course of a whole game.  The confidence gained in these comeback wins will serve Duke well.

Duke Basketball is alive and well.

Special -  Mike Krzyzewski aka Coach K called his team special in the post game after the win over Florida.  Special can mean many things, but he has seen this group will not give up and wants to play together, learn and get better.  What he did not specifically mention is that these are all really good young men off the court as well and that he love teaching them.

Indiana is a trap game - The Hoosiers had one of the worst losses in their fabled history in their opening home loss to Indiana State of Larry Bird fame.  They lost to a good, ranked, Seton Hall team on the road.  But they have shown signs of improvement pushing their record to 4-2.  They are rested and playing in their super bowl tomorrow night.

Duke does not announce their injuries - I often see fans ask what is wrong with so and so or he is having a bad game or two,  It is not policy for the Blue Devils to announce their injuries and do not expect them to help their opponents scouting report by doing so.  Food for thought.

The Duke team will soon get a break but -  the coaches will be breaking down filming in between holiday recruiting events later this month.

That needed break will come - after Duke returns from Bloomington where they will face a good South Dakota team in CIS (Cameron Indoor Stadium) on December the 2nd (Saturday) and then St. Francis in a brutal 9:00 start this coming Tuesday.  Wait!  I am not finished.  The team will then go as far north in the ACC as possible for their league opener against Boston College on the 9th.  At that time comes a much-needed 11 day break.  Duke will then play Evansville on December the 20th in CIS to shake off the rust before another 10 day break when they will come back to take on Florida State at home with the students still on vacation break.  Duke will need their non student fans to be on the top of their game in the home ACC opener.

I hope you enjoyed my first edition of "10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball," and return for more.  Remember that we are doubling your membership to all new members of BDN Premium through the new year.  If you join for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months, we will double your membership time.  IOW, 2 years is just $100.00, or if you join for 6 months at $60.00 you get a full year.  By joining you help us spread the news on Duke Basketball on various platforms while getting some inside news.  For recent new members, you now have access to the message board, but it is a separate sign up which will then be approved.

Bagley Named ACC Player & Rookie of the Week

 DURHAM, N.C. – Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III has swept the ACC basketball weekly awards, earning both Player and Rookie of the Week following his MVP performance at the PK80 Invitational in Portland.

 No. 1-ranked Blue Devils (8-0) have garnered six of seven ACC weekly honors in the season’s first three weeks. Bagley III, the ACC’s leading scorer (22.3 ppg) and rebounder (11.3 rpg), was both co-Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week on Nov. 13, while senior Grayson Allen and freshman Wendell Carter Jr., were Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively, last week.

 Bagley was named the Most Valuable Player of the eight-team Motion Bracket in leading the Blue Devils to the title. In four games last week, he scored 106 points and grabbed 53 rebounds, averaging 26.5 points and 13.3 rebounds.

 He is the first Duke player since 1973 to post three consecutive games of 15+ rebounds and is the first Duke player in history with consecutive performances of 30+ points and 15+ rebounds.

 Bagley had 34 points and 15 rebounds in an overtime PK80 semifinal win over Texas, including eight of the team’s 12 points in overtime. He followed with 30 points and 15 rebounds in Sunday night’s win over No. 7 Florida in the title game.

 The 34 points versus Texas tied Duke’s freshman scoring record (J.J. Redick vs. Virginia in 2003). Bagley’s six double-doubles are tied for the most in the NCAA. For the week, Bagley shot 60 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free-throw line, including 9-of-10 in the PK80 title game. He added seven assists, four blocked shots and two steals last week.

Five Questions with Trevon Duval

Trevon Duval, center.

Duke freshmen point guard, Trevon Duval, is in a race to get better before the season starts.  The athletically talented young man will be given the keys to drive the team from day one.  Duval is learning how to play with a lot of talent around him and to be a better distributor to his teammates.

So, what is up so far this year?  I know you are glad to be here and are looking forward to playing against somebody other than Duke players.

It's fun being here on the Duke campus and playing with all these great players,  And yeah, you're right, it does get tiring playing against just your teammates, so I am very excited for the season.

There is a lot of pressure for a freshmen -- having the ball in your hands from day one,  Krzyzewski says he likes what he sees right now, but that he will like what he sees down the road a bit even better,  Talk about how you will go about handling that.

I am kind of starting off new as a freshman this year.  As time goes on I am going to get better.  I am learning a lot of from Coach (K), Grayson (Allen) and a lot of the older players, so in a couple of weeks from now I am going to be a lot better and smarter with the ball.

I followed you in high school, so I know you're a very explosive player.  And you are playing on a team with a lot of explosive guys.  What is it going to be like to play point guard with that many weapons and guys who can all throw down dunks?

It's going to be a lot of fun.  It is going to be a lot of fun with a lot of highlight reels and a lot of fastbreaks.  We are very long and athletic and that is going to get a lot of stops on defense and lead to a lot of highlights.

Trevon, how would you describe your game in your own words, if you were scouting yourself?

I would say play maker, especially on this team -- a play maker for everyone, get everybody shots and make everyone around me better.  Taking and making my shots when I can.

Obviously, you are going to be playing a lot with Grayson Allen and Gary Trent.   What has it been like playing with those guys?

I love playing with both of them, honestly.  They make the game a lot easier for me.  Whenever I drive, they help me out for there is an easy kick and it is pretty much automatic for both of them.  So, playing with them, I will hopefully get a lot of assists.

One on One with Marvin Bagley

Marvin Bagley

The Duke Basketball team held their media day this afternoon.  I was fortunate enough to talk to incoming freshmen, Marvin Bagley III  one on one as the event started.  I would be later followed by ESPN the magazine who is doing an article on him in the near future.  Shortly thereafter, the media throng descended upon him

So the Q & A ahead will not be what you are seeing in the various videos which will come out in the next couple of days.

So, how has life been since you've been on campus?

It's been great.  Meeting new people and seeing more and more of the school I didn't see before.  I am just enjoying taking it all in one day at a time and I am having fun while doing it.

What other players have impressed you the most on this team?

Everybody.  Everybody is working together.  We're still trying to figure out each other but I am impressed with how hard we've been playing.  We still have a way to go but it is coming together for us, so I'm really excited at how good we can be.

What has been the biggest adjustment for you so far?

The speed.  The speed of the game.  It's a lot different from high school basketball.  With me just getting in and learning different plays and things, I have to learn it on the fly and fast.  So that is one thing I'm adjusting to, but I am doing a good job, I think, so I just have to keep it going.

I guess it has been kind of cool having family around with your Dad being from Durham?

Oh yeah.  It's been real good seeing them and family is always important to me.

What has Coach K's message been to you so far?

Just play together.  Take what we do individually and try to mold it into one team.  It is not I, it is we.  He just wants us to keep playing hard and together and make the game easier.

You guys are itching to play against somebody other than one another, right?

(Emphatic laugh) Yeah.  We are definitely ready.

Who do you go up most against in practice?

We are switching up all the time, but I usually go up against Wendell (Carter), Marques, JRob...I may even guard a smaller guy, so we are always switching it up a little bit and that is what makes the game so fun and exciting.

What assistant coaches have been working with you the most?

Coach Nate (James), Coach (Jeff) Capel.  They have been doing stuff with me before practice and watching some film after and stuff.  I am working on my mid range game and a lot of different stuff.

You will likely drift out to the three-point line I assume, or do you think that will happen?

I mean I'm just going to take what the game gives me.  I work on that stuff, I work on my threes and everything else. So, if I get the chance in the game to take that shot, I will take it.  They just told me to do what I do, play hard and just play the game and don't think.  So, whenever I get a shot I will take it.

Have you ever played on a team with this many big guys?  I mean that has to be sort of a luxury.  Will it be hard for you guys to figure each other out?

Yeah, it is my first time actually playing with multiple big guys.  So it is an adjustment for me personally.  I am going to be out on the wing a lot now and just being able to switch it up more.  That is one thing I am excited about -- expanding my game to the wing and becoming an all around player.  To be able to have enough big guys to allow me to do that is amazing.

Will you get out in the passing  lanes more, trying to use your length?

Yeah, just playing the game.  Getting a jump on the ball and getting hands on the ball...just trying to play basketball and get steals and go the other way and get some easy buckets.

What are you most looking forward to this season?

(Slight pause for thought) I am just looking forward to my first game.  My first game ever in Cameron is exciting for me.  I think about that every day.  Just being able to go out there and finally play against somebody else and play together.  I am really looking forward to that.

How do you guys get along off the court.  Are you guys pretty tight?  

Oh yeah.  Off the court, everybody are brothers.  As people say we are the brotherhood.  Off the court we hang out and laugh with each other and play NBA 2-K.

Just being able to be a college student you learn.  You see a lot of different things being in college.

You played with Chris Paul.  Some people assume you can just waltz in here and everything is easy for you.  What has been the hardest thing for you?

Just practices.  We practice all the time and really hard.  It is way different from high school but it is at a very different speed everyday.  So, you just have to drink a lot of water and make sure your body is right.

You got the Slam magazine cover recently.  Is that kind of cool?  How does than make you feel, overall?

It's a blessing being able to see my face on a magazine.  I am lost for words, but at the end of the day I can't let it get to me.  There are bigger things I am trying to accomplish and I understand that.  My focus is on coming out here and doing whatever I can to help this team win.

One last thing.  Your Dad has always been able to keep you grounded.  He has had this whole thing mapped out.  He won;t let you let, you, how can I say this -- get a big head.  I think a lot of people are surprised when they talk to you how down to earth you are and the focus you have on the big picture.

It's all bigger than this -- bigger than basketball.  Basketball is going to end some day, so I just have to stay humble and while I can, play this game.