Tag Archives: Gary Trent Jr.

10 Random Thoughts on Duke’s Comeback Win

Photo Miami Herald.

They did it again!  Just when you thought the team was about to lose their third game of the season, Duke came alive.  The Blue Devils uses an 18-0 run to shock Miami and snatch a key ACC road win.  Without further ado, here is volume V of 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball.

30 Point Efforts

No other team in the ACC has more than two players with 30 plus scoring games this season.  Duke, on the other hand, has now had players go for 30 points or over in seven games.  Last night it was Gary Tent Jr.s turn.  After being sick the game before against Wake Forest and still playing well, Trent followed up that game with 30 points which included some big time three pointers.  His effort helped Duke remain undefeated against teams in the current A.P. Top 25.

Comeback Artists

Trailing 66-53, Duke went on an 18-0 run and outscored Miami 27-4 over that  stretch which sealed their fourth conference win.  Gary Trent went 6 of 9 from three-point range, knocking down two consecutive trays to start the comeback.  Trevon Duval also stepped up his game after struggling with turnovers early in the game and ended up having 8 assists.  Duke has had a way of turning up their offense for spurts all season long.  Quite simply, they are capable of staging major comebacks in just a few minutes or when the game looks to be in doubt.

Not to take anything away, but ...

The Blue Devils still need to find some consistency in many areas of the game.  Firstly, they need to protect leads they build in the first half or leads in general.  Duke also needs some work on their free throw game.   They got away with going 10 of 21 from the charity stripe last evening and left a lot of points with misses of late.  Then there is the need for a consistent effort and better shot selection not to mention a better understanding of man to man defense.  Duke is young and learning.  Once they take better shot and gain a killer instinct with the lead, they will be hard to beat.  Just a little bit of improvement in the aforementioned areas could pay huge dividends.

A different role from Bagley

Well of course Marvin Bagley III got his 15 double-double on the season.  And he tallied 13 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists by deferring to other Duke players at times.  Last evening three other Duke players had more shots than Bagley.  The talented freshman took another step in his development by allowing this to happen which translated to a win.  And if Duke wins, Bagley will still remain the center of attention for many.

Wendell Carter went beast mode

When teammate Marvin Bagley went to the locker room with a shoulder injury, Carter played outstanding basketball.  He was a machine on the boards where many of his game high 14 rebounds came early or in key times in the game.  Carter is a double-double guy as well and he has pout together back to back games with the not so easy feat.  Duke would be well served to make sure he continues to get touches moving forward for he is better when that happens as is the team.  What people might miss is there is a timed development with players from the staff.  They told Carter he would float outside for some shots to better that part of his game when recruiting him.  They are keeping their promise.  BTW, Carter has an insane stat line - 15 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Allen continues to struggle with his shot

Sometimes players get in a shooting funk.  That has been the case with all of the Duke backcourt players at times this season.  It is scary to think how good Duke can be if all three are hitting on the same night.  What Allen is doing is finding his way into the stat line and remaining the senior leader a team needs.  Last evening he led Duke is steals with 5 and his effort towards the end of the half to get one and assist Trent for a 3 halted Miami's momentum.

That zone

I know there is a part of Mike Krzyzewski that hates going to a zone.  But in the one and done era with limited teaching time with players, not to mention a top-heavy team with concern to minutes: it is necessary.  And when Duke does go to that zone it seems to have a great effect to date.  When they went to it last evening, the Hurricanes offense immediately struggled with the length and movement.

Bad Duval, good Duval

Trevon Duval got into some early foul trouble and had to sit.  He needs to learn to harness his aggression in that Duke needs him on the court.  He is the best option at his position hands down.  I thought he was on his way to 8 turnovers like he had against NC State, but he flipped the switch and halted that.  Instead of 8 turnovers he ended the game with 8 assists.  And he was very efficient from the field going 7 of 11 and 2 of 2 from 3.   There is no position like the point guard spot which makes mistakes stand out.  Duval was good down the stretch and was a part of Duke not committing turnovers after a season high 19 during their 30-9 run to close out the game.

This and that

Duke has now had players garner 25 double-doubles on the season.  Bagley is 2nd in the nation in double-doubles and 1st among freshmen players.  Trent tied a Duke freshman record with six made three pointers.  Coach K is now 1014-273 at Duke and has 1087 total wins.

Next up

Pitt will visit Cameron Indoor Stadium on Coach K Court this coming Saturday.  That game will tip-off at 4:00 on  ACC Network Extra.  Duke should get both rest and good practice time this week.  They should also be able to let injured players continue to mend against Pitt which s struggling while rebuilding their program.

Always check back for new 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball.  And take advantage of our special on Blue Devil Nation Premium where we double your membership through the month of January.  Get two years for the price of one or one year for the price of six months.

K-Less Duke Rattles Wake Forest 89-71

After an unseasonably warm couple of days, the weather turned cooler on the day of the Duke-Wake Forest game.  Walking up to Cameron Indoor Stadium one could see tent city in full bloom.  The students were back in force to cheer on their beloved Blue Devils who sought to get back in the thick of the ACC race with a win.

But things were far from normal on this day.  About an hour before tip-off, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski decided not to coach in the game.  He had just come down with a stomach virus and he did not want to make his players sick, especially with a trip to Miami on the horizon where Duke has to take on the Hurricanes in just over a day away.

Add Gary Trent Jr. to the list of sick players as well.  Trent hovered over a trash can on the bench but would play in the game.  Duke was also without the services of Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden, but the team did not give in to the pressure.  Instead, they rose to the occasion and came away with an 89-71 win over Wake Forest.

Duke Associate Assistant Coach Jeff Capel took the reigns in Krzyzewski's absence.  And Capel looked more than a little comfortable taking over the role with short notice.  After all, this is not his first rodeo.

Capel substituted enough to keep the players fresh in the game.  The involvement seems to have helped Duke in wins over Pitt and Wake Forest which has pushed the team's record to 3-2 in the ACC and 15-2 overall.

Of course, it is nice when Capel has Marvin Bagley III (30 points, 11 rebounds) on the floor.  Bagley threw down some emphatic dunks on his way to his 14th double-double of the season which ties the Duke record for a freshman.

Bagley also has 4 steals.  And, of course, some of those led to crushing dunks.  Some of the students were donning his face on their shirts which his Dad had made.

Wendell Carter Jr. (15 points, 11 rebounds) chipped in with a double-double as well.  The duo were also beasts on the glass and altered many Wake Forest shots over the course of the game.

Grayson Allen continues to struggle with his shot.  But he earned the praise of Coach Capel in that while only scoring 2 points he led the team in rebounding with 12 and assists, dishing 8 dimes.

Despite being really sick, Trent Jr. nailed three consecutive three-point shots and played another good overall floor game.  Capel praised his toughness where he tallied 19 points.

Duke played a zone for much of the game and they were active in it when doing so.  The Blue Devils held a good Wake offense down when Capel went back to it in the 2nd half, after they cut into the Duke lead and closed to within 13.

Due to the closeness of the two games, the staff will not be able to go on the road and watch some key prospects in the Hall of Fame Classic.  It is unknown when Krzyzewski and player Bolden and DeLaurier will return.

 

10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball Vol. IV

10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball - Trevon Duval (Val) Photo-Blue Devil Nation

Well, Duke got a much-needed road win over Pitt last evening.  Here are my 10 random thoughts on Duke Basketball going into the next game.

Put the win to bed quickly, get to bed quickly

The Blue Devils impressive  ACC road win over Pitt 87-52 cured many ills.  I will take a look back as my random thoughts progress, but the most important thing for Duke to do is put this game to bed.  Duke needs all the rest they can get before Saturdays high noon game with Wake Forest.  And just mere hours later, they will board a flight for Miami in a critical road match up.

That is why Duke played their depth

Come on.  You know it was fun to see Justin Robinson knocking down three pointers on his way to a career high.  Duke got major minutes from its bench players last evening and it was by design.  With games coming at a fast and furious pace, the Blue Devils need to rest their iron men starting rotation.  With injuries to Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier, Duke was able to steal some minutes and develop its bench against an even younger than they are Pitt team.  Those minutes will improve team camaraderie via involvement.  The team will benefit from strategic resting of players legs in certain games in the long haul.

Double-doubles are the norm for Bagley III

How ridiculously spoiled we are for now expecting a double-double from Marvin Bagley III each time out.  Last night he scored 16 points and pulled down 15 rebounds and he happens to lead the league in scoring and rebounding.  If you are counting, that was his 13th double-double which puts him one game shy of the record held by Jabari Parker and Gene Banks.  This young man is special.

Jabari Parker is set to return to the court for the Milwaukee Bucks in February.

Speaking of Jabari Parker

If you follow my Blue Devil Nation twitter feed, you saw where I retweeted video of former Duke player Jabari Parker moving well in the pre game for the Milwaukee Bucks.  Parker is expected to return to the Bucks before the NBA All Star Break.  Parker underwent his ACL surgery on Feb. 14, 2017, after tearing that ligament — for the second time in his career.

Vote Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Brandon Ingram and other Duke players into the NBA AS game with some retweets

Staying on the NBA for a moment

How cool is it to see so many Mike Krzyzewski era Duke Blue Devils playing key roles in the league?  I must admit to being a bit of a Boston Celtics fan now that Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum are both starting and tearing it up.  But I like following Brandon Ingram and all the rest as well.  Back to my twitter feed, you can vote Blue Devils into All Star game considerations with retweets.  So, get at it!

Six double figure scorers

With every starter hitting double figure scoring and JRob's points off the bench -- Duke had six players in double figures for the first time this season.

Gary Trent Jr. had a sharp performance against Pitt.

I want to talk about Gary Trent Jr.

A shooter has to keep shooting even when their shot is off.  But there have been some games this season when Trent Jr. IMHO, may have taken too many shots.  We saw the best of Trent Jr. last evening where he allowed the game to come to him while getting other teammates involved.  He looked for his teammates first and that led to his career high in assists.  Trent then scored at will down the stretch after finding a balance or comfort zone.  And do not overlook his 2 of the 11 Duke steals.  He is a good defender capable of getting even better.

Don't overlook the positives

There has been a lot of talk about the Duke defense and for good reason.  Until last evening and in select other games they have not been very good in that area.  But don't overlook the positives with this team.  Duke leads the nation in scoring at 93.5 ppg.  Duke is 2nd in the nation in rebounding and close to the top in scoring margin of win.

And then there is Trevon Duval

It's Du-val.  Think Val Kilmer.  While many are figuring out how to pronounce his last name, Duval is quietly leading the ACC in assists.  What burning minds want to know is if that 3 of 5 from the three-point line was a mirage.  If he hits that shot at a 40% clip, his game would go through the roof.  Of course, he was just over 16% going into last evenings win over Pitt.

And then there is Wake the snake

Will Duke allow for Wake Forest to slither into this  game and challenge them in Cameron at high noon this Saturday?   Wake had a six game winning streak after a slow start to the season and they took UNC down to the wire in Chapel Hill.  They most recently lost to a good Virginia Tech team at home.  Hidden in the stat line from that game is the fact they outrebounded their opponent by ten and connected on nine three-point shots.  You cannot overlook them, but Duke certainly needs to come away from this game with a win.  And then go to bed.  Back to random thought number one here... Duke will fly all the way down south to Miami and be hit by the body shock of its warmer weather.  The team will have about 50 hours in between the end of the Wake post game meal and their next opponent.

Stay tuned for the next 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball coming next Tuesday after the game with Miami.  One more thing, we are still doubling the time of premium memberships through January.  You can get two years for the price of one or a full year for the six month price.   Help support BlueDevilNation.Net by joining at this discounted rate --

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Duke Rolls Past Pitt 87-52

Duke rolls past Pitt 87-52 Picture - Associated Press

The Duke Blue Devils rebounded from an upset loss at N.C. State for a convincing 87-52 win over Pitt on Wednesday evening.  In the process, the Blue Devils push their season record to 14-2 overall and 2-2 in the ACC.

After letting up over 90 ppg in their first three ACC games, Duke held Pitt to 52 points which included 11 team steals and 15 forced turnovers.  It was the Blue Devils best defensive effort since a win over Evansville in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

All six Duke starters would end the game with double figure scoring.  Duke was one again led by Marvin Bagley III who tallied yet another double-double.  The National Player of the Year candidate scored 16 points to go with 15 rebounds.

Trevon Duval added 14 points and had just a single turnover after committing a season high 8 in his last outing.  Duval was also 3 of 5 from beyond the three-point stripe despite shooting just 16% for the season coming into the game.

Duke was also aided by Gary Trent Jr. scoring 14 points, most of those coming late in the game where he scored 9 straight points in one stretch.  It was perhaps his best overall floor game of  late in that he led the Blue Devils with 5 assists to go with 2 steals.

Grayson Allen would add 12 and Wendell Carter Jr. 10 for Duke.  Justin Robinson was also in double figures with a career high 10 points including three from beyond the 3 point stripe.

Duke had 22 points off the bench despite missing Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier who are out with injuries.  Alex O'Connell added 8 points while Jordan Goldwire and Antonio Vrankovic had 2 each.

"Our bench was really good.  They all gave good minutes and kept us going in the first half," said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Jack White also played and while he did not score, he had 2 key rebounds and 2 steals.  In fact, Duke had 11 steals as a team.  In short, Duke got production from everyone who played.

Duke also dished out 21 assists as a team and scored 30 points off turnovers.  The Blue Devils also protected the ball with just 6 turnovers while forcing 15.

Pitt cut the lead to 17 in the 2nd half, but after a timeout, it took the Panthers over 8 eight minutes to score another field goal.  Whatever Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, allowed his team to close strong.

One thing he did was play zone knowing Duke was tired where their big men were taxed having to do more due to injured players.  Duke was very efficient from that point on.

"We have been practicing hard and played while we practiced.  We are trying to play good defense and played good zone in the last ten minutes," said Krzyzewski after the game.

Duke will take on Wake Forest in Cameron Indoor Stadium in their next game.  That contest will tip-off at 12:00 noon. "We have to hope our fans are ready for when we play Wake Forest," said Krzyzewski.

 

10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball

It is time for the third installment of the season of 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball.

Great crowds are not an automatic norm - It seems like a while since Duke has played but we must address how good the crowd was during the FSU game in Cameron.  Even Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told the players they got their first true Cameron experience after a victory over a team shooting lights out.

Now, the odd thing here is that there were no cheerleaders or students to speak of, yet Cameron was at its loudest this season.  It goes to show that spirit is often brought in more-so from fans who really want to see the team and rarely have the chance.

Duke will not play again in Cameron until January the 13th against Wake Forest.  And the bar was set high for when the students come back to keep up a winning atmosphere.  There are games when empty seats are found when the students are there, but Cameron was packed last Saturday and they need to find a way to keep the place full.

Next up, N.C. State - Yes, the Wolfpack was man handled by Notre Dame minus Bonzie Colson.  Yes, Duke is the favorite.  But the Pack has a way of playing their best against Duke no matter their record or national perspective. This will be the first time meeting between Kevin Keatts and Mike Krzyzewski in ACC play.

What will the Pack do?  That's easy  They will launch a ton of three-point shots.  While streaky beyond the arc, that is how this team beat Arizona on a neutral court.  The scouting report on Duke is that you must make your threes to win.

Duke should have an advantage in the paint - The dynamic duo of Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. has given Duke their best frontcourt ever under Krzyzewski.  Yeah, I said it.  But Omer Yurtseven and Abdul Malik-Abu will play well and try to make a name for themselves.

Marvin Bagley III

What I think Duke needs to do vs N.C. State - I am convinced that Duke will score the ball inside.  But they will also need to hit their free throws.  Some misses almost caught up to them in the win over FSU.  Duke will also need to knock down a few threes while keeping the starters out of foul trouble early in the game.  N.C. State and other schools play the name on the jersey and look forward to this match up and are therefore loose.

What does a player have to do?  Marvin Bagley III won the ACC Rookie of the Week after his 32 point, 21 rebound stat line against the FSU.  But I am not sure how that stat line and the significance of a key conference game kept him from player of the week as well.

After the Pack?  Duke plays at Pitt on January 10th.  Oh look!  They also play them again just 10 days later in Cameron on January the 20th.

It's on now!  After the game with Pitt, the breaks will be few and far between for Duke.  They take on Wake 3 days later and then travel to Miami 2 days later.  In short, the games will come quick now that conference season has started.  When Duke tips off against the Pack in Raleigh on Saturday, they will have exactly 2 months before the ACC Tournament begins.

Tucker will transfer from Duke.

Duke loses Jordan Tucker - Transfers happen.  Especially when players want to play right away and not willing to ride out the process.  It is worth noting that Duke assistant coach Nolan Smith and many other stars past rode the bench in their freshman season.

We, of course, wish Tucker the best.  At the same time, there is an appreciation for players who trust the process for many Blue Devils have become solid players in their junior and senior seasons.

I mentioned in the pre season that minutes would likely boil down to who won practice battles between Alex O'Connell and the aforementioned Tucker.  I personally feel that O'Connell was a bit better prepared with his overall game to contribute.

The year to date and what is ahead - I mean, the team is ranked 2nd in the nation against a solid schedule and has perhaps the nations best player in Marvin Bagley III.  Freshman starters Wendell Carter Jr., Gary Trent Jr., and Trevon Duval are playing older than they are.  That, which Krzyzewski has stated, must continue.

Grayson Allen has become a leader and Duke has three good options off the bench and maybe even four.  There have been no major injuries and the team likes each other and seems to have fun with the game.

So, not much to complain about.  They are not perfect nor will they be and some more losses lie ahead.  But plenty of wins do was well .  The team can certainly win the league with some luck and make a deep run in March.  I am certain their goal is the exact same one the fans have in mind.  But take it one game at a time folks...one game at a time and enjoy the season.

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