John R. Wooden Award Presented by Wendy’s has announced 25 players who are vying for the coveted player of the year honors.
Included on the list released just moments ago were Duke senior Grayson Allen and freshman Marvin Bagley III.
Allen is the captain of this seasons team, while Bagley III leads the ACC in scoring and rebounding and has the 2nd most double-doubles in the nation.
Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the first half of the 2017-18 season, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor.
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.
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.
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.
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 --
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also - take advantage of our membership special by following the link on the front page. We have extended the discount through the month of January.
Marvin Bagley III set a new Duke record becoming the first player in the Coach Mike Krzyzewski era to score 30 plus points and rebounds in a game. Bagley finished with 32 points and 21 rebounds helping Duke to a thrilling 100-93 victory over a game Florida State team in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Blue Devil nation caught up to Bagley in the post game after his interview with Clark Kellogg of CBS Sports and here is what he had to say -
That was a war out there today.
Games like that are always fun to play and compete in, especially with this group of guys. We fight to the end and no matter what if they go on a run, we just get ourselves back together and play hard. I am just happy to win this game and blessed to be around this group of guys.
Coach said he was proud of us and that we made big plays and at the end we just locked in and got it done. Every game we play, it seems like they are locked in and the team hits their threes. It feels like they are alway on against us, but we got together and figured out how to clow them down in the 2nd half and it was a great win.
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.