Marvin Bagley, Wendell Carter and Javin DeLaurier had a few things to say after the huge Duke win over Iona. Check out what they had to say -
For an inside take on the team and recruiting, join Blue Devil Nation Premium where we are currently offer a one year membership for 60.00 aqnd two years for 100.00. Go to the join link above and help support BDN.
What best describes the mood surrounding Duke Basketball at this point in the season? I will take a look-see at that question and more by sharing some thoughts on the Blue Devils.
I see you, Grayson Allen
Grayson Allen is in a good place right now. He has been all smiles of late and for good reason. His game is coming together full circle and at the right time in the season. Allen is leading his team and has come out of his admitted somewhat shy shell to command and tell players where to be on the court. Allen is at his best when the ball goes through him and the team as a whole seems better off as well. Allen has beamed in consecutive games while talking in the ESPN post game interviews as the player of the game. I see you're happy, Grayson Allen.
I see you, defense
Duke has been playing some darn good defense of late. It has been mainly zone but Mike Krzyzewski may go to man at anytime to shake things up. The head man said that Duke communicated better in the zone with concern on where to be on the court during his post game press conference. As a bystander, I agree. The Blue Devils have held three consecutive ACC opponents to under 60 points for the first time since 1980-81. I see you, Duke defense.
I see you staff
The Duke staff is in serious mode these days and they are pushing the right buttons of late. Not only are they recruiting like crazy when eyes are not on them, but they have made the right adjustments with a young team. Whatever tweaks they have made, the team is in a good place mentally and physically at this time. I see you working, Duke staff.
I see you, Wendell Carter Jr.
I notice you led the team in assists last evening while almost garnering a double-double. Carter has become a steady player who shows up in every game. He has learned to play tired at times with Bagley out and that has only made him better. It is hard not to miss Momma Carter behind the Duke bench cheering her son on. It is a reminder of how the Duke family works. I see you crashing Allen's ESPN interview last night, Wendell. We all know you are a big part of the recent success.
I see you, Gary Trent Jr.
Gary Trent Jr. is at his best when he allows the game to come to him. He is also very consistent as a true freshman. Trent scored in double figures for the 22nd time this season in the win over Louisville. He finds ways of helping his team and is a hard worker when it comes to improving his game. I see the work you are putting in, Gary Trent Jr.
I see you, Trevon Duval
Duval had an off shooting night, but he had more assists than turnovers while leading the team in steals with five. He also grabbed six rebounds from his guard spot and we all know Krzyzewski wanted his guards to hit the boards better. I see you slithering in the passing lanes for steals and protecting the ball more, Trevon Duval.
I see you, Marvin Bagley III
Marvin Bagley III is a part of conspiracy theories these days. If you go on the message boards, some pretty active imaginations are at work. But Bagley is shooting around and is close to coming back sooner rather than later. His dad is behind the Duke bench cheering as if his son were playing and they both know the comeback will be worth the wait as should you. I see you about to reenter the Duke lineup, Marvin Bagley.
I see you, Marques Bolden
Bolden is showing flashes of what many know the big man can do. He had some great moments last night (8 pts, 5 rebs, 1 blk) and some tape will show him that similar play will lead to good things. He is putting together some very efficient minutes. I see you improving and becoming a factor, Marques Bolden.
I see you, Duke cast
Javin DeLaurier has averaged 9.0 rebounds per game in his two starts. His energy can make things happen. Meanwhile, Jack White has been logging great minutes as well. Even Alex O'Connell dropped 2 assists in 7 minutes of play. I see you guys.
I see the better free throw shooting
I think we have all noticed Duke has been efficient from the free throw stripe of late. The team went a phenomenal 15 of 16 last evening. I see the work, Blue Devils.
I see you, togetherness
Duke has been playing with great chemistry of late and seems to be building upon that in each time out. They have played big time defense, looked good in their half court offense, had a solid rotation and are having fun while competing. And when you have fun playing the game, the weight of the season lifts. Despite going through a brutal stretch of their schedule, Duke seems fresh with three regular season games remaining. I see you having fun and competing for a full forty minutes, Duke Basketball.
The Associated Press college basketball top 25 poll was released today where Duke moved up seven spots to become the nations 5th ranked team.
As usual, the Duke haters questioned how the Blue Devils could make such a jump in the rankings. And as always, the facts are right in front of them.
The Blue Devils won consecutive conference games over Virginia Tech and Clemson. Both of these teams are NCAA Tournament bound and are considered consensus op 30 teams. Meanwhile, almost every team ahead of Duke stumbled.
Duke won games via their much improved defense which is a sure sign that the team is improving and on the rise as the regular season winds down.
In the win over Virginia Tech, Duke unleashed a new version of their zone defense which caught the Hokies off guard. And trust me, Virginia Tech is a good offensive team, so that lopsided win was a huge notch in the Blue Devils belt.
Duke then followed that win up with another grinding style win over Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum. Considering the Blue Devils were the first team to defeat the Tigers at home this season while holding them to 57 points was impressive.
In the last two wins, Duke had held its formidable competition to just 54.5 ppg. And that is a huge improvement from what was happening a few weeks ago.
These Blue Devils are also starting to play much better half court offense. In fact, Krzyzewski and his staff knows to win games in March you will play a grinding style at times.
That grinding style which Duke has been good at of late grooms much-needed mental toughness. This is especially the case with a team full of freshman who are asked to become older than their years by making wise on court decisions on every play.
And then there is the play of Duke's team captain, Grayson Allen. In his last few games, Allen has looked like his old self. After being in a bit of a slump, Allen is now vocally leading his teammates on both ends of the floor.
"In the last two years he has led us in assists each season, so he is accustomed to making passes. He is much more mature as a player -- he's a smart player," stated Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
He was alluding to the fact that his team has now developed more individually and that opened the door back up to get the ball in Allen's hands.
Krzyzewski continued, "We are putting him now in charge of a more veteran group of freshman. He is a lot better and it has helped Trevon too. He can go out on the side and also play on top."
Allen flat-out kept Duke in the game against Clemson in the first half and his defense of late is has been outstanding. Allen had 4 steals in the game against Clemson as did his teammate Trevon Duval.
Speaking of Duval, he had one of his better games of the season in his last outing You may have also noticed that he played at the top of the zone in the win at Clemson. This was a switch off with Allen who manned to top versus Virginia Tech.
The bottom line is that the zone is getting better or at least staying consistent. Add that to Allens improvement and Duvals acceptance of a different role and it once again points to improvement.
The list of positives continues. Duke has succeeded of late without the services of the likely ACC Player of the Year, Marvin Bagley III. His absence has afforded Duke the chance to design other players roles.
Wendell Carter Jr. has learned top play tired during this stretch. He will also benefit from the return of Bagley in that he can no longer be double teamed.
Duke has also seen its bench step up and give truly meaningful minutes. Marques Bolden is logging good time and has become a respect shot blocker and a good finisher.
JavinDeLaurier grabbed 10 rebounds in his first collegiate start and has earned the praise of his head coach. And Jack White and Alex O'Connell have both filled in admirably at times as well.
Duke has also been hitting their free throws of late and making the three-point shot where Gary Trent Jr. is always a threat. Trent consistently puts up good stats at times plays mature beyond his years.
With the expected return of Marvin Bagley on the horizon, there is a bright future for Duke. That is as long as he is able to return in time to take care of easing back into the new-found team chemistry.
There is no timetable on Bagley per Krzyzewski, but he is getting better. "It is not day-to-day but in some respects it is. He is moving and I will know more today, He is getting better and we're going to make sure that he is completely good before we get into March," said Krzyzewski during his Monday press conference with the ACC.
Duke will take on Louisville and Syracuse in home games this week and the team has four regular season battles left. The team has a golden opportunity to take care of business at home.
So, while Duke is certainly worthy of their rise in the rankings, they must take another step in the process. That points to simple consistency and continued forty minute effort and communication.
If the Blue Devils can take it one game at a time, protect their home floor with wins, then once again, next week, they'll remain a team on the rise,
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.