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 -
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
The Duke Blue Devils completed yet another undefeated season against non conference opponents in Cameron Indoor Stadium. With a dominant 104-40 win over Evansville, the Blue Devils pushed their streak to an NCAA best 139th straight win.
Duke used a suffocating defense that held Evansville (10-3) to just 15 field goals on the evening. In fact, there was one stretch in the game where the Blue Devils outscored the Purple Aces 42-3.
The Blue Devils defense created a 39-2 advantage on point off turnovers. And that was aided by 13 steals to just 1 for their overwhelmed opponent, which means the team also protected the ball. By games end, Duke forced a season high 21 turnovers
The Blue Devils now go into the Christmas breaks with an upbeat if not feel good win. The team is now 12 -1 on the season and will not return to the court until December the 30th against Florida State in a game that will be televised from Cameron on CBS.
Despite the students being on vacation, local and Duke fans from afar packed Cameron Indoor Stadium and were vocal in their appreciation. Of course, with a stellar team win, that made for the festive atmosphere.
By games end, the Blue Devils had played many players and the bench guys showed well. Jordan Goldwire would end the game with 7 assists, while Justin Robinson would knock down back to back threes which brought those at Coach K court to their feet.
Jack White would only score two points but his thunderous dunk punctuated an evening when many things went right. Duke shared he ball, dishing out 34 assists which pleased Mike Krzyzewski in his post game press conference.
Duke shot a blistering 16 of 26 from beyond the three-point stripe and it was Duke freshman Wendell Carter Jr. that took 7 of those shots. Carter who ended the game with a career high 27 points knocked down 4 of 7 three pointers. Overheard was somebody saying in a light manner that he was the new JJ (Redick).
There was a sense of accomplishment in the locker room. All the players seemed please with the team's performance. Many mentioned the hard work on defense and it was clear they all felt good going into the Holiday break.
And they should feel good, for it was easy to see that their work had reamed rewards in improvement. It was easy to see from my vantage that the players were being more vocal and switching off their man in a more seamless fashion.
This was the kind of game that cured some of the angst in wait the team had after their only loss of the season. Duke went to their bench just four minutes into the game as it became clear that the team had a feel of togetherness. That togetherness led to a dominant, feel good win for the team and the fan base.
Notes - The Duke players will return on December the 27th. The coaches will be out on the road recruiting in force at the many holiday events. We will discuss where they will be in detail in a coming update for premium members. And remember, we have a special where you get double any membership time when you join before year's end. Javin DeLaurier was out nursing a hamstring injury and Jordan Tucker had an undisclosed injury as well.
The margin of victory was the 7th largest in school history, Duke has made at least one three-point shot in 997 consecutive games. Marques Bolden matched his career high with 3 blocked shots. Grayson Allen moved to 24th on the all time scoring list.