Today’s Guest Contributor is Curtis Clontz
All across the south, sports fans are still enjoying college football. There is even an excitement in Durham as the Blue Devils are ranked #20 in the new playoff poll. However, IT IS NOVEMBER ! The leaves have changed colors, deer hunters are in their stands, and there is a brisk chill in the air.
As basketball season quickly approaches, Duke is again everyone’s favorite team to hate.
Already tabbed as the ACC favorite, a potential Player of the Year could be the person to save the day. Suiting up in the same blue and white, this guy looks very different than the typical Blue Devil. The school that is often referred to as “Point Guard U” will rely on something different. Someone with back to the basket ability, and the ability to turn heads all year round. No, it is not Bigfoot, it is not the “Boogie Man,” it is a power house that will look to lead this team to the Final Four.
Possibly the most motivated man in America ready to hit the hard wood, Jahil Okafor is a beast. Already ear-marked as CBSSports Preseason Player of the Year, he is the best big man to step onto campus in some time. Don’t think he wants it ? He has already stated that he wants to break all of Jabari Parker’s records from last year. In other words, Jabari was great, but Jahlil wants to be better.
If you could describe him in one word, it would be dominant. While participating in the annual Blue and White game he was unstoppable ! 12 of 14 shooting, he simply dominated. He appeared to be a man amongst boys, and many are hoping this is a precursor to the year ahead.
Duke is known for the “Three Ball.” “Jah” should open things up and could result in a ton of points. This is going to be a rare team of experience, seniority, and talent. Having two very good Point Guards will help out, but as they put the ball into the Post, he will be able to dish it back out for good shots. One thing that Coach K and the staff may do is play more guys. Having the best recruiting class with the best player is a great problem to have. They have guys everywhere that can play.
After last year’s loss to Mercer, and the exodus of Parker, and Hood to the NBA, this is certainly going to be a very different team. New faces will result in new strategy from Coach K and the boys. Think of it this way …
Jabari Parker scored a total of 670 points last season. That is 108 more than the second leader scorer in Rodney Hood. Parker led the team with 306 total rebounds, 66 more than the second leading rebounder in Amile Jefferson. Jabari also led the team with 43 blocks, 23 ahead of Amile.
So what do all of these random stats mean ? Jabari left huge shoes to fill at Duke. The best part, Jabari may have played big, but he wasn’t a true back-to-the-basket Center.
Jahlil is not Jabari, not even close ! However, the difference will be okay as Okafor will remind everyone what it was like with a dominant big man roaming the Duke Blue paint.