Jersey’s of Duke Players Retired: Chris Collins & Jon Scheyer in Illinois … Jay Williams in NJ

 

SDBB - Jerseys Retired - Collins, Scheyer, & WilliamsOne of the most incredibly special honours any player can have is to have his (or her) jerseys retired by their schools.  Recently three Duke standouts experienced this honour.

Chris Collins’ #20 and Jon Scheyer’s #23 were retired by their High School, Glenbrook, North in Illinois.  Interestingly enough, both have gone on to coaching positions with Duke, when their playing days were done.  Chris has become the Head Coach at Northwestern, while Jon is in his second year as a Duke Assistant.

If you take a moment to consider the odds of two youngsters playing for the same High School, then College, and then coaching at the same University, it boggles the mind.

Makes you wonder what’s in the water there, eh ???

 *********************************

 Jason “Jay” Williams has already enjoyed having his #32 jersey retired by St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen, NJ.  Recently Jay also had his old Grammar School retire his old #32 jersey.  The former Sacred Heart School in South Plainfield, New Jersey extended that honour during a recent re-dedication of the school gymnasium.

I have always had a special interest in Jay as I also attended Sacred Heart and then St, Joe’s some 26 years earlier.

The gymnasium they re-dedicated was originally a church sanctuary built to be an essential part of the student’s daily lives, then for the congregation on Sunday and and other Holy Days.   As a 6th grader, I was part of one the first squads to play on that “real” gymnasium floor, once the sanctuary had been re-located to a newly constructed church.  A few years later, I would move on to St. Joe’s and have my basketball career stunted by a freak accident just as basketball season began.   I put my hand thru a glass door on my way to Science Class in an annex.  My hand, deeply cut, meant my playing days were essentially over.

I’ve long enjoyed what might be the closest connection a fan can have to a player, and while St. Joe’s has seen other players continue their careers, none have done it the way Jay has.  Many do not know that he excelled at other interests from the classroom to Chess.  He is now an integral part of ESPN’s college basketball team.

Having a Grammar School recognize his achievements is certainly a grand gesture, but one most certainly appropriate.  I guess you could say that having your jersey retired in all three of your schools is the ultimate “Trifecta” !!!

Advertisements

Gremlins, Boy-Oh-Boy, Have WE Got Gremlins !!!

Gremlin

We haven’t gone anywhere, friends … Our old “Friend” the “Gremlin” and his chums have been having their way with us.  We have been promised by those who know more about extermination of our old “Friend” that we will be up and running ASAP.  

Thanks for your patience !!!

– Bob & Ro

Point/CounterPoint Installment #6: Wisconsin, Semi, & UCONN

SDBB - Point-CounterPoint Logo

Query #1:

What do you think was the most impressive aspect of Duke’s win against Wisconsin ???

Bermuda Bob:

I thought Coach K’s installation of the constant switching on defense confused and flummoxed the Badgers.  That is not a knock on Wisconsin or Coach Bo Ryan.  I think is just illustrates that, in college, even the most polished squad can be defeated by an opponent that executes their Game Plan.

Now, with that said, Duke shot “lights out” with 62% from the Field and 58% from outside the Arc.  Considering that the rest of the Stats were a wash, I think this proves the point the Game Plan forced Wisconsin off their game.

Ro:

The Freshmen playing with composure on the road. Okafor learning to play through Foul Trouble and Tyus Jones emerging just when Duke needed him.

 

Query #2:

Semi Ojeleye became the 3rd Player in as many years to leave Duke, disappointed that he was not getting the playing time he expected. 

Do you see a trend here, and if so, what do you make of it ???

Bermuda Bob:

I am very concerned.  Michael “Silent G” Gbinije and Alex Murphy came to Duke together, then Semi the next year.

–         “Silent “G” saw the handwriting on the wall after just one year, getting just 111 minutes in 19 games.  He left for Syracuse, where has seen consistent minutes, and has become a Starter in his Junior year.

 –         Alex accepted a Red Shirt his Freshman year at Duke.  He played his Sophomore year, and left in the middle of his Junior year, playing just 227 minutes in 36 games for his time at Duke.  As I type this, Alex becomes eligible down at Florida asa Junior.

–         Semi played 143 minutes in 23 games in a year and a half.

Each player was recruited with the expectation of being given the chance to contribute.  I hope each player came to Duke with their eyes wide open.  Apparently, they were each in the wrong place at the wrong time.  They fell victim to Coach K’s penchant for playing only 7-8 deep on his bench.  They each also fell victim to a form of subversion to one or more “one-and-done” players.

I worry that this adversely affects recruiting and casts a pallor on the programme.  My contempt for the whole “one-and-done” fiasco is well known.

I feel incredibly bad for each guy, as they had to squander a year of eligibility, not because they did something wrong, but because the NCAA has a system that penalizes the wrong kids !!!

Ro:

I have always liked the expression “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush” however, major college coaches do not agree with that sentiment, as they show an increasingly lack of commitment to developing talent these days.  They are always looking for that next prized recruit.  Those prized recruits come with a lot of expectations.  One major expectation is playing time to the detriment of current players, who do not have enough leverage to force a Coach’s hand.  This is not exclusive to Duke.

Many people point to the production of Transfers, post Duke, and conclude that they were mostly overrated or not good enough.  That reinforces Coach Krzyzewski’s decision to let them walk.  Only one player has made the NBA after transferring from Duke in the last 10 years, and that was Elliot Williams who went to Memphis to be closer to a sick relative.

With the right situation, Ojeyele might prove to be an exception.

 

Query #3:

Considering the rust they were expected to have due to the long lay-off for exam week, was there anything that has concerned you from the Elon game ???

 Bermuda Bob:

Not really.  Unlike some other programmes, Coach K has always scheduled around Mid-Term Exams.  He understands that all the practice in the world does not equal game experience.  Some players continue to excel while others, like the Tin Man of Oz, need some oiling.  It just reflects Coach K’s recognition that his players are also students !!!

Ro: 

I doubt they were totally rusty, as there were practices here and there judging from a few player’s Instagram accounts, but it was “brick city USA baby!” They made 18% of their Three Point Attempts. At least Okafor showed up and so did Amile Jefferson.

 

Query #4:

While they are not the same caliber of team as their National Champion predecessors, what are you expecting from the                     Duke -UCONN game ???

 Bermuda Bob:

UCONN has a Center from Ghana who has begun his Sophomore year right where he left off last year’s National Championship season … with a bang !!!  He may very well prove to be the toughest challenge Jahlil Okafor has yet to meet.   In the BackCourt, Duke will be have their hands full with Ryan Boatright, UCONN’s Senior playmaker.

Duke will need to play yet another poised game on both sides of the Court.  I’m sure the past UCONN wins against Duke in the Big Dance will be part of the joie de vivre the Blue Devils will want to bring to this game.

Ro:

I want to see if Duke can contain Ryan Boatright. I think the Wisconsin (Traevon Jackson) game showed us that Duke has issues with containing dribble penetration. Neither Cook nor Tyus Jones can stay in front of them. This will be a test on Jefferson and Okafor as well. Can they protect the rim?  

 

Query #5: 

After seeing the UConn game what do you think now ???

Ro:

The way the Huskies hustled, making Duke cough up the ball for a season record 19 turnovers, it is a wonder how they lost by 10. Boatright was able to score 22 points, so containing penetrating Guards is still an issue.

For the second major game, this season, Tyus Jones has shown that he can be depended upon in big moments. It wasn’t pretty, but Duke prevailed.

Strangely enough Okafor only picked up one (1) Foul. Maybe that is due to no one challenging him but that’s a good sign.

I see Coach K went with the Starters more as only Sulaimon recorded double figure minutes off the Bench, so do you think that is sustainable Bermuda Bob?

Bermuda Bob:

I know it’s rarely in vogue to be critical of the Officiating, but this game put the “ug” in ugly and provided plenty of fodder for those who hold specific distain for Karl Hess.  The NCAA needs to impress upon Referees that consistence is tremendously important.  They often got calls wrong, and more often blew the whistle on “ticky-tack” Fouls that many other Officials don’t call !!!

Only the Duke Starters scored and they all did so in double-figures, which bothers me.  Bench players need significant game time each and every game to be ready for when they are indeed needed in earnest. “Plums,” Matt, and Grayson together logged in less minutes than Rasheed.  Yet another example of why Duke loses a significant player each year who was relegated to becoming more proficient at pulling splinters than basketball.

While the Commentators love to gush all over “Oaks” and often for good reason, Amile was my “Prime Time Player” with 13 of the team’s 40 Rebounds.  In a game where the opponent shot a better percentage from the Floor, Rebounding and Put Backs often make the difference.

Tyus earned my latest nickname. Henceforth, I will refer to him as Duke’s “Little Big Man.”  He has earned it with his consistency in providing what is needed each game !!!

Point/CounterPoint Installment #5 … After Army, Looking to Wisconsin

SDBB - Point-CounterPoint Logo

In this Installment, Ro and Bermuda Bob look back at Army, then ahead to Wisconsin as they meet in the last game of the Acc/Big 10 Challenge 

Query #1

This game was a lot closer than expected, do you think Duke played very badly or was Army a better team than expected ???

 Rowan:

I am happy to take Coach Krzyzewski at his word when he saysI think Army could play anybody we’ve played and have a chance to beat them.I think they’re that good.”

Army was undefeated coming into the game, though they hadn’t beaten anyone of note, or with a winning record but they are expected to challenge for the top spot in the Patriot league this season. They played tough in Cameron and should be given some credit for it.

The overlooked thing here is that Coach K was able to preserve his record as the last coach to lead Army off to a 5-0 start by stopping the current team from bettering his record.

Bermuda Bob:

I thought it was yet another type of game for Duke. They shot only 21% oftheir Trifectas but made up for it by shooting 52% from the Field, and 73% from the Charity Stripe. Their inside game was facilitated by 17 Offensive Rebounds and 20 Assists, especially 12 by Tyus Jones !!!  They outrebounded Army 43 to 25, and picked-their pockets 9 times.

Of the games Duke was supposed to win, Army was the best all-around team they played thus far, so they were not pushovers. The great part of the day was that all of the 10 scholarship players got double-digit minutes and looked great !!!

Query #2

What is your biggest take away from this game ???

Rowan:

Justice Winslow has been playing great so far, but during this Game, we got a chance to see what Duke would be like without him. It was a struggle as Army was able to stay in the game a lot longer than expected, but the guys found their footing and then went on a 17-6 run, late in the first half. Great teams do no rely on any one player. My second point is Duke won by 20 points despite shooting 4-of-19 on Three Point Shots. This is noteworthy because once upon a time, not long ago, this would have been a loss.

Bermuda Bob:

You’ve touched on an excellent point. Duke is Guard heavy this year, sowhen Justise went to the bench, it was up to their only Reserve Forward, Semi Ojeleye, to make the most of his minutes, which he did byposting 4 Rebounds and an Assist, while scoring a deuce.  Coach K shookup his line up and used Guards Matt Jones and Rasheed Sulaimon for more contributions in a 3 Guard line-up.  Marshall Plumlee added 13 solid minutes and made another great contribution.

 

Query #3

Who would you consider the Player of the Game ???

Rowan:

For me that was easy. Jahlil Okafor scored 21 points, shooting 8-of-14 and most importantly didn’t register a Foul.

I also felt that every time Duke needed a big play Amile Jefferson was at the end of it. The Junior Forward finished with 7 points and 12 Rebounds (5 Offensive), in 20 minutes of play.

Special mention to Tyus Jones for securing his first double-double, with 16 points and 10 assists and more importantly ZERO turnovers.

Marshall Plumlee is currently shooting 100% from the Free Throw Line, on the season.  He finished with a career high 8 points, 5 rebounds and blocked 2 shots.

Bermuda Bob:

The FrontCourt of Amile-Okafor-Justice ought to come onto the Court with the old Three Stooges “Hello, Hello, Hello” theme song, not because they are jokers, but because they work so well together.  Well, this week, Justise got called 3 times early for questionable calls, sending him to the bench.  It took the combined efforts of Semi and Matt to take up the slack as Winslow was forced to pull splinters.

I could not agree more that Amile has become the most consistent contributor.  He has certainly come into him own and benefitted from every double-team that Okafor draws.  The fact that he is always the guy willing to get the dirty work done makes him a very valuable commodity, and proves his maturity.

Of course, this allows Oakfor to get the spotlight, but rest assured, he has earned it and understands his success is assisted by the efforts of Amile and Justise.   Single-team defenses find him hard to handle, so if they double-team him, and he cannot handle it, there is always Amile or Winslow driving the lane.

As the season progresses, I expect teams to try a vast array of defensive combinations known to coaching.  As Amile, Okafor, and Justise continue to prove their prowess, they will leave opponents with plenty of headaches.

Query #4

The game everyone is looking forward to this week is the ACC vs Big 10 anchor game with Duke travelling to Wisconsin.

Do you think Duke has what it takes to beat Wisconsin ???

 Rowan:

Firstly, this game will be about composure. Wisconsin is a talented team with experience, while Duke incorporates at least 3 Freshmen.

Secondly, this game may be decided in the Backcourt as the game may come down to possessions, so the Guards must take care of the ball. Whichever team’s Guards fail the most in this task may be on the losing team.

Duke cannot afford to start slow in this game though. They must come out hard and keep their feet firmly on the throttle if they want to beat this Wisconsin team, who have proven very resilient so far this season.

Bermuda Bob:

Bo Ryan might have his best team in a long, long time this year.  His team is experienced, and 7 of their guys averaging 20 or more minutes a game, they boast 4 Seniors, a pair of Sophomores, and a Junior.  They missed a berth in the Championship game last year by one (1) Point.  Getting that close has left a long lasting smell in their nostrils, which, along with their desire to get Bo a National Championship, makes them well placed as the #2 team in the country.

Contrast this with Duke’s relative infancy of 4 guys who watched the Final Four last year still in High Schools, and the sting the upperclassmen experienced after an early exit, and you have a game of Shakespearean proportions.

Duke will surely endure their most strident test right from the opening Tip Off.  The Badgers are the most competent team Duke might see all season on both ends of the Court.  I doubt if you will see many double-teams either way, and both teams will mix up their coverages to guarantee against Foul Trouble.

Both Bo Ryan and Coach K understand that they have been preparing their teams thus far for this game, each with a bit of their peripheral vision dedicated to what the other was doing.  Nothing will be left for lack of preparation, which means I’m sure we might even see Duke’s “Orange” zone defense if necessary.

Individual match-ups and performances will probably fall along their seasonal averages, as I don’t see any one player making the difference.  I think Duke’s biggest challenge is to play as well as a unit as Wisconsin does. It is for this reason that Wisconsin is a 3.5 Point favourite, and not necessarily because Wisconsin is at home.  Yeah, Yeah, I know … Bo has a 91% winning record at Home, so he naturally gets the nod by the OddsMakers.  I’m telling you, it will be the most efficient team that prevails.

To prove my point … Thus far this season, with both teams coming into the game with identical 7-0 records.  Duke has shot 52.7% from the Field and 38.7% from outside the Arc and pulled down 277 Rebounds.  Wisconsin has shot 50.5% on 34% for the Tre with 256 Rebounds.  The only way they’d be more similar would be if they were clones !!!

Both teams will need to play interiour and perimeter defense, as both squads are as capable as the other at doing what wins games.  If you love great games, I’d grab a nap sometime before the 9:30PM (East) start because you won’t be going to bed anytime before the final horn !!!

My only worry is that Bo Ryan has a penchant for exposing Duke’s weaknesses in the past.  So the only guy I know who willingly demonstrates the “Hand-Jive” whenever asked, is not going to let up now.

Coach K certainly has his work cut out, but then so does Bo !!!

Thanks for reading folks … Enjoy the game !!!

Please don’t forget that we’re looking for you to submit some questions for our next installment !!!