SDBB: Point/CounterPoint #20 – On To the Final Four & How They Got Here !!!

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In today’s conversation, Ro Shiell and Bermuda Bob talk about how Duke got to the Final Four, if the “one-and-done” recruit has served Coach K well, Duke’s newly found Defense, Duke’s best tourney player, and looking forward … 

Query #1

Duke has changed it’s recruiting policy over the last five years, whereby they seem to be more interested in recruiting top recruits who wish to enter the NBA draft after one season in college.

Within that time frame, the furthest Duke had made it into the NCAA tournament was the Elite Eight (that 2012-2013 season just happened to be the only year that a recruit didn’t head to the draft after the season) with two embarrassing first game upsets thrown in.

Does this Final Four berth change the view that Coach K cannot win with “one-and-done” kids ???

Rowan:

Does one season change the opinion that Coach K cannot win with “one-and-done” kids ??? Props have to be given to Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Grayson Allen (highly unlikely to be a one year player) for getting Duke this far.  One season is not enough to change that opinion, and if it was, they will need to do better than a Final Four to change that view.

Bermuda Bob:

Well, there are very different circumstances between this year and those previous years. I’ll explain, but first, I need to note to our readers that I have, and still am, a profound opponent of the whole concept of the “one-and-done” recruit. That said, here goes:

  •  2010-11 was the first time Coach K tipped his toe into the “one-and-done” water, he had Kyrie Irving, who played so very little because of his toe injury. That team reconstituted itself (I’m sure Coach K had something to do with it), won the ACC Tournament, and was awarded a #1 Seed in the West Region.

They won their first two games, then Kyrie Irving declared he was physically fit to play, and along with his family conspired to make Coach K believe he was coming back.   They were slaughtered by Arizona because that reconstituted team was subverted to Kyrie Irving.  It was later discovered that all he wanted to do was try and cement a #1 Pick in the NBA Draft.

  • 2011-2012 was the next dalliance with the “one-and-done” recruit. He was Austin Rivers, whom another Duke fan nicknamed “Da Black Hole” because Rivers turned out to be a ball-hog. I will always believe that he was the most-un-Duke-like player ever to be rostered.   His mouth got to campus before he did with his self-proclamations, and desire to be called “SubZero” to match his choice of jersey numbered zero. I will also always believe that he was a “favour” to Doc Rivers by Coach K. This team was severely subverted to Rivers.  So much so, in a game against Temple in Philadelphia, when he was knocked down and a TV Timeout called, his own players left him on the floor. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to have an opposing newspaper focus on ???  Even instead of their team’s win against Duke.

That team earned a #2 Seed in the South Region and was promptly dispatched by Lehigh, a #15 Seed from the Patriot League. They were 12.5 Point favourites, losing by 5 Points. Rivers did not even go back to Duke with his teammates !!!

One last thing … Mike “Silent G” Gbinije transferred from Duke. He would be the first in his recruiting class to leave because of the subversion, wasting a year at Duke and another waiting to go to Syracuse.

  •  2013-14, after a great run to the Elite 8 the previous year without a “one-and-done” recruit, Coach K’s recruited the very talented Jabari Parker. He was a fan favourite because he was talented, good looking, very well spoken, and humble.  He caused comparisons to Grant Hill.  Then in February, a Sports Illustrated article chronicled the relationship that was born and the promises made by Coach K to Jabari AND his parents.  The most worrisome aspect for me was that Jabari’s Mum could call the coaching staff and get a call back from Coach K anytime she wished. I wondered often if the other player’s parents had the same ability to do that.

Jabari was paired with a transfer, Rodney Hood.  Duke insiders will recall that Coach K made no bones about his desire to have everything go thru Jabari. The upperclassmen at Duke were again subverted.

Duke was Seeded #3 in the MidWest Region and lost in the First Round to Mercer, a 14 Seed of the Atlantic Sun Conference by 7 Points.

In the middle of this year, Alex Murphy finally gave up hope of not being subverted to a recruit coming in behind him. He transferred to Florida, after wasting 1 season and a half at Duke and another waiting to play for the Gators.

  • This year, after 3 of the last 4 seasons being abject failures with a single “one-and-done” recruit, Coach K changed his approach. He recruited 4 very different kids, making 3 of them instant Starters.

Semi Ojeleye, having warmed the bench the season before, could stand no more subversion and left Duke in mid-season, having wasted a year and a half, only to see himself being recruited behind.  He is now wasting another year of his life waiting to be allowed to play at SMU.

The question is if Coach K has mastered the “one-and-done” recruiting situation. The record and earning a Final Four spot would seem to mean that he has.  Time will tell, but moreover, what happens next year is important. Everyone will be interested to see if he can replicate this year.  That is regardless of what happens this Saturday.

Duke has thus far prevailed against upperclassmen laden programmes in this Big Dance in two very different ways.  The next opponent, Michigan State, will be led by very talented upperclassmen, but the most prolific Big Dance Coach of the century in Tom Izzo.

Query #2

Three #1 Seeds and a #7 Seed made it to the Final Four, which team had the easiest path ???

Rowan:

Kentucky may have created the most carnage until they ran into Notre Dame, who gave them a huge scare. Duke has had a good tournament so far, but they made it that way with unbelievable defense.

No doubt Michigan State has had a tough route, if not the toughest. Wisconsin has been the most lackadaisical until they woke up to dispatch Arizona, showing that they are definitely one to watch.

Bermuda Bob:

Kentucky played in the weakest conference, and played the weakest schedule of any of the other programmes.  The ACC & Big 10 have been well represented, even having to go thru each other to get here.  It was an ACC team that near defeated Kentucky, so up to that point they had “cupcakes.”

Furthermore, while many are falling for all the flauntings and flountings about the Kentucky team, the truth be told, they are half a team of kids who didn’t expect to be here this year, and hence the “reinforcements” idea.  No team in America has gotten so much attention while achieving so little, with so much, over the course of a substandard schedule.

Query #3

As always we have to ask this question … What is your biggest takeaway from this tournament ??? 

Rowan: 

“I think for these four games, we’ve played outstanding defense,” Coach Krzyzewski said. I can’t add any further to that.

Bermuda Bob:

Ah yes … Defense.  How many times this year have we talked about the questionable defense that a certain member of the Starters played ???

Well, Duke either played the greatest game of “snooker” up to this point, or they simply picked the best time to play stellar Defense.   Damn, I’m happy they did !!!

Query #4

Who has been Duke’s best player throughout the tournament ???

Rowan:

The easiest pick here is Justice Winslow, but the real MVP is Jahlil Okafor. This may sound dumb after all the defensive plays and big shots by the former, but if you look closely, every team that Duke has played in the tournament is really worried about Okafor. Their Defences are geared toward stopping Okafor, meanwhile Winslow, Cook and company have been wreaking havoc.

All Okafor has to do is score occasionally to throw the opposing coach into a panic.  Defensively, Okafor has also had his moments.

I praise Jahlil but I must acknowledge Winslow, who has been one of the most versatile players Duke has had in a while.  He always finds a way to contribute whether it is hitting the boards, or passing the ball.

Bermuda Bob:

You make a very astute point that seems to be lost on the media.  The simple decision of which Game Plan to develop to thwart “Oaks” flummoxes opposing coaches.  They can either try and neutralize him, or allow him to score with passing resistance, and focus on the Duke shooters.  Both have been tried and failed.

I think that without “Oaks,” the focus would be more centered on Justise.  I doubt that he would not relish the challenge, but early on this year we saw how opponents battered him, making “Hack a Shaq” more like paddy-cakes.  I am happy that, along with Tyus and Quinny, they make an impressive ensemble cast !!!

Query #5

Going forward, are there any areas where Duke needs to improve in order to win on Saturday ??? 

Rowan:

I haven’t the foggiest Idea. All I know is that I will be cheering loudly and proudly.  This team has shown a lot of resiliency, throughout the season.  If you had to ask me if Duke would be playing in the Final Four, back in January, I would not have immediately said “Yes.”

Bermuda Bob:

The biggest mistake anyone could make would be to think that they could prevail over either Michigan State or Wisconsin using the same Game Plan they used earlier this season.  Both teams have matured, and are full of highly experienced upperclassmen who have the taste of being here and having fallen. Duke does not have that aspect because everything is new to them, well, except Quinny.

In March, coaches are more important than in any other sport.  Three of the four coaches here are legends of March, and have returned to a very familiar place. Regardless of what Duke does against the Spartans or the Badgers, it will be a “must see” for every college basketball fan.

To that I simply say …

“Rock On” !!!

Thanks for Reading !!!

We would love to hear from you either here or on Twitter at:

@SimplyDukeBB

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A Simply Duke Basketball Blue Paper: We Need “Basketball People” on the Selection Committee

SDBB - Blue Paper - Reverse

Each an every year, the actual process of seeding and bracketing the Big Dance comes under some form of scrutiny.  The reason is that the Selection Committee is reluctant to explain themselves past the obvious.  This year, all that Chairman Scott Barnes (Utah State Athletic Director) would agree to reveal was that undefeated Kentucky was the unanimous overall #1 Seed.

When questioned about which “bubble team” was included or excluded, and why, he provided more circumlocution than a youngster caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

To be faire, this year’s Field of 64 (68 if you include the play-in games) gave media types only a few glaring questions.  The more overt questions were when and where teams were bracketed.  It was surely obvious that the committee only considered the various fan bases in the preliminary games.

Of course, part of any criticism about Regional venues has to be assigned to the NCAA, who has made no bones about wanting only the largest arenas.  For instance, Duke and Gonzaga – the #1 and #2 Seeds respectively – would each halve the country to Houston for their South Regional contests.  Few fans have the ability to travel that distance and incur the expense of doing so. That violates the spirit of the event and college basketball itself !!!

The annual question about the Selection Committee is about it’s composition. This year, 9 members are Athletic Directors, and the tenth member is Judy MacLeod, Conference USA Associate Commissioner. The overwhelming question is:

  1. What do any of these people know about playing and/or coaching college basketball ???  These people are administrators over a wide palette of sports.
  1. How much quality time can these people dedicate to watching and understanding the yearly changing nuances of college basketball without ethically being distracted from their REAL jobs ???

The answers to both questions is a resounding ZERO !!!

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This year, the Selection Committee had a very obvious agenda.  They made a ethical judgement on Bill Self refusing to schedule Wichita State.  They purposely put Xavier in their former coach’s region, practically assuring a match up with Arizona.  They set up a meeting between West Virginia and Kentucky and, of course they say their prayers every hour for Kentucky to meet Duke in recollection of another version of the greatest college basketball game of all time.

These are not what the Big Dance was originally envisioned.  The idea was to have match-ups of teams who would not usually meet.  The idea was to do so to prove who was the best yearly team.

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When one considers the plethora of former and retired coaches in college basketball, the REAL question has to be asked:

Why are there not more “Basketball People” on the Selection Committee ??? 

“Basketball People” understand what Athletic Directors and Conference Commissioners can’t because of the relative focuses of their jobs. So, please consider this:

  1. “Basketball People” understand recruiting, the management of their players, and not only getting the best of them, but also getting them to play their respective roles effectively. This can change form opponent to opponent.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the important challenges and differences of pre-conference season vs. conference season vs. conference tournaments as they each contribute to readiness for a positive Big Dance performance.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the differences of the traditional questions like “Who did you play ???” or “Who did you beat ???” or “Who did you lose to and why ???”  For instance, some teams mature to the point that they are nothing like who they were in the pre-season. The best example this year is the increased prowess of teams like Michigan State and Arizona.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the nuances of the game, and don’t care about creating potential match-ups simply to make“Good TV”

The point is that with all the great, retired basketball people available to comprise at least half of the Selection Committee, they need to change who sits on it and include them.

If you’re constantly changing the criteria for college basketball coaches, then, you need to have the only people who understand their pressures – former coaches.

This fraternity of retired coaches can relate to each and every dribble, each and every twist or turn of competition. This includes the“hatching” of an infantine team in the non-conference season to their“coming into their own” for conference competition. They all understand winning, and what it takes to deserve to make it to and succeed in the Big Dance !!!

The “Big Dance” is, without a doubt, the BEST annual sporting event in America.

Why, then, should it not be run by the absolute BEST people in college basketball ???  Those BEST people are “Basketball People” !!!

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@SimplyDukeBB at Twitter

 

Point/CounterPoint #19 – Looking at the Big Dance Thus Far

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In this installment, Rowan Shiell & Bermuda Bob talk about what else they saw in the Big Dance, aside from Duke’s games.  

Be careful, if you’re not able to handle very frank opinions !!!

Query #1

Cinderella teams have long been the mark of a good tournament because they garner the attention of the casual fans as well as those whose teams were defeated.

This year there are no higher seeded teams remaining except UCLA with an #11 Seed.

Do you think the games have been entertaining in spite of this ??? 

Rowan:

No, because the NCAA tournament is all about upsets and with the higher seeds winning, emphatically at times, this is not a great show. If your team is still in it, then you may have a different opinion.

There were some great matchups on Saturday, and even better on Sunday culminating in Kansas being sent home by Wichita State.

Bermuda Bob:

Yes, I love to see the Butlers, Valpos, George Masons, VCUs, and the other great upsets (desperately trying to forget Lehigh and Mercer) as much as the next fan, but I think the original intent of the Big Dance has gotten lost.  The idea was to have teams that would not normally play each other to determine who is the best.  Duke’s draw in the South looks like that, but the East does not.

As we noted in our “Blue Paper” on the Selection Committee, I think that since they are not “basketball people,” they look to create match-ups for the wrong reasons. One needs to only look at how they orchestrated the Kansas-Wichita State match-up to understand my point.  The Committee essentially considered Bill Self’s adamancy to schedule Wichita State, and made a statement about it.   

Query #2

Which Sweet Sixteen Coach is under the most pressure ???

 Rowan:

Everyone thinks it is John Calipari because he has an undefeated team but I don’t think so.  He is already winning.  His formula works and he is just two seasons removed from his first Championship.  He is a man on top of his game, and unless we can prove that he is another Lance Armstrong, respect has to be given to his achievements.

Coach K on the other hand has suffered in the NCAA tournament is his pursuit of “one-and-done” players. He has to prove his doubters wrong and that he can indeed win with players on campus for only one year.

North Carolina needs some good publicity after the current scandal, so Roy Williams better be a keeper.

Meanwhile, Tom Izzo is playing with house money and Bo Ryan has a chance to step up from the middle tier of the coach’s ladder to the top within the next fortnight.

Bermuda Bob:

Well, you know I’m going to disagree on “Cal-the-Lip” and I guess I was backed up by the college basketball writers, who did not name him their Coach of the Year. That went to Tony Bennett.

Simply said, this whole idea of “reinforcements” is just another bit of the slick way “Cal-the-Lip” tries to look like a coach, but alas, his past record tell you all you need to know about him.  For you Godfather movie buffs, let me just refer you to the way Don Corleone characterized Phillip Tattiglia after the meeting of the “5 Families.”  That what I think of “Cal-the-Lip”

I think guys like Coach Miller at Arizona, Coach Few at Gonzaga, and Coach Marshall at Wichita State all need to take a step closer to the National Championship to validate their efforts. 

Query #3

Which top seed has had the easiest run to the Sweet Sixteen ??? 

Rowan:

Louisville had to beat Northern Iowa and UC Irvine. 

Bermuda Bob:

As an ACC fan, I’m happy that Louisville is still in, otherwise, I’m surprised that a team who shot so poorly during the season has won twice.

Arizona did not get much from Ohio State. Wisconsin has dispatched their opponents handily. 

Query #4

Which team had the hardest path to the Sweet Sixteen ???

Rowan:

No question, it is Wichita State, beating Indiana and Kansas. Then NC State, second, who had to take down Villanova, the #1 Seed, to progress. Notre Dame has had some issues but they prevailed.

Bermuda Bob:

Michigan State is, by Coach Izzo’s admission not nearly as talented as some of his other teams, but never bet against “Mr. March.”   I agree with you on your picks and would just add that any of the 3 other teams left in the MidWest Region could break a lot of BlueGrass hearts and expectations. 

Query #5

Which had the most Controversial route ??? 

Rowan:

Was it a rebound or a goal tending ???  That’s something we will be debating for an eternity, especially with SMU fans.

Bermuda Bob:

I agree on SMU, but often calls are skewed for the same reason as why UCLA was in the Big Dance in the first place.  Otherwise, I think the officiating has been reasonable faire.  When they make bad calls, they make them for both teams. It’s a concept that has always made me shake my head.  Calling a game evenly is not calling the game effectively.

As Cosmo Castorini of “Moonstruck” fame likes to say: “… and I’ll say no more …” 

Query #6

Who is the tournament’s MVP so far ??? 

Rowan:

Fred Van Fleet of Wichita State 

Bermuda Bob:

Jerian Grant of Notre Dame.  He’s a Senior, the sparkplug of that team and a worthy runner-up for ACC POY !!!

Query #7

Who are the 4 most impressive teams so far ??? 

Rowan:

Kentucky, Arizona, Duke and Gonzaga in no particular order.  They all won the games they were meant to win without any drama. Wisconsin belongs in that group but sadly the question was four not five. 

Bermuda Bob:

I’m going the other way with Michigan State, NC State, West Virginia, and Wichita State.  All have had much more difficult draws and prevailed when some considered them underdogs.  

Query #8

Who have been the Most Entertaining teams so far ??? 

Rowan:

Wichita State, Michigan State, NC State and Notre Dame.

Bermuda Bob:

I’ll stay with the same teams in Michigan State, NC State, West Virginia, and Wichita State.

 

Thanks for reading !!!

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Point/CounterPoint #18 – After the 1st Big Dance Early Rounds & Going Into the Sweet 16

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In this installment, Rowan Shiell & Bermuda Bob comment on Duke’s first two outings in the Big Dance, look forward to the Sweet 16, and take a peek beyond.  Plus, they discuss the ACC’s wonderful showing, and opine on the CBS coverage …

Query #1

Duke broke into the Big Dance with a convincing win against Robert Morris.

Was there anything that stood out for you ???

Rowan:

Over the weekend I have come to understand that nothing a team accomplishes in the regular season helps them in the tournament. That is my overall takeaway. Everyone is starting from the bottom now. Marshall Plumlee had a great start with his first career Double-Double.

Jahlil Okafor seems to have given up on his Board work, but has shown incredible patience on offense.  He is quite an adept ball handler too !!!

Bermuda Bob:

First and foremost, Congratulations to Marshall “Plums” Plumlee !!! He had an excellent day, full of energy and presence. The Commentators noted that he has provided a great practice environment for “Oaks” so, to see him have the opportunity to blossom was great.

As for the team effort, it had to be a relief to everyone that Duke did not become the first #1 Seed to be beaten by a #16 Seed. Reliving the nightmares of the past.

Quinn Cook got his stroke back and everyone was able to get some floor time. Amile actually scored 10 Points, dealing out 3 Assists.

It was an outing that sent them forward with confidence that might have been bruised in the ACC Tournament.

Query #2

Duke then took on San Diego State, went out fast and maintained their lead for the whole game.

What impressed you, and what didn’t ???

Rowan:

I thought Duke could have utilised a Zone Defense against SDSU because they seemed reluctant to shoot, but the defense held up.  I had the NC State, Miami and Notre Dame losses at the back of my mind.  There, whereby, penetrating Guards hurt Duke.  Going back to my opening statement, everything has been reset. San Diego never really got a chance to hurt Duke.

Okafor was really impressive on both sides of the court. He scored at will and blocked shots.  Maybe he has been saving his best for last …

Bermuda Bob:

I think we saw a San Diego State team that was not at it’s best.  There were reports of a Flu spreading thru the team.  I hope they are better now, and I hope they did not “donate” it to the Duke kids.

Duke went out fast and scored big.  When they began to tire, the subs got the job done by maintaining what the Starters accomplished.  That is always important in the Big Dance.  Take your foot off the pedal, let in the opposition, and the tide can change quickly, shifting momentum.

Justise Winslow had a great game with 12 Rebounds – 11 of them on the Offensive Boards, along with 13 points.

Going forward, they will build on this performance as they will see different types of teams from what’s in the ACC this year.

Query #3

Duke draws a tough Utah team next.  They are a team most of us only saw this week.

What are the keys to seeing Duke prevail ???

Rowan:

Utah has been one of my favourite teams to watch outside of Duke. They play together and for each other. They have two seven footers (Jakob Poetl is a potential high NBA draft pick), they can throw at Duke plus some great versatile players in the form of Chris Reyes and Jordan Loveridge. At 6’7″ they can both play inside or out. These two have stepped up their game as Delon Wright, their best player, has seen his production tail off in recent games but he is still a threat.

One thing I noticed, against Georgetown, was that they had no answer for Josh Smith inside. That is when he decided to play on the block, which was not enough times. It was tough seeing him setting endless picks without rolling to the basket.  Okafor is a much more potent and mobile scorer than Smith.

Bermuda Bob:

Utah is another one of those teams that are not like anyone they play against in conference. They will be more physical and more roundly talented. Duke will need to play within whatever Coach K’s Game Plan turns out to be.

If the “bigs” of Utah prove to be formidable, I think a rotation of Amile, “Plums,” and Matt will be necessary. A lot of people like the idea of “Twin Towers” to draw some of the intensity that defenses play against him. Sure, it sounds good for a game in Texas, but another player who is not as much of a scoring threat will not draw defenses off “Oaks.”

If and when “Plums” gets floor time, it is imperative that he STOP those goofy looking picks, that take him way too far from the Paint.  He is rarely a threat to execute a Pick-and-Roll and opposing players know that, so, all it does is take him away from where he excels – under the basket – and allows opponents Box Out position on him !!!

I’m hoping for Duke to get out to the same type of lead they like to, then hold it so as to keep Utah on their heels. That along with stellar defense … BY EVERYONE … should get them advancing.

Query #4

Presuming Duke prevails, the consensus is that Gonzaga is their next opponent.  They are said to be Mark Few’s best team of all.

Can Duke beat them to make it to the Final Four ???

How do they do it ???

Rowan:

I want to see how Gonzaga plays UCLA before I can comment on this besides, I think Utah plays a similar game to Gonzaga, even if their “Bigs” aren’t as talented.

Bermuda Bob:

I think Gonzaga will prevail against UCLA, a team that I do not think belonged in the Field of 64.  They advanced by a Referee error to boot !!!

We are told that Mark Few has his best team this year. I believe that they will be a formidable foe. I have to trust Coach K will have some ideas on how to handle them.

I think that varying their looks, getting out to a strong start, and playing tough defense is presumed. The best way to handle teams that protect the paint well, is to constantly move the ball like Duke does so well when they go to the 4 Guard line-up.

Query #5

Duke is joined by four (4) other ACC teams still left in the Big Dance, leading all conferences.

Where do you expect everyone to be after the Regionals, going to the Final Four ???

Rowan:

Seems the ACC was much better than previously thought. I imagined when they recently added Notre Dame, Louisville and Syracuse this is what they had in mind. ACC won all their opening games. I didn’t think Virginia would be out this early though as NC State took out Villanova.

SEC had a down year and so did the Big 10 (compared to the last two season). Everyone thought the Big 12 was the best, but the carnage they suffered in the second round was telling. Wichita State taking down Kansas was not much of a surprise, but the way they did it most certainly was !!!

Bermuda Bob:

We knew NC State was tough from the loss to them early in the conference season, the same thing with Notre Dame and Carolina.  Louisville is a surprise and a testament to Rick Pitino for keeping that team together after all the drama. I wish Syracuse were in the Big Dance because they might have been in the Sweet 16 as well.

I can’t say I was surprised that the ACC did well, and I was curious as to why the Big 12 was expected to be “Best in Show.”  As always, you can’t count out the Big 10, especially “Mr. March” aka Tom Izzo.

NC State and Louisville will cause a net lost ACC team. Carolina will have their hands full with Wisconsin, but they are not strangers, so expect a tight game. Notre Dame will depend on their reaction to a Wichita State’s different looks, and some hot hands from their perimeter shooters.

Query #6

Duke was fortunately covered by CBS’ lead team of Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, & Jim Nantz.

What did you think of the coverage of the games ???

Rowan:

I am a hardened college basketball fan, so I don’t need Commentators to spoon feed me the game.  I rate Commentators for their ability to tell me something I did not know, and being able to blend into the background of the game.  I don’t need someone who is going to continue to show me complex plays that don’t make much sense under close scrutiny.  They are clearly being used to reinforce the Commentator’s agenda (here’s looking at you, Doug Gottlieb). Most of all, I despise constant negativity from talking heads.

These three have done a marvelous job of keeping on top of the action while being entertaining, then again when your team is winning everything smells of roses.

Bermuda Bob:

I was very pleased that CBS honoured one of the best people in college basketball by not only assigning him to the Big Dance, but also giving him a great upstart in Grant Hill.   Bill Raftery is not only accurate, concise, and brief, he is entertaining. Jim Nantz plays his omni-commentator role well. Their on-court Reporter is probably the best CBS has.

I have been very vocal in criticizing the way CBS brings in NBA people who don’t have a clue as to who’s who and what’s what. Very often I have found them misspeaking, and not even knowing who the coaches are, so I can imagine what their “cheat sheets” for the players must look like. Dressing old NBA guys who are “past it” in vested suits is like lipstick on a pig.

I have never understood why we listen to ESPN folks all season long, then when the National Championship is being determined, CBS brings in VERY substandard personnel.  After all, college basketball fans might very well be some of the most intelligent and well informed compared to some other sports.  If you think of it, we begin attempts to acquire tickets 10 months ahead of knowing who we’re going to see via the ticket lotteries.  If you’ve ever been to a Regional, you will enjoy other like-minded fans who are not necessarily there because their team is playing, but because it is simply the best college basketball can offer !!!  I’ve been there, done that, and loved every minute of it.

CBS, NBC, and ESPN all work together interchangeably for other sports like Golf and Tennis, so why not give the viewers the best ???

 

Thanks for reading.  

Please give us your comments either here or on our Twitter site @SimplyDukeBB

 

 

A Simply Duke Basketball “Blue Paper” – Why Doesn’t the Selection Committee Include “Basketball People” ???

SDBB - Blue Paper - Reverse

Each an every year, the actual process of seeding and bracketing the Big Dance comes under some form of scrutiny.  The reason is that the Selection Committee is reluctant to explain themselves past the obvious.  This year, all that Chairman Scott Barnes (Utah State Athletic Director) would agree to reveal was that undefeated Kentucky was the unanimous overall #1 Seed.

When questioned about which “bubble team” was included or excluded, and why, he provided more circumlocution than a youngster caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

To be faire, this year’s Field of 64 (68 if you include the play-in games) gave media types only a few glaring questions.  The more overt questions were when and where teams were bracketed.  It was surely obvious that the committee only considered the various fan bases in the preliminary games.

Of course, part of any criticism about Regional venues has to be assigned to the NCAA, who has made no bones about wanting only the largest arenas.  For instance, Duke and Gonzaga – the #1 and #2 Seeds respectively – would each halve the country to Houston for their South Regional contests.  Few fans have the ability to travel that distance and incur the expense of doing so. That violates the spirit of the event and college basketball itself !!!

The annual question about the Selection Committee is about it’s composition. This year, 9 members are Athletic Directors, and the tenth member is Judy MacLeod, Conference USA Associate Commissioner. The overwhelming question is:

  1. What do any of these people know about playing and/or coaching college basketball ??? These people are administrators over a wide palette of sports.
  1. How much quality time can these people dedicate to watching and understanding the yearly changing nuances of college basketball without ethically being distracted from their REAL jobs ???

The answers to both questions is a resounding ZERO !!!

 

When one considers the plethora of former and retired coaches in college basketball, the REAL question has to be asked:

Why are there not more “Basketball People” on the Selection Committee ??? 

“Basketball People” understand what Athletic Directors and Conference Commissioners can’t because of the relative focuses of their jobs. So, please consider this:

  1. “Basketball People” understand recruiting, the management of their players, and not only getting the best of them, but also getting them to play their respective roles effectively. This can change form opponent to opponent.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the important challenges and differences of pre-conference season vs. conference season vs. conference tournaments as they each contribute to readiness for a positive Big Dance performance.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the differences of the traditional questions like “Who did you play ???” or “Who did you beat ???” or “Who did you lose to and why ???” For instance, some teams mature to the point that they are nothing like who they were in the pre-season. The best example this year is the increased prowess of teams like Michigan State and Arizona.
  1. “Basketball People” understand the nuances of the game, and don’t care about creating potential match-ups simply to make “Good TV”

The point is that with all the great, retired basketball people available to comprise at least half of the Selection Committee, they need to change who sits on it and include them.

If you’re constantly changing the criteria for college basketball coaches, then, you need to have the only people who understand their pressures – former coaches.

This fraternity of retired coaches can relate to each and every dribble, each and every twist or turn of competition. This includes the “hatching” of an infantine team in the non-conference season to their “coming into their own” for conference competition. They all understand winning, and what it takes to deserve to make it to and succeed in the Big Dance !!!

The “Big Dance” is, without a doubt, the BEST annual sporting event in America.

Why, then, should it not be run by the absolute BEST people in college basketball ???  Those BEST people being “Basketball People” !!!

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Thanks for Reading !!!

We always welcome your comments, either here or

@SimplyDukeBB at Twitter

“After Sleeping on It …” – Duke’s Tale of 2 Very Different Games in the ACC Tournament

SDBB - Duke ZZZ'sMuch to the chagrin of Duke fans everywhere, Duke exited the ACC Tournament much earlier than anyone was happy about.

Here’s how it happened and why …

THURSDAY night, Duke met North Carolina State, a team who had embarrassed them, 87-75, at home, early on in the conference season. This time, it was Duke who would be causing the embarrassment with a 77-53 trouncing of the WolfPack.

The Box Score shows 4 Starters and 2 Bench Players scoring in double-digits, and some seriously great rebounding, led by Justise and Amile. The most interesting aspect is that “Oaks” only played 19 minutes, while “Plums” logged in 21 minutes, scoring 12 Points, and blocking 3 Shots, having his best game at Duke.

Another interesting aspect was that Duke shot only 13 times from outside the Arc, compared to 53 from inside … very much inside when you consider “Plums” logged 6 out of 6 Dunks !!!

There’s why this run-away game was so unique compared to what we would see the next night. Duke moved the ball incredibly well, always finding the free man, even if the ball was passed 4-5-6-7 times. When Duke shares the ball, they play exceptionally well. This, opposed to dumping the ball into “Oaks” and standing around, waiting for him to either score or dish out. Under those circumstances, they don’t move the ball, and are often flatfooted and detached.

On this evening we would also see the future of Duke. Grayson Allen, who had an exemplary game, banging out 12 Points with 3 Rebounds, 3 Assists, and 2 Blocks. His energy and verve on both sides of the Court was great to see !!!

 

THEN there was Friday night, a night that would be the complete opposite of the previous night.

Duke came out sluggish, while Notre Dame came out with a firm, smart, and simple Game Plan. They would not double-team “Oaks” and pretty much allow him to score. Oh, they’d put up some resistance, and even foul-out their Center, but it was as if the were playing “sucker.” “Oaks” would drop in 28 Points on 8 Rebounds and a Block. Plus, his terrible performance from the Charity Stripe was exploited, as yet another team would “Poke the Oak”

The brilliance of the Game Plan was that everyone else was shut down with an excellent perimeter defense. A defense that kept Duke to 18% shooting from outside the Arc. Quinn Cook took just one shot for a Trifecta in the 1st Half, and would try only 7 more in the 2nd Half, scoring only once in total. He literally ran out of time to find his usual rhythm.

Mike Brey, a former Assistant Coach to Coach K from way back, would out-coach his mentor. His players executed the Game Plan to perfection, while Coach K could not get his players to execute anything as they did the previous night. It was a pathetic effort to say the least.

Early on, Coach K (lip read by Jay Bilas) lamented “No one wants to play tonight !!!”

After sleeping on it, it’s pretty obvious that just about every good coach in the country has realized where Duke’s Achilles Tendon is. Each of the losses so far this season were similar. There is no need to shut down “Oaks” because when you allow him to have his way, you lure the rest of the squad into a malaise that’s almost hypnotic.

Sleep-walking, or maybe sleep-standing, players do not achieve … they watch. Sure, “Oaks” is an exceptional player, but one player does not a successful team make. Duke does not have just one exceptional player, but if they are not involved, they fail. Friday night they failed.

During the game, we were lamenting the play, and especially the lack of Defense. Actually, there was no Defense. Ro made the most profound observation in our last article where he observed that: “… Duke’s idea of Defense is to outscore their opponents.”  Nary have truer words been spoken. Duke played little or no defense, and everyone else was shut out from scoring.

Warm up the Bus, it’s time to go home.

Moving forward, it appears as of this writing that Duke may have preserved it’s #1 Seed. If so, they’d most likely be playing in Charlotte. You can bet that many in the media, as well as the opposing #16 Seed coach will want to see history made by being the first to knock off a #1 Seed. Why not, Mercer and Lehigh figured it out, why not another Cinderella ???

If Coach K does not get his team to play as a total team, and that means all 8 guys, they will be warming up the bus a lot sooner again this year. This is not the way you want to go into the Big Dance, but he has 5-6 days to change how he has played these talented kids this season. It would surely be a shame if he were not able to do so.

 

Thanks for reading !!!  

Please leave you comments here or @SimplyDukeBB on Twitter

Point/CounterPoint #17 – After North Carolina & Into the ACC Tournament

SDBB - Point-CounterPoint LogoIn this installment Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob cover things after the Duke win over Carolina, have a bit of a look into the ACC Tournament, and even have a word about Kentucky … 

Query #1

Duke prevailed in their 2nd meeting with North Carolina at the Dean Dome.  This game had it’s ups and downs, with Duke coming out hard and fast, then losing their lead, and finally taking the lead for good.  

Did we learn anything we didn’t think of yet ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

When Duke came out so hot, I was I worried that they would run of gas, Coach K subbed his whole Bench, and Carolina caught up, taking the lead at the Half.  It’s pretty obvious that, while they are capable of running with anyone, they give away something when the Starters need a “blow.”   While I think they would prefer to see a more measured approach, I don’t know if it’s possible.  That concerns me with teams that have a very competent bench.

Rowan:

Duke is very resilient. Last year’s team would have given up, or lost composure, after UNC took the lead. 

Query #2

Every CBB media outlet has lit up saying maybe Duke has “peaked” at the right time.  

Do you agree ???

 Is there anything they need to work on ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I think that’s much ado about nothing.  Traditionally, Duke draws an always tough Carolina, so if they win, especially for the second time, the media lights up.  I will see how they look in the ACC Tournament in possibly three (3) straight days of play.  That’s the big test to see if they can hold up.  Of course, they will have a bit more time to recover in the Big Dance, but this week is the fire that sharpens the blade !!!

Rowan:

The thing about the Post Season Tournaments is that everyone starts at zero. Murray State was peaking at the right time when they blitzed the Ohio Valley Conference 16-0, but fell in the Conference Finals tournament to Belmont.

Duke found a way to win the Carolina game. Not every game is going to be the same especially with the stakes being raised as it is now win, or go home. No second chances. We can take comfort with the thought that they are a tight knit bunch and they enjoy playing together. Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook do a masterful job of knowing when to take over games, and when to defer to other teammates. This should well help them going forward especially if Amile Jefferson can find himself. 

Query #3

Tyus has become the newest “Little Big Man” in Duke’s long line of Guards.  Has he met or surpassed your expectations of him from back when we profiled him in October ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I believe that comparisons are usually unfaire both to the present player and the alum.  Each player has his own specific style as it relates to their team.  The biggest aspect of concern this year was how Tyus would mesh with Quinny.   Well, the skeptics have all gone silent as the pair work like bread on butter.  My favourite thing about Tyus is how he always mentions his teammates and backs it up with his floor play.  He is the guy who gets it done, regardless of how he has to do it.  Against Carolina, he matched Amile’s team-high 6 Rebounds, doled our 7 Assists, shot 50% from both outside and inside the Arc, and was 12 of 12 at the Charity Stripe to lead the team with 24 Points.   Only one other player in Duke history did things like that – Bobby Hurley.  I’m sure both Bobby and Tyus would enjoy the comparison, especially because it’s made with such fondness for both !!!

Rowan:

I knew Jones had great ball control and could pass but, coming into the season, I was worried about two things regarding Tyus Jones, his ability to finish around the basket and to shoot the basketball. He currently shoots 40% of his 3 Pointers and has no problem finishing around the basket. Plus he gets to the free throw line just under five times a game where he is shooting 88%.

Query #4

There have been plenty of wonders about why Amile was not getting minutes.  He got 31 big minutes against Carolina.  

What impression do you have after the game ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

Amile is a true leader.  As a Co-Captain, he has done whatever it took to lead, even if it was from the Bench.  In this game he played plenty and was a “garbage man,” meaning he did a lot of dirty work.  His stats will never show the hustle he showed, but he seemed to be in on every play.  Most important to me was his 6 Rebounds with 5 of them being on the Offensive Boards.  That is probably the least emphasized statistic is college basketball.  He got the job done, and that was great to see !!!

Rowan:

I understand that the reason given for his “demotion” was that he was not rebounding well, so Matt Jones was elevated to the starting line up, which made little sense. In the Carolina game we saw exactly how Jefferson affects the game with his defense. He only had 6rebounds and 3 points to show for that 31 minutes, but at the end of the game Jay Bilas had high praise for Jefferson and his defensive awareness. 

Query #5

Predictably, “Oaks” was named to the 1st Team All-ACC, Quinny to the 2nd Team, Tyus to the 3rd Team, and Justise got Honourable Mention.              No Duke player was named to the Defensive Team  

Any surprises for you ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I’m not so surprised.  Justise might have been higher had he not gotten banged-up in the middle of the season.  I also think that just having four (4) players honoured like this is sensational, regardless of which team they are named to.  On the contrary, not having anyone being mentioned to the Defensive Team is disheartening, but at the same time, profoundly honest.  Going forward, defense will be pivotal to moving forward in both the ACC Tournament and the Big Dance. 

Rowan:

I think Duke’s idea of Defense is to outscore their opponents. On a more serious note, I would only peg Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson as defensive players, but Jones’ defense has deteriorated this season and Jefferson spent more time watching ACC games than playing.

Query #6

Once again, Duke players have succumbed to foot and ankle problems.  It seems to be somewhat of a pervasive and omni-present aspect of Duke Basketball.  

In a day when uniform, footwear, and clothing manufactures seem to have a great deal of preeminence in the life of over the teams who they sponsor, do you see Nike as being responsible ???    

Bermuda Bob:

I have not laced up a pair of “sneakers” in ages, but I do know that each manufacturer’s products fit differently.  I also know that very often the manufacturers make footwear with more accent on style than performance.  They are in business to sell products, which is why Duke has a third uniform that is NOT in Duke’s official colours.  While I’m not an Orthopedist, I have to wonder about the support of the recent Nike shoes based on the injuries realized.  I’d surely be interested in a comparative analysis of ankle and foot injuries across the country by manufacturer.

Rowan:

This might be a little difficult to prove. I did see on Twitter that they might be wearing Kyrie Irving’s new shoes 

Query #7 

Kentucky has completed an undefeated season.

Are we going to talk about this ??? 

Rowan:

We should because going undefeated is an amazing feat no matter the circumstances. Some people say the SEC is weak this year, though ESPN “Bracketologist,” Joe Lunardi currently has the SEC sending 5 teams dancing, which is one less than the ACC. Florida, the one team that can be counted on to annually humble John Calipari is a long shot to make the tournament.

In good faith we must congratulate the players for having a remarkable season. Going undefeated is an achievement that cannot be taken away from them.

Bermuda Bob

Yes, Kentucky has gone undefeated and they deserve our recognition. I’m not as impressed as many fans, or most of the media. I also find it an anathema to compare them to the Indiana team of 1975-76. That team was essentially a team of “nobodies,” led by an all-time Hall of Fame coach, not a guy who has had wins vacated.

Pomeroy has their Strength of Schedule rating as 38th and 99th for it’s out of conference schedule. Their conference strength is at 5th, 6th, or 7th in the nation, dependent on who you believe.

I think Kentucky can be beaten by a team with a well-organized Game Plan, which they stick to strictly. To paraphrase Michael Corleone of “GodFather” fame: “If anything is this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you (can beat) anyone.”   I’ll put my faith in this concept.

 

Thanks for the read !!!

Please feel free to comment here or at our Twitter site:  

@SimplyDukeBB

Duke Boasts 5 All-ACC Academic Team Selections !!!

924761_1601404686741881_200636129_nDuke may have just finished their ACC conference season strongly, winning their last 11 games in a row. 

They may have secured a #2 Seed in the ACC Tournament this week. 

They may have four (4) players in the All-ACC Team. 

They may have secured a #1 Seed in the Big Dance.

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All of these accomplishments are great, and certainly have made the fans quite happy this year, but today a more important accolade was announced today.

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Duke can boast 5 Players as All-ACC Academic Team members !!!

Marshall “Plums” Plumlee

Amile “The Ameliorator” Jefferson

Justise “The Chief” Winslow

Tyus “The Little Big Man” Jones

Grayson “Oh Gracious” Allen

Congratulations to each of these gentlemen !!!

11055500_1459448157678621_1673095795_nThese 5 gentlemen, added to previous Duke players who received the same distinction, means that Coach K has coached 66 players in 35 years with the same distinction.  It also means that, compared to the rest of the ACC, who logged 59 combined players in 59 combined years of all ACC programmes, Duke, under Coach K has exceeded everyone else combined. 

Congratulations to Coach K !!!

This clearly demonstrates that at Duke, Student Athletes are students first, and not just athletes !!!

Our very special thanks to @DukeBluePlanet who allowed us to download and use their graphics for these awards in this, our congratulatory article to these great gentlemen !!!

Simply Duke Basketball: “In the Matter of Rasheed Sulaimon …”

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 The purpose of this article is to attempt to put a perspective on what is presently known about the Rasheed Sulaimon case,as it relates to the team, the university, and the law.

As we all recall, Rasheed was dismissed from the Duke Basketball Team on January 29th with a statement from Coach K that everyone has seen multiple times.  Here is the complete statement:  

“Rasheed has been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program.  It is a privilege to represent Duke University and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a certain manner.  After Rasheed repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations, it became apparent that it was time to dismiss him from the program.” 

Immediately, social media lit up like a Christmas tree with strobe lights.  In our “Point/CounterPoint Installment #4 – The Curious Dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon,” we dove into the fray.  We encourage you to review it, as we believe we made some observations that were interesting at the very least. There is widespread speculation on many fronts within the media, so while there are plenty of facts yet unknown, there are a few things which ought to be part of anyone’s judgment of what has already happened.  As every media outlet has relied on The Duke Chronicle, so shall we.

  1. Common Ground: This is a four (4) day “retreat” where the students are encouraged to discuss, in order to be assisted in dealing with, issues from race to gender to sexuality to socioeconomic Status.  These are held every Semester with 56 students chosen from a pool, presumably of students who volunteer to participate.
  1. Allegation #1: In an October, 2013 session, the 1st student made the allegations of “sexual assault” is made and confirmed by three (3) other participants who were present.
  1. Allegation #2: In a February, 2014 session, a 2nd student reports being “sexually assaulted” and is confirmed by four (4) participants present.
  1. “Anonymous Affiliate” This is a former “affiliate” of the basketball program who was with the team throughout Rasheed’s career.  This “affiliate” became aware of the allegations made and spoke to the 1st female student in January, 2013 … and … the 2nd female student in March, 2014.

This same “affiliate” brought the allegations to the team Psychologist, Coach K, and his coaching staff. This same “affiliate” then claims that school Administrators were made aware of allegations.  They include the Deputy Director of Athletics and Operations, the Director of Basketball Operations, the Vice President and Director of Athletics, and the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs. 

  1. Reports of Allegation: There were no reports by either of the students alleging “sexual assault” to neither the school, nor the Durham, North Carolina Police, either directly after the alleged event, or up to this point.
  1. Rationalizations: It is reported, by the “affiliate” that both the students making the allegations of “sexual assault” feared backlash by the Duke fan base.  Therefore, neither has filed a formal complaint with the school’s Office of Student Conduct.

Had an investigation been conducted, a disciplinary hearing would have been convened, the appropriate recommendations of findings made, and discipline meted out. As the students filed no complaints, you would think that the issue might tragically have ended. You would be wrong !!! 

  1. Title IX: We have all heard of this monumental Federal Legislation that had far reaching affects in their requirements of all universities.   Many thought it was only a mandate on female sports programs, but it went much, much further. Title IX mandates that ALL allegations of “sexual assault” MUST be looked into.  The Duke Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Sue Wasiolek, maintains that as long as the party’s names are reported, her office must investigate.  Furthermore, keeping all information confidential in compliance with the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). This is regardless of the student filing of a formal complaint.
  1. “Rape” A Senior named Lincoln Wesley, a former Secretary in the Duke Basketball office, and Intern to the Office of News & Communication was made aware of allegations on 21 January 2015.  A fellow intern, claiming to be “best friends” with one of the students alleging a “sexual assault” by Rasheed, is the first to use the word “rape.”  Further comments revealed a fear of what was called the “power” of the men’s basketball program on campus.
  1. Administration Informed: In a very odd move, Wesley reports the hearsay to his superior, the Duke Administrative Assistant to Duke Basketball. Wesley had been there for over three (3) years. The Deputy Director of Athletics & Operations, Mike Craig requested Wesley come back in, met with him, and advising him of the proper protocol in such matters. Wesley reports that essentially the Administration, right down to Coach K knew of the allegations – quite presumably from the report to the Duke Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs after the revelation at one or both of the Common Ground “retreats.”
  1. Information Blackout: That essentially means that, under Title IX, no Duke employee of any kind is allowed to speak of anything having to do with the alleged event(s).  They are prohibited from disclosing anything, regardless of whether the student files formal complaints or not.

So, to set the record straight, Coach K is an employee of Duke University. That means he is bound by both the Rules and Regulations of the University, but also of the Title IX and FERPA mandates. As an employee, he had no latitude in how to handle the situation. He was bound by Title IX and FERPA restrictions mandating privacy.

  1. Rasheed’s Dismissal:  On 29 January 2015, Rasheed is dismissed after the previous day’s loss to Notre Dame.  His last shot in a Duke uniform was a dunk after a steal.  He played just 12 minutes. He remains a student in good standing at Duke who apparently is continuing his matriculation.
  1. Rasheed’s Silence:     As expected, Rasheed has, as they say on TV only, “lawyered up” and will undoubtedly maintain his silence.  It is presumed that he has been made aware of the allegations and the actions of the Duke Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Sue Wasiolek, who is charged with investigation of Title IX matters.
  1. Complaints: It must be pointed out that, as of this writing, no report of formal Complaints have been filed with the school, nor the Durham Police.  That means that there is no evidence in these matters, nor has there been any student that has provided anything but what is legally referred to as “hearsay.” Unless and until a formal Complaint is filed with the Police, it is our understanding that, under Title IX, the name of the student(s) may never be revealed.

So, here is what we have learned:

A.   We have members of the faculty of Duke University conducting these Common Ground “retreats,” where, on each of two (2) different occasions, a student spoke of a “sexual assault” by Rasheed Sulaimon.

B.   Those faculty members would have assuredly informed their superiors of the allegations in compliance with Title IX, regardless of the wishes of the student making the allegations, also in compliance with Title IX.  This means sometime in October, 2013.

C.    This corresponds when Rasheed has seemingly lost his place as a Starter on the basketball team, a guy who had started in 33 of 36 games as a Frosh.   Rumours swirl in the basketball community that he allegedly reported to school “out of shape,” even though he had played on the FIBA Under-19 Championship.

D.    Then there was the veiled and troubled comment by, then teammate, Tyler Thornton. “As a man, he has to step up and accept what he needs to do,” Thornton said. “We need him. That’s all I can really say about that.” While on face value, it seems to be basketball related, and very well might have been, it could be indicative that Thornton (and the team) knew of the investigation. It could explain plenty about their performance.

Imagine, if you will, what type of mental and emotional conflicts Coach K would have been having at that time.  He was required by Title IX and FERPA to continue with “business as usual” while knowing of the allegations from other Duke higher-ups, but not being able to talk about them, even to Rasheed !!!

Then to hear of a second report, but STILL not being able to react about it !!! Apparently, the powers-that-be at Duke found it necessary, after the precipitous spread of information, to allow Coach K to dismiss Rasheed.

Disclaimers & Comments:

We also do not condone “sexual assault” in any form. 

We have put certain terms in italics because they are terms that have different connotations to different people.  Italics are also used when a terminology or title is not specifically defined.  Our purpose is not to presume nor imply innocence or guilt. That is an issue reserved for a Court of Law.

While Coach K is prohibited from commenting, we now understand why no further comment on Rasheed has been forthcoming.  In one way, it must be a relief, a relief that has been manifested in a winning streak since Rasheed was dismissed.

In closing, we hope that this will somehow, someway dissuade those who feel it necessary to immediately look to decry, denounce, and discredit Duke University and Coach K.   They all have been required to walk a tightrope due to Federal Law mandates, while no formal complaint of any kind has yet been filed.

Thank you for your time in digesting our article.  

As always, but particularly regarding this matter, we welcome your comment both here and at our Twitter site:

 @SimplyDukeBB

“After Sleeping on It …” – Frosh Grayson Allen Steals the Show on Duke’s Senior Night vs Wake Forest !!!

SDBB - Duke ZZZ's

 

Every year, the final Home Game of the year is dedicated as Senior Night for those players graduating.  It is their last game in front of the Cameron Crazies, and a chance for all fans to thank the player(s) for their contributions.

This year, it was Quinn Cook’s night.  We wondered why Sean Kelly – a “Walk-On” in this his last year only got 2 insignificant minutes.

This game also meant something more, as a win would clinch a #2 Seed in the ACC Tournament next week.

Well, you might say that it turned into the Grayson Allen Show as he scored 19 of his 27 Points on 4 of 5 outside the Arc, 9 of 11 from inside, and 5 of 6 from the Charity Stripe.  He also logged 4 Rebounds.

Duke came out from the Tip Off with an incredible run.  At the half, they were up 55-19. This didn’t take long for the Crazies to realize that Grayson’s 19 points, alone, was enough to be beating the Demon Deacons, so they chanted “Grayson’s Winning !!!”

Indeed he was !!!   He made the best of a night when he would see 24 minutes on the floor.  He scored from all over, even tipping in an errant shot as the “bigs” flailed aimlessly.

On a night when we say “Good-Bye” to those players of the present, we saw a bright shining star beginning to glow for the future !!!

On a more somber note, ankle turns seemed to be the plaque of the night. “Oaks,” Justise, Amile, and even Quinn to a point, all experienced some sort of ankle turn. We made the observation during the game, and make it here …

Are we sure that all of Duke’s foot problems down thru the past few years cannot be tied to the Nike shoes they wear ???

Behind Grayson was Matt with 17 Points after starting off cold. Justise and “Quinny” each had 13. Justise led Rebounding with 6, and 7 Assists !!!

This was a wonderful night for the faithful, and a wonderful way to end the season at Cameron.  Saturday night caps the conference season at Carolina at 9PM on ESPN, where the next chapter in “the greatest rivalry in all of sport” will be written !!!

Thanks, Quinn !!!   Thanks, Sean !!!

 

Thanks for reading !!!

We welcome you comments both here and at our Twitter site @SimplyDukeBB