SDBB: “What Have We Learned So Far ???” after the 2K Title Game

SDBB - So ... What have we learned so far ???

Tonight, Bermuda Bob & Rowan Shiell discuss “What we have learned so far” in this very  young 2015-16 Duke season. 

Query #1

After the obvious choice of Grayson Allen, who has impressed you the most thus far ???

Bermuda Bob:

I actually have 2 guys … “Plums” and Amile“Plums” has played so much tougher than either of his big brothers ever did !!!

Amile has defined what a true Journeyman is.  He could be called the “garbage man” because he quietly gets things done without fanfare.   I think this Senior Leadership will pay long term premiums !!!

Rowan Shiell:

First of all, who saw this coming from Allen ??? Incredible !!!

I like Derryk Thornton’s poise. Expectations were raised when he forewent his Senior year of High School to join Duke early. He didn’t immediately have the success that was required of him, mainly because – even if people want to admit it or not – he will always be compared to Tyus Jones.

It was disappointing that Thornton wasn’t a Starter, and when he played, he didn’t exactly overwhelm.  In Duke’s first two games he was shooting 3-of-17.

Then against Kentucky, it became abundantly clear to Thornton that he could actually play with the best of them.  He literally matured before our eyes, but it wasn’t obvious because Kentucky won big.  That’s not to mention Tyler Ulis got the upper hand down the stretch, but then he (Ulis) is probably the best Point Guard in college basketball.

Next game, against VCU, he Started and scored 19.  Against Georgetown he dropped 14.  In the NBA you don’t need a Point Guard to win, but not in college basketball. It is a must !!!

Query #2

In Allen’s last game, against Georgetown, he shot 9/12 on 5/6 from 3 and went 9/9 at the Free Throw Line.  A more perfect game he may never have.  If he continues at something close to this pace, he’s the hands-own Player of the Year, but the real question is:  

Is his current play enough to win Duke an ACC and even a National Championship ???

Bermuda Bob:

I think the real question is to wonder how adaptable Grayson is.  JJ proved to us that a Duke Guard could score tonnes.  Grayson is multi-faceted.  He Rebounds and dishes Assists.  I wonder if other defenses can replicate what Kentucky accomplished.  Personally, I believe that Kentucky’s “bigs” did what “bigs” instinctively do … hands up and block shots.  The sheer size of their Front Line schooled Grayson.  It wasn’t something Kentucky needed their “recruiter-in-coach” to direct them to do.   He just enjoyed looking like he did.  The end result was that they gave Coach K plenty of fodder to help make his Sophomore a better player and leader !!!

Rowan Shiell:

No. As the young season has shown, Duke wins only when Allen has not just a good game, but a great game.  That is a high standard to uphold.   We know what we are going to get from Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee. Matt Jones looks like he can take on some more of the scoring load, however, if either Luke Kennard, and especially Brandon Ingram, cannot find their legs it is going to be a long season.

Remember, JJ Reddick used to be so run down by season’s end, he could barely get his “dukes” up for the tournament ???  That was the last time Duke had a player scoring 28 plus points a game.

Query #3:

Which Frosh has impressed (or not impressed) you the most ???

Bermuda Bob:

I think Thornton is maturing before our eyes.  I know that Ingram is in the mold of Kevin Durant, but he seems to get battered around when he penetrates.  It shows in his shots always being short.  Kennard finally found his shot on Sunday, and Jeter could be odd man out.

Rowan Shiell:

Have a guess who I think is the most impressive ???  Thornton is still learning, but I like his progress so far.  He has a good mid-range shot and he can hit the Three.  He just needs to get those Assist numbers up.  It does help if his teammates are making those shots too.

Query #4

What single factor do you think will define the rest of the non-conference season for Duke ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

While I think he has been forced to go to it because of the immaturity of his Frosh, I think Coach K’s acquiescence to go to a few Zone defenses will pay high premiums.  That 1-3-1 on Sunday was brilliant !!!  I almost changed the channel between a 1-3-1 defense and those horrid black uniforms made me wonder if I was really seeing Duke, or had I inadvertently switched channels ???

Rowan Shiell:

If the Georgetown game taught us anything, it was that 8 won’t do this season.  Now, with the propensity to Foul being far too easy to accomplish, I imagine Coach K will be looking to work another player into the rotation. It might be Chase Jeter, or Sean Obi.  I don’t know.  We saw Georgetown mount a furious comeback without Jefferson or Plumlee protecting the Rim.  Duke needs insurance against that happening again.

Query #5

Can Duke succeed with who they’ve got ???

Bermuda Bob:

Considering that Duke has the best College Coach of all time, I think he will have to “coach his brains out” because I think this is the biggest challenge he has had in all his years.  I honestly think he is up to it, and with the supporting coaching staff, I think they have the potential to go deep.  Remember, we have not yet seen the very deep bench, who are equally as talented.   It all hinges on leadership …

Rowan Shiell:

Yes, but Coach K is going to have to be on his “A” Game with this team. Right now, I have them middle of the pack in the ACC. Florida State has some great pieces, and Miami has been a revelation.  UNC should have Marcus Paige back by then, and even though they lost to UNI recently, they are still a dangerous team.  Even Wake jumped up and bit Indiana without their best player.  Then there is Notre Dame.

Most defenses are struggling under the new rules which are designed to promote scoring.  So, the best defensive system is now practically a good offense, and the ability to make Free Throws.

Bermuda Bob:

You are so right, my friend … Anyone remember when Vice Lombardi noted that “The best Defense is a good Offense” ???

***************************************************************

Thanks for giving us a read !!!  

We welcome your comments here, or at our Twitter site:

@SimplyDuke BB

 

 

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21 thoughts on “SDBB: “What Have We Learned So Far ???” after the 2K Title Game

  1. The season is young yet you mention going deep – that is my main concern. Duke cannot afford for Plums and Amile to sit on the bench with fouls or injury. With the way refs are calling the game this year, all teams are going to have players fouling out. Duke has some size and talent (at least on paper) riding the pine. Unfortunately if history as any indication of the future, Coach K does not like to play more than 7. The 8th man last year made a difference but only for a few games (yes the one that counted the most) and limited minutes. The bios of the players on the pine is impressive and they need to be developed with game minutes. Otherwise we may see an exodus we don’t like – transfer.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!
      A lot has changed since you posted this, and the change settles-in much around filling the giant sized gap Amile has left with his foot injury. The problem seems to surround the very lack-lustre struggles of Chase Jeter, and if he needs to seem to get more comfortable on the Court. Is the solution Obi, Antonio, or someone else ??? We agree that the “pine players” are certainly competent. Tomorrow’s game with Utah will test the “bigs” to counter their giant.

      Duke has enjoyed some excellent performances from Grayson and Brandon Ingram coming into his own. Derryk Thornton and Luke Kennard seem to be coming along well. The big concern is that ACC Conference season is right around the corner on January 3rd.

      We hope to speak with you again before the holidays, but if not, we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderfully Happy New Year !!!

      … and as always, Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

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      • I was sorry to see Amile get injured. In the Utah game, Ingram did not look comfortable in the position he was to play and when Plumlee fouled out and Coach K acts like only two players on the bench are able to play.

        The YTD stats before the Utah game, Duke had won 7 games by 18 or more points,
        four players have averaged less than 3 minutes a game all year. The skill set of these three players is not anything to frown upon:

        6′-3″ 195 lb, guard, junior, played on the last year’s national championship team
        6′-9″ 250 lb, forward, soph, transfer who had 29 starts in his freshman year
        7′ 270 lb center, freshman, averaged 27.5 pts in high school, father played in the NBA for 5 years
        6’10” 240 center, freshman, Mc D All American

        For the media or coach to say Duke does not have any depth, I’d like to know which roster they are reading. This is a player development issue.

        Coach K may have done his best job of coaching last year, but this is a new season and he needs to wake up as to the players riding the pine.

        Like

      • Hi Bill !!!

        Right you are !!! I did not understand why Coach K did not utilize his “bigs” … even if it were to give away fouls on their “bigs” … He has those “posteriours on the pine” and he ought to use them, otherwise, why did he recruit them ???

        It was obvious that Grayson was compromised by illness, and sliding Ingram to the #4 made no sense to me. He has the wingspan for the position, but he’s just been coming into his own where he’s more comfortable !!!

        Jeter ought to be in he bench in favour of either Obi or Antonio … that one play where the ball went thru his legs was just another addition to a collage of miscues. Duke has plenty of depth, but only if Coach K uses them !!!

        I’m oddly glad they did not comeback because they would not have deserved it. On the other hand, for 4 Seniors, Utah made some really dumb miscues that you’d only expect from underclassmen !!!

        Since this was the last game before Christmas … We’d like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas … We’ll catch up with you on the 28th against Elon !!!

        As ALways, Rock On !!!
        Bermuda Bob

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  2. The freshman seem to be settling in, yet Coach K continues minimize the use of Jeter and Obi. There are 15 games left on the reg. season schedule, beginning with Clemson. Each game could be very challenging with big men playing for GA Tech and Miami, Pitt, Louisville (2), off beat but senior led UVA, NC State (2) and loaded UNC (2). I don’t know how the team will respond, but I believe Coach K has got to go to the bench. If Amile is not ready until the end of February, this team will be tested.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!
      Happy New Year, Mate !!!
      Both Ro and I agree that Coach K may have squandered some time in games when he could have gotten more floor time for Obi and even Antonio. There is going to be a game when they are both needed and ought to have gotten rid of the “willies” and “butterflies” experienced by guys who don’t have a comfort level of being on the floor in a game that means something.

      We do not have a firm date as to when Amile will be able to return, and then be back to his previous effectiveness. The ACC season is not getting any easier. Jeter has been a huge disappointment. Whomever ranked him as high as he was is a buffoon.

      Yes, there will be times when the Starters will have to go most of the game without becoming “puffed” but that stamina can be increased outside of the game experience … Let’s hope we’re all wrong, but I guess time will tell !!!

      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

      • I got a huge laugh about the buffoon ranker. A couple of Jeter has shown he can block a shot, maybe he just needs to add weight. But wide body size he is lacking. Clemson game will be tough but not being played at Little John maybe a positive.

        Like

      • Hi Bill !!!
        I think Jeter lacks a reliable pair of hands and that girth you speak about. I think I’d give his minutes to Obi, who I think Duke will need more down the line. The guy put up good numbers at Rice, so there’s no doubt he could replicate them if given the chance … once again, the biggest little word in our language “if” !!!

        I’m not sure I’d want ti be the next opponent to play Clemson after Louisville and then Alabama …
        We’ll see …

        Rock On, Mate !!!
        Bermuda Bob

        Like

      • With tonight’s loss to Clemson, you wonder what instructions the coaches gave the team. Shoot 3s and do not penetrate the pain Unreal, how can you beat anyone by not getting the ball inside the paint almost all game. Maybe that is why Coach K sat D Thornton during the second half, he played as if the 3 point arc was a visible barrier, not being allowed to dribble inside it, pass inside much take a jump shoot in the paint. Jeter really gave up a chance to shine, Plumlee is on the bench with 4 fouls and Jeter hacks his way out of the game. Why would a coach not go to another 7 footer on the bench or a 6′ 9″ transfer is beyond my comprehension. What I do understand is wins and losses, this was a bad loss and the rest of the season is not going to get any easier unless Amile miraculously returns in the next 3 weeks.

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      • HiYa Bill !!!

        Well, tonight, I fear, proved exactly what we’ve been talking about. I believe that Clemson schooled the rest of the ACC how to handle Duke, even when they are shooting red hot !!! Ingram & Plumlee in Foul trouble … Bring in Jeter and watch him hack his way to 5 Fouls in a record setting 4 minutes …

        Clemson successfully stymied Grayson and Luke, and did it while keeping Duke off of the Charity Stripe … Plums has returned to setting Picks way too far from the Paint, all whilst Clemson knew he wasn’t a Pick-and-Roll type of player, so they were able to continue the double teams. Sure, Plums got some nice dunks, but he also got tied up as he returned to his play of old.

        Missing in Action and last seen disinfecting their tweezers were Obi and Antonio … Just like Alex Murphy and “Silent G” !!! What a waste of potential, especially when Obi was a solid asset at Rice, and worth of a secondary recruitment from there to Duke. So I guess I have to ask why Coach K bothered to bring him in, only to sit him ???

        I have loved Amile since he first came to Duke. He has slowly become a valuable player and leader. The problem is that when he comes back, it is doubtful that he will pick up where he left off. He’ll be rusty and tentative and maybe even easily “puffed” !!! He will need to be platooned, but with who, Jeter ???

        Personally, I’d have a chat with Jeter and strongly suggest that his “skill set” (???) might be better appreciated somewhere else. We all make mistakes (insert the old “Eraser on Pencils” adage), but to allow him to play instead of a proven player in Obi, and Antonio is to not believe in mistakes. Coach K, I understand pride, and even seeing something in a kid that most don’t.

        If you want to give the kid a chance,then I’d first make him shave that stupid looking Bedlington Terrier haircut and tell him he had to earn it back. In my day, when a kid did something to look stupid, he had to have to “put up” to shut the rest of us up. So, as long as he was buzzed, we’d all know that he’s not producing. If he was still buzzed at the end of the year, he’d be gone like the wind …

        I like Obi … He reminds me of Wes Unseld of old. I’ll take a wide-body before a skinny-balink any day. Tonight, Duke needed a big body who knows what to do with it. They will need one in each and every game of the rest of the month. Plums gets it done, but only sometimes. Duke can’t afford to have Ingram trying to compensate for him, and without Amile, Ingram risks getting into Foul trouble each time out.

        Have I made my case ??? I think trying to make a case to a fellow believer (whose heart is in the right place, like yours) is a pretty good barometer … So, what say you ???

        Enjoy the Rest of Your Week !!!
        Rock On !!!
        Bermuda Bob

        Like

      • You make a great case. Yet Coach K must see something in Jeter he does not in Obi – enthusiasm? I would keep Jeter around and require him to be at the chow line for extras twice a day and be in the weight room. His goal gain 30 lbs.

        Yes Amile will not be a full speed when he returns, but 5 minutes of full hearted effort may go a long way for this team.

        On another subject, I liked you article on potential Duke hires when Coach K retires. I believe it was last week, TV announcer (Duke game?) commented on few coaches being are successful at their alma mater. If Duke alumni were not a choice, list five coaches that might succeed Coach K.

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      • Hi Bill !!!

        Regarding your query about a prospect outside of the Duke alumni, Ro and I are working on it (don’t forget he’s in London) and will get back to you soon !!!

        Rock On !!!
        Bermuda Bob

        Like

      • Hi Bill !!!

        As promised, here is our list of people outside the Duke alumni who both of us might fit …

        1. Tony Bennett from Virginia
        2. Archie Miller from Dayton Yes
        3. Brad Underwood from Steven F Austin
        4. Brad Stevens from the Celtics

        Bob adds Sean Miller but Ro disagrees and counters with Steve Prohm from Iowa State …

        What do you think ???

        Rock On !!!
        Bermuda Bob

        Like

      • I looked at schools with tough admissions here are 3 –

        Tony Shaver, William & Mary, however, he graduated from UNC
        Chris Mooney, Univ of Richmond
        Jay Wright, Villianova

        Like

      • Hi Bill !!!

        I think both Ro and I left out Jay Wright because he is so ensconced at Villanova, and has had “Godfather” Rollie’s imprimatur for so long !!!

        Mooney was not on either of our radars …

        Rock On !!!
        Bermuda Bob

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  3. Coach K better let go of his ego, he has been outreached by Brey in 3 games. Two young men who could be excellent rebounders are riding the bench. Obi played for a total of 2 minutes today and had 1 rebound. How can any coach expect a player to settle into a game in 2 minutes. Maybe he should have put him in for 12 seconds at the end of the game to grab the final rebound and give Duke a chance to shoot the ball. There are 13 games left in the regular season, unless something changes tonight and tomorrow, their national ranking at the end of January may fall faster than the SP500 has this month.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!

      We couldn’t agree with you more … Obi showed the verve that Jeter doesn’t. If the Starters aren’t getting it done, then they ought to sit.

      One good thing is that Luke seems to be rising to the occasion !!! The problem is that Ingram is young and being forced to play outside of his natural comfort zone.

      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

  4. I didn’t see the game tonight and in away I’m glad I didn’t go through the frustration. Two stats in the box scores says it all, # minutes played by the 7th and 8th man (oops “Eight is Enough” was last years quote) and the # of rebounds by each team. Answer – Obi in for 2 and a 7 footer 0 min. One other stat – who was one of the Orange’s top scorer’s. Can that transfer play Coach K? Duke is now in the meat of its schedule and nothing will be easy. Either give the guys with splinters in their pants a chance or … I bleed blue and this is a sad situation to watch.

    Like

    • Hi Bill !!!

      Well, you missed a good game if you’re just a CAA fan, but as a Duke fan, you had this sinking feeling all throughout the 2nd Half.

      “Plums” played well because he stayed in the Paint where he belongs and keeps him positioned for Rebounds and Put-Backs. Ingram seemed to be happy to shoot from long instead of being slapped around by penetrating. Grayson needs to be allowed to put the team on his back, but apparently he’s not getting that vibe.

      Coach Boeheim scouted Duke well and shut down Luke and allowed Matt to shoot … The middle is wide open, and I cannot understand why Coach K won’t plug it up with Obi – as Dickie V put it so well tonight, he asked (my words) … Why recruit a kid if you won’t play him ???

      Obi has a proven record from Rice. Antonio was recruited for a reason, but it can’t be to just be a practice player. Jeter is a proven dud, so let’s stop hearing about “… bringing him along …” and swap seats with Antonio. Sure, maybe neither Obi nor Antonio can run-run-run, but if you’re getting killed in the Paint, you have to stop it !!! You have to try …playing Frosh almost full games every night out, just isn’t reality !!!

      We will surely have something to say about it between now and Saturday !!!

      In the meantime …
      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Otherwise,

      Like

      • Bob

        I appreciate your response. You are so upbeat and I wish these young men could pull it all together even with a hard headed coach.

        Bill

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      • Hi Bill !!!

        We both decided to try and focus on everything that this squad WAS versus what they WERE NOT. Each and every Duke Championship team was different, won differently, and coached differently. Yes, we are scratching our heads as to why Coach K is so stuck on playing 5-6-7 guys when he has able Bench players. Time will tell if he changes his ways.

        Rock On !!!
        Bermuda Bob

        Like

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