SDBB – “After Sleeping On It …” If You Had The Chance, What Questions Would You Want To Ask Coach K At This Point In This Disappointing Season ???

SDBB - Duke ZZZ's

In this installment, Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob wonder out loud about something many other Duke fans fantasize about … being able to ask Coach K some burning questions …

Query #1

Chase Jeter has proven to be a dud, so why have you kept trying with him when you were so quick to bench guys like Alex Murphy, Mike “Silent G” Gbinije, and Semi Ojeleye ???

Rowan:

This is a very good question because as Dick Vitale observed during the Duke/Syracuse game, ” … if you give a kid a scholarship he should be able to give you at least ten minutes on the court.”

Why does Coach K give certain players numerous chances while alienating others ???  He gave Jeter so many chances to prove himself yet when Obi gets on the Court he gets yanked after one mistake.  I would love to be a fly on the wall during practice to see what Jeter does to get the benefit of the doubt, or is it because of his very high ranking and All American status ???

Bermuda Bob:

I could not agree more and like your “fly on the wall” idea. As you know, I have long discounted the “… it’s how he performs in practice …” representation.  It’s game time performance that counts the most because the pressure is diametrically opposed.  If you doubt me, why have some coaches piped in crowd noise to ready their players for big games in venues that his players would find off-putting in some way ???

Query #2

Sean Obi has proven performances at his former school, Rice.  Why did you recruit him, and watch him waste a year of eligibility, if you are not willing to play him, especially after seeing Amile go down and with Jeter failing ???

Rowan:

Sean Obi played his Freshman season at Rice where he averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds in 27 minutes.  Rice finished dead last in Conference USA and were 7-23 on the season.  An impressive stat line for a Freshman but as a team they were terrible. However, Duke did offer him a full ride after Obi decided to transfer from Rice.

One would have thought a year defending Jahlil Okafor in practice and watching Duke win their 5th National Championship under Coach K, would have Obi ready.  Despite his shortcomings he has a skill that cannot be disregarded. Rebounding !!!  Something Duke has been noticeably deficient of in their recent losses.

Would Obi have allowed Syracuse’s Tyler Roberson to grab a dozen Offensive Rebounds ??? T here are no obvious answers to these questions because Obi has yet to play relevant minutes.  One or two minutes scattered throughout the game is a small sample size.

Bermuda Bob:

You make an excellent point about a year playing “designated combatant” to “Oaks” …  I honestly thought that he would get the nod at Center this year, but when the rumours began to be spread, I knew something was awry.  Once again people were quoting his performance in Practice, that he had come in out of shape, that he wasn’t practicing hard, and things like that.

Now, I’m not discounting the heightened skill set of “Plums,” but let’s go to Dick Vitale again when he noted that “Plums” had a limited skill set, but made up for it with intensity.  Yes, he does, no honest fan would deny that … but Obi HAS those skills.  Amile compensated for them from the first Tip Off of the season.   So, why not use Obi when Amile went down … and Jeter proved to be a dud ???

Any guy who can pull down 9+ Rebounds in ANY D-1 programme, can do at least half of that in the ACC.  Duke lost a 9.3 RPG player in Amile, so why not give Obi the chance to replicate that ???  I honestly don’t get it !!!

Query #3

Is there a reason why you did not play Antonio or Obi during those blow-out games early on ???  

Rowan:

Coach K is a winner because he loves to win.  That may sound like an incredibly obvious statement but bare with me.  Knowing this team is young and inexperienced, would it not have been to Duke’s benefit to throw Jeter, Antonio and Obi into games against LBSU (105-81), Elon (105-66), or any of the teams they played in December ???

I would understand that if in practice these guys get lost on Defence, or didn’t know the offensive set plays, but in Duke games they play mostly “Man-to-Man.”  As for Offense, all they need to do is keep the other team from scoring while the main scorers for Duke get a “blow.”  There is a reason the 3 games Duke has lost recently have been close games, and you can’t discount the amount of minutes the Starters are playing.

Playing these guys in the lead up to Conference Play would have given them at least some experience, and allowed Ingram to play as hard as he can … instead of playing to avoid Fouls, as he does now.

Bermuda Bob:

We have both agreed that in the waning minutes of games, Duke’s shooting prowess falls off markedly and the answer is simple … tired legs.  I maintain that even the most fit athlete is unable to perform at the same level for an entire game. Totally re-hydration is impossible.

Plus, let’s face it … these guys are still kids !!!  That’s not a knock, it just the truth.  The Frosh were in High School last year playing with and against 9 other players with nothing close to their skill set.  The ACC is as much the “Big Time” as any other conference, so their energy level needs to be considered.

If you look at the minutes played by the top 7 guys (including Amile), they average from 34.5 MPG by Grayson to 28.3 MGP for “Plums” !!!  The next players average from 8.1 for Jeter to 2.2 for OBI …  How can the Starters maintain their energy levels if they never get enough time to recover because all the Bench guys get to do is work on their splinter-picking skills ???

Query #4

 Have you forgotten how you have broken Syracuse’s Zone Defense in the past by placing a Blue Devil at the free throw line ???

Rowan:

Ingram and Allen are far too talented to be shooting 8 Trifectas each, in a game. That tells me that they were just settling.  Ingram didn’t even shoot a Free Throw in 40 minutes of action.  We can dispute the end of the game all we want but, the reason Duke lost is not because of the non-calls on Matt Jones at the end of the game.  It was because (1) Tyler Roberson got a dozen second-chances in the form of Offensive Rebounds, and (2) Duke shot 37 3-Pointers, and made only 10.

Isn’t Ingram the perfect player to break that zone ??? I think an opportunity was missed here.

Bermuda Bob:

Somewhere in another galaxy, there’s a book explaining College Basketball on Earth, and in the reference section where “Zone Defense” is listed, it sez: “See Syracuse Basketball.”

In my opinion, the easiest was to break down a Zone Defense is by ball movement that includes a High Post on the Foul Line by a player who can both facilitate the “Drive & Dish” and be a risk to turn and drop a 15 footer. “Plums” is not that player.   Amile played the position well, but was rarely considered a scoring threat from there, even though he often pivoted for a Lay-Up when he felt unguarded.  Brandon Ingram surely is that player. Why was he lining up outside the Arc with Matt, Grayson, Luke, and Derryk ???  I think that in their weariness, they simply didn’t wish to see themselves beaten and battered as “The Chief” was last season.  Now, that might sound trite, but even with the new Rules this year, favouring the Offensive Player, much contact is allowed.

Another aspect is that everyone knows that Coach K loves a 3 Point shooter, so most of his players love to shoot, so when Syracuse gave them long shots – even some from Jimmer Fredette range – they took them !!!

Lastly, have you noticed that no one on this year’s squad employs the “Float Away” shot that Seth Curry employed so successfully ???

Query #5

Why do you insist on playing Matt Jones at Point Guard ???

Rowan:

Derryck Thornton is testing boundaries and sometimes he can be overzealous, which makes him turnover prone yet, he is a better Point Guard than Matt Jones.  Jones can’t pass and, worst of all, he can’t dribble and pass. His reaction time is too slow, and he has zero “Court Vision.”  When he drives to the paint it is a miracle.  If he gets a shot to the rim, because he is so predictable and slow, his passes always end up in the wrong hands, or he gets stripped cleanly.

In games where Duke needs to protect a lead, he is a calming presence on the perimeter, and playing Point Guard works when the Blue Devils need to kill time.

Jones should be allowed to play to his strength, being a “Spot Up” shooter and a defensive player … anything else is asking too much of him.  

Bermuda Bob:

Let’s first address the silliest rumour I’ve heard … that Coach K was surprised that Tyus Jones went to the NBA early.  To people believing this, I’ve got a bridge for you out in the desert.  “Oaks” and Tyus were linked for more years than they were not, so you had to presume both would go pro at the same time.  If you believe that, you must believe that Coach K didn’t have a vision for this year.  I simply believe he thought he had plenty at the Guard position and could interchange them at the Point.

As for Matt versus Derryck, I think he is making a mistake.  Matt is a solid player with verve and experience, and while he’s a good quarterback, he lacks some of the aspects great Point Guards are made of.   Think of Bobby Hurley, Jay Williams, or whomever else is your favourite and you’ll immediately see my point.

I think that Thronton’s inexperience is far down the list of Coach K’s problems. I simply believe that Coach K MUST put aside his traditional comfort levels and play his whole squad … if not, he might be amongst those schools wishing upon a star to get into the Big Dance in March !!! 

Query #6

Can Coach K turn this season around ???

Rowan:

 Duke Basketball Report has the utmost confidence in Coach K.  They reminded us of Duke’s early conference struggles, and go back as far as 2000, when Carlos Boozer went out with an injury, much like Amile Jefferson, to show how Coach K is a resilient man who always comes through with a solution.  Funny enough, those solutions were normally on the bench, not to mention those were two of the most talented teams Duke has ever had.

There is no easy fix for this team and I am sure Coach K will keep trying.  It’s just baffling that a man who once started a “Walk On” against his biggest rival, UNC, can’t get 30 minutes out of 3 players on scholarship against Syracuse or Notre Dame.

Bermuda Bob:

Maybe I just answered that question in the above, but let me itemize the things I’d change:

  • “Plums” has had a very good season, but someone needs to instruct him to STOP those goofy Picks out close to the Arc.  If you notice, in the games when he has excelled, he stayed in the Paint, where he belongs.  He lacks the footwork and foot-speed to recover to where he belongs, causing silly Fouls, or getting beaten along the BaseLine.
  • Utilize Obi in the same way Lance Thomas was. Many people conveniently forget that Lance was a prolific scorer in High School. His old High School Coach went public disagreeing with Coach K that National Championship year. Yeah right, buddy !!!

Note:   I’ve “borrowed” this point from a conversation Ro and I had during the ‘Cuse game, and I thought so much of it, I had to include it here.

  • Obi is the perfect player to do this.  He is a big presence who never fails to be positioned properly for a Rebound on either side of the Court. He was a .591 scorer in that position at Rice.
  • Post-Up Ingram as I mentioned earlier.  While some might think this would slow down his scoring, and it might, isn’t turning this team around and getting them back to winning the goal ???
  • Also as previously mentioned, the ENTIRE team has to be contributing and that means playing the bench.  Why has Walk-On, Nick Pagliuca played in more games (10) than Antonio (5) or Obi (9) ???   Why has Jeter stunk up the Court for 129 minutes and 14 TurnOvers, while Antonio and Obi have played a paltry 33 minutes, combined ???

Query #7        

Since the Duke Blue Devils were named for the “les Diables Bleus” a French Military Unit known for their flowing BLUE uniforms, why do you and Duke University allow Nike to put Duke Blue Devils in black uniforms ??? 

Rowan:

I think this team has bigger problems than their outfit …

Bermuda Bob:

Last year, Hall of Fame Golfer, Phil Michelson commented on why he preferred to wear black. His comment, while scientifically and grammatically incorrect, does reflect some common thinking. “It also helps me get more aggressive. Studies have shown, like NFL teams, when they wear black, they have more penalties. That’s what I need to do tomorrow is play more aggressive.” 

Everyone understands that Nike pays out tonnes of $$$ to programmes who, in turn, allow them to dictate alternative uniforms. This is so Nike can make more money on silly fans who will wear a colour that does not correspond with the school’s official colours.

My position is well documented. No player ought to be wearing black unless it is (A) the school’s official colour, (B) corresponds to the school’s namesake, or (C) corresponds to the team’s Mascot.

Black doesn’t have a place at Duke for all these reasons.  Phil Michelson is wrong, Nike is wrong, and both Coach K and the Administration are wrong to allow this to continue.  Players ought to be playing in school colours, and not be made into shill models, forced to wear a colour some marketer in Beverton, Oregon thinks will make Nike $$$ !!!

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

Thanks for the Read !!!

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

@SimplyDukeBB

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11 thoughts on “SDBB – “After Sleeping On It …” If You Had The Chance, What Questions Would You Want To Ask Coach K At This Point In This Disappointing Season ???

  1. Right on!! I agree 100%. I was watching Marquette last night. Although they lost in the final 2 seconds, Wojo played 8 players for 10 + minutes. In Stanford’s last game, Dawkins played 9 players for 10 + minutes. From these stats, I am confident Duke’s lack of rotation is a Coach K issue not the assistants. If Capel and the other assistants really talked K into a zone defense after 2 straight losses, then I wonder what they are saying now.

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    • Thank you, Bill !!!

      If you consider the parity in college basketball this year, you have to admit that most of it has been created by proliferation of the “one-and-done” kids who do not have the physical fitness of an upperclassman.

      Duke’s season is on the cusp, so what harm would it do to play everyone ???

      Let’s see what happens, first with the snow Friday night, and second with State.
      It ought to be another good one !!!

      See you then …
      Ciao for Now and Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

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  2. 6 min left in the the 1st half and Coach K’s brain is more stubborn than the ice and snow I need to remove from my driveway. This is no longer a sad situation. I think it is time for K to retire.

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    • Hi Bill !!!
      Duke won the game in the 2nd Half with their sharpshooting aided by Luke finding the bottom of the net … 40% from outside the Arc, and State lost it at the Charity Stripe … shooting only 61.5%.

      So, Grayson and Ingram account for 53 of the 88 points, and the bench only 5 points in 20 minutes by Thornton. Obi saw more of the ball on the Bench !!!

      Ro and I were comparing Coach Izzo’s comments after their last loss with Coach K’s comment to Raftery that Duke is not a good team right now …

      Neither of us get where the idea that Duke does not have a Bench this year, considering that the Bench has not had the opportunity to prove itself. Go figure …

      Funny, but Ro and I noted that some might come to your conclusion, so kudos to you for proving us both right. That’s not sarcasm, it’s that old adage that “Perception is Reality.”

      I prefer the quote by Gustave Flaubert: “There is no reality. There is only perception.” It pretty much validates why we, as fans, have valid opinions !!!

      See you Monday night …
      As Always, “Rock On” !!!!
      Bermuda Bob

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  3. Coach K got outcoached again by Coach Larranaga. 4 out of 6 games Coach L has beaten K, not with one and dones but with returning players and transfers. It was hard to count the number of backdoor layups and dunks Miami had on Duke – 8 to 10. 24 assists and 11 by one player. That has to be close to a record against Duke, yet the the backdoor breeze has been blowing in a lot against Duke in the past 6 years.

    Coach K’s comment “The winning effort has to be there the entire game.” He is setting his players up for failure by not playing the talent on the bench. It was obvious that Allen and a couple of other players did not have the legs towards the end of the game. Coach K must have his mind on his summer coaching stint. Fine why don’t you make that full time and let someone else give these young men a chance.

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    • Hi Bill !!!

      Ah, you have touched on one of my pet peeves that Ro could bet I will bring up each and every game … They do not deny the BaseLine and give up an incredible number of BackDoor “chippies” than any team I’ve ever seen, and it’s been true over the years as a constant. I’ve never understood where the coaching of these very basic aspects of basketball. I think the worst was the Vermont game a few years ago … I actually counted them. You just can’t win that way !!!

      I think this game showed that these 6 kids cannot handle the rigours of tournament play. They seemed puffed by the middle of the 2nd Half. When that happens, their ball movement suffers, their shot selection is poor,and their Defense is terrible, causing silly Fouls committed whilst trying to catch up to a player that just beat them out of their jockstrap.

      As for the Bench players not getting to play, I’m so totally flummoxed, I have given up on waiting to see any of them. As Ro put it so well recently, all the Bench player must do it play staunch,stellar, and steady Defense … that’s plenty, any scoring is a premium.

      We’re working on some stuff that we’ll get up soon !!!

      In the meantime …
      Rock On !!!
      BermudaBob

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  4. How bad is Duke basketball this year? I’ve been following Duke since 1993, to my recollection what I saw this morning on Interstate 64 was a 1st. I had to do a double take, someone rented a billboard to sell tickets to Duke basketball games. Duke ticket prices on the Internet must be dropping as fast as their ranking. Last year someone took out a billboard of a picture with Coach K and 1000 wins.

    We must not be the only fans who are getting a little upset.

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    • Hi Bill !!!

      I’ve been Jonesing for Cameron Tickets for as long as I can remember. My birthday is in February, so if there is someone willing to sell me a pair of good tickets, I’d gladly drive 7 hours south, I’m sure my wife would love to join me in a fantasy trip !!!

      I’m not upset about Duke’s decline, I just want some semblance of honesty and common sense. If your guys are dragging their collective posteriours, then you MUST play everyone … as in even the Walk-Ons !!! Tired teams do not perform well, execute game plans well, nor play staunch Defense without committing stupid Fouls …

      That’s not too much to ask, is it ???

      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

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  5. What do you think of the conditioning program at Duke? In my opinion, 18-22 year old atheletes that are conditioned properly (along with a good diet) should recover fairly quick. The fatigue excuse is a little weak. I can’t help to think that Duke needs to take an in depth look at their program. Can you name many programs that have had as many injuries that have occurred at Duke? Foot injuries to Kyrie, Ryan Kelly, Marshall and Amile, in addition to Seth’s leg issues. Also it seamed to me that Jabari, Jahlil, and Ryan were not in the best of shape during their time at Duke compared to their current condition in the NBA.

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    • Greetings, Michael !!!

      Welcome,and thanks for commenting !!! I’ll try and address your comments seriatim …

      Well, considering that 3 of the 6 guys playing, or 4 of the 7 guys if you include Jeter, were in High School last year, so they did not have the benefit of the conditioning programme as upperclassmen do. I also believe that playing practically the whole game every night out in the ACC, arguably one of the toughest conferences in America, would wear on the best conditioned players in D-1.

      Duke suffers from a wrongmindedness that allows Nike to dictate black alternative uniforms, so would a culpability between foot injuries and Nike shoes be out of the realm of possibility ??? I don’t think so, and the few guys you mention are probably only the cusp. I’d be interested in a study to see if any other programme suffered the same type of systemic affects when using another footwear line.

      The player you note were not known for their fitness, just their talents, but they played on teams that had other stellar players to share the load. We have been up front with our wonder as to why Coach K has decided that he MUST only play 6-7 deep. As Dick Vitale asked recently, why shouldn’t each kid recruited be able to contribute 10 minutes each time out ??? He’s right, of course. There is no reason, especially after losing 4 of 5 games due to a notable degree of fatigue, that Obi, Antonio, and even the Walk-Ons be used to spare the Starters, even if it’s just a blow. Scholarships are not awarded to perfect splinter pulling techniques !!!

      We hope you continue to contribute, Michael !!!

      In the meantime,
      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob

      Like

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