SDBB – Is It Time To Wonder About Those Asking “What if …” ???
by Bermuda Bob
Saturday, I watched the Louisville game while interacting on Twitter, instead of texting on Viber with my partner here, Ro Shiell.
After the game was over, Twitter seemingly exploded in a barrage of “What if …” speculations, so I thought I’d discuss some of them and add a few of my own.
#1 – “What if Amile were able to play ???”
OK folks, it time for a little “tough love” and to get real. Amile might not come back this season. He might actually accept an “Injury Red Shirt” as he only played a handful of games.
Even if he came back in this game today, he wouldn’t be game ready and able to pick up where he left off. No amount of therapy and exercise can replicate playing time.
He could also suffer from the very common and understandable instinct to protect his foot from re-injury.
Personally, I prefer the “Injury Red Shirt” route … if he is unable to be 100%, then get him into Business School, give him another year of eligibility, and make next year’s team his in Captaincy !!!
#2 – What if Amile Never Got Injured ???
Simply put, I believe that this would be a very different Duke team, one that would be atop of the ACC Conference, or close to it. It would also have a rather different comportment on both Offense and Defense. They would have another Captain on the floor, and they would not have the tired legs they do now, with most of the Starters playing almost the whole game.
I do believe that Amile going down forced the rest of the team to change their chemistry and excel in different ways, not always positive ones. Freshmen make foolish Fouls, especially when they are trying to overcompensate for a lack of experience on the Court.
#3 – What if Chase Jeter turned out to be the Top Pick player we expected ???
Well, the loss of Amile might not have been seen as serious. Coach K’s infinity for continually playing this kid instead of giving Sean Obi a chance to prove himself is simply mindboggling.
Is Coach trying to validate his recruiting of Jeter ??? I simply don’t get it. This Louisville game allowed Jeter to prove the old axiom: “… even a busted clock is right twice a day …” !!! I gather that if Jeter is not advised to consider a transfer, he might be Coach K’s project player, now that there are no Plumlee kids enrolled at Duke.
#4 – What if Coach K played ALL of his eligible players ???
This might be the $64,000 question that not one member of the Press has had the gumption to ask of Coach K. You see, I totally agree with Dick Vitale, who, I believe was sending Coach K a veiled piece of advice. He said that: “… and player good enough to be recruited ought to be good enough to contribute 10 minutes a game …” Of course Dickie V is absolutely correct, especially for a programme like Duke.
As of late in each and every game, around the 10+/- minute mark, the team’s legs go to rubber. This happens because I do not believe that any conditioning programme could prepare kids for playing the type of minutes they are being asked to … not in one of America’s best and most physical conferences.
The idea Vitale was trying to convey is one I agree with, but will put a bit less diplomatically and much more emphatically.
I believe that if you put a jersey on a kid’s back, then you MUST first believe that he can be called upon at anytime to contribute. I’m not talking about being a “practice player” … I’m talking about in circumstances as Duke found themselves against Louisville. Having Amile and Matt down, “Plums” did a great job of pulling down 14 Rebounds, but sure could have used a sidekick in Obi to help handle the “Bigs” of Louisville. Obi never removed his Warm Up.
Two years ago Coach K recruited Sean Obi, who as a Frosh at Rice, averaged 11.4 points and a Conference USA-leading 9.3 rebounds per game (2nd in the NCAA among freshmen). He transferred, to Duke after the coach who had recruited him was fired. So, he sat out last year in his dapper duds, and sits in his Duke #34 uniform to this very day. He has been only allowed to play 21 minutes in 26 games !!!
If you have ever believed in Coach K’s “Dog House,” he’s in inexplicably deep. I don’t believe a kid ought to be in any coach’s “Dog House” !!! There ought not be a “Dog House” at all !!!
The problem is that while Obi perfecting his splinter pulling technique, he’s not contributing. More succinctly, he’s not being given an opportunity to contribute, and that’s simply wrong. Have you seen Obi’s his body language lately ??? His head is down and disengaged because the Coach he put his faith in has no faith in him, even though he’s a proven product. It’s wrong to bring in a kid and not allow him to prove himself, to contribute to his team, give some other players a needed “blow,” and insulate the team from Foul trouble.
Duke also has a guy who is an even bigger “Big” than Obi … Antonio Vrankovic … He has played in 14 minutes in 5 games. How can he be ready to contribute if he only sees the Court during Warm Ups ??? He was recruited, given a jersey, and now just flounders in Coach K’s version of “Never-Never Land.” The burning question is why, why, why !!!
Why would the greatest active coach in College Basketball History be willing to waste a pair of “bigs” … albeit one proven and one not, when his Starters are depleted and suffering from extremely tired legs ??
#5 – What if Duke never signed a deal to use Nike products ???
OK, you caught me sliding one in here. I’m not a fan of Nike because I am one of those fans who openly wonder if:
- The plethora of foot injuries in recent years were directly accountable to the products Phil Knight has provided …
- I also wonder if another manufacturer would have essentially forced Duke into wearing those god-awful BLACK uniforms. Uniforms that have nothing to do with Blue Devils, named after the legendary “Les Diables Bleus” …
Thanks for the read …
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