SDBB: 2016-17 Player Profiles – #30 Antonio Vrankovic

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Tonight, we continue our annual Player’s Profile marathon until we Countdown to Craziness, that will profile each and every Duke player on the roster…

So here is Bermuda Bob’s Profile of #30, Antonio Vrankovic …

 Last year, in Ro’s evaluation of Antonio, he noted that Vrankovic had all the makings of a hidden gem. He is an unheralded Three Star recruit who is listed at seven feet tall. In his own words , “I am a low post scorer who sets great screens.”

Right now, at this point in time, at the beginning of another season, we don’t have the foggiest idea of his potential or prowess because he was practically never used last season. 14 minutes in total !!!

We went to bat for he and Sean Obi last season, by asking Duke’s 2 “Beat Reporters” why they did not ask appropriate questions like I did in my article where: I wondered why Coach K was claiming he has a “short Bench” when he had two (2) “Bigs” sitting, perfecting their splinter pulling techniques.” 

The Response came from Mr. Wiseman on Twitter, whereupon he claimed that the Coaching Staff’s opinion was that they were not ready for Duke’s level of competition.  My logic, which was often the same lament as Dick Vitale, was that if a player earned a uniform, he also had the de facto right to contribute to his team !!!

As you will recall, Duke finished 25-11 overall and 11-7 in conference, for a 5th place tie, ranking #19 overall.   Amile was out for the season. Chase Jeter was a huge disappointment. Coach K shook up his Starters, sometimes playing 4 Guards, even after Derryck Thornton left in disgust at midseason.

Hindsight being 20-20 vision, I still have to ask why these guys didn’t get more playing time when they were most certainly needed ???

I never got a satisfactory answer. 

Outlook for This Year

From what little tape there is of him since arriving at Duke, he seems pretty agile for a big man, and the more he can push his teammates the better Duke will be overall. With Sean Obi, and a few impressive “bigs” coming in behind them, this might be seen as overkill, especially considering Coach K loves a short bench. Our only hope is that Antonio be given a faire chance to contribute, and that doesn’t mean just on the Practice Squad !!!

We wish Antonio all the best, and look forward to seeing him get some playing time !!!

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Thanks for reading !!!

Watch for our next introduction tomorrow …

We welcome your comments, either here, or on our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

SDBB: 2016-17 Player Profiles – #50 Justin Robinson

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Tonight, we continue our annual Player’s Profile marathon until we Countdown to Craziness, that will profile each and every Duke player on the roster…

So here is Bermuda Bob’s Profile of #50, Justin Robinson …

 The youngest son of David Robinson, Justin, was originally meant to be a preferred Walk-on at Duke, but Coach K awarded him a scholarship once he arrived on campus, then Red Shirted him.

There was speculation that due to his father being a late bloomer, maybe Justin could be as well.  “The Admiral” was a 6’7” Freshman – and spring up to 6’10” …  He’s not quiet the 7 footer his father is, but after a year on the Practice Squad, and being part of each game on the Bench, his game could improve this year as a regular roster member.

No one ever complains that someone is too tall in basketball. Justin is 6’8″ and 194 lbs., so that he will be a stronger Power Forward this year.

Who does he remind us of ???

Best Case Scenario:   Lance Thomas and Thomas Hill have all been lithe Forwards that have competed very hard for championship teams at Duke.

Worst Case Scenario:   Todd Zafirovski, a Walk-on that moved to a scholarship player though he never saw the Court during competitive periods.

Our Take …

Robinson has a fight on his hands to get on the Court at Duke this season with a talent rich combination of incoming Frosh and veterans. Before being issued the Red Shirt last year, he appeared in one game where he pulled down 3 Rebounds in just 10 minutes !!!  Building on the experience of last year, we hope that his Dad gets to see him play this year, as he is essentially a returning experienced (in the Duke system) Sophomore.

He is a very astute student who cited Duke’s academics as one of the reasons for his enrollment, so we suspect he may not be too broken up about his playing time.

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Thanks for reading !!!

Watch for our next introduction tomorrow …

We welcome your comments, either here or on our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

SDBB: 2016-17 Duke Player Profiles – #45, Nick Pagliuca

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Tonight, we continue our annual Player’s Profile marathon until we Countdown to Craziness, that will profile each and every Duke player on the roster…

So here is Bermuda Bob’s Profile of #45, Nick Pagliuca …

Nick Pagliuca returns this year as a Senior.  He is 6’3” 195 lb. Guard, who has been an integral member of the Practice Squad.  His “job” is to become like the opposition the Starters will face.

Nick is embarking on his last year on the squad. In case you’re not too familiar with him, not to worry, he has only appeared in 24 games over the last 3 seasons. Let’s first get to know him, personally …

Nick hails from Massachusetts, and was a National Merit Scholar at The Milton Academy. He is the younger brother of Joe Pagliuca, who was also a “Walk-On” from 2003 thru 2006, playing in 13 games. He has continued his academic prowess as exemplified by his being named to the NABC Honours Court this year.

Nick is part of an impressive legacy of Duke Alumni. His Dad, Stephen, graduated in 1977, his brother in 2007, and his sister, Stephanie in 2013.

Nick wears the same #45 as his brother.

Dad was a JV player, back when they had such a thing. He is presently a Co-Owner of the Boston Celtics. Nick credits Kevin Garnett – when he was a Celtic – with improving his game. Thanks, too, to Dad for making the introduction.

Some might ask why a student might want to be a “Walk-On” and essentially a Practice Player, thus putting more of a draw on his time.

The answer is that he is a valuable presence at Practice, helping to hone his skills as well as those of his teammates. He is well respected for those contributions, just like so many “Walk-On” players have been before him …

… and like most “Walk-On” players before him, he is a fan favourite, especially with his family connection to Duke.

As a fellow Italian, I would like to correct his official Duke profile by noting that his name is correctly pronounced: “Pai-yook-a”   The “l” is silent !!!

Rock On, Nick !!!   We’ll be rooting for you this season !!!

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Thanks for reading !!!

Watch for our next introduction tomorrow …

SDBB: 2016-17 Player Profiles – #53 Brennan Besser

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Welcome back to our old friends for another start to the Duke Basketball Season !!!  

Tonight, we begin our annual Player’s Profile marathon, meaning that each day from today, until we Countdown to Craziness, we will profile each and every Duke player on the roster…

We’ll do it beginning with the “Walk-On” players … 

So here is Bermuda Bob’s Profile of #53, Brennan Besser

Brennan Besser is a 6’5″ and 188 lb Guard who hails from Chicago, where he played at the Latin School. His slot was made available last year once Coach K granted Justin Robinson a full scholarship.

As a High School Senior, he averaged 14.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG, and scored a high of 19 points in 5 games. He shot a wonderful 64% from the field.

Before settling down to playing basketball full time, he played golf his Freshman and Sophomore years, following his father’s role on the Marquette Golf Team. Brennan is brother to 4 older sisters.

While he only got off the Bench for a quick minute last year, he is one of the traditionally unsung heroes of the valued Duke’s practice squad, as have his predecessors.

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Thanks for reading !!!

Watch for our next introduction tomorrow …