The leaves have revealed their lovely colours, and are now brown on the ground, waiting to be collected. Shorts have been relegated to the gym. Heavier clothes are the standard when out enjoying the crisp cooler air outside. For us, it is a challenge to see how long we can go before activating the Heat in our home. Last, and certainly not least, after the seemingly endless campaign season, our Nation has chosen a very new and different President to cure the ills of our Country.
If you’re like me, NOW is when the college basketball season really begins.
Duke has had their standard 2 exhibitions, followed by 2 games against teams they were expected to prevail against. Tonight, at 9:30PM (E) the season REALLY begins as Duke meets Kansas … well, at least that’s what the so-called pundits tell us !!!
This early-on game is not a favourite of mine. It presumes that teams are at their strongest, when the players have barely broken in their uniforms, nor have the fans learned all the new additions to the squad. Such a contest seems more like something of an Elite 8 match-up, or a Final Four game.
I think it ought to be the last game of the non-conference schedule when the players have had a bit of time to mature … maybe on New Year’s Eve. There is no reason to hold an elite event ahead of the Big 10-ACC Challenge, which is much more representative of the prowess of all the teams, not just 4 hand-picked programmes !!!
Obviously, no one is going to listen to me, so let’s examine where Duke is going into this game.
Duke is battered. 4 players are in street clothes.
- One player is a concern down the road as his is a recurring injury.
- The other 2 guys, may again be the result those damned Nike sneakers.
- Sean Obi is again working more on his sartorial speldour after a report of his having work on both knees done this past summer.
- Coach K has admitted that they may need to look at the relative vociferousness of their practices.
In the 2 games this weekend, without some 3 presumptive Frosh contributors, Duke looked to what I will call the “4 Horseman of Durham” of Amile, Grayson. Luke and Matt … Being adding to these guys has been Frank Jackson, who has been named ACC Frosh of the Week, after a couple excellent performances !!!
Now we all know that Coach K likes a 7-8 player rotation, so let’s add Chase Jeter, Javin DeLaurier, and Antonio Vraknovic.
- Jeter has been a de facto Starter with Borden, the guy who supplanted him on the depth chart, going down … He has gotten some serious opportunities to show off what he worked on over the summer. In the first 3 games, he did very well, but in the last game he unfortunately returned to his performance of last year, being able to only play 22 minutes because of Foul Trouble.
- DeLaurier is an impressive player, who, by his own words expects to learn plenty by being surrounded by so many impressionable players … He has a treasure trove of talent already, so the sky’s the limit for him !!!
- Antonio got to play 19 minutes when Chase needed it against Marist and logged 10 Rebounds, but was only given 5 minutes in the Grand Canon game even with Jeter struggling …
For the immediate future, we must be guided to Coach K’s words recently about his trio of injured Frosh: “We’re just going to shut those guys down for a while.”
That means that nothing that happens in the Kansas game will do anything more than to solidify the core of this Duke team. Personally, I’m not concerned, as the schedule for the 2 weeks before meeting Michigan State in the Big 10-ACC Challenge, is not very consequential. Nothing that happens until State will matter come March Madness !!!
So, right now, we really don’t have a clear impression of who Duke is, other than the idea that they are fortunately deep, so they will take longer to develop into who they really are. Let’s hope this doesn’t last into the conference season.
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