SDBB: 10 Questions for Duke Going Into Conference Play

Yellow Faced Question Marked

Today, Bermuda Bob shares his thoughts and impressions on the non-conference as we look to the ACC Conference season at Noon on Saturday …

  1.  Can a team have too much talent ???

YES !!!   Duke has too many overlapping situations … Frosh overlapping Upperclassmen is my biggest concern.   Just think how many players this year Frosh have been subverted !!!   It is a by-product of the “1-&-Done” recruit culture, and I find it unsettling …


  1. Has the “1-&-Done” attitude backfired on Coach K ???

Maybe … When Giles, Tatum, & Bolden were sidelined (still questionably) I saw 3 kids who were not always engaged in the game … not you normal Duke player !!!   This is what led people to wonder why they sat for so long. Could injuries have been just an excuse for the possibility that they were not cutting it in the classroom ??? Remember, in the real world, it’s not what it is, it’s what you call it !!!

Then there were the rumours that they all believed they’d be drafted with little or no play … It was reminiscent of the whole Kyrie Irving debacle where the team that had reformulated their chemistry when he went down, after only a handful of games, to become winners.   Then he forced himself into the Big Dance games and the team suffered, just so he’d improve his Draft Stock. 


  1. Should Harry Giles be Red-Shirted ???

Yes, Yes, 1000 Times, Yes !!!  He is not in game shape as Duke enters the ACC Conference Season.   He is not needed !!!   His presence would subvert a player who has been playing and developing with the team during the season thus far.  That is simply wrong !!!   Why force a kid into the line-up just because he came to Duke has a highly ranked player ???   Notice the past tense of my query …


  1. What in the world is wrong with Grayson Allen ???

I haven’t a clue … I hope the powers-that-be get him some psychological help as I wonder if he “learned” that antic during his younger playground days.   Let’s face it, Grayson is an uber over-achiever for his size, so such a playground antic might have been something from yesteryear that is rearing it’s ugly head.

Let’s think of it this way … What if Duke were to make it to the Final Four and he were thrown out of a game and the next game for tripping an opponent ???


  1. With so much talent, will Coach K be forced to play deeper than his usual 6-7-8 guys ???

Dear Lord, since we know that Coach K is a man of deep and abiding faith, and that includes prayer, couldn’t you find a way to impress on him that he has too much talent not to play them all ???   It’s worked for many, many other winning coaches, I count at least 9, or more, who could contribute !!!


  1. Who will be pivotal players this year ???

Easily, Amile has proven to have returned to where he left off before his injury, and there’s no reason to think he will not continue …

Luke has come back to Duke a more mature player.  He can shoot and score much more consistently from all over the Court.  He Rebounds and plays much better Defense.  I noticed that at least one national CBB reporter has picked him as having the potential to be ACC Player of the Year, and I agree !!!

I like what I have seen of Frank Jackson.  He is a very insightful player and can lead this team aptly … I also like what I’ve seen of young Mr. Tatum in the short time since his return.  He reminds me of a Magic Johnson type.

Often disregarded in the overall fray is Matt Jones, whom I like to call “Cazzie” because he reminds me of Cazzie Russell of the glory days of the 70’s Knicks.   Matt is a 4 year Senior who is a defensive stalwart and well-seasoned clutch shooter.   He also shares over 400 “Ironman” minutes with Luke and Amile.


  1. Who has not lived up to their Press clippings???

I’ve been wondering why Marques Bolden has not returned to the form I was so impressed with early on … I loved that he played so toughly under the basket, boxing out, angling for rebounding position, protecting the Baseline, and playing smart defense.   He was surely on his way to doing things that past Duke “bigs” did not or could not. I only hope he can return to that style of play … Duke needs it !!!

That’s because Chase Jeter continues to disappoint.  In 13 game appearances, 190 minutes thus far, he has blocked 13 Shots, grabbed 26 Rebounds and scored 40 Points, but he has been responsible for 14 Turnovers and 25 Personal Fouls.   I think I’d rather see others get more floor time since he is essentially a net zero !!!


  1. Who are the unsung heroes of his year’s team ???

The pre-conference season doesn’t tell us much, especially since there have only been a few really competitive games, and that includes the loss to Kansas in an event that ought to be contested this week.   I think Duke is so deep that a true unsung like Grayson Allen against Wisconsin for the last National Championship has yet to be seen, but I’m positive there will be one if he gets to play some …


  1. Is getting a Duke education enough for the guys who were recruited, but never given a chance to play ???

I’m going to quote CBB Hall of Famer Dick Vitale when he observed that if a guy is good enough to be recruited and given a uniform, then he’s worthy of being given the chance to play.   Unfortunately, Duke has more and more guys like this.   Antonio is back not playing again this year. Newbies Jack White, Javin DeLaurier will probably join Antonio as well as Justin Robinson …

Last season I asked why Sean Obi wasn’t playing and we found out that in the off-season, he had knee surgery by people outside of the Duke Orthopaedics Department.   As someone who knows how a life can be altered by such procedures, I must wonder if he is applying himself in class.

To answer the question, I must guess that a free Duke education might be worth not playing as much as one might wish … I just hope they have good Majors and get good Grades !!!


  1. What must “The Admiral” be thinking as he attends yet more games while his son pulls splinters ???

I have tonnes and tonnes of admiration for “The Admiral” but I must wonder what it must be like to see his son make the sacrifice after sacrifice and not be given any opportunity to prove himself.   It has to be daunting for Justin, especially living in the shadow of his Dad, who was one of the all time greats.


My Take … 

Duke could and should be the pre-conference season favourite to win the ACC, but they might be the most discombobulated bunch in the conference.  Long time Duke fans expect to see a surely formulated set of starters and those 6-7-8 players.

When one considers the “problem” with Grayson, we have to wonder who will step up only to be bounced back to the Bench once he returns, and his return is, as our British friends say, a “dead cert” !!! 

In my opinion, I do not like that Duke is still unsettled.  Frenetic is not the way Coach K plays, nor does he normally use his whole team. Somewhere we all expect some semblance of order … and that is still a question mark.


Questions for the future …

Right now, Amile, Luke, Matt, and Grayson are the 4 cornerstones of the team, but there is too much potential in the balance of the team. So who “sits” to allow that potential to play ??? 

I do not think this is a situation Coach K has ever encountered at Duke, but he certainly has with the Olympic Teams he has coached.   So, I’m happy to lean heavily on his wisdom, experience, and creativity.  I’m more concerned with seeing this team compete for Coach K’s next National Championship than I am seeing who gets into the NBA.


Thanks for reading !!!

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


4 thoughts on “SDBB: 10 Questions for Duke Going Into Conference Play

  1. Bob – this is a great article and I was after smiling after reading # 5 to the end.

    #7 – From SI Wire Aug 4, 2014 “The 6-foot-10, 220-pound Jeter is the No. 8-ranked player in the class of 2015, according to the recruiting website He drew scholarship offers from UCLA, UNLV, Kansas and Arizona, among other programs.” Wow look what UCLA and Kansas are doing without him. Is he in a wonderland sitting in Cameron listening to the Crazies?

    # 9 – You focused on this years players. Lets not forget the recent transfers or the Plumlee 2 who was considered for NBA rookie of the year. Semi O may be SMU’s 2016-17 player of the year. Where did that come from? Too many splinters at Duke or poor use of talent?

    #10 Justin has seen such little time, yet while he was in there his length proved to be a problem in the passing lanes. Duke needs this type of defender to protect the rotation of the ball to a guard going through the back door. We have seen a lot of those plays in the past few years against Duke.


    • Hi Bill !!!

      Thanks for the nice sentiments and info on players who have left Duke, who many of us don’t keep track of. Syracuse benefitted from “Silent G” and now Semi goes elsewhere and shines. Next year I hope to see Derryk Thornton flourishing as well. The notices not getting the big press is Graduate Student Alex Murphy playing, and flourishing, at NorthEastern. All of these guys suffered from Coach K’s banishment to the Bench, so we wish them all the best !!!
      Good luck to all of you !!!

      Last, but certainly not least, we wuld like to wish you a Buon Anno, of Happy New Year !!!


  2. I believe this year will hurt Duke recruiting IF they don’t go far in the tournament. After this next class, I see a slide in recruiting. Coach K just doesn’t play enough players. I’m not sure he can handle too much talent. Give him three good players and the rest role players and he will get greatness out of them. But with this team I think there’s too much talent and egos. It’s hard for pro teams to play with too many stars. So, we can’t be surprised that a college team has chemistry issues on the court. All of these players are trying to showcase themselves to get to the next level. I just dislike how he uses the depth that he talked so highly about. You have 9 legit players on the team but in big games you’re playing 7. Not one person should play over 30 minutes on this squad. That’s how you get them in-game experience.

    One more thing I saw in your most recent post is that you said Jayson Tatum is like an Austin Rivers. Did the last 5 games change your mind that much about him? Magic Johnson to Austin Rivers is the biggest freefall ever


    • Greetings Sir !!!
      (Wasn’t sure of which your name was)

      Welcome to Simply Duke Basketball. I hope you will continue to feel free to join us here with your comments !!!

      I believe we think in similar fashion. I believe that Coach K has not evolved from playing 6-7-8 players, and that’s unfortunate. The best example of this are the guys who have left because they were not getting minutes, and saw him recruit players behind them. Each of them are/were now stars elsewhere, and I expect Thornton to be so next year, picking up where he left off at Duke.

      What must those guys pulling splinters think when they hear Coach K and Coach Capel say that performance in practice gets playing time, only to see guys who are out of shape and off their game, play ahead of them ??? What about the SI article that revealed that Jabari Parker’s parents could call the Duke coaching staff any time they had a question about how he was being played ??? If I were “The Admiral” I’d have Coach K’s cell number on speed dial !!!

      Well, I believe, as another writer once put it, that Rivers was the most un-Duke-like player ever to don a Duke uniform. His mouth got to campus before he did. His impact on Duke caused that early exit in the Big Dance, after which he did not even return to campus with the team !!! Tatum and Bolden originally impressed me, but now Tatum has become a ball-hog and Bolden is nothing of what I was so impressed with early on. I think Tatum is more interested in his NBA Draft stock, not Duke.

      In many ways, all of these problems are the result of the “one-and-done” recruit. Yes, 2014-15 was different inasmuch as the Triumvirate got them to the Finals, but a Bench Player sealed the deal. Tatum is not going to lead Duke anywhere, any more than Rivers did. Duke basketball has stopped producing players for the long run.

      Think of it, after Amile, “Cazzie” and (if) Grayson leaves, who leads the team ??? A Bench Player ??? The dud Jeter ??? A kid who only stayed because he wasn’t a “one-and-done” as they expected ??? Only Luke can fit the bill … I’m sure you see how this has all backfired on Coach K, and while it might look like it works at other programmes, no one had dominated in the “one-and-done” era, and yet, Coach Tom Izzo has the longest standing record of getting to the Final Four, and he didn’t do it with “one-and-done” kids.

      Glad to have you aboard !!!
      Please keep reading and commenting !!!
      “Rock On” !!!
      Bermuda Bob


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