SDBB: After 4 Significant Losses, What’s Wrong at Duke ???

images-676images-676images-676images-676

Duke has lost games they were never in contention to win. Tonight, Bermuda Bob offers some insight and maybe even a few constructive ideas …

Amile:

The best leader on this team has once again been hurt. Another wonderful season has been interrupted.  While I have always suspected that the Nike shoes have some culpability.

There does not seem to be another leader stepping up to replace his voice and performance.  Duke does not have anyone to fill his position. Chase Jeter is having another milquetoast season.  Harry Giles should have been Red Shirted and proves my point each time out. Marquis Bolden has not returned to the player I saw early on.  Javin DeLaurier has gotten a few minutes here and there, but not enough to prove his mettle. Antonio Vrankovic, Jack White and Justin Robinson languish on the Bench, not even being given a chance to contribute.

Grayson:

If you were to listen or read some of the things Grayson has been accused of, you’d think Grayson was the reincarnation of Rasputin.  In reality, he is a guy who over-hustles, over-competes, and over-exerts.  I won’t postulate on his predilection to trip opponents.  I would suggest that it has it’s roots in playground basketball and could be “fixed” with responsible psycho-analysis, but that should have been done “like yesterday” …

Unfortunately, now, anytime that Grayson gets involved in something overly physical, he will be branded the aggressor.  I’d petition the Refs to consider that they are there to call the game fairly, not in consideration of his press clippings.

Lastly, I think that the experiment of Grayson being at the Point is not working.  It does not allow his best side to shine thru. It also subverts him to Jayson Tatum’s selfishness.

Luke

Luke showed plenty of promise last year, but he was inconsistent.  This year, he returned looking more like he had spent the summer with JJ Reddick.  Many portals opined on if Luke might become a contender for the ACC MVP.  He was consistent from anywhere on the floor, and he played both sides of the Court.  Then Jayson Tatum returned to the line-up, and Luke’s performance slacked off.  Oh, he still put up nice numbers, but nice doesn’t win games.

Matt

I nicknamed Matt “Cazzie” after Cazzie Russell of the Knicks I grew up with because his shot follow-thru resembled him so much.  Matt is now the only Captain and Senior on the Floor.  He needs to be more like Amile. He needs to lead.

Matt has become more like Tyler Thornton on Defense, and has lost a bit of his touch from outside the Arc, hitting only 34%. His 41% from the Floor is not up to snuff either.  He has played almost as many minutes as Luke, and leads the team in Steals.  His offense and leadership is coveted.

The Frosh:

If Coach K was looking for another triumvirate like he enjoyed in 2014-15, then he was kidding himself.  Those guys WANTED to play together, and flourished when they were all at full strength.  These Frosh – Tatum, Giles, & Bolden – seem to be more of the “Me-My-and-Iverson” mindset.

Tatum is often out of sync and downright selfish, making me recall Austin “Da Black Hole” Rivers, who was a ball hog, hence the nickname.   Want proof ???   In the losses against FSU & Louisville, he logged in ZERO Assists, and only 2 Assists in the loss to VaTech !!!  Tatum also shares the same predisposition to histrionically complain when things don’t go his way.  He is a very talented player, but ought to be playing for a team that needs a single star, not a team who has historically played “team” basketball.

Giles has not returned to any semblance of his reputation and should have never been played in favour of a Red Shirt.   He seems to be getting minutes on his supposed reputation from when his knees allowed him to play.  I recall someone asking me how a “one-and-done” player could be given a Red Shirt. Giles playing this year is as ridiculous as that question. Giles has said that:  “It takes time, especially with a knee. It’s a long process. It getting used to the physicality, the speed of the game.”  By his own words, he makes me point.  He has no business playing this year, so he should have been Red Shirted from the start.  After all, the kid has not played at any level in over 2 years.  Why does Coach K feel it incumbent to use a player, who, by his own admission, honestly agrees with me ???

Bolden is a huge question mark for me.  I originally was so very pleased with what I saw in him.  He boxed-out, he denied the Base Line, and he played both sides of the Court.  Since the mysterious cramping he awoke with, he has been nothing of the player I saw and was so impressed with.  Since nobody in the Press Corps has the guts to ask for an explanation, I doubt if we will ever know what REALLY happened.

Frank Jackson seems to be trying hard and consistently improving, but his time has been cut due to the return of Jayson Tatum.  Frank ought to be given the Point like Derryck Thompson was last year, but then Thornton left because he realized Coach K had recruited someone behind him, and bolted like 3 others in the same situation ahead of him.

The other Frosh – Javin DeLaurier and Jack White have not yet seen any substantive minutes as they join upperclassmen Antonio Vrankovic, Justin Robinson, and Sean Obi on the Bench.

In Conclusion

I have always questioned why Coach K recruits so much potential, but never uses it.  I know he needs competent players for practice time, but when he was recruiting them, did he make the fact known to them that they weren’t going to see game time minutes ???   Damn, I’d love to know the answer to that question !!!

Unfortunately, Coach K, and now Coach Capel favour players who struggle each time out and allows others to languish on the Bench.  He subverts upperclassmen to Frosh, who, this year, do not have the maturity to win.

Coach Capel unfortunately claimed that: “They’re still not up to speed. When you miss that much time, especially Harry.  I’m not sure he’ll be up to speed for us this year and so it’s just trying to get him better each day.  Same thing for Bolden. Bolden was out for a while and so look, we need those guys. We need everyone on our team to play their butts off every day.”  I could not agree more, Coach, so why aren’t you playing the ENTIRE team … you know, those other guys who have not been injured, but you recruited to wear the Duke uniform ???

If you read my previous article, you get my biggest complaint.  The Duke Basketball that I formerly knew did not put so much credence in unproven players.  This year proves categorically that waiting, hoping, and wishing for the Frosh to mature into the same caliber as Duke has enjoyed in the past is a failed mindset.

Sure, Coach K looks great to future recruits when they see Frosh playing, but if they are not winning … causing losses … subverting upperclassmen, and spurning the development of upperclassmen into tomorrow’s leaders, then you’ve reduced a storied programme into nothing more than a crap-shoot in a casino.

I have never liked the “one-and-done” … and never will. I find it immoral, unethical, and unfaire to any kid recruited who also expected to fully matriculate.   This year’s crop of supposed super-stars got injured and have been ineffective. Jayson Tatum, in particular, seems to be playing only to prove his NBA worth, while Harry Giles can’t fill Amile’s shoes. Marquis Bolden remains a question mark. Frank Jackson will stay and develop into a fine player if given the chance, and does not have to look over his shoulder.

In the re-make of the movie classic “Oceans Eleven” the main characters spend an appreciable amount of time filling slots of members of the team to fulfill each need.  One has to wonder if Coach K and Coach Capel do the same thing, or if they simply go after high profile players to boost their team on paper, hoping for the chemistry the 2014-2015 and other previous National Champions had.

Unfortunately, the game is played, by dedicated players, on a Court of wood over half a year.

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

Thanks for the Read …

Please tell us what you think either here or on our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

 

Watch for our next installment this week on what ills Duke …

Advertisements

SDBB – The “One-and-Done” Recruit – The Contrast & Similarity of the Approach at Duke and Kentucky …

michael-corleone-on-hypocrisy

Duke has been struggling mightily lately, so with Duke off all week until Saturday’s game with Miami at Cameron, it seemed like a good time to attempt to thoroughly examine what the REAL reasons are.  So, tonight, in the first installment of our efforts,  we begin with Bermuda Bob’s thoughts on the “1-&-Done” recruit …

Last June, our friend Brian Horace of Duke Blog wrote a very thought provoking article on his site entitled: “Duke vs Kentucky: Embracing One & Done vs Seeking Out One & Done” in which he explained the difference on how each approached “one-and-done” recruits.  I’ve been thinking about it for a long time wanted to use it in trying to explain my view, when it finally came to me.

Now, before we get started, I feel I must explain my position on the “one-and-done” recruit.  I have never, and still do not support the idea that a student comes to college to just play basketball without fully matriculating.  I believe that as long as the NCAA prefers to refer to each and every kid who plays a sport in college as a “Student Athlete,” he/she ought to be a student first and an athlete second.  College was never intended to be the Developmental League for the NBA.

Before you start to work on your noose-tying technique, please allow me to note that when Duke won their last National Championship with 3 “one-and-done” players, I was pleased that they won.  I have their banner in my office along with the others from 1991, 1992, 2001, and 2010.  I was also dismayed, however, because it signaled that Coach K had successfully ushered in a very different era with this very unique threesome.

Success with those “one-and-done” kids cemented his recruiting abilities with the country’s best High Schoolers.  There are many who believe that such an advantage overrides the moral and ethical conundrum of recruiting a kid who has no intention of matriculating.  These kids simply want to come to the school and coach who can get them to the highest NBA Draft position.  Oh, sure, winning is a nice thing, but not their overriding motivation.

Coach K’s claim that it would be unwise for those gentlemen to not take advantage of a “job opportunity” offered by the NBA Draft, was certainly clever.  I don’t agree with it, and I’d tell him that to his face.  I’m sure he’d call me an idealist.  He’d be right, however, I’m still a fan and I’ll stay a fan.  Maybe this will explain my position a little better …

So, moving on … I’m a huge movie buff.  I am one of those who believe that next to “Casablanca,” the 3 “Godfather movies are the best of all time.  So it is from “Godfather II” that I draw my analogy.  It is no joke that many of the lessons taught in the movie have real life applications.

In that movie, Michael Corleone is the new Godfather, having taken over the “family” for his ailing father.   In an attempt to satisfy a promise he made to his wife, but still maintain his loyalty to the “family” business, he begins to move everything to Las Vegas and the casino industry.

Historically, the Mafia founded Las Vegas.  It was as corrupt as corrupt could be, with politicians doing more than “dipping their beak” into the profits via blackmail and abuse of power.  It stayed that way for decades until multi-national companies took it over after the Federal Government put the squeeze on Organized Crime.

In a scene in Michael Corleone’s home office in Lake Tahoe, on the day of his son’s 1st Communion, he is visited by Senator Pat Geary.  He is there to extort a tidy sum to allow the “family” to establish their foothold in Las Vegas, and be a cash cow to the Senator.  Here’s the Godfather’s reply:

“Senator, we’re both part of the same hypocrisy …

… but never think it applies to my family.”

michael-corleone-on-hypocrisy

We did not post the clip here as it contains some saucy language, so, here’s the link to the whole clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPmTp9up26w

There you have it … Of course the deeply corrupt Senator Geary is my metaphorical character representing Kentucky’s John Calipari, and The Godfather is my analogy to Coach K.  It could not be any more straightforward.

Kentucky, under Calipari, is willing to take any uber-talented kid who is only interested in bolstering his highlight reel in barter for Calipari’s influence with NBA Scouts.  Remember in 2010 on NBA Draft night when Calipari claimed it was: “… the biggest day in the history of Kentucky’s program …” ???    Really ???

Calipari was quickly and vigorously redefined by Kentucky legend, Dan Issel, who noted: “If the goal is to be a feeder team for the NBA, maybe that was the greatest day …” Issel graduated, then went on to star in the ABA after by the NBA’s disrespected him by drafting him 122nd by the Pistons.

In my mind, the parallel to Senator Geary couldn’t be more succinct.  It was Kentucky who sought out the corrupt Calipari, who had had wins expunged from his record for academic and other violations.  Their fans had tired of mediocrity, so they sold their souls, and lionized a scoundrel to this very day.

Conversely, my correlation of Coach K is equally concise inasmuch as a recruit is only brought into the “family” if they fit the Duke mold.  Rarely could I point to a player who was not welcomed back.

This now, after that National Championship, the “one-and-done” is more the norm than ever before.  Interestingly enough, it was Grayson Allen, a Bench Player, who sealed that win, and is now leading this year’s team as a Junior.  He reports that he was always going to fully matriculate.

The old axiom sez that “Art Imitates Life” but I have to wonder sometimes, especially since the “Godfather II” was released in 1974, and Coach K began his reign at Duke in 1980.  So maybe it’s the other way around ???

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

Special Thanks, Brian Horace for the inspiration !!!

Here’s a link to Brian’s his original article:
http://www.dukeblogger.com/duke-vs-kentucky-embracing-one-done-vs-seeking-one-done/

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

Thanks for the read …

We look forward to your comments, and welcome them either here or on our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

SDBB: After a 4 & 4 Conference Record, Can Duke Right This Ship After a Series of Very Un-Duke-Like Performances ???

01052016-What-give-you-the-idea-csli 

Considering that we’ve seen so many naysayers and faire-weather fans who believe that Duke’s season is sunk, today, Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob address the topics everyone is talking about.

Here goes …

 

Topic #1:   Amile’s Injury & Return

Everyone thinks Amile returning is going to turn this team around.  

How can that possibly be ???

Rowan:

This all sounds great until you realise that Amile played against Utah and Kentucky. Then, couple that with the fact that Duke has yet to play 4 of the top ACC teams. That’s not to mention there is no telling what kind of condition Amile may be in. I say that is “Fool’s Gold.”

Bermuda Bob:

All the conditioning in the world to keep the rest of Amile as close to playing shape as possible are for naught because it can’t replace Court time.   Timing and the “shooting eye” are just two aspects to consider.  Yes, Amile’s on-the-Court leadership will return, but there are so many intangibles that I don’t expect an immediate impact.

One thing that no one seems to want to consider is that Coach K won’t be able to force Amile into 30+ minutes a game without exponentially risking re-injury.   That presumes that Amile can overcome the natural instinct to protect against re-injuring himself.

Look, both of us have loved this guy going back to his protracted recruitment. He was a major role player in last year’s National Championship, especially considering his Defense against Wisconsin.   I just don’t see him as the “knight in shining armour” to this programme that has many other problems. 

Topic #2:   The Failure of Chase Jeter

Everyone thinks Jeter deserves more chances when his play has been abysmal.  

What about giving Obi & Antonio the same type of opportunity ???  

Don’t they deserve the same consideration ???

Rowan:

Jeter’s issues go beyond figuring out his position in the Zone. As things stand right now, it looks like Jeter was minding his business last week and someone came up to him and said “Heh you are quite tall, you should play basketball …” … now here he is.

Bermuda Bob:

About 9-10 years ago, on a bit of a dare, I once played golf attired all in various shades of pink. I even played a pink golf ball.  On the 1st Tee, the Ranger, was hard of hearing, so he never realized he was speaking much too loudly to the Starter.   So, every one of the 8 of us heard him loud and clear.   As I approached the Tee,we all heard him say: “I hope he has game enough for that get up.”   Well, have to admit the pressure was on, and I (luckily) crushed my Drive to within Wedge range on the short Par 4, 1st Hole.  I chipped it close for a tap-in Birdie.  I then turned around to the Ranger, who was following us, and asked him: “… that enough game for you ???”   He sheepishly tipped his hat to me and we never saw him again.

When I first saw Chase Jeter and his Bedlington Terrier style haircut, my reaction was the same as that Ranger.  I hoped he had the “game” that allowed him to make himself look so foolish.

Well, since then, he has not done a single thing to dissuade me.  He has played 131 minutes in 17 games, scoring only 28 Points and pulling down only 29 Rebounds.  He’s also committed 14 TurnOvers in those 131 minutes, meaning he’ll turn the ball over every 9+ minutes.

One article, by Chris Bunn of 247Sports, claims that: Jeter has played 28 minutes in conference play and he’s been whistled for 14 fouls.”  My count sez he has committed a total of 32 Fouls in 131 minutes of play, meaning that he’ll commit a Foul ever 4 minutes he’s on the floor.

So, if you put him on he floor, you’re guaranteed that he’ll give up a TurnOver and committ 2 Fouls !!!  Stats like that mean he ought to stay in the Locker Room …

I’m going to share a little secret.  Ro and I watch each game live, while commenting to each other on Viber in real time.  That’s why we’re rarely on Twitter during a game.  Ro is in London, England and I am in Pennsylvania.   I say this to note the sacrifice Ro makes to do this, as he is 5 hours ahead of us. That means a 7PM game starts at Midnight for him, and a 9PM game Tips Off at 2AM for him.   We text so as not to wake up his wife and son.

During many of those games we have shared anguish over Jeter. “Dud” is maybe the most gentlemanly thing we would share here.   Ro has asked who is personally responsible for ranking Jeter so high, and then, who recruited him to Duke ??? Those are frustrated queries for very good reason.

I think he ought to be banished to the Bench to cause no more harm.  Many other players ahead of him were relegated there after far less play, and subsequently transferred. Remember Alex, “Silent G,” and Semi ???

Note to Coach K:

Can you PLEASE explain why you extended a transfer scholarship to Sean Obi and recruited Antonio Vrankovic, but refuse to extend the same opportunity to play, and contribute to this team  as your have given Jeter ???

Even Dick Vitale has commented that he thought that any kid recruited ought to be able to contribute at least 10 minutes a game !!!   Let’s face it, both Obi and Antonio could not be as much of a liability, individually or together, as Jeter has been !!!   Actually, in those 21 minutes Obi has played, he has accomplished more statistically than Jeter !!!  Who knows what Antonio is capable of as he’s only gotten microscopic minutes.

 

Topic #3:   Only 6 Guys Playing …

How can only 6 guys be expected to handle the load of a season in one of America’s toughest conferences, especially when none of them played that many minutes last year ???

Rowan:

Some of the best college teams depend on a very short rotation. Oklahoma, Iowa State, Wichita State and maybe Virginia, but they do a very good job of finding a breather for their Starters who play big minutes.  There is, however, one important factor these teams have that differs from Duke immensely. These guys are Seniors.  Considering that the returning players on Duke were support players last season, and most of the other players were in high school last season, playing only 6 guys is not a great idea.

Bermuda Bob:

One of my favourite things to see in the past was when Coach K took up Coach Roy Williams’ practice of platooning his players. Now, for some unbeknownst reason, Coach K did not recruit the type of players that would allow him to do this, presently … well, unless he played his “Walk-On” players. 

So, when Coach K sees his players dragging their respective posteriours, how on earth does he expect them to shoot and play effective Defense with tired legs ???   As Ro points out, not one of these kids were Starters in the ACC last year, so how can we expect them to perform up to Duke standards when they collectively could envoke Scottie’s famous lament to Captain Kirk:

“Aye Captain … I don’t think the engines can handle the load !!!” 

 

Topic #4:    That Same Old Look !!!

There was no discernible difference between the look of Duke in the last 5 games.   If it has only worked in one game, doesn’t it stand to reason that a different offensive approach is on order ???

Rowan:

Other than jacking up too many 3 Pointers against Syracuse, Duke has a fine offense.  Their issues stem from the other end of the Court where guys are pacing themselves and playing to avoid Fouls.

Bermuda Bob:

Man-oh-man, have you said a mouthful !!!  How many times have we lamented that Duke was just jacking up shots without much circumspection ???  Up goes the shot, and no one even attempts an Offensive Rebound.  That was the original meaning of the “one-and-done.”

If I was able to show you the last 5 games, and blindfold you at selected spots in each game, then remove the blindfold, aside from the opposition uniforms, I bet you’d be unable to tell the difference. The only commonality is that they’d all be losses !!!

Sure, Coach K has employed a variety of Zone defenses, I simply do not see a congruous set of Offensive plays being run.

Not once …

… have I seen anyone even attempt a fall away shot like Seth perfected …

… have I seen Ingram posted at the Free Throw Line providing a double offensive threat of a give-and-go, or a pivot to the basket, or even a turn around shot from 15 feet …

… have I seen “Plums” and Obi (is he still on the team ???) present a “twin towers” look causing the defense to wonder who to double-team …

Come to think of it, I’ve only seen Obi in the blink of an eye (21 minutes), and Antonio even less.   How could both of these guys be more of a liability than Jeter ???

Topic #5:    Another Foot Problem in Those Nike Shoes …

This may not be an answer this year, but doesn’t the prolonged perpetuance of foot problems over recent years, and the fact that Duke genuflects at the foot of Nike (contractually), seem to have a strange coincidental ring to it ???

Rowan:

Nike are said to be the best in the business, but Ryan Kelly now Amile, small sample, maybe Duke should look into this more carefully. Better be safe than sorry.

Bermuda Bob:

Well, Ro, I’m going to dispute that Nike is the best in the business.  They might be the best at marketing themselves, or buying themselves into major programmes, or creating so many different uniforms for cuckold college players, but I question of they are the best shoe.  I can tell you that I know, first hand, that most intense athletes I have come across look elsewhere for their competitive footwear.   Sure, Nike makes collectible shoes, but are they equally designed to perform ???  I can’t wear Nike, and my marathoner daughter can’t either, nor can many of her contemporaries in her running club, so how good could Nike really be ???

Let’s look at this in recent times.  Start with Zoubs, then consider Kyrie, then move to “Plums” and then to Seth, on to Ryan, a problem for “Oaks” … and now to Amile.   That may be just 7 guys, but in the real world, that’s considered a trend !!!

I’ll admit it … I have a particular distain for Nike because they believe that they can dictate what teams will wear simply because of the $$$ they pay schools for the right to outfit their sports teams.  What I don’t understand is why those schools allow Nike to deviate from their school colours just to provide a 3rd uniform in an attempt to sell more fan memorabilia.  The idea emanated in European Futbol, and has now been employed in college basketball and other sports.

So, simple logic means that since they are more concerned with selling product to fans, they may very well be less concerned about the actual needs of the feet/legs of the players !!!   My empirical proof is the seemingly yearly resurgence of a foot injury to a Duke player.

Thank for the Read !!!

Do you agree, disagree, or have another point of view ??? 

Please tell us about it …

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

@SimplyDukeBB

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

SDBB: “What Have We Learned So Far ???” after the 2K Title Game

SDBB - So ... What have we learned so far ???

Tonight, Bermuda Bob & Rowan Shiell discuss “What we have learned so far” in this very  young 2015-16 Duke season. 

Query #1

After the obvious choice of Grayson Allen, who has impressed you the most thus far ???

Bermuda Bob:

I actually have 2 guys … “Plums” and Amile“Plums” has played so much tougher than either of his big brothers ever did !!!

Amile has defined what a true Journeyman is.  He could be called the “garbage man” because he quietly gets things done without fanfare.   I think this Senior Leadership will pay long term premiums !!!

Rowan Shiell:

First of all, who saw this coming from Allen ??? Incredible !!!

I like Derryk Thornton’s poise. Expectations were raised when he forewent his Senior year of High School to join Duke early. He didn’t immediately have the success that was required of him, mainly because – even if people want to admit it or not – he will always be compared to Tyus Jones.

It was disappointing that Thornton wasn’t a Starter, and when he played, he didn’t exactly overwhelm.  In Duke’s first two games he was shooting 3-of-17.

Then against Kentucky, it became abundantly clear to Thornton that he could actually play with the best of them.  He literally matured before our eyes, but it wasn’t obvious because Kentucky won big.  That’s not to mention Tyler Ulis got the upper hand down the stretch, but then he (Ulis) is probably the best Point Guard in college basketball.

Next game, against VCU, he Started and scored 19.  Against Georgetown he dropped 14.  In the NBA you don’t need a Point Guard to win, but not in college basketball. It is a must !!!

Query #2

In Allen’s last game, against Georgetown, he shot 9/12 on 5/6 from 3 and went 9/9 at the Free Throw Line.  A more perfect game he may never have.  If he continues at something close to this pace, he’s the hands-own Player of the Year, but the real question is:  

Is his current play enough to win Duke an ACC and even a National Championship ???

Bermuda Bob:

I think the real question is to wonder how adaptable Grayson is.  JJ proved to us that a Duke Guard could score tonnes.  Grayson is multi-faceted.  He Rebounds and dishes Assists.  I wonder if other defenses can replicate what Kentucky accomplished.  Personally, I believe that Kentucky’s “bigs” did what “bigs” instinctively do … hands up and block shots.  The sheer size of their Front Line schooled Grayson.  It wasn’t something Kentucky needed their “recruiter-in-coach” to direct them to do.   He just enjoyed looking like he did.  The end result was that they gave Coach K plenty of fodder to help make his Sophomore a better player and leader !!!

Rowan Shiell:

No. As the young season has shown, Duke wins only when Allen has not just a good game, but a great game.  That is a high standard to uphold.   We know what we are going to get from Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee. Matt Jones looks like he can take on some more of the scoring load, however, if either Luke Kennard, and especially Brandon Ingram, cannot find their legs it is going to be a long season.

Remember, JJ Reddick used to be so run down by season’s end, he could barely get his “dukes” up for the tournament ???  That was the last time Duke had a player scoring 28 plus points a game.

Query #3:

Which Frosh has impressed (or not impressed) you the most ???

Bermuda Bob:

I think Thornton is maturing before our eyes.  I know that Ingram is in the mold of Kevin Durant, but he seems to get battered around when he penetrates.  It shows in his shots always being short.  Kennard finally found his shot on Sunday, and Jeter could be odd man out.

Rowan Shiell:

Have a guess who I think is the most impressive ???  Thornton is still learning, but I like his progress so far.  He has a good mid-range shot and he can hit the Three.  He just needs to get those Assist numbers up.  It does help if his teammates are making those shots too.

Query #4

What single factor do you think will define the rest of the non-conference season for Duke ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

While I think he has been forced to go to it because of the immaturity of his Frosh, I think Coach K’s acquiescence to go to a few Zone defenses will pay high premiums.  That 1-3-1 on Sunday was brilliant !!!  I almost changed the channel between a 1-3-1 defense and those horrid black uniforms made me wonder if I was really seeing Duke, or had I inadvertently switched channels ???

Rowan Shiell:

If the Georgetown game taught us anything, it was that 8 won’t do this season.  Now, with the propensity to Foul being far too easy to accomplish, I imagine Coach K will be looking to work another player into the rotation. It might be Chase Jeter, or Sean Obi.  I don’t know.  We saw Georgetown mount a furious comeback without Jefferson or Plumlee protecting the Rim.  Duke needs insurance against that happening again.

Query #5

Can Duke succeed with who they’ve got ???

Bermuda Bob:

Considering that Duke has the best College Coach of all time, I think he will have to “coach his brains out” because I think this is the biggest challenge he has had in all his years.  I honestly think he is up to it, and with the supporting coaching staff, I think they have the potential to go deep.  Remember, we have not yet seen the very deep bench, who are equally as talented.   It all hinges on leadership …

Rowan Shiell:

Yes, but Coach K is going to have to be on his “A” Game with this team. Right now, I have them middle of the pack in the ACC. Florida State has some great pieces, and Miami has been a revelation.  UNC should have Marcus Paige back by then, and even though they lost to UNI recently, they are still a dangerous team.  Even Wake jumped up and bit Indiana without their best player.  Then there is Notre Dame.

Most defenses are struggling under the new rules which are designed to promote scoring.  So, the best defensive system is now practically a good offense, and the ability to make Free Throws.

Bermuda Bob:

You are so right, my friend … Anyone remember when Vice Lombardi noted that “The best Defense is a good Offense” ???

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

Thanks for giving us a read !!!  

We welcome your comments here, or at our Twitter site:

@SimplyDuke BB

 

 

Simply Duke Basketball: 100 Days Ago … A Retrospective of the 5th Duke National Championship Season

BIIVBBJPXVYOTDX.20150408021049

Just about every organization is evaluated for their 1st 100 Days, but we’re going switch things up a bit.  

It has been 100 days since Duke won it’s 5th National Championship.

So, lets now join Ro Shiell and Bermuda Bob look back after

“Sleeping on it for 100 Days” 

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

Query #1

Which championship run was more dominant, 2010 or 2015 ???

Bermuda Bob:

I think that they were very different teams.  The 2010 team was dominated by Seniors, who were more seasoned, more versatile, and, I believe, played a tougher schedule to the Finals.  They won the ACC, led in a bunch of stats, won the ACC Tournament, and then the Big Dance.

This 2015 team had plenty of ups and downs, had far less seasoning, was not very versatile inasmuch as everyone had well defined positional responsibilities, and was not nearly as dominate in the ACC as the 2010 guys were.  This 2015 team surprised a lot of experts.

Ro: 

The 2010 team only found themselves after Brian Zoubek was inserted into the starting lineup in January. This team was beating everyone straight out of the gate. There were some similarities though.

The 2010 team was dominated by upperclassmen while the 2015 team was carried by Freshmen, but both teams got better when there was a defection or two. Elliot Williams was meant to be a star at Duke.  He transferred   surprisingly, just before the start of the season, leaving many with an underwhelming feeling of the upcoming season.  Williams was meant to be the starter at Point Guard (probably one reason he didn’t hesitate to stay as he preferred off-guard), and left only Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer in the Backcourt.  That prompted Andre Dawkins to leave high School early, however tragedy would befall the saviour-to-be when his mother was hurt and his sister killed in a car accident on their way to see Duke play.  This forced Coach K to use a tight rotation which worked out brilliantly.

The 2015 team dropped down to “eight” after a disgruntled Rasheed Sulaimon was expelled.  Maybe there is a pattern here. Coach K wins with a tight rotation.  This doesn’t bode well for the upcoming season though.

Query #2

What was your most memorable play from the Big Dance ???

Bermuda Bob:

I think that play in the Wisconsin game where Grayson got that loose ball and began to take over.   Up to that point, I thought it was anyone’s game.  Quinny & Matt we’re cold as ice, “Oaks” & Justise had 4 Fouls, and Grayson was so solid and inspiring that the tired Wisconsin guys were flummoxed.

It was the reason why Duke had to create the “One Shining Moment Award” for Grayson at the Annual Awards Banquet.  

Ro:

Most of the games in the tournament were over pretty early, except for the Final Four and Championship game (the Utah game was also close but Duke was in control).  Duke’s play in the waning minutes was pretty inspiring. First Grayson Allen and Tyus Jones eroded a 9 point lead by the Badgers, that inspired Okafor, who reentered the game.

Okafor picked up 4 Fouls and was relegated to the Bench early until just under 3 minutes left on the clock.   Coach K took a chance and inserted the Center back into the game.  There was a sequence when Okafor scored 4 Points on 2 offensive rebounds.  On one occasion “Frank the Tank” held his shoulder’s down, but Jahlil executed a brilliant spin move in the paint for a “plus one,” though he would miss the free throw.  On the other end he played Kaminski straight up one-and-one and blocked his shot cleanly.

By the time that sequence was finished, Duke had retaken the lead, however the Badgers hadn’t gotten to the Final Four without a fight.  They looked to storm back, but Tyus Jones was not going to be denied a championship, something he prophesied a year earlier.

Query #3

What was the most heartbreaking loss of the season ???

Bermuda Bob:

Things were off to a bad conference start with back-to-back losses at State, and then Miami at home in January.  Then Coach K outsmarted Rick Pitino in their house and the ship seemed to be righted.

Then came the Notre Dame game.  It was a turning point for the team, they lost a hard fought game, and Rasheed was thrown off the team the next day.  It is when the saying “8 is Enough” got a new meaning, inasmuch as Duke now only had 8 scholarship players on the roster.   It was when those kids realized that if they wanted to fulfill their dream of a National Championship, they had to become men.  

Ro:

Up until January, Duke looked like a Final Four team.  There was a feeling that they were on a collision course with an undefeated Kentucky team, never mind that ACC rival Virginia was undefeated at the time.  The struggle with Wake Forest, in the previous game, was ignored and put down to fatigue and then there was the first loss to NC State.  A setback, but there was still optimism, better to lose now than later, or it was due to that dreaded Freshman “wall.”

Then the following game, Miami happened, and the wheels literally came off the cart.  The defense that looked vulnerable against bottom feeder Wake Forest, was subsequently exposed by NC State.  They got totally hammered by Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium, snapping a 41 game home winning record. The Blue Devils immediately moved from a team with teething problems to a broken one.  

Query #4

What was the most inspirational win from the past season ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

Easily, the Virginia game right after the Notre Dame game, then the trouncing of Notre Dame 8 days later at Cameron.  It was beginning of Duke winning thru February and didn’t stop until they got caught napping against Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament.  12 games in total, then another 6 to win the National Championship.  

Ro: 

The game that showed that Duke was a national contender was the victory at Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten challenge.  After that the sky was the limit, if a Freshman laden team can beat a previously Final Four team on their own home turf.

The most inspiring game was not a victory but a loss to Notre Dame.  After losing back-to-back games to NC State and Miami, Duke was in limbo. They rebounded to beat Louisville and St. John’s on the road, and PITT at home, but they didn’t have the same fire they previously had where they broke teams early and cruised to victory. Those 3 victories were the grind it out types.

Then they went to Notre Dame, who were 8-1 in the ACC play at the time, while Duke stood at 4-2.  This was a really big test and Duke pushing the Irish right down to the wire until Jerian Grant made a few clutch (lucky) plays.

After that game the resounding feeling among the Duke squad was that they could have won.  Then there was the unfortunate dismissal of Sulaimon. Next game was against undefeated Virginia, on their home turf. It was a tough victory, that game Duke got their “mojo” back, propelling them on a 12 game winning streak.

Query #5

All season we lamented Duke’s lack of perimeter defense and rim protection but in the tournament, they seemed to turn this around.  Have you ever seen a bigger turn around ??? 

Bermuda Bob: 

In modern Duke history, I’d have to say that the way the 2010-11 Team reformulated their chemistry after the injury to Kyrie Irving.  They changed the way they played, won the ACC Tournament, and were awarded a #1 Seed, but were sent to the West Region.  Unfortunately, their formidable efforts went down the drain when Irving suddenly proclaimed himself ready for play, upsetting that chemistry, leading to the slaughter by Arizona in the Sweet 16.

As we now know, he got back on the floor by convincing Coach K he was staying for at least another year, but was really looking to be drafted #1.   

Ro:

These Freshmen were clearly talented, and were a complete fit for each other. Everyone assumes that they just turned up, won, then headed to the NBA. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Coach K has really earned his respect with how he masterminded this 5th NCAA Championship.

Throughout the tournament no Duke player was consistent offensively, but collectively their Defense prevailed every game.  If anyone had suggested in early January, that Duke would win a championship based on their Defense, they would have instantly been medicated on the spot and taken away.

This was a remarkable turnaround and the Duke coaching staff has to be given credit for such a miraculous job. Justice Winslow was the chief operator on the Court, with Matt Jones, and especially in the Championship game, Amile Jefferson.

Okafor maybe a terrible pick-and-roll defender but he can straight-up defend the Post.  Quinn Cook and Tyus Jones realised that on their own. They may struggle to stay in front of their mark but together they were lethal.

Query #6

Throughout the season, who do you think was the most unappreciated player ???  

No faire picking Grayson !!! 

Bermuda Bob:

I think it’s a tie between Amile and “Plums” … These guys are different inasmuch as Amile is more of the “strong, silent type” where “Plums” was high energy in his play and “pumping up” the team and the fans !!!  Imagine someone who could pump up the Cameron Crazies more than they already are, but “Plums” did it !!! 

Amile was the benefactor of double teams on “Oaks” on the offensive side, but more often than not, he was deft on the defensive side.  Later in the season, he was asked to play the Pivot at the Foul Line, and work the “pick-and-roll” or “dish-and-drive” ... something he had not done before.  I never saw anything but positive captaincy from him, as he used that incredible wingspan to his advantage.  His stats bespeak him as the solid, dependable presence that allowed the team to “click” !!!

“Plums” had the more difficult task of spelling the guy who was in his presumed position way back when he accepted his Red Shirt.  He did it with the class and verve of the gentleman he is !!!  How often did we see him excel on both sides of the Court in 2-3 minutes, only to be set back down at the next TV Time Out ???  I never once saw anything but leadership and acceptance of his role, all while fist pumping and shouting encouragement to his teammates !!!  I look forward to seeing more of his trademark thunderous dunks in his last season at Duke this year.

Ro:

We didn’t see Grayson Allen that much, so I agree that Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee are worthy candidates here.  I would also add Matt Jones to that equation, however they will all come up short next to Quinn Cook.

For 4 years we have all lamented the faults of the Senior Captain.  At one point there were grumblings that he should transfer, but Cook withstood the criticism.  He was even upstaged multiple times by Freshmen, but Cook kept coming … kept plugging away.

He suffered some embarrassing defeats in the NCAA tournament.  Twice, he was a part of teams that lost in the 1st round (actually 2nd round but first game in the tournament), which is very un-Duke-like. Can you imagine the nightmares he must have had before the tournament started ???

At this point, I would bombard you with stats and facts but that would be pointless here because I am referring to Cook’s game off the court. How he was able to be a shining example to his teammates.  His end of year speech at the Duke banquet will always be memorable, especially when he turned to his Head Coach and said the following:

“You called me and my mom into a meeting and you were brutally honest, but you gave me confidence I could lead these guys,” Cook said to Krzyzewski. “From that day on, I didn’t want to let you down. I made it my agenda to be the first one at practice and the last one to leave.”

How much did this 5th Duke Championship mean to you ???

Did you celebrate then wake up the next day wondering if, or hoping, next season’s team can repeat this, essentially moving on immediately ???

So you may have followed Duke for years. You probably saw The Shot and Shane Battier’s Block but this 5th Championship probably doesn’t mean as much to you as it did to Quinn Cook.  No player has suffered such heart breaking losses at Duke (other than Jeff Capel, but Coach K didn’t coach that team).  He was injured so that doesn’t count) in Coach K’s time like Quinn Cook did.

Cook has had a lot of love since the season wrapped up, but it isn’t enough. This is what sports is about … triumphing over adversity.  He started his career at Duke as a bench warmer, and lead the Blue Devils to a Championship his Senior year.

Query #7

What is the single most solitary aspect of this team that you will always remember about this team ???

Bermuda Bob: 

I believe that right from the start, this team always gave the impression that they genuinely liked each other, wanted to play together, and left their egos at the door.  They seemed to double-down on this attitude after the dismissal of Rasheed, which led many to believe that he was more of a detrimental distraction more than was reported.

Ro:

This team will always be remembered as the first non-Kentucky “one-and-done” squad to win a Championship.  This will be a shame because there is more to this team than that, however that’s how people will remember it.

Query #8

This team marked the first time Coach K won it all with a team dominated by “one-and-done” Freshman.  

Do you think of this as a pivotal impact point on the balance of Coach K’s career ??? 

Bermuda Bob: 

I never thought I’d have to admit this, but yes it does.  I am as happy as any other Duke fan that they won the National Championship, but it came at the cost of capitulation.  I only hope that a “2-and-done” scheme may be adopted by the NCAA/NBA in the not too distant future.  I’d even be happier if the MLB version were adopted.

Nonetheless, my hat is off to Coach K for managing these youngsters, and to them for winning it all !!!

I wish them the best in their individual futures.

Ro:

Why should it ???

The man has won in 4 decades, under different rules, and different cultures. Surely that is more of a testament to his staying power and flexibility.

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

Thanks for sharing this retrospective of Duke’s return to glory !!!  

We welcome you comments either here on on our Twitter site at:

@SimplyDukeBB