SDBB – Duke 2017-18 Player Profiles – The “Walk-On” Players – Brennan Besser & Mike Buckmire

By Bermuda Bob

“Walk On” players are guys who do not have basketball scholarships.  They are paying their way, unless they have been granted an academic scholarship, as opposed to having an athletic scholarship.

They can usually be found in their usual places, at the end of the bench.  They are often referred to as “practice players” or “bench cheerleaders.”  

Their worth to the team in immeasurable.  They practice hard each day, trying to imitate opposition players so as to prepare the Starters for the next game.  Their reward is to share the success of the team as a full member !!!

On the odd chance that they might get to play, they instantly become crowd favourites, being rooted on to score !!!

Senior Mike Pagliuca graduated, so Mike Buckmire takes his spot, wearing #51.  Brennen Besser returns for his Junior year in #53.

Here are some biographical info you might be interested in …

Brennan is a 6’5″ 180 lb. Guard from Chicago, who is said to be one of the most well-liked and respected players in the Duke locker room …

Mike is 6’2″ 172 lb. Guard from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.  He was a 4 year Varsity Starter in High School, who averaged 22.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game as a Senior, serving as Team Captain.  Mike had some serious Ivy League and D-III offers after High School, but he opted for the Duke experience, so he is hoping to possibly earn a full scholarship, as Justin Robinson did this year.

A great little bit of Duke trivia is that Mike’s Dad was a member of the NCAA Championship Winning 1986 Duke Men’s Soccer Team.

Thanks for the read !!!

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SDBB: The Trouble With Duke at VaTech …


Anyone who is an old movie fan of Alfred Hitchcock will fondlyimages-673  remember the “black comedy” classic The Trouble with Harry.   Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech made me feel the same way.

A “black comedy” has nothing to do with colour or race. It is essentially a comedic satire that causes laughter from cynicism or skepticism.   Nothing could describe where Duke is after this game more succinctly !!!

In the movie, a very stayed New England town is faced with what to do with the corpse of Harry, a local resident, whom a handful of the residents think they might have accidentally killed.   In the end, it turns out that he died of natural causes, but the machinations before that discovery remind me of Duke’s Saturday effort.

Duke was never in this game.   That’s not to take away anything from the performance of the Hokies.   They shot 55% to Duke’s 42% from the Floor and 62% to Duke’s 31% from outside the Arc. That is lights out in any type of contest !!!

Duke outrebounded Tech 41 to 33, but that’s elementary, considering that the Hokies gave plenty away in height.

So, why did this happen ???

  1. Amile and Matt did not play even close to what we had become accustomed to seeing.   Frank Jackson simply tried too hard.
  1. Luke shot an excellent game, scoring 34 Points, but his closest companion scorer was Jayson Tatum whose 18 Points came from a poor shooting percentage.   His 6 of 14 from the Floor often gave Tech scoring opportunities in Transition.
  1. The Bench was ineffective, unproductive, and impotent in the paltry 25 minutes the 4 guys got.    Harry Giles got half of those minutes and while he prevailed over the smaller Tech players with 8 Rebounds, he also committed 3 Fouls.

In his Post-Game Presser, Coach K noted that Harry was ” … learning in real time …” because ” … this is the first time in 15 months …” that he is playing. He also noted that “… he gets winded” and that his teammates are unaccustomed to playing with him.

I again call for Harry Giles to be Red-Shirted !!! He is not yet close to living up to his press-clippings, and regardless of the excuses Coach K is making for him, Duke does not have the minutes to waste on a guy who cannot perform up to expectations because of a recurring injury.   There are other guys on the Bench who can and will contribute if given meaningful playing time !!!

  1. Duke is a very different team without Grayson. He is part of the core of this team along with Amile, Matt, and Luke.   I am not calling for him to be reinstated until Coach K is convinced that his discipline has been effectual.   I’m asking for the same type of opportunity given to the Bench guys, just like Grayson got against Wisconsin.   Remember how Coach K had to create an award for the year-end dinner to recognize his performance ???

Trust me, there is more than one guy on the Bench …

Who can be that guy ???

What’s ahead ???

Georgia Tech, who defeated UNC as convincingly as the Hokies did to Duke, and in the Dean Dome !!! This year’s ACC is easily the most competitive conference across-the-board, so there will be few push-overs this year.

What needs to be done ???

Coach K has got to change his ways and play the WHOLE team, regardless of what he has done in the past.   The circumstances he is saddled with this year are very different than anything he has been faced with in the past.

This year’s Frosh are nothing like his “threesome” from 2014-15. Tatum is coming into his own, but something has happened to Bolden. Giles would better serve Duke, not himself, by returning next year to prove he is the player he was expected to be.

Grayson’s suspension has obviously been a blow to the chemistry of the upperclassmen Starters.   Coach K needs to find that additional guy who can step-up.   After all, each kid who earned a uniform was recruited for more than Practice !!!


Uniform Watch …

Lastly, with this first conference game of the year, I’d like to institute a “Uniform Watch” to our comments.   As many of you readers will recall, I have been a vocal objector to the Duke Blue Devils wearing BLACK uniforms.   There is NEVER a time nor place when BLACK uniforms are appropriate.    In this game, for no good reason, Duke wore BLACK uniforms, which I object to as Duke has sold out to Nike, who came up with these “alternative” uniforms.   I am very sorry to say that Duke has sold out to Nike by allowing them to formulate a uniform that has nothing to do with the Duke BLUE Devils.   I believe this is an disgrace that Duke has allowed this to occur.   I hope this is the last time I need to point this out, but I seriously doubt it.


Thanks for reading …

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


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.


Thanks for reading !!!

Watch for our next introduction tomorrow …

Simply Duke Basketball – Introducing Duke’s Frosh: #53, Brennan Besser

SDBB - #53 Brennan Besser

As Coach K’s Freshmen-laden roster prepares for their first exhibition game on Friday night against Florida Southern, we’d like to introduce you to Duke’s Frosh for this season.

We’ll do it by the numbers … jersey numbers, that is.

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

Brennan Besser, a 6’5″ and 180 lb Guard, hails from Chicago, where he played at the Latin School.  He will join Nick Pagliuca as the other Walk-on this year.  His slot was made available to him once Justin Robinson was granted a full scholarship by Coach K.

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 additionally played golf his Freshman and Sophomore years.  Brennan is brother to 4 older sisters.

He will undoubtedly be a valued addition to Duke’s practice squad, as have his predecessors.


Thanks for reading !!!

Watch for our next Frosh introduction right behind this guy.

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