SDBB – Duke “Countdown to Craziness” From An Attendee’s Viewpoint …

By Bill Wheeler

The bright sun warmed the late October afternoon.  As the doors opened to Cameron Indoor Stadium you could sense the temperature was going to rise inside.  My wife and I moved through the tight security and stopped in the foyer to look at some of the displays – 5 NCAA Championship rings, various sizes and colours of Nike basketball shoes worn by Duke standouts, and a history timeline of the Cameron construction.

We walked up to the second level and found our section only to have the Usher point out that we needed to weave from an upper row down to the row below and back up to reach our seats at the top of Cameron next to a steel girder.  Cameron Crazies wearing light blue horns had already filled their seats directly across the Court at the Sideline.  Graduate students filled the end line seats at both ends of the court.  The rest of the crowd filled in their seats over the next hour and a half.

For each of the 5 years we have attended Countdown, the pre-game entertainment has varied a little from the previous year.  This year there was gift certificate offered if 3 shots could be made within 30 seconds.  An award winning male dancer from Ireland tapped at mid-court over protective paper.  Musical chairs were played for 5 contestants paired with a Duke Woman’s Basketball teammate.  There were acapella singers, and an East Indian cultural dance to entertain before the Main Event.

As 8 PM, approached the song “Every Time We Touch” rang across the stadium and the Cameron Crazies began to clap in unison along with the fans standing and joining in.  When the chorus played, my wife and I kept up with the Crazies pumping our arms up and down. The National Guard marched out onto the floor and chills went down my spine as the Duke women sang the Anthem.

Thank you, Duke fans, for displaying Blue Devil and American Pride !!!

The crowd remained standing and began to reverberate yells of approval and clapped as a 2 minute video of the Duke basketball team played on the scoreboard.  Upon its completion, a florescent green string extended down from the scoreboard to the Court.  My wife asked me what it meant.  Unknowingly, I answered it must represent an electric chord.  Jagged lights flashed on the court and radiated out from Center Court to the End Lines.  The players were introduced with their picture shown on half of the Court and their signature in florescent green on the other half, while the player danced at mid-court to their favorite song.

The final player introduced was Grayson Allen and the noise level reached a deafening approval.  “Every Time We Touch” played again with fans clapping in unison.  Saturday, in the Duke bookstore, I saw this season Duke Men’s Basketball Yeam banner titled “Electric.”

Having watched some of the Freshmen highlight videos, it was interesting to see their skills in real time combined with some impressive improvements from the returning players. Javin DeLaurier was the top rebounder with 9, 3 Assists, and only scoring 3 Points.  Later I learned he was nursing a tender hamstring.

The Blue Team was led by Gary Trent, who scored 13 points, while Wendell Carter had 11, and Alex O’Connell, dwarfed by the physical stature of the “Bigs,” scored an impressive 8 Points driving to the basket and from outside.   Trevon Duval played Point Guard for the Blue Team with 3 Assists and 4 Turnovers.

His counterpart on the White Team, Jordan Goldwire showed some “Heads Up” skills with no turnovers and good defense.  Jack White led his team with 6 boards.  Marques Bolden took several minutes to work his way among the “Bigs” and finished strong.  Marvin Bagley III scored 12 Points. while Grayson Allen had 3 Assists and 13 Points.  He should be a “beast” in all phases of the game this season.

With so many “Bigs” to help out this season, this team could be impressive, of course, as long as they show up with a solid defense.

Go Duke !!!

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SDBB: Point/CounterPoint – 7 Questions After 7 ACC Games – Part #1

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After 7 ACC games that leaves Duke with a paltry 3-4 ACC Record, instead of asking, in the words of the great Vince Lombardi: 

What the Hell is Going On at Out There???” 

We’d like to introduce our newest contributor, Bill Wheeler, and give our readers a chance to get to know him via his thoughts on 7 Questions, all designed to ask the question we all struggle with:  

“What the Hell is Going On at Duke ???”

Tonight, we tackle the first 3 …

Point #1:        

Let’s start with an easy one … What is the reasoning of putting Duke Blue Devils in Black, or even Gray uniforms ??? 

Doesn’t mean that Duke has sold their soul to Nike ???

Bill:       

Let’s follow the money to answer this question.  The apparel companies spent a staggering $1.1 billion on college athletics during 2014-15 season.  One source ranks Michigan with the # 1 apparel deal with Nike at $10 million per year or $169 million over 15 years.  Nike will supply all 31 of the Wolverine athletic programs with uniforms.  Notre Dame is ranked #2 with a $9 million contract with Adidas.  The average contract per ACC conference team is estimated to be around $ 2.5 million.

Since Duke is a private institution, the dollars Nike is compensating Duke are not readily available.  I emailed Nike investor relations and have not received a received a response as of this writing.

The following statements from Duke Sports Information were found in 2 articles:

“Duke has been exclusive to Nike since 1992.”

In 2008, Duke and Nike agreed to:

  1.    Provide cash compensation annually to Duke Athletics
  2.    Annual funding to local charities of Duke’s choice
  3.    Each year one Duke student-athlete will receive paid internship at Nike headquarters

In 2015, Nike and Duke agreed to a 12-year extension.  At this point, I think Duke sold their soul.  A Portland Business Journal reporter, Matthew Kish, outlines the contracts of the 2015 Final Four teams.  The following is a link to his article:

http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/threads_and_laces/2015/04/apparel-contracts-final-four-teams-nike-adidas.html

Do you blame an athletic department for signing these lucrative agreements ???  No, however, good business practices such as cyclical review of contracts are prudent.  At some point you would expect this business model have a downturn.

Bermuda Bob:        

You’ve quoted some powerful statistics there, which are mind-boggling in and of themselves.  My problem with any of the uniforms designed by the companies is they have totally and utterly disregarded the schools who have a colour named in their mascot’s name.

Duke is the “Blue Devils” are named for a very famous French fight force, yet they list only Blue and White as their official colours. They have worn Black as an “alternate” … Alternate for what ??? Is there something wrong with just your official colours ???  I don’t think so !!!

Another example is Rutgers, who are the “Scarlet Knights” and their official colour is just Scarlet, yet they have worn any number of colours like Black, Silver, White, etc.

Then there’s Miami, who are the “Hurricanes” and their official colours are Green, Orange, & White, but they wore Black uniforms against Duke this year.

I could go on and on, and bored you to death, but the point I’m driving at is that uniform companies design additional uniform colours to pad their bottom line.  My question is why the schools often acquiesce to a Black uniform when it has nothing to do with they colours ???  Black is the absence of colour to the human eye.  It doesn’t make you look tougher. As a matter of fact is makes many guys look diminutive.   Coach Jon Scheyer, not a Charles Atlas-type, looked pale and spindly when he wore a Black Duke uniform. Was that what Duke wanted to portray ???  I hardly think so !!!

I’ll also note that some programmes, like North Carolina, whose “Carolina Blue” is the best selling colour of any college, never allows alternate colours unless they are for a particular supported charity.   My Duke Royal Blue hat is off to you !!!

 

Point #2:

Does Duke’s problems with Nike shoes, that continues into this year, mean Nike is an inferior product ???

Bill:                 

When you reference Duke foot problems, the first player I think about is Kyrie Irving’s toe in 2011.  In reality, the number of Duke injuries is well documented in Steve Fortosis’s 2013 article. He lists the all the players starting with Bobby Hurley in February 1992 to MP3, 7 of these were breaks to the 5th metatarsal bone, see link below:

http://dukereport.com/duke-basketball/duke-basketball-foot-injuries-sfortosis/

Last season, Duke lost Amile Jefferson and this year Grayson Allen and Jayson Tatum to ankle or foot injuries.

Duke is not the only school affected by foot problems. UNC has had some recent foot injuries.   Who is their contract with ???  Nike.

Nike is not alone in complaints, ESPN blamed Adidas for Bull’s star Derrick Rose problems.

To me the number of injuries from a shoe product is more than a blip on a chart.  I question the quality of Nike’s product and I propose an in depth review by doctors, athletes, weekend warriors and schools with an emphasis on the athlete not the dollars.

Bermuda Bob:        

My daughter is a marathon runner and cross-trainer.  She has a certain brand of shoe she wears and simply will not wear anything else. She has tried other shoes, and profoundly dislikes Nike because of their fit and foot bed.

So, with that in mind, I have always wondered:

What would happen if a player simply refused to wear a team’s sponsor’s shoe ???

Would he be forced to wear a shoe he does not wish to, especially if he had good reason ???

I would sincerely hope not, but something tells me I’m wrong, and that’s contrary to the benefit of the player !!!

Your comments about the propensity for the same injury speaks volumes, but unfortunately, I fear such statistics would fall on deaf ears, and that’s a shame that a player’s welfare might be subverted to a sponsorship contract.

Point #3:        

Duke has had a long history of players looking like All American kids.  This year’s team picture is with the guys showing their style, but in the same suits.  What’s with Tatum’s engraved thunderbolt, or whatever it’s supposed to be ???

Bill:

Are we such old fogies, that we can’t accept a little individualism in team sports ???  In 1970s, “Pistol Pete” Maravich rang up the scoreboard and showed off fantastic passing skills along with his mop hairstyle.  Several years ago, Gonzaga’s Morrison wore bangs that looked as if they would block his vision, yet he was a prolific scorer.  For football fans, who can forget Pittsburg Steeler’s hard nosed safety Troy Polamalu.  His dreadlocks that drew all kinds of comments and ultimately a change to the rule book.  If you aren’t a sports fanatic, then you may have seen TV Simpsons and their creative hairdos.

If you look at Duke roster pictures dating back to 2007, players show clean cut hairstyles with some players sporting a little facial hair.  Then came 2010, Zoubek may have set the tone for future Duke player individualism with his beard.  Duke’s most recent National Championship team stood out from all prior teams – Winslow, Okafor and Cook each had unique hair styles.

Other basketball coaches allow their players to wear headbands. I don’t like the individual statements today’s players try to make, but I’ll leave it up to the coaches.

Bermuda Bob:        

Ah yes, I plead guilty as charged … I am an old foggy !!!   I routinely wear coordinated colours, and am a fussbudget when it comes to my hair, beard, and handlebar mustache.  I’m somewhat unique with that look, just like the kids are these days.  Lastly, I flatly refuse to wear logos … After all, they are not paying me to advertise for them.

Marketing Majors like myself often argue which was the greatest marketing ploy ever.  Many believe it was when Nike made it “cool” to wear their logo emblazoned across the chest.  Thus, they had people paying to wear their logo and advertising for Nike !!!

Back to Duke, I think Matt “Cazzie” Jones looks great in his beard, but if you can’t grow a proper one, you ought to keep your razor.  Straggle or stubble is not a beard, and that razor ought to be employed.   I don’t mind new and different hairstyles as long as they do not impact performance.  After all, our generation saw some pretty great looking afro’s.  Who will ever forget Dr. J’s !!!

I can remember when Baseball players with extra long locks in the 70’s were considered to have an “abnormal extension” in the event that a pitch hit those locks. No base awarded !!!

I understand that no coach will allow a headband unless it is supplied by the school’s sponsor and emblazoned with their logo.  Some guys turn it around and I like that, but there’s only one way to wear a headband – like Wilt Chamberlain did, functionally, and not as a uniform accouterment !!!

Lastly, I need to address Jason Tatum’s “thunderbolt” engraved into the side of his head hair.  As my Granddaughter would say: “Ah, No !!!”   No previous Duke player ever felt the need to make himself stand out this way, and no Duke player ought to do it.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say later in the season …

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Look for Points #4 thru #7 tomorrow !!!

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

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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.

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

SDBB: NOW the Real Season Begins for a Duke Team at Less Than True Strength …

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

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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.

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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 $$$ !!!

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

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Point/CounterPoint #17 – After North Carolina & Into the ACC Tournament

SDBB - Point-CounterPoint LogoIn this installment Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob cover things after the Duke win over Carolina, have a bit of a look into the ACC Tournament, and even have a word about Kentucky … 

Query #1

Duke prevailed in their 2nd meeting with North Carolina at the Dean Dome.  This game had it’s ups and downs, with Duke coming out hard and fast, then losing their lead, and finally taking the lead for good.  

Did we learn anything we didn’t think of yet ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

When Duke came out so hot, I was I worried that they would run of gas, Coach K subbed his whole Bench, and Carolina caught up, taking the lead at the Half.  It’s pretty obvious that, while they are capable of running with anyone, they give away something when the Starters need a “blow.”   While I think they would prefer to see a more measured approach, I don’t know if it’s possible.  That concerns me with teams that have a very competent bench.

Rowan:

Duke is very resilient. Last year’s team would have given up, or lost composure, after UNC took the lead. 

Query #2

Every CBB media outlet has lit up saying maybe Duke has “peaked” at the right time.  

Do you agree ???

 Is there anything they need to work on ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I think that’s much ado about nothing.  Traditionally, Duke draws an always tough Carolina, so if they win, especially for the second time, the media lights up.  I will see how they look in the ACC Tournament in possibly three (3) straight days of play.  That’s the big test to see if they can hold up.  Of course, they will have a bit more time to recover in the Big Dance, but this week is the fire that sharpens the blade !!!

Rowan:

The thing about the Post Season Tournaments is that everyone starts at zero. Murray State was peaking at the right time when they blitzed the Ohio Valley Conference 16-0, but fell in the Conference Finals tournament to Belmont.

Duke found a way to win the Carolina game. Not every game is going to be the same especially with the stakes being raised as it is now win, or go home. No second chances. We can take comfort with the thought that they are a tight knit bunch and they enjoy playing together. Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook do a masterful job of knowing when to take over games, and when to defer to other teammates. This should well help them going forward especially if Amile Jefferson can find himself. 

Query #3

Tyus has become the newest “Little Big Man” in Duke’s long line of Guards.  Has he met or surpassed your expectations of him from back when we profiled him in October ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I believe that comparisons are usually unfaire both to the present player and the alum.  Each player has his own specific style as it relates to their team.  The biggest aspect of concern this year was how Tyus would mesh with Quinny.   Well, the skeptics have all gone silent as the pair work like bread on butter.  My favourite thing about Tyus is how he always mentions his teammates and backs it up with his floor play.  He is the guy who gets it done, regardless of how he has to do it.  Against Carolina, he matched Amile’s team-high 6 Rebounds, doled our 7 Assists, shot 50% from both outside and inside the Arc, and was 12 of 12 at the Charity Stripe to lead the team with 24 Points.   Only one other player in Duke history did things like that – Bobby Hurley.  I’m sure both Bobby and Tyus would enjoy the comparison, especially because it’s made with such fondness for both !!!

Rowan:

I knew Jones had great ball control and could pass but, coming into the season, I was worried about two things regarding Tyus Jones, his ability to finish around the basket and to shoot the basketball. He currently shoots 40% of his 3 Pointers and has no problem finishing around the basket. Plus he gets to the free throw line just under five times a game where he is shooting 88%.

Query #4

There have been plenty of wonders about why Amile was not getting minutes.  He got 31 big minutes against Carolina.  

What impression do you have after the game ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

Amile is a true leader.  As a Co-Captain, he has done whatever it took to lead, even if it was from the Bench.  In this game he played plenty and was a “garbage man,” meaning he did a lot of dirty work.  His stats will never show the hustle he showed, but he seemed to be in on every play.  Most important to me was his 6 Rebounds with 5 of them being on the Offensive Boards.  That is probably the least emphasized statistic is college basketball.  He got the job done, and that was great to see !!!

Rowan:

I understand that the reason given for his “demotion” was that he was not rebounding well, so Matt Jones was elevated to the starting line up, which made little sense. In the Carolina game we saw exactly how Jefferson affects the game with his defense. He only had 6rebounds and 3 points to show for that 31 minutes, but at the end of the game Jay Bilas had high praise for Jefferson and his defensive awareness. 

Query #5

Predictably, “Oaks” was named to the 1st Team All-ACC, Quinny to the 2nd Team, Tyus to the 3rd Team, and Justise got Honourable Mention.              No Duke player was named to the Defensive Team  

Any surprises for you ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

I’m not so surprised.  Justise might have been higher had he not gotten banged-up in the middle of the season.  I also think that just having four (4) players honoured like this is sensational, regardless of which team they are named to.  On the contrary, not having anyone being mentioned to the Defensive Team is disheartening, but at the same time, profoundly honest.  Going forward, defense will be pivotal to moving forward in both the ACC Tournament and the Big Dance. 

Rowan:

I think Duke’s idea of Defense is to outscore their opponents. On a more serious note, I would only peg Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson as defensive players, but Jones’ defense has deteriorated this season and Jefferson spent more time watching ACC games than playing.

Query #6

Once again, Duke players have succumbed to foot and ankle problems.  It seems to be somewhat of a pervasive and omni-present aspect of Duke Basketball.  

In a day when uniform, footwear, and clothing manufactures seem to have a great deal of preeminence in the life of over the teams who they sponsor, do you see Nike as being responsible ???    

Bermuda Bob:

I have not laced up a pair of “sneakers” in ages, but I do know that each manufacturer’s products fit differently.  I also know that very often the manufacturers make footwear with more accent on style than performance.  They are in business to sell products, which is why Duke has a third uniform that is NOT in Duke’s official colours.  While I’m not an Orthopedist, I have to wonder about the support of the recent Nike shoes based on the injuries realized.  I’d surely be interested in a comparative analysis of ankle and foot injuries across the country by manufacturer.

Rowan:

This might be a little difficult to prove. I did see on Twitter that they might be wearing Kyrie Irving’s new shoes 

Query #7 

Kentucky has completed an undefeated season.

Are we going to talk about this ??? 

Rowan:

We should because going undefeated is an amazing feat no matter the circumstances. Some people say the SEC is weak this year, though ESPN “Bracketologist,” Joe Lunardi currently has the SEC sending 5 teams dancing, which is one less than the ACC. Florida, the one team that can be counted on to annually humble John Calipari is a long shot to make the tournament.

In good faith we must congratulate the players for having a remarkable season. Going undefeated is an achievement that cannot be taken away from them.

Bermuda Bob

Yes, Kentucky has gone undefeated and they deserve our recognition. I’m not as impressed as many fans, or most of the media. I also find it an anathema to compare them to the Indiana team of 1975-76. That team was essentially a team of “nobodies,” led by an all-time Hall of Fame coach, not a guy who has had wins vacated.

Pomeroy has their Strength of Schedule rating as 38th and 99th for it’s out of conference schedule. Their conference strength is at 5th, 6th, or 7th in the nation, dependent on who you believe.

I think Kentucky can be beaten by a team with a well-organized Game Plan, which they stick to strictly. To paraphrase Michael Corleone of “GodFather” fame: “If anything is this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you (can beat) anyone.”   I’ll put my faith in this concept.

 

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“After Sleeping on It …” – Frosh Grayson Allen Steals the Show on Duke’s Senior Night vs Wake Forest !!!

SDBB - Duke ZZZ's

 

Every year, the final Home Game of the year is dedicated as Senior Night for those players graduating.  It is their last game in front of the Cameron Crazies, and a chance for all fans to thank the player(s) for their contributions.

This year, it was Quinn Cook’s night.  We wondered why Sean Kelly – a “Walk-On” in this his last year only got 2 insignificant minutes.

This game also meant something more, as a win would clinch a #2 Seed in the ACC Tournament next week.

Well, you might say that it turned into the Grayson Allen Show as he scored 19 of his 27 Points on 4 of 5 outside the Arc, 9 of 11 from inside, and 5 of 6 from the Charity Stripe.  He also logged 4 Rebounds.

Duke came out from the Tip Off with an incredible run.  At the half, they were up 55-19. This didn’t take long for the Crazies to realize that Grayson’s 19 points, alone, was enough to be beating the Demon Deacons, so they chanted “Grayson’s Winning !!!”

Indeed he was !!!   He made the best of a night when he would see 24 minutes on the floor.  He scored from all over, even tipping in an errant shot as the “bigs” flailed aimlessly.

On a night when we say “Good-Bye” to those players of the present, we saw a bright shining star beginning to glow for the future !!!

On a more somber note, ankle turns seemed to be the plaque of the night. “Oaks,” Justise, Amile, and even Quinn to a point, all experienced some sort of ankle turn. We made the observation during the game, and make it here …

Are we sure that all of Duke’s foot problems down thru the past few years cannot be tied to the Nike shoes they wear ???

Behind Grayson was Matt with 17 Points after starting off cold. Justise and “Quinny” each had 13. Justise led Rebounding with 6, and 7 Assists !!!

This was a wonderful night for the faithful, and a wonderful way to end the season at Cameron.  Saturday night caps the conference season at Carolina at 9PM on ESPN, where the next chapter in “the greatest rivalry in all of sport” will be written !!!

Thanks, Quinn !!!   Thanks, Sean !!!

 

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