SDBB: Why Are Duke’s “Beat Reporters” Afraid To Do Their Job ???

SDBB - Squirrels Don't Ask Questions ???

By Bermuda Bob

There’s an old fashioned way of describing when something, or someone, bothers you to the point where you need some form of satisfaction.  The expression is:  “I have a stone in my shoe.”  Well, recently something happened that has caused a stone to be in my shoe.  So, today I’m going to do something about it … Here we go:

 

The proper Oxford defines a “Reporter” as:

” … a person who reports, especially one employed to report news or conduct interviews for newspapers or broadcasts.”

It further defines a “Beat” as:

” … an area regularly frequented by someone … a person’s area of interest …”

So, plain and simply, when applied to sports, a “Beat Reporter” is someone who is assigned a programme to follow and report on.

When it comes to Duke Basketball, it is a very special assignment in that the Reporter would be covering a legendary programme, led by the winningest Coach in the modern era of College Basketball.

It does not require the Reporter to be a play-by-play Announcer, Duke has one of the best in Bob Harris, the “Voice of the Blue Devils” since 1976 !!!

A “Beat Reporter” is hired by a newspaper to be the insider’s eyes and ears for it’s readers.   Fans depend on those eyes and ears so as to know everything about the programme, the coaches, the players, and as much as is faire to cover of their lives outside the Court and Locker Room.

The “Beat Reporter” is essentially a conduit between the fan and their favourite team.

Today’s social media, is comprised of Twitter, Facebook, and a myriad of other portals which allow for interaction.

  •        Twitter limits those interactions to 140 characters, often comprised of odd abbreviations.
  •        Facebook has less limitations, and is often full of “TMI” or stuff no one ever needs to know.

If you find the need to be enrolled in more portals, then you understand the pitfalls, and probably have too much time on your hands !!!

The problem with social media is that it carries no responsibility.  If a subscriber or a “follower” to someone’s portal, posts a comment, or DARE to question the subscriber, he or she may ignore the “follower” or worse, they may block them from ever contacting the subscriber again.

To make it a bit clearer, today’s “Beat Reporter” seems to feel that they need to use Twitter as if they were a play-by-play Announcer.  This makes no sense to me because it reduces the subsequent article moot if the fan has read the “Beat Reporter’s” Twitter feed.

To try and combine these jobs, while completely unnecessary, requires someone who needs to, first, not forget their responsibility to the fans.  By going on a portal that allows interaction, then you are expected to interact !!!

I believe that there is never a reason for a subscriber to have to withstand vulgarities, crassness, or off-topic comments. Blocking those “followers” is the only way to handle them, however, blocking someone because they do not wish to answer faire questions is irresponsible, puerile, and wrong-minded.  If you don’t want to avail yourself to faire questions, then get off of Twitter and go back to your typewriter !!!

Duke’s primary “Beat Reporters” are:

Laura Keeley works for the News Observer.

Laura never publishes her contact phone number

She only rarely publishes her e-mail: LKeeley@NewsObserver.com

Her Twitter presence is: @LauraKeeley

Laura’s Editor is: Sport’s Editor, Steve Ruinsky.

His contact phone number is 919-829-4530

His e-mail is SRuinsky@NewsObserver.com

His Twitter presence is @RRSteveRR

 

… AND …

 

Steve Wiseman works for the Herald Sun.

His contact phone number is: 919-419-6671

Steve’s e-mail is: SWiseman@HeraldSun.com

His Twitter presence is: @SteveWisemanNC

Steve’s Editor is: Bob Ashley

His contact phone number is: 919-419-6678
His e-mail is: BAshley@HeraldSun.com

 

So, recently, during Duke’s very serious rebounding problems, I wondered why Coach K was claiming he has a “short Bench” when he had two (2) “Bigs” sitting, perfecting their splinter pulling techniques.  They are Sean Obi and Antonio Vrankovic.  Obi is a proven Rebounder in his previous life at Rice before transferring to Duke.  Antonio is a Frosh, but still worthy of being recruited and being given a uniform.

Our concerns were bolstered by a comment made by Broadcast & Basketball Hall of Fame Legend Dick Vitale, who noted that any kid given a uniform ought to be given the chance to contribute at least 10 minutes.

So, I posed the question to both Miss Keeley and Mr. Wiseman on their Twitter sites this way:

To Mr. Wiseman:

SDBB: During the PITT game on the 28th of February …

“When are you going to ask Coach K why he refuses to play Obi ???

You’re not afraid, are you ???”

 Mr Wiseman replied:

“OBJECTION Asked and answered counselor. He’s not ready to compete at this level in the staff’s opinion. The end”

On the 1st of March, I wrote an article that was going to use this very quote, so, in the sense of fairness, I messaged Mr. Wiseman on Twitter, whereupon he promptly blocked us from further contacting him there.  A strange response to a hand extended in friendship.

To Laura Keeley:

SDBB: During the UNC Rebounding debacle on the 5th of March …

“Maybe you could ask Coach K why he didn’t use Obi & Antonio to give his kids a blow & presence down low !?!?!”

Miss Keeley replied:

“… they’re not good enough.  Move on from that …”

 

So, here is my beef.  If a “Beat Reporter” is supposed to be the eyes and ears of their readers who rely on their asking the questions the fans want asked, then:

  1. Why haven’t either Miss Keeley nor Mr. Wiseman asked a follow-up question to such a ridiculously phrased answer ???
  1. Why are Miss Keeley and Mr. Wiseman so emphatic, adamant, and dogmatic in their replies to a simple and reasonable question ???

So, as I asked in our article of the 1st of March:

Don’t you realize that you are supposed to be the eyes and ears of the programme for the fans (your readers) ???

By the very position you hold, you have the responsibility to be the voice of the fans who read your efforts.

Don’t your readers deserve your best efforts at getting ALL reasonable questions answered ???

Don’t you realize that when you don’t ask probative questions to odd replies, you fuel conjecture, and even conspiracy theories, that often make some modicum of sense ???

Inasmuch as neither of you have asked probative questions, our readers have wondered things like:

  •  Does “Coach K’s Dog House” really exist, and why does a player gets into it …
  • One reader took it in another direction, wondering if Obi caused Amile’s injury in practice, so his not playing is a punishment …
  • Another wondered if Obi was not playing because Coach K feared that Obi might outshine “Plums”
  • Coach K has asserted that he doesn’t have enough players for practice.  The last time I looked, he had 13 players dressing, and one (1) injured.  I may be missing something, but that’s 12 players when only 10 are needed to play a Blue & White game, or Practice !!!

There, you’ve just been given questions that make sense and have easy answers. 

See, that’s how it’s done ???

I am not asking for the world.  We’re asking why you have not posed a follow-up to a very vanilla response.  We’d also like to know why, when asked why you didn’t ask a follow-up question, you acted so unreasonably ???

NOTE:

So, in yet another extension of fairness, on the overnight before the North Carolina State game I reached out to both Mr. Wiseman and Miss Keeley by e-mail. Neither replied, however, Miss Keeley promptly blocked us on Twitter.

I certainly don’t believe that this is a responsible reaction to a simple question posed of you in your position as the eyes and ears of the fans …

Why didn’t you ask a simple follow-up question ???

Was it so difficult to ask when they expected these players WOULD be ready ???

There are simple answers to the above questions.

Where are the answers ???

So, shortly after publishing this article, I will be sending a link to both of these folks AND their Editors.

Someone needs to challenge such immaturity and arrogance.  If you take the jobs you both have, you have a responsibility to NOT shut yourself away from reasonable questions, even if they are probative, or even point out a failure on your part.  Once again, there are simple answers to the above questions.  Where are the answers ???

I would ask any of our readers who are so moved to join me in my quest for answers.  I believe we all deserve it !!!

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Thanks for reading !!!

As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to do so here, or on our Twitter site, where you will not be blocked for asking realistic questions:

@SimplyDukeBB

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SDBB: The ACC Conference Season is Over: So … NOW, What Do We Think ???

Thinker w_Cloud

Tonight, with the ACC Conference Season over, Rowan Shiell and Bermuda Bob discuss their impressions of the Duke team 

… and …

Look forward to the ACC Tournament

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Query #1:

Do you have any reflections on this year’s ACC Conference Season ???

Bermuda Bob:        

After the unfortunate injury of Amile in practice on the 12th of December, Duke was never the same.  They went 4 & 4 in January.  They went 6 & 2 in February, but, they only beat Virginia by one (1) Point on an acrobatic buzzer beater by Grayson Allen, and only by one (1) more Point due to a coaching error at UNC.  They swapped wins with Louisville and got embarrassed at PITT.  They went 1 & 1 in March.  This was not the team anyone expected after the highlighted recruiting.

Rowan: 

The conference was pretty competitive, this year. Duke finished with an 11-7 record but they were in every game except one (1) and that was the 14 point loss to PITT.  Duke may have finished middle of the pact, or 4th with Louisville’s “dislodgement,” but they were one or two moves away from the top.

Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram have played some exceptional games.  With the injury to Amile it is a wonder they didn’t lose much more.  These guys have proven to be very resilient and it was a pleasure to cheer for them.

Marshall Plumlee has been a revelation at times.  Derryck Thornton has probably lost all confidence in his go-to mid-range shot, but there is no better ball hound on Defense, than he in the conference.

Matt Jones got injured, yet even though he is still visibly hobbled, he is still competing.  There is no doubt that Luke Kennard will set some records at Duke, but right now his Jekyll and Hyde act is limiting him.  The more he plays, the more confidence he will have in his abilities.

Query #2

What’s your biggest question about what you saw this conference season ???

Bermuda Bob:        

The biggest question loomed around why Coach K insisted that he had a “short Bench” when he had a full accompaniment of 3 replacements to, at least, ameliorate Amile’s absence.  He had:

(A) Chase Jeter, who turned out to be a highly over-rated faulty flop.  His hands were terrible, he averaged a Personal Foul every 4.34 minutes or 1.74 per game.  He was a hot mess, but Coach K played him 204 minutes in 27 games.

(B) Former proven Rebounder, Sean Obi but inexplicably only played him 21 minutes in only 9 games.

(C) Frosh Antonio Vrankovic played 14 minutes in 5 games.

When I put the question to Duke two (2) “beat reporters” my replies were:

Steve Wiseman:   “OBJECTION Asked and answered counselor.  He’s not ready to compete at this level in staff’s opinion.  The end.” and then he blocked us on Twitter.

Laura Keeley:   ” … they’re not good enough.  Move on from that …”  

Obviously, both are afraid to ask a follow-up question to clarify such a ridiculous assertion, especially when …

Duke was getting killed in the Paint game after game after game.  Sunday’s season finale against UNC was the worst, as Duke was out-rebounded 58 to 26.  One Carolina Player pulled down 21 Rebounds while the Duke Starters only had 22 !!!   If there is anyone out there who doesn’t think my questions are valid, then we’re not watching the same Duke team …

Rowan: 

Yes it is baffling that one of the best coaches in the business couldn’t find some minutes off his Bench.  Duke’s biggest weakness was in the Front Court and they just happen to have 3 guys 6’8″ or taller on the Bench, but couldn’t get anything out of them.  One was given numerous opportunities to prove himself, while they didn’t even bother with the other two.

I guess this is hard to comprehend because the days of stashing players on the Bench for later development seems to be well and truly behind us with Coach K fully invested in the ‘one and done’ culture.  As fans, we have come to expect each scholarship recruit to earn his spot from day one.

We expected Sean Obi to be a beast on the glass but from the moment the season started he was on the outside looking in when Coach K designated him a “9th player” in a matter of fact way, at the season opening Press Conference.  Since then Obi has clearly been out of favour and we can safely write him off for this season.

Just before the UNC game I spent half an hour watching Duke’s layup lines and while all the players used every opportunity to practice game shots, coupled in with a few show time dunks (they are all kids after all!) all Jeter did was try impress with his dunks.  We may have been told that Obi and Antonio were not ready, however Jeter has proven he isn’t.

 Query #3:

Do you have any thoughts about Duke, going into their 2nd Round game on Wednesday at 2PM EST ???

 Bermuda Bob:

I do not hold out much hope for this team to move very far forward. Duke has had a very obvious stamina problem all season long.  It is because Coach K has played his Starters, or his 5 hottest players without a “blow” throughout conference season.  The result has been that around the 10 minute mark in the 2nd Half, Duke shows tired legs.  Shots are left short or carom wildly off the back of the Rim. Duke has struggled especially in the Paint, often leaving “Plums” triple teamed, regardless of his best efforts.  He was given no help from the Bench. I simply don’t see them playing 4 days in a row against teams they have lost to.

If they win their first match, they draw Notre Dame … should they win there, they play either ‘Cuse or UNC … I don’t see it happening.  The only variable would be playing Obi and Antonio about 10 minutes a game, but unless Coach K is playing the ACC version of “lopelee” it’s not in the cards.

Rowan: 

I think that Duke can go far in the ACC Tournament, and they would need to if they are to retain that projected #4 seed in the NCAA tournament.  All 5 Players just need to hit those boards. Playing only 2 or 3 outside, and not 4 players on the perimeter, with Plumlee inside.  Mix up the Offense.  Duke is too good a Free Throw shooting team to be settling for 3 Pointers.

Also, whenever Thornton makes a mistake he gets yanked but other players are not beholden to that process.  He is a “score-first” Point Guard that needs the shackles to be removed.  Let him lose a la Nolan Smith !!!  Especially when the other team plays man-to-man, because not many Guards can keep up with him.

Query #4:

Are you happy with the Post Season Awards ???

Rowan:

On the face of it I thought Allen deserved to win most improved player but when I looked at the statistics closer for Jaron Blossomgame it appears his playing time increased minimally while his scoring and shooting percentages improved drastically. A deserved win.

Bermuda Bob:

I was happy with where everyone landed. At first, I was curious about Grayson Allen not being named #1, but upon seeing that Malcomb Brogdon won it, I could not question it. Hopefully, Grayson will come back next year to win it !!!

BTW: The GoDuke claims that Grayson & Jaron were names co-most improved … maybe an afterthought, eh ???

Query #5:

Anything else you would like to add ???

Rowan:

Eight (8) years of Plumlees came to an end in Cameron Indoor with the loss to UNC last week.  I challenge you to find another set of brothers in the last two decades who has been more productive than the Plumlees.  The O’Bannon brothers won a Championship for UCLA while the Plumlees won 2 for Duke.

Marshall will probably not be an All American like Mason but without him (Marshall) Duke probably would not be looking at a bid this season.

Marshall has come a very long way from his Freshman season, and if Duke is to go far in the tournament they will need him to be very productive.

Bermuda Bob:

When I first heard that all 3 Plumlee brothers were going to play at Duke, I nick named them the “PlumTrees” as an homage to what looked like 3 wonderful boys, and, instead of trying to remember who was who, I named them #1 = Miles, #2 = Mason, and #3 = Marshall.   WOW, over a millions dollars of tuition saved by their parents, but moreover, they were kids any parent would be proud of !!!

I have said it before, so I might as well say it one more time … I do not believe that either #1 or #2 fulfilled the reason of their recruitment.  Both were not major role players in their Championships, but interestingly, both became much better players in the NBA.  That might go to the knock on Coach K that he has really never known how to play/coach “Bigs” … well, until he got “Oaks” last year.

I think #3, or “Plums” as I came to call him, benefited greatly from having been the practice partner to “Oaks” and it showed on plenty of occasions this season.  I think he was by-far a tougher player than his big brothers.  He always hustled, never gave up trying to score until he was fouled, and played both sides of the Court.   I think he became much more important to this team than his brothers before him.  Unfortunately, he very rarely had enough help down low, or he might have sparkled even more.

I applaud Marshall for his patriotism, but I will always wonder what would have become of him in the NBA. Maybe someday …

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Thanks for spending your time to read our thoughts …

We always welcome your thoughts either here, or on our Twitter site:

@SimplyDukeBB

SDBB – Is It Time To Wonder About Those Asking “What if …” ???

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SDBB – Is It Time To Wonder About Those Asking “What if …” ???

by  Bermuda Bob

 

Saturday, I watched the Louisville game while interacting on Twitter, instead of texting on Viber with my partner here, Ro Shiell.  

After the game was over, Twitter seemingly exploded in a barrage of “What if …” speculations, so I thought I’d discuss some of them and add a few of my own.

Here goes:

#1 – “What if Amile were able to play ???”

OK folks, it time for a little “tough love” and to get real. Amile might not come back this season. He might actually accept an “Injury Red Shirt” as he only played a handful of games.

Even if he came back in this game today, he wouldn’t be game ready and able to pick up where he left off. No amount of therapy and exercise can replicate playing time.

He could also suffer from the very common and understandable instinct to protect his foot from re-injury.

Personally, I prefer the “Injury Red Shirt” route … if he is unable to be 100%, then get him into Business School, give him another year of eligibility, and make next year’s team his in Captaincy !!!

 

#2 –  What if Amile Never Got Injured ???

Simply put, I believe that this would be a very different Duke team, one that would be atop of the ACC Conference, or close to it.   It would also have a rather different comportment on both Offense and Defense.   They would have another Captain on the floor, and they would not have the tired legs they do now, with most of the Starters playing almost the whole game.

I do believe that Amile going down forced the rest of the team to change their chemistry and excel in different ways, not always positive ones.   Freshmen make foolish Fouls, especially when they are trying to overcompensate for a lack of experience on the Court.

 

#3 – What if Chase Jeter turned out to be the Top Pick player we expected ???

Well, the loss of Amile might not have been seen as serious.   Coach K’s infinity for continually playing this kid instead of giving Sean Obi a chance to prove himself is simply mindboggling.

Is Coach trying to validate his recruiting of Jeter ???   I simply don’t get it.   This Louisville game allowed Jeter to prove the old axiom: “… even a busted clock is right twice a day …” !!!   I gather that if Jeter is not advised to consider a transfer, he might be Coach K’s project player, now that there are no Plumlee kids enrolled at Duke.

 

#4 – What if Coach K played ALL of his eligible players ???

This might be the $64,000 question that not one member of the Press has had the gumption to ask of Coach K.   You see, I totally agree with Dick Vitale, who, I believe was sending Coach K a veiled piece of advice.   He said that: “… and player good enough to be recruited ought to be good enough to contribute 10 minutes a game …”    Of course Dickie V is absolutely correct, especially for a programme like Duke.

As of late in each and every game, around the 10+/- minute mark, the team’s legs go to rubber. This happens because I do not believe that any conditioning programme could prepare kids for playing the type of minutes they are being asked to … not in one of America’s best and most physical conferences.

The idea Vitale was trying to convey is one I agree with, but will put a bit less diplomatically and much more emphatically.

I believe that if you put a jersey on a kid’s back, then you MUST first believe that he can be called upon at anytime to contribute.   I’m not talking about being a “practice player” …   I’m talking about in circumstances as Duke found themselves against Louisville.   Having Amile and Matt down, “Plums” did a great job of pulling down 14 Rebounds, but sure could have used a sidekick in Obi to help handle the “Bigs” of Louisville.   Obi never removed his Warm Up.

Two years ago Coach K recruited Sean Obi, who as a Frosh at Rice, averaged 11.4 points and a Conference USA-leading 9.3 rebounds per game (2nd in the NCAA among freshmen).   He transferred, to Duke after the coach who had recruited him was fired.   So, he sat out last year in his dapper duds, and sits in his Duke #34 uniform to this very day.   He has been only allowed to play 21 minutes in 26 games !!!

If you have ever believed in Coach K’s “Dog House,” he’s in inexplicably deep.   I don’t believe a kid ought to be in any coach’s “Dog House” !!!   There ought not be a “Dog House” at all !!!

The problem is that while Obi perfecting his splinter pulling technique, he’s not contributing.   More succinctly, he’s not being given an opportunity to contribute, and that’s simply wrong. Have you seen Obi’s his body language lately ???   His head is down and disengaged because the Coach he put his faith in has no faith in him, even though he’s a proven product.   It’s wrong to bring in a kid and not allow him to prove himself, to contribute to his team, give some other players a needed “blow,” and insulate the team from Foul trouble.

Duke also has a guy who is an even bigger “Big” than Obi … Antonio Vrankovic …  He has played in 14 minutes in 5 games.   How can he be ready to contribute if he only sees the Court during Warm Ups ???   He was recruited, given a jersey, and now just flounders in Coach K’s version of “Never-Never Land.”   The burning question is why, why, why !!!

Why would the greatest active coach in College Basketball History be willing to waste a pair of “bigs” … albeit one proven and one not, when his Starters are depleted and suffering from extremely tired legs ??

 

#5 – What if Duke never signed a deal to use Nike products ???

OK, you caught me sliding one in here.   I’m not a fan of Nike because I am one of those fans who openly wonder if:

  • The plethora of foot injuries in recent years were directly accountable to the products Phil Knight has provided …
  • I also wonder if another manufacturer would have essentially forced Duke into wearing those god-awful BLACK uniforms.   Uniforms that have nothing to do with Blue Devils, named after the legendary “Les Diables Bleus” …

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Thanks for the read …

As always, we welcome your comments, either here or drop us a comment, 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 …

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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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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” ???

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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.

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Watch for our next Frosh introduction right behind this guy.

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Introducing Duke’s Frosh: #50, Justin Robinson

SDBB - #50 Justin Robinson

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 Ro’s next Profile … #50, Justin Robinson

The youngest son of David Robinson, Justin, was originally meant to be a preferred Walk-on at Duke, but Coach K awarded him a scholarship once he arrived on campus.

Where does Duke need him ???

There was speculation that with his father being a late bloomer – The Admiral was a 6’7” Freshman – maybe Justin could be as well, and spring up to 6’10”Not quiet the seven footer his father is, but that could improve his game a lot.  No one ever complains that someone is too tall in basketball.  The thing is, the younger Robison is already 19, so we can’t bank on that at this point.  What we can hope is that he improves his weight, which is currently 190 pounds, so that he can be a stronger Power Forward and work on his game for the future.

Who does he remind us of ??? 

Best Case Scenario:   Lance Thomas and Thomas Hill have all been lithe Forwards that have competed very hard for championship teams at Duke. 

Worst Case Scenario:   Todd Zafirovski, a Walk-on that moved to a scholarship player though he never saw the court during competitive periods. 

Our Take …

Robinson has a fight on his hands to get on the court at Duke this season and next, considering the type of recruits the Blue Devils are currently targeting.  He is a very astute student who cited Duke’s academics as one of the reasons for his enrollment, so we suspect he may not be too broken up about his future playing time.

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Watch for our next Frosh introduction right behind this guy.

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Introducing Duke’s Frosh: #30 Antonio Vrankovic

SDBB - #30 Antonio Vrankovic

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 Ro’s next Profile … #30, Antonio Vrankovic

Antonio Vrankovich has all the makings of a hidden gem.  He is an unheralded Three Star recruit who is listed at seven feet tall.  In his own words , “I am a low post scorer who sets great screens.” 

With averages of 27 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocked shots as a Senior in High School, one can’t help but feel his ranking could have been hampered by his not featuring heavily on the AAU circuit.

Where does Duke need him ???

With Sean Obi, Amile Jefferson, Chase Jeter, Marshall Plumlee another post player may seem as an over kill at this stage, considering Coach K loves a short bench.  If you watch game tape, or in our case highlight film, you can see the intrigue he brings to the table.

Who does he remind us of ???

Best Case Scenario:  Mitch McGary, who played at Michigan, or Tyler Zeller who played at North Carolina.

Worst Case Scenario:   Marshall Plumlee

Conclusion …

One can’t imagine Vrankovic being a featured player at Duke right now, but who knows what the future holds. He seems pretty agile for a big man, and the more he can push his teammates the better Duke will be overall.

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Introducing Duke’s Frosh: #14 Brandon Ingram

SDBB - #14 Brandon Ingram

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 Ro’s next Profile … #14, Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram is the highest rated player in Duke’s 2015 Class, so there are some expectations that come with that title.  Standing at 6’9” with a wingspan of 7’3” he is clearly a physically gifted individual that.

Where does Duke need him ??? 

Duke needs Ingram to play to his strength, which is scoring.  Without Quinn Cook, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, the bulk of the Blue Devils’ scoring need to be replaced.  Ingram is a multi faceted scorer, in that he can score off the dribble, shoot the Three, or score in the Post.

Defensively Ingram should be able to be a lock-down defender. His foot speed is nothing to brag about but, with his length and reach, he should be able to either contain his defensive assignment, or recover in time to block or alter shots.

Who does he remind us of ??? 

Best Case Scenario:   Many have compared Ingram to Kevin Durant, who played Power Forward while he was at Texas.  It is easy to see this comparison and it has a lot of merit, as they are similar in measurements and size.

We do see a little of Luol Deng in him too. Both are of similar height, however at this stage Ingram has more range on his jumper.  Deng was a very good defender as well – something Ingram can aspire to, hopefully.

Jabari Parker was a much bigger player, but one can imagine that Duke will use Ingram in the same manner.

Worst Case Scenario:   Harrison Barnes had a good two seasons at North Carolina, but there were long periods where he just completely underwhelming, because what he could do, and was doing, was miles apart. 

Our Take … 

Duke will be a perimeter-based team this season and Ingram will be the star attraction.   Coach K says that Ingram has added 23 pounds of muscle, since he arrived on Campus two months ago, which should help in the Post.

There is currently no established go-to-guy, but Ingram should have plenty of opportunities to fill this role based on his raw talent, and the excitement with which his coach spoke of him.

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Watch for our next Frosh introduction right behind this guy.

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