TO OUR READERS:
Before we go further, I must apologize to our readers for being absent since our Countdown Profiles. I have not been feeling up to snuff, and the Doctors took their sweet time in coming up with a diagnosis, as opposed to a palatable postulation. Anyway, Saturday’s game was more than I could stomach, so I will attempt to provide a faire but just commentary of the game, for the season left.
Thanks for your understanding and standing by me during these difficult times !!!
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After having turned the corner of the conference season with an unforeseen loss to St. John’s, Duke looks forward to another struggling team in North Carolina. St. John’s is a bottom-dweller in the Big East with a 0-11 conference record and 11-13 overall records. Duke had no business losing this game that they went into as a comfortable odds-on favourite.
I won’t go into what happened in the game. They lost because they played a very inferiour game. Coach K would go on to say that they did not play their game for the first 32 minutes. He claimed that they played as individuals, and that he did not know why. After going on a diatribe of lamentations, like:
The team was:
- “… very frustrating to coach today …” or
- “… this is not acceptable …” or
- “… we’ve got to get better …” and
- ” … we’ve got to grow up …” … then …
- “… the Basketball Gods know why …” …
All of these are rather hackneyed and overused observations, especially by a coach who just lost his 4th game of the season, when preseason predictions were for an undefeated, or nearly undefeated season. Having lost 3 games in-Conference, Duke has a not-so-easy schedule that resumes on Thursday.
The comment from Coach K that wrenched my neck when I heard it was when he described the game as “… disgusting …” Really Coach ???
Now, as a 30+ year fan, observing all those ways and means that reflect my recognition of who I’m speaking to, I have to register my sincere disagreement with this type of sentiment. Coach, if the team is “disgusting” and all those other things you said in such a frustrating manner, I have to ask: “Have you looked in the mirror lately ???” Not once in your “presser” did you once turn the sentiment to you and you Staff, and here is why:
- You are not using your whole team !!! You have nine (9) guys sitting on the Bench waiting, willing, and wanting to contribute, but you rarely call on them. Any of them could start on another team, but they came to YOU because they trusted that you’d allow them to contribute.
There are many coaches who you respect, who realize that if their Starters are not getting it done, you don’t waste 32 minutes waiting for them to come into themselves, you replace them with players who WILL not be “… expressionless …” players.
- When you do use one of your Bench players, you can’t insert them for barely enough time to break a sweat. Bench players need and deserve to be used fairly, but inserting …
- Marquis Bolden for 10 minutes …
- Jack White for 8 minutes …
- Javin DeLaurier for 2 minutes …
… doesn’t give any of them time to contribute, especially a guy who gets in for only 2 minutes !!!
- Replacing a Starter should be done based on their performance on that day. Being replaced, for not playing up to one’s capabilities, as opposed to only for being in foul trouble, is understood and recognized everywhere. Sometimes the replacement ought to be en masse’ while other times, it is appropriate to give another player an opportunity to contribute.
In one of your XM Radio broadcast in January you complemented Jay Wright and Roy Williams for having “consistent” programs that have been to the Final Four twice in the last few years. Those are just two (2) coaches who understand the idea of making substitutions when they have “… expressionless …” players.
- Duke is shooting a paltry 68.9% from the Charity Stripe, where points can be scored without minutes coming off the clock !!! Why is this accepted ??? I’m really surprised that such a big factor in many pivotal games across America is being accepted. Out of the Top 100 Free Throw Shooters in America, only Gary Trent appears at 58th with 86.9% …
Oh, if the team were to only share that percentage with Gary ???
- Coach, for whatever reason, you have embraced the “one-and-done” recruit. You have used the strange excuse that they were given a significant “job offer” that should not have been turned down. That means you recruit more guys to replace the guys who left to accept up their offers. Personally, I believe to equate a “job offer” that almost all Duke graduates expect to receive, but after 4 years of study, is why you are filled with Frosh again, while the upperclassmen languish on the Bench.
- If you consider the theorem that “… for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction …” every player you recruit, there will be one player who leaves for another school (as has been done by a player each year since the 2011-12 season) and another who leaves for the NBA. That’s not equal to the student who matriculates for four (4) years to earn a degree to get a normal job offer, but you’ll bring in more guys who have no intention of staying to matriculate for four (4) years !!
- What happened to the days of Jay Williams, who you personally orchestrated his ability to get his degree in 3 years ???
- If full matriculation is not so important, then why do you require that a player graduate in order to have his jersey retired. Remember when it took years for Christian Laettner to get his up there ???
- What’s going to happen next year when the only Senior will be Antonio Vrankovic, a true Senior, and Justin Robinson, who is a Red Shirt Junior, and thereby an academic Senior ??? Are you going to make players you have disregarded for years, team Captains ???
Coach, mirrors have a great way of making things “crystal clear” so I suggest it to you. After all, if you want to leave your legacy to be as it is presently, you have to live with the fact that starting four (4) Frosh is going to cause trouble … trouble that might be solved by the upperclassmen sitting on the Bench.
Imagine how THEY feel ??? I’ll bet you dollars-to-donuts that you did not recruit any of them to the Bench, aka the Practice Squad !!!
I wish you the best this Thursday, as always !!!
Go Duke !!!
“Rock On” !!!