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A Little Blow-back From My Last Post…

By May 24, 2014One Comment

I was surprised at the blow-back I got for writing an article/blog-post that spoke about what I thought would be the impact of the current group of freshmen this coming season. It’s understandable to a certain extent considering the amount of harping I do about the youth-obsessed culture that is college and pro-basketball. I have however written articles  highlighting how I think the upperclassmen and older players will impact next year. I believe that Duke will need (as most teams need) to blend old and new. I don’t for a second think that Duke will start 5 freshmen, I don’t believe Duke will start 3 freshmen. I am not discounting what remains from last years team, in fact, what we have coming back is what will actually make this freshmen class better. Duke will be lucky enough to have players that have been through big games…players that have won and lost on the big stage. That sort of leadership is a definite plus for this incoming class.

Duke does not have a good year without Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon, Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee among others. What could and should put Duke over the top is for the players that did not have huge roles last year to use this off-season to make themselves into players that will demand minutes. Nothing at Duke is promised, well that’s not entirely true, you are promised the opportunity to earn. If you earn, you play. I think that if Duke can get players like Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye on the court and playing at a higher level then it makes this team completely dangerous. I expect them to improve and I think they will be huge parts of what Duke will do this year.

So, yes I believe Duke will get major contributions from freshmen this coming season but I do not believe for a minute that Coach K will serve up a team dominated by freshmen—unless those freshmen completely outplay the players from last year. I’m not sure I see that happening at least not at first.

One Comment

  • Bermuda Bob says:

    Greetings, Mate !!!

    I wish you all a happy holiday weekend, and hope everyone takes more than just a stolen moment to reflect, and convey to our youngsters, on what this holiday really commemorates.

    Since you started a new entry I’ll kill two (2) stones with one reply …

    The first thing that has to be addressed is how many of these Frosh do we expect to be “one-and-done” or “flash-in-the-pan” kids ???

    Next, we need to ask WHY did all these Frosh came to Duke ???

    Lastly, we need to ask why Coach K has decided to completely reverse his views on the “one-and-done” …

    One thing is certainly true. Coach K has admitted that he purposely recruited kids he knew were going to be at Duke for only one year. Of all the coaches in D-1, he has had the worst results with them.

    1. Irving caused him to totally turn his back on the team that re-created it’s chemistry to win the ACC Tourney simply so he could prove that he was recuperated and therefore deserved a #1 Draft. All those kids – mostly upperclassmen – who worked so hard without him were subverted to a kid’s aspirations … Funny, I thought there was no “I” in team !!!

    Back then I defended Coach K, who was still holding fast to his decrement of the “one-and-done.” I believed that Irving bamboozled Coach K into making him believe he was coming back for at least another year. I turned out to be one bamboozled based on the position Coach K has taken in years afterward …

    The most important thing to learn about that year was that each and every one of those upperclassmen were subverted for one kid. I believe it was the beginning of the message to exceptionally talented kids in High School that were not interested in an education, that Coach K’s arms were wide open.

    2. “Da Black Hole,” as one Mate of mine observed, was ” … the most un-Duke-like player ever.” He did nothing but subvert the entire team of upperclassmen. Upperclassmen who were supposed to take over for themselves. They were blown out in the 1st Round and he didn’t even bother to return to campus with the team !!!

    I have come to believe that Coach K was doing something akin to a favour to Doc, who we came to realize could not control his son. K saw a chance to expand on that message to those exceptionally talented High Schoolers, even if he had to deal with CBB’s version of a juvenile delinquent. The terrible recurring tone is that Coach K was willing to subvert kids who came to him for the long run to send a message he was now willing to welcome “one-and-done” kids !!!

    3. Early in the Sports Illustrated reported in their article “The Education of Jabari Parker,” Coach K gave Parker three (3) assurances if he came: A National Championship, POY, and #1 Draft Pick …
    I have little negative to say about Jabari after last season, except to note that once again, the squad of upperclassmen were subverted unto him. If you didn’t glean it be watching last season, then read the article.
    Once again, Duke was blown out in the 1st Round …

    By now Coach K’s transformation is obvious to even the most faithful Duke fan, but what I found particularly interesting was that Parker’s mother was able to request/demand a meeting with Coach K. I wonder if all the other kids parents are able to do so. If they were, I’d want to know if the rest of the parents, whose kids were being subverted and nailed to the bench, were being told.

    If my son were one of those kids, I’d want to know why Coach K bothered to recruit my kid in the first place. I’d want to definitively know if he was going to play, or if he ought to go someplace where he would … not could … would !!!

    4. Mike Gbinije, aka “Silent G” saw the handwriting on the wall after the “Black Hole” debacle … Alex Murphy saw the handwriting on the wall much later, but some maintain that he wanted to finish his Duke education before leaving.

    We’ve long been told that kids don’t play unless they practice hard. If you believe that as gospel, then I have a bridge for you …

    *** – Do we really think that if Irving, “Da Hole,” or Parker just mailed it in during practice they were not going to start after Coach K had constructed a team around them ???

    *** – Do we really think that kids would be chomping at the bit to come to Duke if they heard that ???

    There’s the rub … Coach K is now known to be able to make a kid a top NBA Draft pick. He didn’t bench any of those guys EVER !!! The message Coach K wanted to send to those exceptionally talented High Schoolers is that, IF YOU COME, YOU WILL PLAY !!!

    If you want the best salesmen in CBB to sell the point, just ask “Silent G” or Alex … or maybe Semi … or Matt !!!

    If you’re still not convinced, talk to “PlumTree” #3 or Alex, who both Red Shirted for what Coach K had to promise was a better chance to play …

    The bottom line is that I no longer buy that baloney that we have been fed for so long that if a kid plays hard in practice he will get to play. It might have been that way some time ago, but if that were the case, the message being sent to future recruits would be impugned and they’d stop coming.

    Unfortunately none of us are inside of Coach K’s head … so none of us really know why he has seemingly switched gears, but as he has announced that he has five (5) years left one wonders …

    A. How much has Coach K been changed by coaching Team USA ???

    Personally, he has embarrassed me a few times by admitting he thought of “burning a TO” to shake Bruce Springsteen’s hand, or that gushed over Beyonce. The Coach K of yesteryear would have never done that …

    B. How badly does Coach want that next National Championship ???

    The short answer comes every time you hear Coach K use the term “men” to describe a player’s efforts. Personally, I’m tired of hearing him describe the opposition that just prevailed against his team as “men.”

    C. Had Coach K embraced being the “Winningest Active CBB Coach” a bit too much ???

    Personally, I do not know of another coach EVER who thought it a good idea, both morally and ethically, to leave your kids and visit the winning Locker Room. That just sends the wrong message to your kids.

    Based on which you pick will define how you see recruiting, but you have to admit that if those incoming Frosh don’t play, recruiting of the top shelf kids will fall off. It’s like the line from a favourite movie of mine “The Best Stuff” … “No bucks, no Buck Rogers !!!” In essence, if the Frosh don’t play, there won’t be more Frosh to recruit …

    I’ve been a Duke fan for well over 30 years … This ain’t your Duke of old … that Duke who won those National Championships … they are not even close !!!

    Thanks for allowing me to be heard !!!
    Rock On !!!

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