Clearly with barely a week’s worth of practices under their belt, it’s difficult to get the complete lay of the land about a new team, but in his presser for media day, Coach K touched on a variety of topics from early injuries and line-ups to style of play and early mini-scrimmages.
At this point in the year, the Blue Devils are relatively healthy, minus some nagging injuries to Grayson Allen (hamstring), Antonio Vrankovic (stress reaction), and Sean Obi. All three have overcome the injuries and are working to get back to the appropriate level of conditioning.
Coach K noted that Duke has been going through situational scrimmages with officials to address new rules changes such as changes with the shot-clock and post defenders being able to utilize the arm-bar; he thinks rules changes are positive but would rather the shot clock be dropped to mirror the NBA level because of the abolition of the closely guarded rule.
Coach K also mentioned that it’s much too early to talk about starters, but that line-ups will be situational and fluid. The ball-handling duties will be shared as Duke will run more motion offense. The Duke head coach noted that 8 guys can play the bulk of the minutes, Obi could and should be the 9th player depending on time and circumstance. Coach K says that so far, no one has really separated themselves except for Brandon Ingram, whose versatility allows him to fit within whichever lineup is on the floor. Ingram has apparently also put on 23lbs since arriving in Durham, which places his weight in the 190’s.
The strength of this team, per Coach K, will be its perimeter scoring and driving, which he mentions favors Grayson Allen’s game: “What we’re doing is perfect for him, unless he screws it up.” He also mentions that it is a reasonable expectations for Grayson Allen to be one of the better players on this year’s team, and that his confidence is sky high. Coach K seems high on Duke’s ability to score the ball saying, “we have some explosive scorers on this team.” The team, according to Coach K, is more athletic and longer on defense, and he will install a new offense and defense instead of trying to force-fit players into a system.
The only interesting tidbit aside from that was regarding the recruitment of Derryck Thornton: it seems that Duke was indeed interested in having Derryck play alongside of Tyus and not just be his replacement.