Observations So Far & Quotes from Last Nights Game vs Colorado State

Brian HoraceGeneral InformationLeave a Comment

Some observations regarding the Blue Devils so far. Having only played 2 games, a very small sample size, but still an important stat to watch for this team are the turnovers. Kansas was admittedly not quite ready for prime time but the older and more experienced team still coughed it up 28 times - the Rams of CSU gave it up 18 times to Duke. Even looking beyond that at the number of steals where the Blue Devils had 12 against the Rams and 11 against the Jayhawks.

Clearly Duke isn't hitting on all cylinders offensively but a subtle difference in the game against Kansas and Colorado was the turnovers that Duke committed. The assist to turnover ration against Kansas 12 to 16 (-4) against CSU 14-9 (+5). Could this be more related to the opponents talent differential? Possibly which is why it's a stat to look at going forward. Can the struggling offense for Duke do a better job of cleaning up the mistakes and in turn get more opportunities on the offensive end? Possibly. More than likely it's a combination of things that ultimately lead Duke to more comfortable wins and hopefully a better offensive output and efficiency. Keeping their points off of turnover ration at a plus 11 in both games so far leads me to believe this is another stat to keep an eye on going forward in wins and losses for this team.

Another sign of how good Duke has looked so far defensively is how they've rebounded and made use of those rebounds. Against Kansas Duke was out-rebounded by 10 (30-40) but they managed to win the battle of the second chance points 7-1. Against a smaller CSU team they won the rebounding battle 43-34 and the second chance points 16-9. Very close differential in both games - so another piece to add to the puzzle and to keep an eye on going forward.


I'm not an analytics person but more a master of the obvious.

Another thing, that Coach K mentioned is the defensive play of Alex O'Connell who has clearly not only put on some good weight in the offseason but seems to have advanced in terms of his on the court confidence and his defensive abilities. Being a spot of shooter may be one weapon in his arsenal but the fact that he is contributing in other categories is a huge plus for the Blue Devils going forward. 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals in his first two games is great sign for Alex and for Duke.

Duke vs Kansas

Duke Turnovers
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Kansas Turnovers
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Duke Pts from Turnovers
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Kansas Pts from Turnovers
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Duke Off Rebounds
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Kansas Off rebounds
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Duke second change points
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Kansas second chance points
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Duke vs Colorado State

Duke Turnovers
0
CSU Turnovers
0
Duke Pts from Turnovers
0
CSU Pts from Turnovers
0

Duke Off Rebounds
0
CSU Off rebounds
0
Duke second change points
0
CSU second chance points
0

HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI

Opening Statement:

“We beat a team that I thought they played really hard. He’s a real good coach and they’re lucky to have him and he’ll build a very good program there. I knew they would play hard, they have four guards that they start so it’s a little bit different team to defend, and (Nico) Carvacho is such a good player and rebounder, but I thought overall our kids played really hard on the defensive end and we shared the ball well. Our defense the first two games has been excellent and, by the way, when you play really good defense it might look sloppy because there are mistakes that are made. I can’t believe someone called the Kansas game sloppy. Our Kansas game was a war where it was tough. This isn’t golf, where someone is stopping you from putting. You’ve got great athletes working hard and you win in games like that, that’s a hell of a game. Not that we’re more talented, but they’re a talented team and Tre (Jones) is leading us so well and Cassius (Stanley) has had two outstanding games and Alex (O’Connell) has had two outstanding games, so that perimeter of those three guys has been really good and Wendell (Moore Jr.) showed some stuff tonight that he can build on and our two veterans Jack (White) and Jav (Javin DeLaurier) really came through and that’s going to be our team. We’re going to play a lot of guys and see what works. That group at the end of the half really played the best eight minutes of the game, or the last four minutes of the first half and first four minutes of the second half. Jack, Javin, Alex, Cassius, and Tre just found a rhythm defensively and offensively and boom we had it. It’s been two good games for us, got to keep improving but overall, I’m proud of our guys.”

On getting offense from their defense: “We got live ball turnovers. Against Kansas, the turnovers were doubles with the bigs. We still scored off turnovers, we still scored off turnovers but not as much. We forced 28, but a lot of them, we take it out of bounds. With this, it turned into offense. we got to do that because of our offense is going to come from a variety of people. But Tre is really playing at a high level.”

On what he liked about the group he started the second half with: “Well they gave us a 16-point lead in the first half when it was 5, 7, or whatever, and they did it without fouling. We fouled a lot in the first half. We got it to nine, and you go into those last four minutes, a team can just stay with you or take the lead with a touch because then it’s going to be two free throws. That’s where Jack and Javin as veterans, I thought they did an outstanding job, so we just went with it, but jeez the differential in those eight minutes was a lot. Hopefully we’re going to find different groups. that doesn’t mean that’s our starting lineup, maybe, but I don’t want to get into that. I want to get into guys playing, playing hard and you might find something in practice or during a game because we can improve a lot. There’s no ceiling on any kid because there’s not a role. None of them are in complementary roles, like when you’re playing with Zion (Williamson) and RJ (Barrett), (Marvin) Bagley (III) and (Wendell) Carter (Jr.), Jayson Tatum. That’s not bad, I don’t mind coaching those teams, but it puts a ceiling on how much a kid can do. It’s like a musical, when you have two guys like that they sing most of the songs and have all the dances. With this ours is more like a cabaret. It’s knock our socks off with all you’re doing. That’s why I say it’s more old school and it’s built on defense. I like my group I like how hard they’re playing and they like each other too. But they’re going to make mistakes, whatever, just so they play hard and keep working at it.”

On what Alex has done outside of shooting to earn more game time: “Well he’s not relying just on that. Like tonight he had the kid (Kendle) Moore who’s their quickest guy. He plays off the ball, he’s not their point and he’s a hell of athlete, Alex is, and he’s putting it together and he’s being strong. He made a great pass in the second half right along the baseline. He’s just playing strong, he’s not just shooting. But he’s the guy on our team that we need, all of a sudden, boom boom, he can get stuff. And then Cassius has just been fundamentally sound. What was he tonight? 8 for 11. 5 for 6 against Kansas. Just very efficient, really efficient and Wendell can join that and Joey (Baker) did some good things tonight and Jordan (Goldwire) can play defese, we’ve got some interesting stuff.”

gym. It was nothing new to me, just making sure I bring the energy like I usually do.”

“We’re definitely trying to make a statement that our defense, that’s our team. That’s what we want to build our team around – our defense. And the offense will come off the defense. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

On Duke’s strong performance tonight after the big win against Kansas: “When we win like that, we only want to keep going and build off a win like that. Getting a big one like that is big for us and helps us build confidence down the road, which is a big thing in later months when it comes [NCAA] Tournament time. The more experience we get now, the better.”

When asked what he’s done to improve his strength and size: “I’ve been in the weight room since June of this year with [Duke Strength and Conditioning] Coach Will and we’ve been working every single day on diet and nutrition. We’ve just been working as much as we can in the weight room to build the foundation for this season.”

 

JUNIOR GUARD ALEX O’CONNELL

On being in Duke’s starting lineup tonight: “I’m a junior here and I’ve started several games before, so being a starter tonight didn’t phase me. I wasn’t nervous. I was comfortable out there, especially playing in our gym. It was nothing new to me, just making sure I bring the energy like I usually do.”

“We’re definitely trying to make a statement that our defense, that’s our team. That’s what we want to build our team around – our defense. And the offense will come off the defense. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

On Duke’s strong performance tonight after the big win against Kansas: “When we win like that, we only want to keep going and build off a win like that. Getting a big one like that is big for us and helps us build confidence down the road, which is a big thing in later months when it comes [NCAA] Tournament time. The more experience we get now, the better.”

When asked what he’s done to improve his strength and size: “I’ve been in the weight room since June of this year with [Duke Strength and Conditioning] Coach Will and we’ve been working every single day on diet and nutrition. We’ve just been working as much as we can in the weight room to build the foundation for this season.”


SOPHOMORE GUARD TRE JONES

“We were just trying to play our defense, trying to pressure [Colorado State], force them to speed up and make tough decisions on the offensive end. They did have different guys throughout the game bring it up, which changes their offense for sure, taking [the ball] out of their point guard’s hands. I felt like, defensively, we had good pressure throughout the entire game.”

When asked about the depth on this year’s team and the multiple lineups that Duke can put on the floor: “It is different this year, but I like it. I like playing with different guys. I know that all these guys can play, and I think that’s the main thing. I think everyone knows that they have a role on this team and can contribute at any moment when they’re in there. Guys having more confidence, playing harder, believing in themselves more, so when they’re out there, it’s much easier to play when everyone’s believing in each other and having each other’s back.”

On Cassius Stanley: “He competes every single day. He doesn’t take any days off. There wasn’t a day when he wasn’t competing and trying to get better. You don’t see that from a lot of guys, and he’s a guy that tries to learn something every single day, too. It could be something small, something big, but he’s always trying to learn, trying to get better. He’s fearless.”


FRESHMAN GUARD CASSIUS STANLEY

On Duke’s follow-up performance to the win over Kansas earlier this week: “It’s always great to come off of a win. You got your first win, the ice is broken, so now I think we’re finding our identity. The coaches are keeping us humble, keeping us really down-to-earth in that it’s only one game. You just keep racking up the wins.”

“Coach [Mike Krzyzewsk] is huge on defense. He wants us to play tougher, tougher, tougher every game, just be gritty. He says this is an old-fashioned Duke team, and I really believe it. I feel like we’re all grinding, we’re all gritty, we’re all tough. I think everybody’s playing tough. That’s what really helps us be a tough unit.”

When asked to describe how close the players on this Duke team are: “We’re extremely close. Off the court, we’re extremely close, and Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] is always talking about, ‘When you’re off the court, keep talking a lot.’ And I think that’s what we’re doing right now, and it’s basketball all day and every day, and I think that’s definitely helping us.”

 

COLORADO STATE HEAD COACH NICO MEDVED

Opening Statement: “We’ve got such a young team and I think it took a lot of courage for us to come out here to play this game, Duke’s home opener like this, and we hung in there. I think there are some things for us to build on. Clearly, man, Coach K’s got that team playing so hard, I mean they are committed – and that’s what Duke always does – obviously we weren’t able to get into any kind of offense whatsoever and they sped us up. And we knew that would happen, [it] probably [happened] even to a larger extent than we realized. Again, I really like my team and I thought our young guys got a ton of experience out there today and I do think there are some good things for us to build on. This is such a great environment, there is nothing these guys will see – you’ve got all these freshmen, young guys – come out here in their first game on the road in college basketball and it’s like, ‘Welcome to the big time guys,’ and so I made that decision to put them in that environment and I don’t regret that a bit, because I did see a lot of growth out there from those guys and we’re gonna learn from this a ton and this is gonna help us as we get better and better and I think our team’s got a chance to compete come league play, I really believe that.”

On their defensive effort: “I thought, obviously they scored out of our offense, sometimes [when you commit] turnovers, it’s hard [to play consistent defense], but I thought there were stretches in the game, especially in the first half, where we got back and we got our defense set and we made them work late into the shot clock and we were able to contest shots and I thought our rebounding effort was pretty good. So I thought there were stretches where defensively, we executed exactly what we wanted to do against them, so I think that’s something we can really build on that way. There were stretches that I really, really liked. I don’t think, if it wasn’t [off] a turnover, this team got a ton in transition. They scored a lot late on some stick-backs and some easy baskets, but I thought there were stretches where we played pretty [well] on defense.”

On if his team found out that mistakes were magnified against a team like Duke: “I would say that’s a big yes. But I know that, I’ve been around the block. The pressure bothered us even more than I thought it would, and I thought we should have made an adjustment even quicker on the press offense, but man, those guys close the gaps so fast. You’re not used to seeing [it, although] we did a better job of [dealing with] it towards the end. The guys, the freshmen, they kept playing. We missed a lot of open shots too, but that’s what you get when you sign up for this.”

On Nico Carvacho: “I thought [Nico Carvacho] was good, finally [when] we were able to throw him the ball a little bit, he made some good passes and he was aggressive. You can already see, guys who’ve watched him, that he looks a lot more comfortable from the free throw line already and he’s finally gotten healthy and he’s really repping it. He really stepped up in a tough environment tonight and he looked a lot more comfortable than he ever has that way, so I think that’s a great thing for him and for us moving forward.”

On getting the ball to Carvacho: “I think we went to him in that stretch in the post in the second half a good bit, and he did a nice job of passing out of it. My biggest regret is that I really thought we would be able to get into [our offense] a little bit. We really were not able to get into any of our offense that we worked on going in here. And a lot of that stuff was designed to eventually get [Carvacho] a touch, but we weren’t able to execute a couple passes or they sped us up so somebody would just put their head down and go [drive]. That’s a huge learning experience for us, and finally we just, simply, got him the ball and he made plays – that’s stuff that we can build on. We know that he’s our go-to guy and he has to touch the ball and he’ll get plenty of touches for us I promise.”

On his exchange with Tre Jones: “I go way back with the Joneses, their oldest brother Jadee [Jones] played when I was an assistant at Furman [University], and so I remember – and I tell Tre [Jones] this too – I remember when Tre was drinking from a sippy cup at Furman, same thing with Tyus. And Tre, that kid, he knew he knocked that ball out of bounds in front of our bench, and I said, ‘Tre, you know you knocked that out man, don’t lie to me’, or whatever, and he’s like, ‘You’re right coach, I did,’ and I started to tell [the referees], ‘Look, he even admitted he did it,’ and I just gave [Tre Jones] a hug. So yeah, he knew he knocked the ball out, that was the deal, it was just a fun exchange. I’ve known that family growing up in Minnesota, and he’s a great kid. If there is a better perimeter defender in college basketball, I’d love to see it, because that kid has unbelievable instincts, plays his tail off, he’s gotten so much stronger, he just knows exactly where the ball needs to go, and he’s a terrific kid and terrific player, he obviously completely disrupted our guards from getting into any flow.”

On his concern with three-point shooting: “I am, well I don’t want to say I’m concerned – a lot of guys who’ve made shots, who’ve proved that they can [missed shots] – I think Isaiah Stevens, a freshman, went 4-6 tonight [from three], but some of these guys, like Adam [Thistlewood] and Kris [Martin] missed, so I’ve gotta believe that they’re going to [make shots in the future].”

Team Notes

• Mike Krzyzewski is in his 40th season as Duke’s head coach, and his record is now 1,061-285 at Duke, and 1,134-344 overall in this, his 45th season overall.

• Duke is now 39-1 in home openers under Coach K and has won 38 straight home openers.

• Duke is now 3-0 the series versus Colorado State, with all three meetings coming in the Coach K era.

• Duke registered 12 steals in the game, with nine players collecting at least one steal. Duke has totaled 23 steals in two games this season.

• Duke held Colorado State to 32.7 percent shooting from the field, marking the 14th consecutive opponent to shoot less than 50 percent against the Blue Devils.

• The Blue Devils extended their non-conference home winning streak to 148 consecutive games – the nation’s longest active streak.

• Tonight’s game marked the 456th consecutive sellout at Cameron Indoor Stadium, dating back to Nov. 16, 1990 -- the longest active streak (by time) in either men’s college basketball or the NBA.

Player Notes

• Freshman Cassius Stanley scored a game and career high 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting. He also grabbed a team and career high seven rebounds.

• Sophomore Tre Jones scored 15 points for the second straight game, while registering eight assists and just one turnover.

• Duke improved to 19-1 when Jones scores in double figures.

• Junior Alex O’Connell scored 14 points, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, and his six rebounds were one shy of his career high. He also had three assist and two steals in 25 minutes.

• O’Connell has six steals in two games this season.

• Freshman Wendell Moore Jr., scored a career-high 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

• Twelve Blue Devils played in the game, and nine scored, including five in double-figures.

Next Game

• Duke hosts Central Arkansas on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. ET on ACC Network

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