It’s clearly way to early to make assessments on where players are only 4 months removed from Duke’s last game, a loss to Kansas in the Elite 8 and still 2 months away from Countdown to Craziness (Duke’s annual team introduction and scrimmage). We can however look at how Duke performed in their 3 Canadian exhibition games and make some notations on what needs to improve from that early abridged look. Here is a player by player analysis.
Javin DeLaurier – Offensively Javin clearly has shown some improvement, cashing in on 77% of his shot opportunities. After just missing a double double in the first game, going for 8 points and 11 boards DeLaurier did not rebound especially well in the final 2 outings only grabbing 6 in the final 2 games. For DeLaurier rebounding will be his bread and butter but his offensive improvements after working in the offseason with David Robinson could be gravy for the Blue Devils. He has the potential to be a double-double guy but most importantly, as stated by Coach K are his skills for grabbing boards.
Marques Bolden – Bolden simply stated, has to do more. Finishing a 3 game stand 0-3 from the floor with 9 rebound isn’t what the coaching staff is expecting from the 6’10 junior. Offensively, there weren’t a lot of opportunities to be had and the few post passes he did receive weren’t great. If Duke is going to be successful this season they will need more from Bolden on one end of the floor or another. He’s not a player that is going to get his own shot and the guards need to do a better job of both hitting from the outside to open up the post game and also feeding Bolden so that he can actually get a quality look. For Bolden’s part, he needs to be better at demanding the ball but I’m not sure the quick up-and-down nature of the games what Duke played are a fit for his skillset. If Duke can operate some in the half court then a player like Bolden could get better looks and chances to be effective in the post.
Jack White – White may have played himself into the rotation with his showing in Canada. White showed a variety fo skills and the ability to hit the open 3. White rebounded the basketball well in each of the 3 games, averaging 6 per contest and he also average 3 assists her game. In 3 games, White had 9 assists to only 4 turnovers. If he can shoot a high percentage from beyond the arc while still doing the dirty work under the basket, he could find himself with much more time on the court than may have been projected after last season. His experience is invaluable and he has definitely made a jump from last year in terms of both his comfort in the offense as well as the speed of the game.