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.
Jordan Goldwire – Goldwire truly helped his positioning on this team and after a so-so first game where he was 0-5 from the floor with only 1 assist and 2 turnovers. The sophomore seemed to get better each game he played, he seemed to learn his teammates tendencies and he also seemed to me much more comfortable with getting his own offense as well. In game 2 Goldwire shot 2-5 with 2 assists and 2 turnovers. The finale, game 3, Goldwire truly shined shooting 50% from the field, 2-3 from beyond the arc, but more importantly the freshmen dished out 5 assists to only 1 turnover. If he can continue this kind of growth during the off-season it can only bode well for Duke’s backcourt. If, and it’s always a big if, with Coach K but if he can use Goldwire to throw a different look to opponents in the backcourt without too much of a drop off Duke can become a very dangerous team. Goldwire is a staunch defender who can get into other guards and has quick hands. Being able to plug an experienced guy when need be is always a coaches dream.
Alex O’Connell – Health. O’Connell had a freak facial break trying to block a dunk but all signs point to him being ok by seasons start. The goal aside from being healthy is to be the knock down shooter he showed he could be in his limited time last year. If he can also show improvement on the defensive end it will be hard to keep him off the court. Clearly the sophomore has added a good 12-15 lbs to his frame and is filling out, hopefully this added size will aid in his ability to defend as well as finish.