In a game like Army, coming the day after a draining, exciting game against
Temple, the best scenario you could really hope for would be a great effort by
Duke.Â And considering that Army would be considered a sure win (the end of
Duke's bench could have won this game), a let-up might be forgivable, expected
Duke came after Army hard and early.Â Boozer had 9 points in the first
three minutes and cracked 20 in the first half. Duke put an enormous amount of
pressure on Army.Â To their very great credit, Army never lost their
composure or quit playing hard. They played like champions the entire game, even
though they were down for most of the game by over 30 points and as far down as
Are there any negatives? Well a few.Â Army had 8 steals, which seems
high, but since Duke played the deep end of the bench, that's not a huge
surprise perhaps.Â Duke could have probably shot better - Boozer hit almost
a third of Duke's shots and missed only two.Â Dunleavy missed two reverse
layups which would have been particularly sweet.Â Duhon continues to
struggle periodically with his shot, which is funny since his shot is what made
him a high school star.Â The rest of his game is rock-solid though, so when
his shot finally comes around, it'll be a compliment.Â And it's been there
off and on.Â And you'd think that when Horvath, Sweet and Christensen are
the leading offensive rebounders that the coaches would have words with the
The biggest negative was Casey Sander's hamstring, which he injured earlier
and aggravated tonight and so played only two minutes.Â We hope he's ready
Tuesday.Â These kinds of injuries are extremely rare under Coach K, and
that's for a reason: Duke has a very sophisticated stretching program.Â
Muscle injuries are very uncommon. Duke injuries tend to be feet bones (Hurley,
Brand, and Boozer) or high ankle sprains (Hurley, Hill and Collins).
In general though, this was a very positive effort, particularly considering
last night's game and the travel and all.Â It would be easy to coast. But
no one coasted and some reserves made good arguments for moving up,Â
primarilyÂ Horvath and Sweet.
Nick is playing his way back into shape after sitting for two weeks, but he
made a number of smart passes and heady basketball plays, and if we noticed you
can be sure that the staff did.Â Last year he was somewhat timid in the
lane; this year he is asserting himself.Â
Sweet had 3 steals, a mid-range jumper, played solid defense and really took
advantage of his extended minutes. He has the potential to earn minutes this
year as a defensive specialist and can build on that. We've heard Coach K say a
number of times that you have to have something to offer your team to earn
minutes, and it can be just one thing, and then you build on that and add other
skills.Â For Sweet, it's defense.
Dunleavy had a superb floor game, making a number of remarkable passes, and
continuing to develop as a superb though underrated rebounder.Â Here's how
you can judge our opinion: look how many defensive rebounds he never has to jump
for.Â They seem to fall right into his hands. That's nonsense of course.
They seem to because he gets himself in excellent position. He did a number on
Temple on the boards and followed up with another good effort tonight.
Jason Williams continues to excel, and he has probably done an enormous
amount for Carlos' professional prospects, an idea which is getting somewhat
premature circulation.Â Carlos may well go pro after this season, not that
anyone is talking to us about it.Â But he can at least make an argument on
skills, because his fundamentals are probably superior to pretty much every
draft pick in the last 2-3 drafts.Â He can go up with both hands, can step
out and shoot, actually knows how to throw an outlet pass.Â
The question about Boozer might be called the Jamison question: is he killing
people because he excels, or is he killing people because his point guard is
getting him the ball in great position?Â Likely some of both, but if he
decides to go early and is a high pick, we say he owes Jason a Beamer.
Reggie Love dressed tonight but didn't play because, according to the radio,
the paperwork wasn't sorted out yet for him to play hoops.Â Nonetheless,
good to see him on the bench. This is a kid who was recruited as passionately
for basketball as he was for football, and considered an offer from Georgetown,
In other good news, after sitting for several games, Matt Christensen
returned to the lineup and was fairly effective.Â This year's winner for
the Bill Laimbeer look-alike contest, he'll never play like Laimbeer - if he
tries a three what Bob Knight said to K about shooting will flash through K's
mind ("if you shoot I'm going to break your arm").Â But he can
cause some havoc inside and is big and beefy and thus valuable to this group.
Finally, everyone tonight got plenty of rest, and Duke will get to mend and
repair for Illinois, who will come into Greensboro with plenty of passion and
fire.Â Can Duke match that?Â We think so.Â But it will be a great
challenge, and another one awaits on Saturday with the Temple rematch, a game
they will be certain they can win.
Dahntay Jones fashion update - tonight Dahntay sported gray slacks, casual
dress shoes, and either a sweater or sweatshirt with a large logo we couldn't
make out, which was sort of blue-black. Practiced casual yet elegant.
Notes - there were some spectacular plays in this game, among them several
passes by Dunleavy, Williams, and Horvath...our favorite though was the play
where Andre Buckner teetered on the out-of-bounds line and played a cat and
mouse game with the defender that Frederick Barthelme would have loved...two
other parties deserve high praise, first the Blue Devil, who is doing a
phenomenal job we think, and secondly the officials...their job is to regulate
the game and to be consistent and to not impose themselves on the game...we
barely noticed them tonight, and the game was remarkably smooth, so hats off...