The post-mortems (did you get the pun?) continue after the Stanford game,
focusing mostly on depth. Bill Cole of the Winston paper says
that it's depth. Bryan Strickland of the Herald-Sun, who watched on TV
with the rest of us, concurs.
And Barry Svrugla of the N&O also
agrees. So we have a consensus!
Well now that we all agree, the question is what is to be done? Well as
we have said before, the way Duke works is that you seize a role in practice,
you aren't given it during a game. It's a good system, a proven one, and
it's not likely to change. And the kids are good and hard working, so it's
not like they aren't trying. The question becomes then how do you help the
kids to improve so that they can offer more?
And this, dear reader, is where coaching comes in. Not the TV kind, but the
kind where you stand with a kid and correct his release or convince him that he
can stay with a more established opponent, or where you sit and watch video
until your eyes roll. At this point it's about just getting better, and with
Horvath in a soft cast (bone bruise), Sanders still up and down, and Sweet still
a freshman and Reggie Love only practicing for a couple of weeks, what can you
do? You just keep trying harder.
As for fans, the best thing we can do is to support the kids who are playing
and encourage the ones who get time and try to help them. It's very easy
to be a Duke fan, but we all are forgetting that many of the guys who are
playing actually were recruited as depth: Brand, Avery, Maggette, and Burgess
were expected to be in the system for longer than they were. Leave Avery
and Brand out, but if Maggette and Burgess were still around, depth wouldn't be
an issue at all, now would it?
Duke gets almost no credit for managing to stay in the Top 5 despite these
crippling defections, and that's a shame. What Krzyzewski and his staff have pulled off
is amazing. If you can name us one coach who could do what he's done we'd like
to hear it, and don't say Dean Smith, because when he lost Stackhouse and
Wallace, his team wasn't anywhere near as good.
In one other Duke story, here's
a piece on the coaching tree, focusing on David Henderson.