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More Courtside In Japan!

Like Daisuke, many Duke fans ands grads in Japan enjoy following Duke basketball through DBR. Only the U.S.military bases in Japan have access to U.S. television programming, including ESPN. The Duke games many of us see, therefore, are videotapes—not quite like seeing them live. DBR is our way of seeing the Duke games live. Please accept, if you like, our way of contributing to DBR. Respectfully submitted by Mark, Class of ’84.
Thanks Mark! - DBR

I had the opportunity to see Team USA beat Slovenia from 2nd row seats at the Saitama Super Arena in the World Youth Championships Quarterfinal Round. Here are some observations:

Duke Notes:
Chris Duhon was the best player on the court. He hit big shots, deflected passes, ran the break nicely,etc. Chris’ 17 points came on 3 3-pointers, 2 beautiful floaters, and two powerful dunks. At the start of the 3rd quarter, Chris missed a three but came right back the next possession an unhesitatingly shot and swished a three.

Chris also had 5 assists go awry as his teammates missed three layups and two dunks off his feeds. One of his assists was a pretty dish to Carlos on the break.

I was impressed at the speed at which Chris pushed the ball up the court. He did this better than Jameer Nelson and Marcus Taylor.

Carlos Boozer got into early foul trouble. Coach Boeheim’s decision to rest his starters the entire 4th quarter was the main reason, however, for his limited minutes. Carlos was aggressive on defense, once looking like Shane with an all-out dive to try to save a loose ball from going out of bounds. None of the other big men—Evans, Cook, Sweetney, Collison--ever hit the floor for loose balls. Could have been the Wojo coaching :-)

A couple of Carlos’ shots rimmed out, and he missed a dunk off a Duhon pass. Carlos easily could have scored 14+ points. Carlos rebounded well, a couple times holding off two Slovenia players with his brute strength.

Dahntay Jones and Sweetney were the last two players off the bench, both entering midway through the 4th quarter with the USA holding a 20+ point lead.

Duhon had the honors of having the dunk of the day (when he blew by a defender and dunked a la Jason Williams vs. NC State) until Dahntay entered. After starting slowly on offense by missing a 10 footer and being unable to convert a slightly off-the-mark alley-oop pass from Marcus Taylor, Dahntay exploded with a windmill jam over a helpless Slovenia defender. If my memory is right, it reminded me of Stackhouse’s dunk over Parks and Meeks at Cameron. Dahntay also had a highlight dunk at the buzzer.

Overheard Remarks:

  • The sparse crowd and my good seats allowed me to hear a bit of courtside talk:
  • When Dahntay entered the game, I heard USA assistant Coach Martelli yell to take Jason Kapono off Slovenia’s top outside threat and put Dahntay on him. The Slovenia player went scoreless the rest of the way. A couple of times the USA coaching staff yelled “good job, Dahntay” when Dahntay was guarding his man.
  • The Slovenia coach questioned the U.S.A’s ability to substitute after a foul by yelling to the refs: “are we playing by NCAA rules or by FIBA rules?”
  • Brian Cook was constantly yelled at by Coach Boeheim for being out of position on offense.
  • My yell of “Jimmy (Boeheim)—put in Dahntay” drew laughs and acknowledgement from both Dahntay and Carlos.

Random notes:

  • Troy Bell played limited minutes, all in the first quarter. He sat at the end of the bench the rest of the game, with the trainer occasionally talking to him. We’ll see if he plays in the semifinals. When the USA blew open the game in the 3rd quarter, Duhon was at off-guard and Nelson ran the point.
  • In the 4th quarter before Dahntay went in and when Carlos and Chris were already pulled for the duration of the game, the three of them sat next to each other and were obviously enjoying rooting on the team.
  • Nick Collison had a solid game. I would rank him as having the second best performance, behind only Duhon’s.
  • The extended garbage time gave many a chance to pad their statistics—many of Reggie Evans’ points, Brian Cook’s rebounds, and Marcus Taylor’s points and assists, and Jason Kapono’s points came during this time.
  • Caron Butler started off hot but cooled off until hitting some buckets in the fourth quarter.
  • Bottom line to the game: it was a Duhon evening. Coach Boeheim said as much in post-game remarks. I’m off shortly to catch the semifinals against Argentina. Although Duke supporters were few against Slovenia, the Alumni Club in Japan expects 30-50 alums to attend the semifinals.