clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mark Harrell Reports From London!

Yesterday, I was in Sevilla Spain, a beautiful city full of culture. This is
where I began my vacation, visiting my sister. Once I realized that Duke was
playing in London, I had to make at least one of the games, and so flew into
the UK yesterday for the evening game versus the London Towers. As dreary as
London was, everyone at the game was in good spirits, especially the
good-sized contingient of Duke fans. I met folks who came in from America,
Germany, France and Greece, just to watch everyone's favorite team, the Duke
Blue Devils.

The crowd was as roaring as it could be, for the really small
arena (even compared to Cameron). I had the privilage of sitting immediately
behind the Duke bench, where I could hear the huddles. As a team, Duke looks
a bit young, but of course, that is compared to a Professional team. And
despite being a bit young, and obviously relatively new to playing with each
other, they showed good communication and connection with one another. At
times I thought Coach Krzyzewksi was about to get a technical, and it was no
surprise to hear that he got one in one of the previous games. It was clear
that he was teaching while he was coaching, and the players really seemed to
listen to him.

Duke played half-court defense the entire game, but it seemed
very collapsing and resulted in a good number of turnovers for the Towers.

One thing I noticed, especially different from last year, there is no clear
go-to guy, which means our guys will have the opportunity take there guy
one-on-one, as a double team would leave one too many people open. At the
half, the Devils led 45 to 35, and they closed the game out on a tear that
opened the final score up to 89 to 70.

Here's my player by player breakdown:

Duhon: seemed very vocal especially on the bench, where he enjoyed a decent amount
of time to let Dockery grow. His shot was very nice, but he didn't
use it as much as he could have. Driving and dishing, or driving and looping
a little lofter seemed very comfortable to him.

Sanders: Casey is still a bit skinny, although it appears that he has gained
a bit of strength, as was evident by his defending a guy who was clearly
stronger than he (by at least 60 or 70 pounds). His offensive hands could
still use some work, but his hustle and his defense have improved.

Jones: Dahntay's game has changed considerably. He seems more generous and
team-oriented. But when he made his mind up to drive, he either scored or was
fouled 95% of the time. Right before he fouled out near the end of the game,
he had a sensational up-and-under move for a bank, where he hung in the air
for what seemed like minutes.

Ewing: I don't get this guy, he's a sophomore who plays like a seasoned
veteran. As smooth as he was last-year, he's more so now. He shows a great
feel for the game.

Horvath: Nick was not dressed out, and I later heard that he had some kind of
injury; however apparently he did play some in the earlier games.

On to the "Super Six". I will group these guys in order of whom I think to be
the best; but know that the 'worst' is still damn good.

#1-Dockery: This kid still shows some signs of street ball nastiness. He
might as well hire a lawyer now for all the personal-injury cases that will
most certainly be brought forth by people claiming that he broke their ankles.
He got a decent amount of PT, and at times shared point duty with Duhon. He
threw a beautiful alley pass to Casey, who threw it down hard to start the 4th

#2-Thompson: He looked very good inside, as well as being very strong. He fouled
out towards the end of the 3rd quarter with 11 points.

Tied for #3-Williams: Sheldon positions himself very well, and has nice
strong hands. Plays with his head and muscles.

Tied for #3-Reddick: A serious threat that will disable others from
double-teaming anyone else; in other words, if he gets a good look, he's near
automatic from apparently anywhere in the half-court. He abused one poor Brit
by getting him off his feet and then pulling quickly way back for a deep
three. With nearly half a minute left he saw his defender just a little too
far away from him and drained one from about 5 feet within the half-court.
#4-Mechlionni: It was nice to see that he was playing, and he showed good awareness
on the court, as well as nice hustle.

I can't rate Shav as he didn't play in the game. However, from what I heard
he seemed pretty good in some of the previous games.

I had a chance to speak with Dahntay's folks after the game, and they said
that Duke's "really starting to come together as a team." It's clear that
they have their work cut out for themselves, but they have a great start and
they really do seem to meld well together. I have a feeling that Dockery and
Jones will be a lethal combination. But the fans were fantastic, and everyone
enjoyed the game. One couple from London said that Duke was "brilliant and
excellent." Having never seen Duke before, they said that they "could really
get hooked" on watching them play. I said that I knew the feeling.

From London,
Mark Harrell