H-S | W-S
| Boxscore | Photos
The Davidson game went about as we expected, with Davidson being very smart
and sticking around for a good while. There's a lot to admire in that
For Duke, there were some good things in this game. J.J. Redick has
been a rock for a long time now, of course, and people know pretty much what to
expect from him, although he has continued to add wrinkles to his game.
But as much as he has improved, it's clear to us that Shelden Williams has
improved as much or more as anyone on the team. He nearly had a triple
double against Davidson, but that's not specifically what we're talking about.
When he first got to Duke, his footwork and his offensive moves left a lot to
be desired. He frankly was clumsy offensively, although he was solid
defensively from the beginning. He has steadily improved through his
career, and last year was solid offensively, although not great. Coach K
referred to him at one point as being "workmanlike."
Now, though, for the first time, he can really be described as agile.
His offensive moves, once awkward and tentative, have become instinctive and
impressive. He has gone from being mechanical to explosive, and that's a
very impressive improvement.
Davidson tested Duke pretty well, backdooring the Blue Devils a fair amount
and running a lot of smart screens to spring guys like Brendan Winters and Ian
Johnson, who is a nifty big man.
Unfortunately, Duke just had a lot more, and defended Davidson well, limiting
the Wildcats to 38.8% from the floor and keeping constant pressure on their
Davidson is a well-coached team, though, and Duke found it harder to force
turnovers against them than it was against their previous opponents.
Davidson only coughed the ball up 14 times.
Duke also didn't dominate Davidson on the boards, winning that battle only
Where Duke did kill Davidson was on three pointers. Davidson only hit one for
the game and Duke hit 10, including 7 out of 10 in the second half. If you
combine that advantage with Davidson's poor shooting, you can see pretty much
where Duke strangled them.
Davidson is a tough nut, as we said, but for Duke there were some other nice
things. Greg Paulus had no turnovers and continues to show a nifty passing
Josh McRoberts continues to adjust to college ball, and had four fouls, but
he had some nice moves, including a powerful dunk and a nice block, among other
DeMarcus Nelson had an amazingly powerful block, which, along with his alley-oop
last time out, really showcase his athleticism. While at this point we
think Williams is the most improved player, it could easily be Nelson by the end
of the year. Aside from offensive improvement, which is easy to see, he
has become a very good defender as well.
After three games, Duke has shown a lot, but still has some things to work
out. McRoberts isn't fully incorporated yet, and the rotation is not at
all established. But the defensive identity is there, and the other
players are exploiting the possibilities that Redick and Williams create.
From here it's on to New York and then Indiana, Virginia Tech, Penn, and
Texas. A whole lot will come clear in the next six games.