We're inclined to agree with Yoni
Cohen's analysis of how Duke could benefit from the injury DeMarcus Nelson
suffered. But what he doesn't get into and may not understand is what
could possibly happen when Nelson returns.
Yes, Sean Dockery and Greg Paulus have improved considerably. But what
happens if Nelson moves back into the starting lineup? Or what happens if it
turns out that he isn't productive coming off the bench?
Well, the answer to the second question, most basically, is he'll be told
that whatever helps the team comes first. But the corollary to that is
Sean Dockery's attitude. Coach K has called him the best teammate ever,
which is high praise, and says he has an amazing attitude and desire to see his
team come first.
Remember when Carlos Boozer got injured late in his senior year, and Chris Duhon moved into the starting lineup in place of Nate James?
James went to Duhon and made sure that he understood that he had no problem
with the rookie starting in his place. It was a great thing to do, and it
helped the team towards a national title.
We're not making predictions, mind you, certainly not in December. But
we will predict this: if it turns out that Duke is better with Nelson starting,
or playing more minutes than Dockery, Dockery will accept that with no
reservations and do everything he can to help his team win, whether it's in
practice, on the floor, or cheering Nelson on in his place. He's a great
kid, and that's likely to be a huge advantage when Nelson returns and the
rotation changes. Dockery has become a valuable player for Duke, but his
greatest contribution is towards chemistry.