No great surprise in Durham as Duke pulled away from Central early and won
with relative ease, 92-63. Freshmen Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek scored
14, as did DeMarcus Nelson.
Youth showed to a certain extent as Scheyer, Zoubek, Lance Thomas, and Gerald
Henderson all played, as they must this season, and the team collectively made
some key errors. There were 54 fouls called and 40 turnovers between
the two teams, which made for a ragged game.
better for the game, hitting 47.2% to Duke's
But 27 turnovers, that's a lot to overcome. Aside from 27 times you
don't get to attempt a shot, you have to chase the other guys after most of
those blown opportunities, and then turn around and bring the ball back up
again. It's an exhausting way to play catchup.
While the rotation is still in flux, and Coach K traditionally tinkers with
it for the early part of the season, even when he has great teams coming back -
a lot of times he'll sit someone for a game or two to get their attention - Duke
could have worse situations than having Dave McClure and Martynas Pocius coming
off the bench.
McClure is pretty obviously a better athlete than anyone knew as a freshman,
and he has the potential, whether as as a starter or a reserve, of being a
defensive sparkplug. Pocius has the potential of doing the same
But the main thing that's different about this team than the last couple of
years is the athleticism. Pocius is not starting, but he is a very
Lance Thomas is giving Duke an athletic presence at forward that they haven't
had in a while.
The offensive potential of this team is easy to see: Josh McRoberts has
guard skills at 6-11; Nelson, Gerald Henderson, and Pocius can all go inside
against bigger players when necessary.
But the most fun in watching this team develop is going to be watching the
team learn to play defense together, because it has the potential to be one of
the better defensive teams Duke has had in recent years. When they really
get it together, and you see Nelson, Henderson, McClure, Thomas, Pocius,
McRoberts, and Greg Paulus pushing the ball downcourt fast after a turnover,
it's going to be a blast.
On another note, Duke students invited Central students to sit with them. It
was a way of turning back some of the bad feelings that followed the lacrosse
case. It wasn't a huge thing, but it was a decent thing, and certainly a
start. Duke and Central are not very far apart physically, but pretty
remote in every other way, as Duke is sometimes remote from Durham in
general. Here's hoping that it's just the beginning.