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Coach K On Duke’s D

Blue Devil’s coach still wants passionate defense. Getting it from younger players requires more work.

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NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Duke
Jan 5, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski (right) talks to Duke Blue Devils guard Tre Jones (3) during the second half against the Clemson Tigers at Cameron Indoor Stadium
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Krzyzewski’s Duke program rose to prominence on the back of its defense but since the one-and-done era started in earnest, it’s been hard to teach it properly so there have been various adjustments and tweaks to compensate.

That’s been far less necessary this year.

Tre Jones is a superb defender and Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish all defend well. So do the upperclassmen. Javin DeLaurier, Jack White and Marques Bolden all have been super on D this year not least of all when it comes to shot blocking.

There’s not really a bad defender on the roster although, as in most human endeavors, attention wanders at times.

Coach K addressed defense on Thursday, arguing that it really hasn’t changed that much. It has, at least from where we sit, with current Coach K running some zone, something young Coach K famously refused to even practice. The focus on that end has certainly never wavered though even if the ability to learn it has been limited by time.

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