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Sumner’s Potpourri

Potpourri: 1 : a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent. 2 : a miscellaneous collection. This’d be 2.

Corey Maggette #50
Corey Maggette was one of many Chicagoans who played basketball at Duke, both before and during Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure

Back in the spring when we weren’t sure when college sports would come back, I started putting together potential topics. I’ve followed through on some, put some others on hold and put some in a category I originally called “odds and ends” but now call “potpourri,” in honor of Alex Trebek.

Well, we’re having sports and the football/basketball overlap certainly leaves me no shortage of ideas. Since much of the potpourri relates to this season’s team, there’s no reason to sit on it. Therefore I’m turning it over to management and it will show up when it shows up.

Duke’s 2020-’21 team will be the first since 1999 that does not have a single player on the roster with a father who played in the NBA.

I’m not sure how and why Mike Krzyzewski ends up with so many players with NBA fathers and it’s never come up in post-games.

DNA is the first thing to come to mind but if genetics was the determining factor I would have shelves full of CDs by Franz Mozart.

I rather suspect it’s that people who have played in the NBA both have the resources necessary to maximize their children’s abilities and a pretty good understanding of what it takes to reach the next level.

You probably want to see my work.

Here it goes.

  1. 2000. Mike Dunleavy, Jr. (Mike, Sr.)
  2. 2001. Dunleavy
  3. 2002. Dunleavy
  4. 2003. Lee Melchionni (Gary)
  5. 2004. Melchionni
  6. 2005. Melchionni
  7. 2006. Melchionni
  8. 2007. Gerald Henderson, Jr. (Gerald, Sr.)
  9. 2008. Henderson. Nolan Smith (Derek)
  10. 2009. Henderson. Smith
  11. 2010. Smith
  12. 2011. Smith. Seth Curry (Dell)
  13. 2012. Curry. Austin Rivers (Doc)
  14. 2013. Curry. Alex Murphy (Jay)
  15. 2014. Murphy. Jabari Parker (Sonny)
  16. 2015. Justise Winslow (Ricky)
  17. 2016. Antonio Vrankovic (Stojko)
  18. 2017. Vrankovic. Justin Robinson (David)
  19. 2018. Vrankovic. Robinson. Gary Trent, Jr. (Gary, Sr.)
  20. 2019. Vrankovic. Robinson
  21. 2020. Robinson

Danny Ferry and Chris Collins preceded Dunleavy, et.al.

We also have Shavlik Randolph, whose grandfather Ronnie Shavlik briefly played in the NBA.

This likely is nothing but a statistical oddity but with freshman D.J. Steward on board, hopefully not.

Steward is from Chicago and played prep ball at Whitney Young, Jahlil Okafor’s prep alma-mater.

Not every great Chicago player has had great team success at Duke. Jabari Parker comes to mind. But almost every great Duke team has had a Chicago player on its roster. Duke has sent 16 teams to the Final Four and 14 of them have had a recruited player from Chicago, some great players, some well short of great.

The list.

  1. 1963. Hack Tison-Geneva. 4.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg.
  2. 1964. Tison-11.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2nd-team All-ACC.
  3. 1966-Tony Barone-Chicago. 0.3 ppg.
  4. 1978. no one
  5. 1986. Weldon Williams-Crete-Monee High School. 1.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg.
  6. 1988-Phil Henderson-Crete-Monee High School. 5.9 ppg.
  7. 1989-Henderson-12.7 ppg.
  8. 1990-Henderson-18.1 ppg, second-team All-ACC
  9. 1991-Marty Clark, Westchester. 2.1 ppg.
  10. 1992-Clark-2.9 ppg.
  11. 1994-Clark-8.1 ppg.
  12. 1999-Corey Maggette-Oak Park, Fenwick High School. 10.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg.
  13. 2001-no one
  14. 2004-Sean Dockery-3.0 ppg.
  15. 2010-Jon Scheyer-18.2 ppg, 4.9 apg, first-team All-ACC, second-team All-America.
  16. 2015- Okafor-17.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.4 bpg. ACC Player of the Year, first-team All-America

*****

Duke has sometimes been called “Point-Guard U” and it’s easy to see why. Johnny Dawkins was Krzyzewski’s third point guard in 1983 and he moved over to shooting guard when Tommy Amaker joined the squad the following season. Amaker and Steve Wojciechowski were national defensive players of the year, Bobby Hurley is the NCAA career assist leader, Jason Williams won every 2002 national player of the year award, Kyrie Irving is a perennial NBA all-star, Nolan Smith and Tre Jones were ACC players of the year, Dawkins, Williams, Chris Duhon and Jon Scheyer were runners-up for ACC Player of the Year and Hurley and Tyus Jones were Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

A pretty impressive group.

So, surely Point Guard U has had lots of great assist generators. And Duke has had 13 seasons under Krzyzewski in which a point guard averaged at least six assists per game. But surprisingly only Hurley (1992, 1993) and . . . . wait for it, Greg Paulus have ever led the ACC in assists. That’s two players, three seasons in the almost half-century since the ACC started keeping that stat.

There have been some close-but-no-cigar seasons, including last season when NC State’s Markell Johnson led the ACC with 6.8 assists per game, with Tre Jones finishing second at 6.4. Post-season stats count, so that might have changed had there been a post-season.

Might have.

Paulus led the ACC in assists in 2006 with a modest 5.2 per game and if one wanted to be snarky one could suggest that a lot of those consisted of passing the ball to J.J. Redick and getting out of the way; this is the year Redick averaged 26.8 points per game.

Then again, perhaps Redick was helped by Paulus getting him the ball when and where he needed it.

Redick and Paulus weren’t the only Blue Devils to lead the ACC in a major statistical category that season. Shelden Williams led the league in rebounding for the second consecutive season and blocked shots for the third consecutive season. Marvin Bagley is the only Blue Devil to lead the league in rebounding since Williams but Williams remains the only Krzyzewski-era player to lead the ACC in blocked shots.

That’s one player in 40 seasons.

Mike Gminski led the ACC in 1978 and 1979, playing for Bill Foster.

I can’t imagine this means anything but four different left-handers have led Duke in scoring each of the last four seasons. That would be Luke Kennard in 2017, Marvin Bagley in 2018, R.J. Barrett in 2019 and Vernon Carey last season.

For the record Barrett averaged 22.66 ppg, while Williamson averaged 22.61.

So, I’m going with Barrett.

Duke has had southpaws lead the team in scoring four consecutive seasons once before, but it was the same player, Dawkins 1983 through 1986. Dawkins remains the only player to lead Duke in scoring four seasons and that’s a record that seems likely to stand for a very long time.

Prior to Dawkins we have to go back to Jack Marin in 1966 to find someone who checks that box. I confess that I don’t know the dominant hand of players prior to 1960.

Of course, there have been other great Duke lefties who didn’t lead the team in scoring. Hack Tison , Gary Melchionni, Thomas Hill, Josh McRoberts and Rodney Hood all made All-ACC. And Williamson was ACC and national player of the year.

Freshman Jaemyn Brakefield is this season’s only left-hander, so this streak seems likely to end.

If you’re a parent you know that moment when you hand the keys to the car to a new driver.

I have no idea how Mike Krzyzewski handed the keys to his cars to his daughters. But he’s been remarkable receptive to giving true freshmen point guards the keys to his basketball team. True freshman Jeremy Roach is poised to become Duke’s starting point guard this season and he says that Krzyzewski’s willingness to trust freshman point guards was one of the reasons he came to Duke.

Johnny Dawkins started at point as a freshman in 1983 and then moved over to shooting guard when freshman Tommy Amaker joined the program the following season. Since then Bobby Hurley (1990), Jeff Capel (1994), Jason Williams (2000), Greg Paulus (2006), Kyrie Irving (2011, with an asterisk), Tyus Jones (2015), Derryck Thornton (2016), Trevon Duval (2018) and Tre Jones (2019) have started and averaged at least 25 minutes per game as freshman point guards.

For the record, I’m counting Chris Duhon (2001) and Frank Jackson (2017) as shooting guards as freshmen.

Certainly Duke hasn’t paid much of a competitive price for starting freshmen point guards. Duke won it all with Tyus Jones in 2015, while Hurley and Capel (with a lot of help from point forward Grant Hill), quarterbacked Duke to the title game in their freshman seasons. Duke entered the 2000, 2006, 2011 and 2019 NCAA Tournaments as the top-ranked team with a freshman point guard at the helm.

They say you learn more from your defeats than your victories. Perhaps that explains 1995, the snake-bitten team that established a still-standing school record with 18 losses.

That team had five recruited guards. Jeff Capel currently is head coach at Pittsburgh. Chris Collins holds the same spot at Northwestern, Steve Wojciechowski at Marquette and Kenny Blakeney at Howard. Trajan Langdon was the fifth and he’s general manager of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.

So, whatever problems that 1995 team had, a shortage of basketball acumen wasn’t among them.

Johnny Dawkins, Tommy Amaker, Quinn Snyder, Bobby Hurley, Billy McCaffrey and Greg Paulus also either are or were college head coaches, while Chris Duhon ,Tyler Thornton, Nate James and Jon Scheyer are/were college assistant coaches. And all played guard for Mike Krzyzewski. Nolan Smith is in the on-deck circle.

Bob Bender was an assistant for Krzyzewski but played at Duke under Bill Foster.

Speaking of coaches, I’m leaving the best for last.

I’m using the official records here and I’m counting the games Duke played when the school was still Trinity.

Mike Krzyzewski has coached 1,375 games at Duke. His record is 1,084-291.

Duke/Trinity has played 3,094 games.

This means that the magic number is 345. If Mike Krzyzewski coaches that many more games he would have coached 1,720 of Duke’s 3,438 games. That’s more than half.

Likely? Not really. Possible? Sure.

Excluding last season’s obvious outlier Duke has averaged 36.9 games per season over the previous decade. At 37 games per season it would take Krzyzewski a little more than nine seasons to reach 1,720.

That would be the 2029-’30 season. He would turn 83 that season.

That’s a hypothetical.

But this isn’t.

Duke has played 1,070 games in Duke Indoor Stadium/Cameron Indoor Stadium, which opened in 1940.. Krzyzewski has been the coach of record in 617 of them.

Yes, Mike Krzyzewski has been Duke’s coach of record in almost 58 percent of the games Duke has played in Cameron.

The median age in the United States is just over 38 years. Krzyzewski is beginning his 41st season at Duke. More than half of the population of the United States was born since he took over at Duke. If we assume that most people don’t really start following sports until they are 10 are so that suggests that a substantial majority of the American sports-following public doesn’t remember a time when anyone other than Mike Krzyzewski was head basketball coach at Duke.

Mull that one over for awhile.