Duke freshman guard Jeremy Roach met with the media Friday afternoon to talk about Wednesday’s Boston College game, Saturday’s Wake Forest game and the state of the program.
Here are some highlights.
Roach said Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s status for the Wake game is still to-be-determined. “I’m not sure when he’ll be back.”
Not all of the talk was about basketball. Roach is from the D.C. suburbs, Fairfax, Virginia to be exact. He suggested that he had no problem playing the game the same day as the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“We play basketball, so we’ve just got to focus on that.”
But Roach also made it clear that he and his teammates were paying attention to those events. “We’ve got to keep pushing for change. Emotions were high. We’ve just got to get through it and keep pushing. . . . one day it will come.”
Back to basketball.
There’s no question that Duke dug itself a big hole out of the starting blocks against BC, trailing by as many as 16 points late in the first half.
What can Duke do to make sure that doesn’t happen again?
“Just playing for 40 minutes,. We were playing tired, weren’t playing like ourselves, trying to get our legs underneath us. The point of emphasis is to play 40 minutes.”
Roach said the comeback “started on the defensive end.”
The statistics support that. BC was shooting over 60 percent for much of the game but shot 46 percent after intermission. But more importantly Duke forced 21 turnovers, 14 of them Duke steals, many of which led to quick, transition baskets. Roach, Jordan Goldwire, D.J. Steward and Wendell Moore each had three steals.
“Our offense is going to start with our defense,” Roach said “We’ve got to continue to pressure guys and make them turn their backs and get easy baskets in transition. That’s a big emphasis for us. We want easy buckets and the easiest way is to get steals and beat the defense down the court. All the guards have to set the tone.”
How did Duke accomplish that against Boston College?
“Make guys dribble the ball who aren’t comfortable dribbling the ball.”
Roach said he and his teammates were still learning and growing, especially its versatile perimeter.
“We’re all going to eat, we’re all going to have our nights. Saturday could be D.J.’s night, could be my night, could be Gold’s night, could be Dell’s night, it doesn’t matter. We’ve got a bunch of guys who can hoop. We’re still in the process of understanding our role. Obviously I could be more aggressive but trying to get guys involved, let all the guys eat and then my shots will come; not force anything.”
Roach said Duke hasn’t “watched a lot of them (Wake Forest) but have watched some.”
The 3-2 Deacons have been even more impacted by COVID-19 than has Duke, going more than a month between games. But they led Virginia by five at the half Wednesday night before falling 70-61.
Tip-off at noon.