Thursday, February 10, 2011

Duke's Marshall plan...and other notes

DURHAM - North Carolina freshman point guard Kendall Marshall has seen the first adjustment teams are going to make against him.

On Sunday, Marshall handed out 16 assists, a school freshman record, in a defeat of Florida State. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski watched that film and devised a fairly simple game plan for the Blue Devils’ 79-73 win on Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“We were able to make Marshall more of a shooter than a passer,” Krzyzewski said.

In other words, when Marshall drove the lane, Duke’s defenders weren’t supposed to leave their men on the perimeter to help out. Marshall is not a proven finisher yet, so Duke preferred to have him try to finish shots in the lane instead of kicking out to wide-open 3-point shooters.

The strategy worked to a large extent. Marshall had a game-high six assists with just one turnover, but didn’t pick apart the Blue Devils the way he did Florida State.

And he shot 3-for-11 from the field, missing many times on layup attempts. So now it’s time for Marshall to make the next adjustment.

He needs to spend time in the gym working on finishing his drives with scores. When he does, he will be a considerably more potent player than he is after making just his sixth start.

Singler off target. Duke senior forward Kyle Singler had his worst shooting night of the season in terms of percentage.

He was 3-for-17 from the field as Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Reggie Bullock guarded him.

“You know, Kyle’s not going to go 3-for-17 very often,” said North Carolina coach Roy Williams.

Krzyzewski attributed Singler’s shooting struggles to the effort he was putting forth on defense. He was challenged to stop Barnes, who had scored 25, 26 and 17 points in his last three outings.

Barnes scored nine points on 3-for-8 from the field, so Singler did his job defensively.

“Kyle sacrificed a lot to do that, and I thought it affected his shot,” Krzyzewski said.

So in a much-anticipated, head-to-head meeting, freshman Barnes and senior Singler virtually neutralized each other.

Williams shows class. Fans of opposing teams – including Duke fans – enjoy poking fun at Roy Williams for some of the things he says.

After a second straight classy postgame news conference following a loss at Cameron, though, it’s time to give Williams the credit he deserves.

A year ago, after an 82-50 loss at Duke that must have embarrassed Williams, he heaped praise on seniors Jon Scheyer, Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas, who would lead the Blue Devils to the 2010 NCAA title.

On Wednesday night, he complimented seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler.

“You watch Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith play basketball, and it’s a refreshing look to see two extremely talented seniors still playing college basketball,” Williams said. “I didn’t like watching them tonight. But we better enjoy those guys while we have them around, because that’s not going to happen very much anymore. They’re fantastic players.”

Sportsmanship is alive and well in the biggest rivalry in college basketball, even after the most difficult defeats.

Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

K spends summers coaching the national team. Roy spends summers writing books including vitriol against perceived wrongs from an 18 year old young man. Roy being occasionally normal does not equate to class.

Anonymous said...

go fuck yourself

MichaelProcton said...

And speaking of class...6:37 rings up a rousing harmony from the Carolina Chorus!

Anonymous said...

Well at least you included Coach K's praise of Chapel Hill's big men in the printed edition. Thank you for small favors.