Friday, March 27, 2009

Keys to offseason improvement for Duke

BOSTON - There’s no disputing the fact that Duke’s 77-54 debacle at the hands of Villanova was an ugly way to finish the season.
It was the Blue Devils’ most lopsided NCAA Tournament loss since UNLV sent Duke home from the 1990 NCAA championship game with a 103-73 decision, and coach Mike Krzyzewski admitted afterward that he wished his team had played better.
Nonetheless, Duke did make strides this season. The team captured its first ACC title in three years and advanced to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2006, when J.J. Redick was a senior.
If the Blue Devils are going to continue improving, everybody in the program needs to make progress. Here are some things Duke’s guys can work on to get better during the offseason:

F Gerald Henderson: Make a good decision. Before the NCAA Tournament, first-team All-ACC selection Henderson seemed a good bet to forgo his senior season and leave for the NBA draft. By shooting a combined 11-for-44 in three NCAA Tournament games, he might have demonstrated he’s not ready for the NBA yet. His father, former Boston Celtic Gerald Sr., should be able to help him make the right choice.

G Jon Scheyer: Get stronger. If Duke moves forward with Scheyer at point guard rather than on the wing next season, he will need to be able to muscle his way into the lane better. He makes great decisions with the basketball, but he needs more than guile to make plays against athletic opponents.

F Kyle Singler. Develop more of a post-up game. Singler is big and strong enough to score over other power forwards with his back to the basket now. If Duke can work inside-out and outside-in with him, he will be even more effective.

F Lance Thomas. Practice the mid-range jump shot. Most opposing centers are strong enough to push Thomas off the block. If he could pull them away from the basket a bit with 15-foot jump shots, it would open up rebounding opportunities for the Blue Devils.

G Nolan Smith and G Elliot Williams. Work on ball handling. Both players have the athletic ability to be more dangerous on the dribble. Their development in this aspect will be much more important if Henderson decides not to return.

C Brian Zoubek. Get quicker. Anything Zoubek can do to increase his ability to move his feet faster will make him more of an asset, although he already made huge strides defensively this season. Of course, it’s a tall task to be quick at 7-foot-1.

F Miles Plumlee and F Olek Czyz. Become skillful. Both rising sophomores have big bodies and are athletic enough to help the Blue Devils. But they need to make strides in all aspects of their basketball skills – passing, ball handling and shooting – to make an impact.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Recruit, recruit, recruit. Krzyzewski himself said Duke needs a big-time post scorer and a point guard. The Blue Devils made the best of a roster with essentially a bunch of extremely talented wing players this season, but it’s no secret that point guard and center are the two most important positions in college basketball. Duke is a proud enough program to have excellent players at both positions. – Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

You live by the three pointer, one day you'll die by it too. While Henderson attempted to drive, Duke once again showed that once you get in the rugged NCAA tourney, you better have a decent post player. They don't have it.....Singler's game is better suited to playing outside the paint although he can play inside under the right circumstances. It is amazing what having a decent inside threat (a la Elton Brand) can do.....

Anonymous said...

I guarantee K will be trying to sell the "Gerald's not ready for the NBA" crap all summer so that his awful recruiting and missing ability to develop talent aren't widely criticized for another year. Let's be honest, it's a weak draft year and Henderson should get out before K's (lack of) "coaching" for another year drops his draft stock.

MichaelProcton said...

Yes, Jared...all that TERRIBLE recruiting Kryzewski's doing: an average scout class rank of 6.8 in the last five years with 11 top 50 recruits over that time. Duke was hurt by the early departures of guys like McRoberts, Randolph, and, yes, Shaun Livingston (who should have been this year's PG, as well as every time you saw Paulus take the floor at the opening tip, and it takes some time to recharge.

New recruits Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee seem to be in the Euro big mold, but provide skilled size in a way Duke hasn't seen in a while. Both are 6-11 and can ball.

Tarheel Paul said...

More dinners with Coach K and the refs is the key to Duke improvement. Whine whine whine.

Anonymous said...

The should get Seth Curry. He is anonther Curry in the long line of basketball royalty. I think Seth could bring a National Championship to Durham. He would average at least 35 points per game.

As a matter of fact with Curry they could start only 4 and still win. I even heard that a prominent labratory is considering selling Curry sperm to coaches throughout the USA. Clone a Curry ant you may not get a rel winner but your school is guarnateed to get front page coverage.

Getting a Curry...that is the key to offseason improvement.

Anonymous said...

Picking up on the sarcasm, but Curry should be a good scoring punch off the bench for Duke in 2010. Certainly doesn't hurt that he put up 20+ ppg this season.

Duke will be busy the next couple weeks signing John Wall, the #1 prep recruit in the nation.

Anonymous said...

I don’t get it when people say “Duke lives by the three”? Only about 33% of Duke’s overall FG attempts are from three point range. Not only is that not high, it’s about average. You would think that 51% of their shots were from the 3. Get real people and do some research before you simply repeat what you heard/read some where else.

The reason Duke takes 33% of their shots from three is because they have good three point shooters!!! They had five players that made at least 27 3s this year. What do you suggest they do, run a lot of plays to the post when they don’t have anyone to run them too? And there’s this amazing stats I’ve heard repeated over and over: when Duke loses a game they shoot bad from 3 point range. REALLY?!?!?! Who doesn’t?

Give me a break!