Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Duke's new pace may benefit Plumlees

CHARLOTTE - A year ago, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, the Blue Devils' system was tailor made for starting post players Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek.

Duke's physical, half-court style fit Thomas and Zoubek, who were best known for defending and rebounding. When reserves Mason and Miles Plumlee came off the bench, though, they didn't quite fit in as well because their skills are more suited for an uptempo game.

At the ACC's operation basketball media day tipoff this afternoon, Krzyzewski said the Plumlees are better off in a fast-paced system like the one Duke will use this season now that 2009-10 seniors Thomas and Zoubek are gone. Krzyzewski plans to pressure in the full court or three-quarters court on defense after baskets, and play at a fast tempo on offense.

"The way we use our perimeter this year is really good for the Plumlees," Krzyzewski said.

The Plumlees' strength is running the floor and scoring on quick-hit plays rather than post-ups.

Sophomore Ryan Kelly, a Raleigh native, also figures prominently in Duke's plans in the post. Kelly has bulked up from 206 pounds in the 2009 preseason to 234 pounds now, Krzyzewski said.

Other highlights from Krzyzewski's media appearance:

- Krzyzewski was disappointed that Seth Curry, who redshirted as a transfer student on last season's NCAA title team, wasn't able to get a ring celebrating the championship along with his teammates.

An NCAA rule prevented Curry from getting a ring, even though he was a member of the team who participated in practice.

"Any scholarship player should be able to get that [a ring]," Krzyzewski said.

- The goal of forward Kyle Singler to be named national player of the year met with Krzyewski's approval. (Singler also said his team goal is to win as many games as possible).

Krzyzewski said he appreciates Singler's fearlessness and willingness to answer questions honestly, without some hidden motive or agenda. The coach said Singler possesses an innocence and earnestness that is refreshing.

"I admire who he is," Krzyzewski said. "My goal is to have him be great as a player and not change."

- Sophomore guard Andre Dawkins has been working on developing disciplined mechanics for his jump shot so that he shoots with the same motion every time.

Krzyzewski said Dawkins has matured physically and is growing up.

"In practice right now, he's guarded a lot by Kyle [Singler]," Krzyzewski said. "He's going to be better if he can get his shot off [against Singler]."

Ken Tysiac