COMMENTARY: It's Time Duke Realizes They Aren't That Good
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
College basketball is anything but normal, yet there’s one team who’s been shocking the nation and not in a good way.
The Duke Blue Devils started as a preseason ranked No. 1 in the nation. They had a solid group of guys who could take Coach K to another national title (Grayson Allen, Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard).
After going 12-1 before conference play, the Blue Devils are now 3-4 in the ACC. Where did it go wrong?
The excuses can’t go on any further (suspensions, Coach K’s absence, and injuries). It’s time to admit the Blue Devils are not good.
This team had gotten the benefit of the doubt early in the season when Giles was out with an injury. Then they had to deal with Grayson Allen’s mishaps and Amile Jefferson went down. Coach K’s absence could be a factor, but we are talking about a tier-1 college basketball program.
This team right now looks like a one-and-done in March. I know what you’re thinking and they have lost to some very good teams, but two of their losses, including the most recent one to NC State, came at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
They are winless against Top-25 teams and it’s been a while for someone to say that about Coach K’s teams. Their defense is shaky and they lack a point guard to run the offense.
The issue at hand is Kennard not having the offense around him. He’s by far their best offensive player and their best shooter.
Kennard hasn’t been receiving much of that as of late, instead, its Tatum taking the shots now. Tatum is a more talented NBA prospect, but he doesn’t have a feel for the game right now.
He has talent, but doesn’t know when to share the ball or takeover, doesn’t create shots for others, and he just doesn’t make the team around him better.
With that being said, who is the go-to-guy for Duke? Grayson Allen is who it was supposed to be.
The preseason National Player of the Year should be the one stepping up. After all, he did come back to win another national title and leave a legacy. That legacy has been tainted by how immature he’s been on the court.
He’s turned into the dirtiest player in college basketball and is a typical trust-fund child, who doesn’t get his way and throws temper tantrums on the sidelines.
Yet, not one person has really stepped up to fill that void that Allen’s leaving.
Duke is not playing up to the potential they should be playing at and it’s a concern. This team was expected to make a run at a Final Four and now they’re trying to just make it to the Round of 32.
This team has the talent to win a title, they just need to gel together and figure out their roles on the team. Tatum needs to realize that Kennard is the guy right now, Allen needs to get his head in the game and Giles needs to get healthy.