That would be one way to describe Trevon Duval’s first two games with the Blue Devils in which the freshman point guard racked up 20 assists while committing just a single turnover.
Friday night, there was no question whose show it was—Marvin Bagley III’s 25-point, 10-rebound performance was the first double-double by a freshman in a Duke debut. And Duval did his part, dishing out eight dimes including a nifty behind-the-back pass that set up a Bagley jam right before halftime.
But Saturday, it was “Tricky Tre’s” turn to step squarely into the Cameron Indoor spotlight.
“All I can say is this is literally just a dream coming true right now,” Duval said. “I dreamed about playing at the highest level, playing for a great coach, winning, playing against teams like Michigan State. For all this to be going on right now, I’m enjoying it, and like Coach said, I’m living in it now.”
Even so, it probably was not the start that Duval would have dreamed of in the Blue Devils’ 99-69 win against Utah Valley Saturday night. In just more than four minutes, the New Castle, Del., native was whistled for fouls twice, sending him to the bench for almost seven minutes.
When he returned, it was all treats and no tricks for the first-year floor general.
“I’ve never been a proponent of, ‘You get two fouls and you sit,’” Krzyzewski said. “I’ve never subscribed to that—guys have to learn how to play.... If they did get a third foul in the first half, then this is the time of the year when we have to teach that.”
With the Duke offense clicking, Duval only added more energy to the mix, giving the Blue Devils the kind of offensive tempo that they frequently discussed entering the season. On back-to-back possessions, he stripped a Wolverine of the ball, taking it down for a dunk, then kicked a pass to Gary Trent Jr. for an easy triple the following possession.
By the break, the 6-foot-3 guard already had five assists to go along with five points. He was just getting started.
In less than 90 seconds near the start of the second half, Duval racked up two points, a steal and two assists—part of a 10-2 spurt that silenced any chance of a Utah Valley comeback.
“He makes the game a lot easier,” Bagley said of Duval. “He’s just a great point guard to play with. He looks for you every time you’re wide open, he’s looking in the post. He’s just making the right basketball plays and everybody feeds off of that.
“Once we see him making the right plays, everybody else will make the right plays and it’s contagious. So, if he keeps that up, we’ll be alright.”
Although Duval had plenty of chances to put up his own points, as he finished with 15 on the night, he was more than fine setting up his teammates. Duval assisted on four of Duke’s 10 made 3-pointers, ultimately finishing with 12 helpers on the night.
The only players in Blue Devil history to post more assists in a single game? Think Bobby Hurley, Chris Duhon and Tommy Amaker, among just a handful of others.
“I don’t think I’ve ever [played with a point guard like Duval],” fellow freshman Wendell Carter Jr. said. “He makes it so much easier than most. He’s a phenomenal player, very unselfish.”
A week ago Saturday, Duval sat in sweats on the Duke sideline after being suspended for academic reasons. For a freshman point guard, any missed game action is crucial time lost in developing on-court chemistry, especially on a team with so many unique, athletic toys to play with, but he did not miss a beat.
Duval may not be be a superhero, but he appears to be the point guard that these Blue Devils both need and deserve.
“Coach just tells me to always be simply beautiful,” Duval said. “The simple plays are always really good plays, and once you do the simple plays a couple of times, then you can do your flashy plays because then the game comes to you easier.”