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Frank Jackson led Duke in scoring with 18 points against Marist and followed that up with 21 points ...

Duke men's basketball player of the week: Week 1



Frank Jackson

The statline:

Friday vs. Marist: 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting, four steals, four assists and one rebound in 25 minutes

Saturday vs. Grand Canyon: 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, four rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes

The good: Starting off the 2016-17 season without three of its freshmen big men, No. 1 Duke showed off its depth in blowout wins against Marist and Grand Canyon in the season's opening weekend. Jackson came off the bench to play 25 minutes in both games, scoring a game-high 18 points against Marist in his career debut and complementing Grayson Allen's 25 points with 21 against Grand Canyon on an efficient 7-of-10 day from the field. Jackson knocked down four triples against the Antelopes and also combined to shoot 8-of-10 from the free-throw line in the two games. 

The 6-foot-3 guard dished out four assists against the Red Foxes and was also one of the Blue Devils' best defensive playmakers throughout the weekend, notching four steals Friday. Jackson was ESPN's No. 10 recruit and No. 4 point guard in the 2016 class, and he is shaping up to be a valuable asset for Duke’s currently depleted bench.

The bad: Jackson's aggressiveness on defense came back to bite him at times, as he picked up four fouls in both games. He will have to be more careful to stay on the floor against stronger opponents, especially with the Blue Devils' other three five-star freshmen sidelined with leg injuries. There is no timetable for the return of Harry Giles, Marques Bolden or Jayson Tatum, which has left Duke shorthanded in the paint.

The bottom line: With all the injuries and talk surrounding the hurt freshmen, Duke’s remaining top freshman recruit has stepped up to show he can’t be counted out this season. Jackson had a promising start as the sixth man and will continue to be be a vital sparkplug off the bench, even after his classmates return to the floor.

Honorable mention: As a leader on and off the court, junior captain Grayson Allen had solid outings in the Blue Devils’ first two games of the season, with 16 points and four rebounds against the Red Foxes and game highs of 25 points and 10 rebounds against Grand Canyon. Allen's performance Saturday night marked his third career double-double. The Jacksonville, Fla., native also knocked down six 3-pointers during the weekend and added 3.5 assists per game. Allen’s consistent play on both ends of the floor make him a reliable performer for Duke and an early contender for National Player of the Year.


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