Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Jayson Tatum

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum

Season Breakdown:

Despite missing the first eight contests of the season with a foot sprain, Tatum evolved into one of the Blue Devils’ best offensive weapons by the conclusion of the season. As expected, Tatum did not hit his stride immediately, but eventually grew into his own as a versatile stretch four in the lineup.

Tatum was too fast and athletic for bigger defenders and used his strength and size to bully smaller opponents for easy buckets. The St. Louis native also had to improve his defensive efficiency and blossomed into the Blue Devils’ second-best rebounder by the season’s conclusion. Read more »

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Harry Giles

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Harry Giles

Harry Giles

Season Breakdown:

Like fellow freshman big man Marques Bolden, Giles' first few months as a member of the Blue Devils were spent mostly on the sidelines. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in October almost a year after he tore his ACL in November 2015, and although the timeline for Giles' return was set at about six weeks, he did not make his Duke debut until Dec. 19 against Tennessee State. And even when he made his way back to the court, it was slow going for the first-year forward as he tried to acclimate on the fly after not having played in a basketball game in more than a year.

Although Giles had his best game against Georgia Tech with 10 points and 12 rebounds before following it up just three days later with a 12-point performance in 24 minutes against Boston College, the freshman never scored in double figures again. From that point, he played more than 15 minutes on just four occasions and struggled to put the ball in the basket even when he was on the court. A prolific high-school scorer, Giles tallied just 17 points in seven games in the month of March. Read more »

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Marques Bolden

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Marques Bolden

Marques Bolden

Season Breakdown:

After missing the first eight games of the regular season with a lower-leg injury, Bolden never reached his full potential in his freshman season despite infrequent bursts off the bench. Bolden did not score in the Blue Devils' last 10 games of the season and did not play in their last three, sitting out their two NCAA tournament games due to flu-like symptoms.

It was not as if Bolden did not get his chances, but the Desoto, Texas, native could not stay on the court in most games because he would get into foul trouble early and often, coming to a climax in the last game he appeared in—March 10 in the ACC semifinals against North Carolina—when Bolden picked up two fouls in just one minute on the court as he struggled to contain a tough Tar Heel front line. Bolden’s on-court struggles started with foul trouble and continued as his playing time and confidence on the offensive end shrunk throughout the season. Read more »

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Frank Jackson

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Frank Jackson

Frank Jackson

Season Breakdown:

Frank Jackson had an up-and-down freshman year, often showcasing his massive potential but plagued by inconsistent play. After a strong start to the season, Jackson became somewhat lost in the shuffle for months as several Blue Devils returned from injury. He earned a late-season promotion to the starting lineup, though, thanks to his tough defense and playmaking ability in addition to junior Grayson Allen's left ankle injury.

Jackson received a lot of playing time early and thrived with Duke's other three five-star freshmen sidelined by injuries, scoring in double figures in the first eight games of the season. This included a crucial 3-pointer to tie the game late against Kansas and a few big plays to key a game-breaking 11-0 run against Michigan State. The freshman was unstoppable at times, using his superior athleticism to explode past defenders and finish at the rim. Read more »

This week in Duke history: Duke women's basketball loses 4-overtime thriller in NCAA tournament

This week in Duke history: Duke women's basketball loses 4-overtime thriller in NCAA tournament

It’s one thing to lose a game simply by getting outplayed.

It’s another when it takes four overtimes to get there.

But that’s what happened on March 18, 1995, when Duke lost one of the most exciting games in women's college basketball history, a 121-120 four-overtime defeat to Alabama in the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. The game broke 10 NCAA tournament records—including longest game, most points scored and most rebounds.

“One time I asked what overtime we were in—I didn’t know,’" Duke center Alison Day said after the game. Read more »

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Javin DeLaurier

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Javin DeLaurier

Javin DeLaurier 

Season breakdown: Despite coming to Durham as the No. 44 prospect in the ESPN 100, DeLaurier was lost in the shadows of frontcourt players like Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles. The freshman appeared in just 12 games all season and cracked double-figure minutes just three times. DeLaurier's most pivotal appearance came in a Jan. 14 contest against Louisville, but the freshman failed to record a point or rebound in his seven minutes and appeared in just one of the next 17 games. 

After playing sparsely as a freshman, DeLaurier faces an interesting offseason that could define his Duke career. The biggest knock on the forward coming into college was his struggles shooting from the perimeter and without an improvement in that area, DeLaurier will be hard-pressed to see the floor. He still has the athleticism and versatility to play on the wing, but with the freshman hardly given the opportunity by the coaching staff to get acclimated to the college game this season, DeLaurier will have to make major strides this summer in order to become a contributor for the Blue Devils. 

Results relative to expectations: Entering the year, DeLaurier was not expected to play a major role for a deep Duke team. Despite the Blue Devils' depth being tested by injuries across the board, DeLaurier was rarely called off the bench and spent much of the season as a spectator. In his limited minutes, DeLaurier showed flashes of the athleticism and physical skills many programs coveted from the Shipman, Va., native.   Read more »

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Jack White

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Jack White

Jack White

Season Breakdown:

White wowed fans with his range before the season at Countdown to Craziness, knocking down both of his 3-point attempts, and he again shot 2-of-2 from beyond the arc in Duke's second exhibition against Augustana. But the Australian swingman did not get much of a chance to show off his shooting stroke in the regular season, appearing in just 10 games and playing a total of 61 minutes.

White scored a season-high five points—all on free throws—in the Blue Devils' opener against Marist, and he played 10 minutes Dec. 3 against Maine, scoring four points and grabbing four rebounds. But his only points the rest of the season came on a triple Jan. 4 against Georgia Tech, and with Duke playing close games nearly every time it took the floor in conference play, garbage-time minutes soon vanished for White, who only saw the floor when the Blue Devils were desperate or mired in foul trouble. White did not play in the entire month of February, but appeared for two minutes in Duke's NCAA tournament opener against Troy to cap his season. Read more »

Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. South Carolina

Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. South Carolina

Duke's season came to an abrupt end with an 88-81 upset loss to No. 7 seed South Carolina in the NCAA tournament's Round of 32. The Gamecocks rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit with a friendly crowd in Greenville, S.C., cheering them on to advance to their first Sweet 16 in program history.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • A 'thorn' in the side: SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell had another big game, leading all players with 24 points and five assists. After scoring 11 of South Carolina's first 20 points, he went scoreless for nearly nine minutes, but made an impact with two critical 3-pointers and a driving layup during the Gamecocks' run to start the second half.
  • Make it rain: Duke shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in the first half to get out to an early lead just like Marquette did against South Carolina Friday night in the first round. But the Blue Devils went cold after the break, missing the types of shots that kept them in games last week during their run to the ACC championship. Duke was just 5-of-19 from deep in the second half, and most of the misses were not even close. Luke Kennard shot an airball from the corner that was a few feet short, and Grayson Allen also left a few of his attempts short on the front rim.
  • Quiet please: Bon Secours Wellness Arena was anything but quiet, turning into a true road environment in the second half packed with Gamecock fans that made the short drive from Columbia, S.C., and North Carolina fans left over from the first game of the session who were happy to jump on the South Carolina bandwagon for two hours. The Blue Devils, who went just 3-6 on the road in the regular season, never had a response to silence the hostile crowd during the Gamecocks' decisive run.

Three key stats:

  • South Carolina scores 65 points in the second half: This was a baffling number for a Gamecock squad known far more for its defense than its offense, which averages a mediocre 73.1 points per game. After a 23-point first half in which South Carolina shot just 7-of-35 from the field, it shot 20-of-28 after the break, attacking the basket for easy points in the paint and knocking down 3-pointers when they were open. It was by far the most points Duke has allowed in a half all season.
  • The Blue Devils commit 13 turnovers in the first half: The Gamecocks had no business even being in the game at halftime after a dismal offensive showing in the first 20 minutes, but Duke left the door open with a slew of giveaways to keep South Carolina within seven at the break. Although the Blue Devils shot 47.1 percent from the field in the first half, they only made one more shot than the Gamecocks and took 18 fewer attempts because of all the wasted possessions.
  • Duke is whistled for 26 fouls: The officials were not letting either team get away with much contact Sunday, putting the Blue Devils in foul trouble early on. Four Duke players had at least two fouls by halftime, which may have affected the team's aggressiveness and defensive intensity in the second half, and Kennard, Matt Jones and Jayson Tatum all fouled out in the closing minutes to crush any hope of a miraculous comeback.

Three key plays: Read more »

Halftime: Duke 30, South Carolina 23

GREENVILLE, S.C.—After seventh-seeded South Carolina picked up its first NCAA tournament win in 44 years Friday night, the Gamecocks were looking to make it a pair of victories in their home state.

At halftime, though, it is the East region's highest remaining seed that holds the upper hand in an ugly affair.

No. 2 seed Duke leads South Carolina 30-23 after one half of play at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena thanks to one of its best first-half defensive efforts of the season. Junior Grayson Allen has led the Blue Devils' offensive charge with nine points as SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell has carried the offensive burden for the Gamecocks—he has 11 of their 23 points so far.

Although Duke leads because of its defense and South Carolina's poor shooting, the Blue Devils missed several chances to stretch out an early lead. Duke already has 13 turnovers, has surrendered 12 offensive rebounds and has four players with at least two fouls.  Read more »

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. South Carolina

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. South Carolina

With one game in the books, No. 2 seed Duke will continue its quest for a sixth national title Sunday night when it takes on seventh-seeded South Carolina in the Round of 32 in Greenville, S.C. There are plenty of storylines to watch for, but here are our three keys to the Blue Devils' matchup with the Gamecocks.

A "thorn" in the side

During Saturday's media availability, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski called South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell "the best unheralded great player in the United States." The 6-foot-5 guard is a dangerous all-around weapon and earned SEC Player of the Year honors this season—he averages 21.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. 

Against Marquette in the Gamecocks' opening-round contest, Thornwell went off for 29 points, shooting 10-of-19 from the field. The senior also tallied 11 boards, two blocks and three steals in a game played less than 120 miles from his hometown of Lancaster, S.C. Although the Blue Devils have faced their share of top-tier individual talent this season, Thornwell is a unique threat that will pose a challenge to whomever latches onto him Sunday—most likely senior Matt Jones.

Make it rain

The Golden Eagles got off to a fast start and an early lead with strong 3-point shooting against South Carolina, hitting seven of their first 12 long-range attempts to go up by as many as nine midway through the first half. Duke found similar success, as it knocked down 7-of-10 triples to start the game and will likely need to lean on its 3-point shooting to open up driving lanes against an aggressive Gamecock defense.  Read more »