Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Antonio Vrankovic

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Antonio Vrankovic

Antonio Vrankovic

Season breakdown: With the Blue Devils lacking a consistent interior presence outside of co-captain Amile Jefferson, Vrankovic had a chance to step to the forefront as freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden battled injuries and inconsistency. But the team's coaching staff rarely seemed comfortable putting the sophomore on the court as Vrankovic was glued to the bench for much of the season and only saw action if Duke was faced with heavy foul trouble. 

Vrankovic still lacks any semblance of a refined post game, but flashed the ability to battle for boards and compete on defense. The Delray Beach, Fla., native recorded his first double-digit rebound game of his career when he grabbed 10 boards against Marist in the team's season opener. Vrankovic then scored eight points apiece against Appalachian State and Maine, before spending the remainder of nonconference play and much of the ACC slate on the sidelines. 

He played six meaningful minutes in a narrow win at Wake Forest Jan. 28 with most of the team in foul trouble and scored two points, but did not get off the bench for all of February. Read more »

This week in Duke history: Duke women's tennis coach abruptly quits mid-season

Imagine this.

You’ve taken your team to what is its ninth consecutive ACC crown. Your team just went to the national semifinals for just its second time ever in your second year. And you’re a title favorite as mid-March rolls around.

So why quit?

That’s the question Duke women’s tennis head coach Jody Hyden faced on March 26, 1997, two days after he stepped down during his third season with the Blue Devils. The Chronicle asked him this very question, and his answer was simple. Read more »

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Chase Jeter

Duke men's basketball 2016-17 player review: Chase Jeter

Chase Jeter

Season breakdown: Despite joining the Duke squad last year as the No. 11 prospect in the ESPN 100, Jeter found himself at the end of the bench for most of his two years in Durham. With highly-touted recruits Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, and Marques Bolden entering the fold this year and Amile Jefferson’s veteran leadership on the floor, Jeter struggled to find consistent playing time.

Although he started the first four games of the season as injuries plagued the freshmen, Jeter was only able to produce an uninspiring 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in that span. His first start, opening day against Marist, was actually quite promising as he dropped 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 18 minutes. 

However, as the freshmen were introduced into the lineup and Jefferson posted six double-doubles in an eight-game stretch, Jeter saw his minutes drop significantly. He only started two more games for the rest of the season, both in December against Maine and UNLV in his hometown of Las Vegas. Jeter last saw the court in a Jan. 14 loss to Louisville in which he scored zero points with two fouls and two turnovers. Read more »

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 »