In the annual Blue-White intrasquad scrimmage, J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams led the Blue team to an easy 69-43 win. Redick, who lost 20 pounds during the offseason, showed off his new conditioning as he scored 15 of his 17 points in the first-half and added seven assists.
Cameron Indoor Stadium came to life again Saturday evening after a seven-month hiatus.
A new crop of Cameron Crazies filled the stands for the Blue-White Scrimmage to catch an early glimpse of this year’s men’s basketball team. Visiting parents stood alongside their sons and daughters, clumsily trying to keep up with the marching band’s age-old rendition of the Rock Lobster. Crazy Towel Guy once again took his customary spot in the seats, urging on the Blue Devils, much to the delight and adoration of the spectators below.
An outsider might have supposed that it was Duke’s first game of the season, but the Blue Devils had no opponent Saturday evening. The 30-minute intrasquad scrimmage was simply an opportunity for fans and coaches alike to get an early glimpse of this year’s Blue Devils in a game situation.
Even though the scrimmage’s outcome will not affect Duke’s record, it still carries tremendous value for both the coaches and the players.
“This is the first step when you prepare for the season,” junior Shelden Williams said. “Any time you go out there in a game setting, you want to go out there and approach it like a [regular season] game.”
The fans were treated to a tremendous show. Powered by Williams and juniors J.J. Redick and Sean Dockery, the Blue team controlled the game from start to finish, winning 69-43.
“Overall, I was pleased,” Krzyzewski said of his team’s performance. “We’re seeing improvement. A few of our guys are in unbelievable shape and some of the other guys need to catch up to that.”
Benefiting from off-season conditioning, Redick paced the Blue team early with 15 first-half points, including three three-pointers. The junior, who lost 20 pounds since the end of last season, used his newfound quickness and endurance to generate points for both himself and his teammates. In addition to finishing with 17 points, Redick also tallied six assists and had just one turnover on the evening.
If the first half belonged to Redick, however, the second belonged to Williams. The 6-foot-9 center dominated the paint after the break, scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Williams used his particularly deft touch and footwork around the basket to sink 11-of-16 shots. Dockery, the Blue team’s point guard, complimented Williams’ interior presence. In addition to his usual hard-nosed defense, the Chicago, Ill. native notched 16 points and eight assists.
“Sean played very well today,” Williams said. “He was probably the best point guard. He came down. He ran our offense. He got the ball where it was supposed to be. He got a lot of assists.”
Daniel Ewing shone brightest for the White team, which could not overcome a combined 4-for-16 shooting effort from junior Lee Melchionni and freshman DeMarcus Nelson. Ewing used his ability to get to the basket effectively to earn 17 points and four assists. Additionally, junior Shavlik Randolph overcame a knee injury to notch 15 points and three rebounds.
“This morning, we weren’t sure that [Randolph] was going to play,” Krzyzewski said. “He had banged his knee three straight times in the same spot. No big damage there, but today he obviously wasn’t 100 percent.”
Most importantly, however, the team caught a glimpse of its strengths and weaknesses in a game situation, giving the Blue Devils an opportunity to evaluate themselves and grow together in front of its fans.
“It felt good to be out there, being really embraced by our community, our students, by our fans,” freshman DeMarcus Nelson said of his first game experience in Cameron. “It felt really good to be out there and to just go out there and work hard as a team and try to do our best to give them a show, to give them the feel of what our team is going to be like this year.”
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