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#AskChron: Duke's bench, Rodney Hood, and NC State

With only one game remaining before ACC play begins, Duke still stands at No. 1 in the rankings and sports a spotless 12-0 record. To celebrate the Blue Devils starting the new year atop the college basketball world, we took to Twitter from our account @dukebasketball to ask if people had any questions about Duke basketball. Chronicle basketball beat writer Bobby Colton answers your questions below.

@benspell1 asks, "@dukebasketball #AskChron So, when is Alex Murphy transferring?"

Bobby Colton: Murphy has been very clear about his future at Duke to date, and he has no intention of transferring. After Duke played Delaware December 1, a reporter asked Murphy point blank whether he was planning to transfer. Here's his answer: “I’m not going anywhere. I love Duke, I love my team, I love my coaching staff. That’s not happening.” Not only did he give that very clear answer, he literally laughed at the reporter who asked the question. Murphy will be a Blue Devil for the foreseeable future.

@dylangraff21 asks, "Should Coach K play Amile Jefferson and Alex Murphy more to lower the work load on the starters?"

BC: I'm not going to question Mike Krzyzewski's coaching methods. I will say however, that Jefferson and Murphy have shown this season that they can step up and fill the void left by regular rotation members should injury or fouls become a problem. Seth Curry may need extra rest as the season drags on due to his ankle and shin woes, but the rest of the starters seem no worse for wear right now. When Duke has big enough leads Jefferson and Murphy will get more burn to rest starters, but as far as competitive games go, don't expect the rotation to look any different moving forward.

@C00NS asks, "What do you expect from Rodney Hood next year?"

BC: Hood looked good as a freshman last season at Mississippi State and impressed the onlookers during the blue/white scrimmage before the season started. Hood should pair with Jabari Parker as Duke's starting forwards next season, giving the Blue Devils a combo of athletic 6-foot-8 wings to lead the team. Hood should be a focal point of Duke's attack next season.

@Skeelow22 asks, "Is Marshall healthy to play major minutes if needed?"

BC: It's hard to say at this point. Marshall was ready to go against Cornell over a week ago, but a problem with an insert in his shoe set him back after just two minutes of action. Marshall returned to action against Santa Clara on December 29, but played only one minute in a close game. Krzyzewski has said Marshall will be a sixth man once he's back to full strength, so his one minute played seems to suggest he's not ready to play major minutes. However, if something were to happen to Mason or Ryan Kelly, then Marshall may be pressed into extended action anyway.

@devildad12 asks, "Barring an unforeseen upset, looks like NCSt game will be next test. What are your thoughts on the matchups there?"

BC: January 12 against North Carolina State is a game circled on every college basketball fan's calendar. It will be Duke's first game on the road this season, and it comes against a top-25 ranked team. Wolfpack big man Richard Howell poses a problem for a Duke team that has struggled to rebound all year, as the 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 9.3 rebounds per game. A staple of Duke's defense has been the ability to take away ball movement and limit the opponents' assists. It will be difficult to do that against junior guard Lorenzo Brown, who's averaging 6.1 assists per game. In addition to Howell and Brown, C.J. Leslie is the type of big man who can score in bunches and could get Duke's bigs in foul trouble. All that being said, Duke is No. 1 for a reason, and have to be considered the favorites in this marquee match-up.


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