The bell has rung and the Blue Zone stock exchange is back in business. Each week The Blue Zone will look at whose stock is on the rise and whose stock has taken a hit from the week in the Duke basketball world.
Bull Market—Trending Up
Ryan Kelly: The White Raven has spread his wings and is now soaring in the NBA. Kelly has started each of the Lakers' last two games, averaging 15 points and six rebounds on 56.3 percent shooting from the floor. He's played more than 30 minutes in four straight and last Friday cracked 20 points for the first time in his brief NBA career. What's more, Kelly didn't forget his roots, attending the Duke game in Coral Gables Wednesday night. His Lakers face the Heat in Miami Thursday.
Jabari Parker: He's back! January wasn't Parker's friend before the previous two games—averaging just 10.5 points on 30.4 percent shooting in four games in 2014. Against N.C. State on Saturday and Miami on Wednesday, Parker broke out of his conference-play funk, averaging 20 points on 46.2 percent shooting in that two-game stretch. What's more, Parker corralled a career-best 15 rebounds against the Hurricanes. If Parker can remain on track, Duke's recent slide will become nothing but a distant memory.
Michigan Wolverines: Duke fans were worried the Blue Devils' win against the Wolverines would lose some of its luster after forward Mitch McGary went down for the remainder of the season, but over the past week Michigan has looked better than they have at any point this season. Big Ten play is never easy, but the Wolverines are making it look that way with back-to-back wins over top-10 teams. Michigan traveled to Wisconsin last weekend to face the then-No. 3 Badgers and left with a win before coming home and taking care of business against No. 10 Iowa. What the Wolverines are accomplishing without McGary is surprising, but it is a guarantee that no team will be surprised by Michigan the rest of the way.
- Andre Dawkins: Dawkins has always been streaky during his time at Duke, and the start to conference play has been no exception for the graduate student. After making 50.8 percent of his triples in nonconference play, 'Dre has connected on a paltry 29.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Dawkins' shot is too sweet to stay sour for much longer, but his slump is certainly bringing down his stock.
Big Ten powers outside of Michigan: While Michigan and Michigan State thrive, two other Big Ten powerhouses have hit the skids in a major way. Ohio State has now lost four consecutive games, falling to then-No. 5 Michigan State, then-No. 20 Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. Thad Matta's club likely needs a win at home against Illinois this weekend to remain in the top 25. Wisconsin hasn't fared much better, dropping its last three games to a trio of then-unranked teams in Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. The Big Ten is no joke, but teams that talented shouldn't have to endure long losing streaks.
One-and-done buzz: This week Chicago Bulls writer Sam Smith passed along speculation from NBA executives who are starting to believe Jabari Parker will forego his shot at the NBA and return to Duke next season to team up with another Chicago product—Jahlil Okafor. All season Parker has been saying all the right things with regards to a potential return—which is to say that he hasn't said anything of substance. Even though he hasn't gone the Andrew Wiggins route by openly talking about his intention to leave for the NBA, it is still hard to picture Parker in Durham next season. There is no doubt 'Bari is a good kid with a hunger not only for basketball, but also for education, but players projected to go in the top three don't usually return to school. Marcus Smart made the shocking decision a season ago and may not live to regret it, but guys like C.J. Leslie, Perry Jones III, P.J. Hairston, James Michael McAdoo and Mitch McGary would probably advise against staying right about now.
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