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X-factor: Jack White will need to step up once again for Duke men's basketball against Army


Jack White can add effective spacing to an already dominant Duke offense if he can make his long-range shots.

After an absolutely dominant victory versus No. 2 Kentucky in the Champions Classic, Duke will look to continue the momentum against the Black Knights on Sunday. The Blue Zone takes a look at a key player from each side who could be a difference-maker in the matchup.

Duke: Forward Jack White

The nation was set aflame Tuesday night by an electric performance from the Blue Devils’ star trio of RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish, who combined for an incredible 83 points, just one shy of Kentucky’s total as a team. However, what won’t be seen on SportsCenter is how crucial the play of junior captain Jack White was to the victory. 

In the midst of foul trouble for big men Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and Antonio Vrankovic, White was thrust into extended minutes and made a resounding case for why he ought to be in the starting lineup. In 30 minutes, White grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with three assists and two steals. More importantly, he was the high-energy, scrappy player Duke needed, tipping numerous balls and creating extra possessions with his six offensive rebounds. He also forced Wildcat guard Tyler Herro into bad shots, limiting him to just one out of six from three point range. 

Scoring will come naturally for the rest of the squad, but White’s continued excellence on both sides of the ball will ensure the Blue Devils don’t get complacent against a Army team ready for a challenge.

Army: Forward Matt Wilson

If foul trouble continues to be an issue for Duke, the team may rely on a small-ball lineup with the 6-foot-7 Jack White on the floor. Looking to take advantage of this shaky interior presence will be Army forward Matt Wilson. 

Although listed at 6’9, Wilson is a true big man of 245 pounds who does most of his work in the paint, which could present some matchup problems for the Blue Devils. Although the Black Knights’ 73-69 victory over Marist was highlighted by Tommy Funk’s game-winning three pointer with four seconds remaining, the real star of the game was Wilson, with his team-high 24 points on a perfect 8-of-8 from the field. 

After averaging 12.0 points last season, Wilson’s self-proclaimed hard work put in during the summer seems to have paid off. If he can keep up his performance and slow down the pace of the game, Duke may get worn down and have to spend more time than they’d like in a half-court setting.