In 2019's annual Countdown to Craziness, the Vernon Carey and Cassius Stanley-led Blue Team trounced the Tre Jones and Matthew Hurt-led White team 47-38. Here are five observations from the night:
Player of the night: Cassius Stanley
Although not nearly as hyped as some of Duke's other top prospects, Cassius Stanley still came with the buzz as the final piece to round out Duke's No. 2 recruiting class. However, the young Blue Devil made waves for himself Friday night, making a clear case for why he could make the starting lineup. Posting 12 points on a surprising eight rebounds, Stanley's quickness and verticality could not be matched, easily blowing through his defender to get to the basket. With someone as explosive of a scorer as Stanley, Duke continues its tradition of highly lethal wings.
"You can expect to see a lot from him," junior point guard Jordan Goldwire said. "He’s a really straight shooter, he plays defense and he’s really athletic. It’s a lot of different things from him."
Vernon Carey is the king of the low post
Vernon Carey made his presence known early as the bruiser in the paint he was touted as throughout the summer. After opening scoring by beating senior Javin DeLaurier for a low-post floater, Carey picked up the pace on the other end of the floor with a block on Tre Jones. With 15 points on the night, Duke's highest-rated recruit should be a monster in the paint this season.
Matthew Hurt is the real deal
The second of Duke's top-10 recruits, Matthew Hurt contrasts a slender frame with a lot of length and excellent scoring ability, showing it all night. A constant threat from inside and outside, Hurt's quick release coupled with slick dimes from Jones kept the Blue Team scrambling. With a roster boasting elite inside players in Carey and Stanley, the Rochester, Minn., native's skills will be invaluable, especially if the Blue Devils face a cold night from the perimeter.
"I just try to be a matchup nightmare," Hurt said. "I can play inside, I can drive it, I feel comfortable posting smaller guys up, and I want to keep working on that."
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Are Duke's shooting woes behind them?
Undeniably, last season's crop of Blue Devils' achilles heel was 3-point shooting, barely cracking 30 percent shooting and allowing Duke's opponents to sag far into the paint. At the start of the night, those woes looked like they were behind the Blue Devils, with Alex O'Connell and Hurt pouring in their expected barrage of threes, with Goldwire and Carey also getting in the mix to showcase a Duke roster with range and slashing ability. However, just as Duke began to heat up, the proverbial monkey didn't seem to get off the Blue Devils' backs. Both teams threw up brick after brick form outside as the night progressed. Of the many questions surrounding this year's Duke roster, shooting is one the Blue Devils must address before the meat of the season approaches.
"[Shooting] is definitely something I’ve been working on a lot," freshman forward Wendell Moore said. "Coach wants me to take shots, and I thought they were on target. They just didn’t go down."
Tre Jones' offense still looks limited
A near-unanimous selection for the preseason All-ACC team due to his slick passing and stellar on-ball defense, one of the keys to this year's team will be Jones and his ability to lead on the floor. However, while the Apple Valley, Minn., native hounded the ball relentlessly on defense, he struggled mightily to earn any baskets himself. If Duke wants to avoid some of the pitfalls from last season, Jones must give opponents a reason not to sag off him on offense.