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X-Factor: Duke men's basketball's Joey Baker aims to prove his worth as ACC play continues

Baker played just four minutes against Georgia Tech despite garnering his second career start.
Baker played just four minutes against Georgia Tech despite garnering his second career start.

After a short road trip, Duke returns home to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Wake Forest. The Blue Zone breaks down a key player from each team for Saturday night's contest:

Duke: Forward Joey Baker

In the midst of a breakout season for sophomore Joey Baker, there has been a significant relapse in his minutes recently. There’s no doubt that Baker can perform. In fact, he’s been one of the biggest sparks off the bench for this Blue Devil team. But over the last couple games, his presence has felt diminished. 

One of Duke's biggest issues over the past two seasons has been 3-point shooting, but with Baker's explosion this year, a new hope has emerged from beyond the arc. His 41.5 percent mark from deep ranks fourth on the team, and his 17 made threes ranks second only to Matthew Hurt. Baker has already displayed a few incredible shooting performances this season and another one Saturday night could take the Blue Devils to the next level as they continue ACC play.

The biggest problem for Baker this season has been his playing time. He currently ranks in the bottom four in total minutes (and minutes per game) for Duke. With the right combination of playing time and open looks, Baker should be able to return to his usual self of knocking down clutch shots and providing the team with some much-needed long-range support. 

Wake Forest: Forward Ody Oguama

Wake Forest last beat Duke six years ago, and since then Duke has won 10 straight games against its in-state foe. Demon Deacons head coach Danny Manning will certainly be looking to switch things up in order to break that streak. This may mean Ody Oguama could see more of the floor to provide the team with its own version of a two-way spark. 

The freshman currently leads his team in shooting percentage at 66.7 percent. Although his points per game numbers aren’t staggering at 2.7 per contest, he hasn’t seen a lot of volume in playing time yet. Oguama has proved his defensive capabilities and now will look to expand on his offensive presence. He’s one of two players on the team averaging over one block per game and stands an athletic 6 foot 9 in height, making him a tough matchup for anyone on the Duke team. 

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