Film room: Analyzing Duke women's basketball guard Emma Koabel

<p>Emma Koabel drained 18 3-point shots in the 2022 FIBA U18 Women's Americas Championship.</p>

Emma Koabel drained 18 3-point shots in the 2022 FIBA U18 Women's Americas Championship.

After an up-and-down 2021-22 season, Duke returns to the hardwood this year with a handful of fresh faces and true grit. In this series, the Blue Zone analyzes the new signees’ film for the 2022-23 season. We previously looked at Kennedy Brown, Taya Corosdale and Ashlon Jackson. Next up is Emma Koabel:

The upcoming crew of Blue Devils will have no shortage of long-range shooting guards this season. Alongside the likes of sophomore guard Shayeann Day-Wilson, who drained 43 shots from downtown last season, comes Emma Koabel, a former Niagara Prep star and fellow Team Canada member. 

Koabel, who is regarded by scouts as one of the best players in her graduating class in Canada, spent this summer fine-tuning her skills abroad in the FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship before heading to Durham. In her games against various North and South American national teams, she made a loud impact from afar, draining 18-of-45 shots across six matches. She also helped Canada in its defensive efforts, totaling 13 defensive rebounds and six steals. 

Although the 5-foot-11, Port Colborne, Ontario, native only played three high school seasons (her junior season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), she proved the extent of her versatility on a 10.4 point, 3.4 assist, 3.7 steal and 2.7 rebound average her senior season. She’s also earned her fair share of accolades throughout her high school career, such as being named the Tournament MVP of the Canadian Junior NBA Championship in 2018 and the Juel Prep League Champion in 2019, as well as an appointment to the BioSteel All-Canadian Game, Canada’s equivalent of the McDonald’s All-America Game. 

The Niagara Prep product comes to Durham at the perfect time for the Blue Devils, with the group needing players with high basketball IQs and general talent to take over the roles lost to graduation and transferring. Koabel has proven herself as an asset who can play any part on the court. Just take a look at this clip from her time on Team Miami in the Canletes All-Canadian Game. She loses her guard and then opens herself for an outlet pass across the paint. Right as a defender comes on her, Koabel puts the ball up and flicks her wrist, securing the 3-point swish.

But her shooting skills are just one part of her aptitude. In the clip below, from her school’s match against Day-Wilson’s former team, Crestwood Prep, in the 2020 Finals of the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association, Koabel verifies that she’s not afraid to move into the paint. The playmaker out-dribbles her defender, Tiana Bailey, until she reaches the bottom of the paint and sees her wide-open teammate, Serah Williams, who layups the ball to add two.

Another clip from that game shows that when no one is open, Koabel is willing and able to make plays for herself. The clip below shows her receiving a pass from Sarah Te-Biasu, who then dribbles around the top of the arc looking for options. Seeing that her teammates aren’t open, she fakes out her defender, Aaliyah Edwards, with a dodge and shoots within the key. Though she misses, she’s the first to grab her rebound, and when she takes the shot again, she makes no mistake on the execution.

As Duke prepares to make its debut very soon, the addition of Koabel brings a wealth of not only basketball intelligence but positivity and cleverness that she hopes to share with her teammates, all of which will undoubtedly translate well to the court.


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