As basketball season quickly approaches, the Blue Zone takes a detailed look at Duke men's basketball's 2022-23 roster, with a preview of each player. Previously, we looked at Stanley Borden. Next up is Spencer Hubbard:
Last year’s statline: 0.3 PPG, 0.3 RPG, 2.0 MPG
Game breakdown: From playing pickup as a freshman to his first game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Spencer Hubbard has done it all. His charming smile and small frame hide a fiery basketball wizard—a true exemplification of the clichéd saying, “heart over height.”
Hubbard has yet to make an impact on the hardwood. His sophomore season saw him play just six minutes and he has not made a field goal. But don’t let the stats fool you—he was once referred to as the “best kept secret on the west coast” in his middle school days. The Los Angeles native is a crafty and shifty ball-handler that uses his agility to slip through defenders and capitalize on his drives with an acrobatic finish or a sneaky dish to a running big.
If he continues to broaden his arsenal under the prudence of newly-appointed head coach Jon Scheyer, perhaps he can develop into the “best kept secret” of the Blue Devils.
Role on the team: There’s no denying that Duke and talent, at this point, are synonymous. This entails an annual arrival of some of the most-highly touted high school players around the nation. For a walk-on, however, this means a harder chance of cracking the starting five, or getting minutes at all.
The way things stand now, it seems unlikely that Hubbard will be a key member of the team’s rotation, but do expect to see him during the final minutes of lopsided games.
NBA comparison: Given his smaller stature, it’s hard to compare Hubbard to most other NBA players: he doesn’t quite have the muscles of Zion Williamson or the towering height of Boban Marjanović, but comparing Duke’s speedster to Isaiah Thomas seems fair—though the 33-year-old does have an inch on Hubbard.
Much like the two-time NBA All-Star, Hubbard is very fast and very good with the ball—one crossover is all it takes for him to blow by a defender. In the paint, he easily finishes with either hand, whether it be a layup, floater or an off-balance, off-the-top-of-the-glass shot with two defenders in his face. The two missing pieces to his game would be the explosiveness with which Thomas plays and the elite shot-creating ability he allured Boston fans with in 2015.
Projected stats: 0.4 PPG, 0.3 APG, 2.0 MPG
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