Duke basketball post-game notes from Drury exhibition
Notes from Duke’s 81-65 exhibition basketball win over Drury on Saturday:
Sulaimon’s status – Sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon was curiously absent from the playing court for No.4 Duke’s 81-65 exhibition win over Drury at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
Duke sports information department said during the game that Sulaimon had been ill for a few days. Duke’s players confirmed that Sulaimon had been in and out of practice all week. Senior captain Tyler Thornton he didn’t know Sulaimon wouldn’t play against Drury.
“Rasheed’s been not top health,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said when asked by Sulaimon didn’t play. “And hopefully this week he will get himself into shape.”
Sulaimon played in all 36 games for Duke last season, starting 33, while averaging 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He was named to the league’s all-freshman team.
The 6-4 Suliamon is one of two returning starters for Duke, joining point guard Quinn Cook. That said, Krzyzewski didn’t name him as a projected starter when practice began on Sept. 27.
Sulaimon did start, however, in Duke’s initial exhibition game on Oct. 26 against Bowie State. Sulaimon played 23 minutes, making 1 of 5 field goals, to score nine points. He committed three fouls and turned the ball over twice.
Backcourt shuffle – With Sulaimon not playing, Thornton and Quinn Cook started at the guard positions against Drury. Thornton played 25 minutes and Cook, who was called for four fouls, played 24.
Freshman Matt Jones received the most playing time at guard, logging 28 minutes.
Jones and Cook both had three steals to tie for Duke’s team lead.
Cook and Thornton each made two 3-pointers as Duke went 6 of 22 from behind the line. Cook had 13 points, Thornton six and Jones, who made 4 of 10 shots and 1 of 3 3-pointers, had nine points.
Redshirt senior Andre Dawkins played just six minutes against Drury after seeing only nine minutes of play against Bowie State.
Jefferson’s impact – So far, sophomore forward Amile Jefferson has proven to be a highly productive player in the post for the Blue Devils.
In Duke’s two exhibitions, Jefferson is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. Impressively, he’s played 37 minutes without committing a turnover.
Like all of the Blue Devils, Jefferson’s play was far more effective in the second half than the first half against Drury.
After Duke trailed 38-34 at intermission, Jefferson had seven points and 12 rebounds over the final 20 minutes as Duke pulled away to win 81-65.
“He played with a passion and a sense of urgency in the second half,” Krzyzewski said. “He has got to do that all the time.”
Jefferson said letting the passion show, and sharing it with the rest of the team, makes the team more effective as a whole.
“We had to say it to another person,” Jefferson said. “Not just screaming to ourselves. Not just in our own bubble. It was letting our energy affect another guy. Let it be contagious. When that happens we are going to be a really good team.”