Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said this is the biggest team’s he’s ever had and also one of the most athletic.
It was evident Saturday in Duke’s exhibition game against its Division II CIAA opponent, Bowie State. Duke has six players on its roster who are 6-9 or taller. Bowie State has none.
And Duke dominated from start to finish, winning 116-53 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
But this was expected. Exhibitions against lower division teams rarely end in upsets.
Nonetheless, here are five observations from Saturday’s scrimmage:
1. Three freshmen sat out
Duke announced on Friday that freshman point guard Trevon Duval would sit out Saturday’s exhibition for “a violation of team standards.” To the surprise of many, Alex O’Connell and Jordan Goldwire were also out of the lineup,wearing street clothes. Krzyzewski said after the game that it was due to academic reasons.
As a result, Duke utilized a lot of different lineups. Duke went big to start the game. Grayson Allen, Gary Trent Jr., Javin DeLaurier, Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. started.
2. Grayson Allen was really good. Again.
No Trevon Duval? No problem. Allen led the way with a double-double Saturday. He finished with 21 points, 11 assists and 5 rebounds. It’s going to be hard to stop Allen this season. He’ll be a prime candidate for ACC Player of the Year and maybe even the Naismith Trophy. He has shown the ability to score from all spots on the floor and has played good defense.
3. Gary Trent Jr. second scoring option?
Trent has been a consistent scorer through Duke’s first three public appearances. Aside from looking nervous during the first couple of minutes of Duke’s Blue-White scrimmage, he hasn’t hesitated to take his shot since. Krzyzewski said this is an average 3-point shooting team, but Trent seems set on proving his coach wrong. On Saturday, he scored 22 points, 14 of which came in the first half. He was 5-for-9 from behind the 3-point line.
Either he or Carter, who also came up big Saturday, appear to be leading candidates for Duke’s second scoring option.
4. Marvin Bagley came alive
Bagley showed his potential Saturday. He was much more aggressive than in Duke’s previous game. He called for the ball down low and took advantage of his opportunities. He even showed some frustration when he didn’t get the ball. Bowie State couldn’t match up with him. He led the team in shot attempts with 20. He finished the game 11-for-20 from the floor, scoring 25 points.
5. Zone team?
Duke utilized a zone defense for much of the game when it didn’t press. And it appeared to work. Bowie State found some open spots, but the Bulldogs couldn’t hit the shots. The Bulldogs shot below 30 percent from the floor.