DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – DECEMBER 31: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils directs his team against the Boston College Eagles during the second half of their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 31, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. Duke won 88-49. | Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images
There was a certain focus on Derryck Thornton prior to this game but we were pleased that in general Duke fans didn’t focus on him. And what’s the point? He left because he and his family felt he should be more of a shooting point guard. He’s spent several years trying to prove that that’s what he is but Duke, USC and BC have all found that he’s not really an offensive factor. He’s just not.
A Twitter wag posted last night that he came to Cameron as Tyus Jones’ replacement and left it for the last time after being shut down by Tre Jones.
It was worse than that for Thornton. He left in the first half with an injured ankle. He came back from that but in the second went down hard on his back.
His New Year’s Day probably hasn’t been that great.
BC also played without Nik Popovic and they’re already without Winston Tabbs, out for the year with a knee injury. Their margin of error was already slim. Now it’s just about non-existent.
This spring they’re going to have to decide about Jim Christian and fair or not, if it’s another poor season, he may be gone.
However, there is a potential silver lining. Can you think of someone with Boston connections who’s out of a job and burning to prove himself again? We can.
The fascinating thing about this Duke team is this: while anyone can step up on any given night, as Matthew Hurt did against BC, almost everyone has a serious flaw in his game.
We’d leave Vernon Carey out of this but maybe not Tre Jones, who has improved his offense but maybe not as much as was hoped. He’s definitely better. Just not great yet.
Everyone else though? Wendell Moore makes bad decisions at times. So does Javin DeLaurier. Hurt can be brilliant offensively but he’s physically immature. Cassius Stanley is timid inside. Alex O’ Connell is erratic. Joey Baker can shoot the lights out but he’s not physically imposing (although he may be the toughest guy on the team).
You could find something to say about everyone in that way. Yet Coach K, who annually finds a way to put pieces together, is doing it on a nightly basis right now. It’s almost like he has a Turing machine and goes through the various combinations at lightning speed. Because remember this: if virtually every player has a significant weakness, that’s all the more he has to weigh and balance. He’s doing a brilliant job with this team, unusually so. We’re just so used to great coaching that we take it for granted.