Countdown to Craziness; Thoughts & Observations
As many of you know, this past Friday (October 20th) was the annual “Countdown to Craziness” event at Duke, in which I attended (pictured above reppin my fav past player). There was a lot of fun entertainment, but the most exciting was obviously revolved around the Men’s Basketball team. It’s the time of year where Duke gets to showcase their players to the fans. It also is a good recruiting tool for upcoming prospects/recruits to come visit and get a feel for Cameron. Visitors this past weekend included Zion Williamson, RJ Hampton, and Joey Baker to name a few. Also, former Duke favorite, Justise Winslow was in attendance.
The player intro’s were definitely fun to watch, along with the dunk contest at the end. Grayson Allen pulled on a few heart strings as he came out to the traditional Duke theme song, “Everytime We Touch.” On the other hand, Gary Trent Jr. got the dance moves, along with Jordan Tucker. Followed by all the dancing fun, was the highly anticipated team scrimmage. The team was divided into two teams, Blue and White (stat sheet provided down below). The Blue team gained a win by two points, with the final score of 43-41. Here are a few key points that I noticed on how the team played/interacted with each other.
First, we have Grayson as the lone senior captain this year. With all the young talent on the team, Duke really needs him to be the leader and fill that role. The chemistry of this team is looking great, which is huge this early in the season. Hopefully they carry on in that aspect and keep growing on and off the court.
If everyone can buy in, this should be a great defensive team. Gary Trent Jr. is a monster on the court. I look at him as a defensive upgrade of former player, Luke Kennard. He is easily one of the most competitive players as well, along with Grayson. The point guard role will be interesting this season. I personally think, having Jordan Goldwire along with Trevon Duval both on the roster as PG’s, is going to be beneficial. Trevon is super quick, he can push the pace extremely well and get in and out in transition. Jordan is more patient with the ball, and seems to be a better shooter. I could see him grabbing a few minutes to give Trevon a breather.
On the other hand, Marvin Bagley III is the whole package (aka the Duke unicorn). He can post up, shoot, rebound, block shots, he can even bring the ball up the court and go coast to coast. He also adds to the big man aspect of this year’s team, alongside Wendell and Marques. Usually, this is something that Duke lacks. Especially in recent years, where the team has been undersized. Defensive rebounding and protecting the paint is important, which I feel Marvin can step up in this aspect of the game and make an impact.
As far as the starting lineup goes, I think Wendell will start alongside Bagley to begin the season. Who knows what the actual rotation will be, but all I know is we have depth this year. Along with major talent. Last season Coach K stated he wants to go deeper as far as the lineup goes, and I would like to see that come to fruition this season. It’s super exciting to see what’s going to happen. I have a feeling this year’s team is something special. I don’t usually like to compare teams, but this one reminds me of the 2015 team, chemistry wise. Going into the season 100 percent healthy is always a plus, let’s hope it stays that way.
The night ended with a dunk contest, which included Marshall Plumlee as a guest judge. Trevon Duval, Grayson Allen, Javin DeLaurier, and Alex O’Connell all participated. It came down to Trevon and Grayson in the finals, where Trevon couldn’t successfully finish his last dunk. So, by default Grayson won. Of course, he didn’t want to just win that way being the competitive person he is, so what does he do? He brings out two cheerleaders and jumps over them. Classic Grayson for you! The stadium went wild and it was for sure a fun sight to see. Coach K even stated, “I was glad they were short. I have confidence in him. I’d have no confidence if it were me trying to jump over them, but it was fun.” Grayson also managed to win the iron Duke award for the third time in a row. I truly hope the absolute best for his senior season, he deserves it!
Until next year’s CTC, go Duke!
*All photos of players/judges in this post are borrowed from Chris-Duke Report photographer. Give him a follow on twitter, @DukeOfHoops!