Duke Basketball: Will a Healthy Quinn Cook Emerge as the Blue Devils' PG Answer?

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IJuly 12, 2012

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  Quinn Cook #2 of the Duke Blue Devils drives on Mackey McKnight #11 of the Lehigh Mountain Hawks in the first half during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 16, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Quinn Cook's arrival at Duke was supposed to solve the Blue Devils' need last year for a run-the-show PG.

Because he battled injuries off and on last season, Cook's freshman year production was less than stunning (4.4 ppg, 1 rpg and 1.9 apg while playing 11.7 minutes per game).

For a one month stretch from December 19 to January 19, he showed flashes of his ability to effectively distribute and score.

Unfortunately, for most of the rest of the 2011-12 season, the 6'0" point guard was unable to use his speed and quickness to break down the defense or consistently apply on-ball pressure.

In the final 16 games of last season, Cook was only able to play double-digit minutes in six contests.

Going into the upcoming season, Cook's health and output are important issues again.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is looking for a solution to fill the role of floor general.

Seth Curry is a willing stop-gap, but he is much better playing off the ball where he can spot up.

Tyler Thornton was given ample opportunities last year to step up, but proved that he is limited in what he can contribute. Thornton's stats were almost identical to Cook's while playing almost twice the number of minutes.

Incoming freshman Rasheed Sulaimon is eager to do whatever it takes to get on the court, but his playmaking abilities are not at the level necessary to take charge of the team.

If he can get and stay healthy, Cook is The Man for Coach K and the Blue Devils because he makes great decisions and takes care of the ball.

Last year, Cook handed out 63 assists while only committing 18 turnovers. That's an outstanding 3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio, if you are scoring at home.

That's the exact same proportion as UNC's Kendall Marshall, who led the nation in that stat among players who handed out 4.5 assists or more.

Reports from the Blue Zone’s Matt Pun about Cook’s S.J.G. Greater NC Pro Am summer league play are encouraging. He is playing aggressively and creating chances for his teammates and him to score.

Even if Cook doesn't become a double-digit scorer, good things will happen for this year's Duke squad if he can stay healthy, continue that kind of ball management and play some fierce D.