The 5 Duke Players That Will Make All The Difference
You have to face the facts: Duke needs another big season. A big season like Final Four or another championship. Duke can go far during March Madness this year, but only if the big players perform big.
When the the big players perform well, Duke wins. Take the Clemson vs. Duke game on January 3rd or the Gonzaga vs. Duke game on December 19th.
Biggest Factor: Jon Scheyer
Jon Scheyer is quite possibly the best point guard in the ACC. Averaging 18.7 points per game, and controlling the point, Scheyer is an asset for Duke. Without Scheyer doing a good job, Duke is in trouble.
However, this season we haven't seen Scheyer not do well. He has only had one game where he hasn't scored in double figures.
Scheyer, who is averaging 18.7 points and 5.6 assists a game, has worked his way into ACC Player of the Year discussions and is also being mentioned as a possible All-American candidate.
Still, if Scheyer doesn't play well, Duke is in trouble.
Supporting Factor: Nolan Smith
Nolan Smith is also very important in Duke's progression this season. He's one of the best scorers in Division 1. He can get to the basket, shoot the three, dunk, and has an amazing mid-range jumper.
Smith has improved tremendously from a season ago, increasing his point total (8.4 points a year ago to 18.2 points this season) and taking a leadership role.
Nolan has scored 20 points or more in 9 games this season.
The Plumlee Brothers
Freshman Mason Plumlee and brother Sophmore Miles Plumlee have been making a difference for Duke and must continue to make a difference.
Their biggest game this season was the Wake Forest game where Miles Plumlee had career highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds, and
Mason Plumlee added 11 points.
Mason broke his wrist early in the season but then when he recovered and began to play he was great.
Kyle Singler needs to start playing more like Kyle Singler. He's averaging 16.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, however he isn't having the year he was expected to have.
He has had a difficult time getting by smaller, quicker defenders and has often had to settle for contested shots, a likely reason for his 40.7 percent field goal percentage.
Other Supporting Players
Andre Dawkins, Brian Zoubek, and Lance Thomas also have to perform big.
Dawkins has yet to become hot from the 3 point line. Lance Thomas is a great defender and needs to be recognized for that. Thomas has to shoot the shot from the elbow more often and Zoubek has to use his height to his advantage and not picking up foul after foul.