Duke Basketball: Scouting Reports Coach K Got on Each Devil After Trip Overseas
The Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team got an experience that not many teams get to have when they took a trip overseas to play the Chinese and United Arab Emirates National teams.
With such a young team, these games gave the young Blue Devils some much needed experience prior to the start of the season in October.
It also gave Coach K a chance to learn a thing or two about each of his players in game time situations.
Here are scouting reports Coach K got on each of his Blue Devils during the trip overseas.
Coming out of Winter Park High School in Florida, Austin Rivers was one of the most highly touted prospects in Duke basketball history.
The son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Austin lived up to the hype on the Blue Devils trip overseas.
Coach K saw that he has a top-of-the-line scorer in Rivers, who will be able to make an impact right away.
Rivers scored a total of 57 points in the four-game overseas schedule, averaging 14.25 points per game. He will need to be more efficient with his shots though, as he was 13-58 on the trip for a shooting percentage of just 22.4.
He shot a pedestrian 23.8 percent from the three-point line and will need to improve on his 6-11 from the free throw line, but Rivers showed Coach K everything he needed to see to know that he will be a threat from the floor when the Blue Devils begin their schedule in October.
Rivers also showed the ability to distribute the ball with nine assists, an important asset for the Blue Devils with Nolan Smith, who is now a Portland Trailblazer.
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Mason Plumlee is coming off a season in which he averaged 7.2 points per game.
With two of their top scorers, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, now in the NBA, the Blue Devils will need Plumlee to step up and become a force down low on the offensive side of the ball. He showed he could be that man in two of the four games overseas.
In their third game, against the Chinese National team, Plumlee was 7-8 from the field for 14 points. He had an even bigger game against the United Arab Emirates, going 7-9 from the field and 3-6 from the free throw line for 17 points.
The Blue Devils will need Plumlee to average around 14 points per game this season if they want to challenge for the National Championship again. Coach K should be confident that Plumlee can do that after what he showed overseas.
Plumlee also proved that he is still a force on the boards, securing 24 total rebounds in the four games they played.
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The eldest Plumlee brother, Miles, showed overseas that he could be ready to take the next step to become an offensive option down low.
Coach K knows that Miles is a reliable rebounder as he proved again overseas, where he tallied 39 rebounds in four games. But he had never really emerged as a scoring option down low, averaging just 4.8 points per game last season.
Plumlee showed flashes against the Chinese national team in two games that he could be a reliable scoring option down low for the Blue Devils, scoring 14 points twice.
If he is able to become a legit scoring option along with his brother Mason, the Blue Devils could have one of the best front courts in the ACC.
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In the 2010-2011 season, Ryan Kelly showed flashes of what he could do on the offensive side of the ball, but never really got a chance because he was behind one of the stars of the Blue Devils, Kyle Singler.
With Singler now in the NBA this upcoming season could be Kelly's time to shine, and if what he did overseas is any indication of how he will play, then shine he will.
Kelly scored 20 points twice overseas in two games against the Chinese National team and was the Blue Devils leading scorer, averaging 15 points per game in the four games played.
He also showed the ability to rebound at a high level with 27 rebounds in those four games.
He appears ready to step in and fill the void left by Kyle Singler and possibly become the Blue Devils leading scorer in the upcoming season.
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Andre Dawkins will enter his third season under Coach K at Duke, and will need to play a more important role on the team with Nolan Smith now in the NBA.
Dawkins averaged 8.1 points per game last season but showed on the trip overseas that he may be ready to step in and become a legit scoring threat for the Blue Devils.
He recorded 57 points in the four games overseas for an average of 14.25 points per game.
With a 48.2 shooting percentage from the three-point line, 14-29, Coach K may have found a serious three-point threat for his 2011-2012 team. Dawkins hit six three-pointers in one game against the Chinese National team, a team high for the trip.
If Dawkins can carry over his three-point shooting to the regular season, the Blue Devils will have a duo of three-point threats along with Seth Curry.
He also showed a little bit of rebounding ability from the guard position with 16 rebounds in the four games overseas.
Dawkins could be one of the feature guards for the Blue Devils in the 2011-2012 season.
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In Duke's trip overseas, Seth Curry showed Coach K that he can be more than just a threat from the perimeter.
After the trip, Coach K said that Curry could be the best players on the team this season but I don't see it.
In my opinion, Curry should be coming off the bench for the Blue Devils in the upcoming season and he could prove to be one of the best sixth men in the country.
Dawkins gives the Blue Devils more versatility on the offensive and defensive ends of the ball making him a more valuable commodity in the starting line up. Curry could provide the spark plug from the three point, off the bench, this team could need when the offense is struggling.
Curry was able to score 44 points in the four games for an average of 11 points per game and shot 36.7 percent from the three-point line.
Like Dawkins, Curry showed a little bit of rebound ability from the guard position with 15 rebounds in the four games played overseas.
Look for Curry, Dawkins and Rivers to be one of the most dynamic back courts in the ACC this season.
Of the players who did not play overseas, Quinn Cook will have the biggest impact on the 2011-2012 Duke Blue Devils.
Sidelined with a knee injury, Coach K wants to rest Cook until mid-September so he doesn't risk further injury, according to the Sporting News.
In high school, Cook was a McDonald's All-American and stand out point guard at the heralded Oak Hill Academy, a school that has produced talent such as Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo and more.
Once healthy, Cook could step in and be the starting point guard for the Blue Devils and make a huge impact on their run through the ACC and beyond.
Tyler Thornton, Alex Murphy, Michael Gbinije, Josh Hairston, Marshall Plumlee
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These five guys have something in common, either that they didn't play enough overseas for Coach K to evaluate them or that they proved they are not ready to play at the Division I level just yet.
Of the five, Thornton may get the most playing time as a back up point guard. Plumlee may play as well as a fourth forward off the bench, joining his two brothers and Ryan Kelly.
Murphy, Gbinije and Hairston may be no more than cheerleaders in basketball uniforms unless the Blue Devils are blowing a team out.
Overall Duke Blue Devil Scouting Report
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Overall, the Duke Blue Devils once again proved that they will be an offensive juggernaut in the 2011-2012 season, averaging 83.5 points per game in their four games played overseas.
Despite losing their top two scorers to the NBA, the Blue Devils will be a top offensive team in the ACC and the nation, but will have some struggles on defense.
Nolan Smith, now a Portland Trailblazer, was one of Duke's best on-ball defenders and losing him will hurt the defense a lot.
Andre Dawkins will pick up where Smith left off as the team's best on-ball defender, but one of the other guards, Quinn Cook, Seth Curry or Austin Rivers, will need to step in a be a solid defender as well if Duke wants to reach its full potential.
The Plumlee brothers and Ryan Kelly should provide a solid low post scoring game that Duke has lacked in past seasons.
With the experience gained on this trip overseas, the Blue Devils will be one step ahead of its competitors when the regular season starts and it should benefit them early on in their schedule.
Look for the Blue Devils to hover in the Top 10 of the polls throughout the season and finish atop or near the top of the ACC, alongside their Tobacco Road rival, the North Carolina Tarheels.