Caulton Tudor

Devils, Krzyzewski suddenly have 'boom' potential

Posted October 16, 2013

Along with the obvious – Louisville’s Kevin Ware’s broken leg – a lingering memory of Duke’s final basketball game last season was something Mike Krzyzewski said once the Cardinals’ 85-63 win was finalized.

Down by only three points at halftime (35-32), Krzyzewski was optimistic going to the locker room even though he knew Rick Pitino’s guys would be tougher – not softer – without Ware.

"I thought we had a chance … then, boom!" coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "That's what they do to teams. They 'boom' you." 

Louisville, which enters ACC play in 2014-15, progressed from that Midwest Regional title game to win the NCAA title. 

Duke went home to say good-bye to Mason Plumlee (17.1 ppg, 10 rpg), Seth Curry (17.5 ppg) and Ryan Kelly (12.9 ppg), but as Krzyzewski went about his program retooling process, his words “They boom you” stuck in my mind.

The Blue Devils were a heck of a team last season. They won 30 games, split with Louisville, beat Ohio State, Kentucky, Miami and UNC twice.

In that respect, it was business as usual. The Devils have won at least 30 games in four of the past five seasons and went 27-7 in 2011-12 and 28-6 in ’07-’08. They won the national championship in ’09-’10 by going 10-1 during the months of March and April.

But on balance, Duke hasn’t been a big “boom you” team for several years. They’ve won big with great coaching, programming, focus, direction, defense, team-work and at times with nothing more complex than dogged mental toughness.

“All year, I think we probably had more determination than just great, great talent,” guard Jon Scheyer said after the two-point win over Butler for that ’09-’10 national title.

A DIFFERENT DUKE WAY?

Those words by Scheyer more or less define what has been the Duke way.

Other than Grant Hill, even those overwhelming teams in the early ‘90s weren’t stocked with incubating NBA superstars.

In later years, Luol Deng was so raw in his one season that he didn’t have the explosiveness to slam opposing defenses. Kryie Irving would have been a boom boomer of the first degree but was so banged up that he only played 11 games in his one season.

This team, while maybe too short on experience, has the markings of an athletic power plant.

With transfer Rodney Hood (6-8, 215), freshman Jabari Parker (6-8, 235), seasoned playmaker Quinn Cook (6-2, 180) and potentially Krzyzewski’s deepest and most versatile bench in years, Duke could be the sort of boom team that Louisville was last season and Kentucky was en route to the 2012 NCAA title.

The ultimate boom teams were UNC’s title winners in 2009 and Florida’s back-to-back winners in ’06 and ’07.

The Blue Devils probably don’t have that sort of firepower – and certainly a lot postseason exposure to pressure – but Duke and ACC fans are in store for what may be Krzyzewski’s most interesting team since he first began rising to national prominence in the mid 1980s.

A good deal of that interest will result from the fact that there’s no obvious low-post score on the roster to do what Plumlee did for the past two seasons. Red-shirt sophomore Marshall Plumlee (7-0, 260) could be moving in that direction.

Carolina in ’09 had Tyler Hansbrough, one of the best college centers in history. Those Florida teams had 6-11 Joakim Noah, 6-10 Corey Brewer and 6-10 Al Hortford. Kentucky in 2012 had 6-10 Anthony Davis and 6-9 Terrence Jones.

Duke doesn’t have that sort of size and perhaps inside punch. But this Blue Devil team could be team a lot like the one that ended their season in March.

The odds are against Duke winning another NCAA title, but the odds are certain that this will be a memorable team.

48 Comments

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  • abcershateme Oct 16, 9:41 a.m.

    the only way dook gets to the ff is if the ncaa sets up the brackets for him.

  • uncpwnsyou Oct 16, 10:05 a.m.

    the only way dook gets to the ff is if the ncaa sets up the brackets for him.

    — Posted by abcershateme

    Yep, which is pretty much an annual thing. SMH

  • Obamacare is here Oct 16, 10:32 a.m.

    Coach K says Dook will out gun all of it's opponents this season.

  • Sandbar33 Oct 16, 10:37 a.m.

    The brackets are always set up for us. It's why we have 100 National Title banners hanging in Cameron.....Just look at last year as a prime example when we had to play "weak" Louisville in the Elite 8

  • DEVILS1 Oct 16, 10:39 a.m.

    Time will tell...I will mention one team I know that won't make it to the final four, that one in chapel hill.

    GO DEVILS!

  • tgriffin45 Oct 16, 10:54 a.m.

    All this hype about DOOK,,,they lost more than they have gained....these new players have not even played a game yet

  • BlueDevils00 Oct 16, 10:56 a.m.

    Duke is the clear-cut favorite in the ACC and Final Four.

    Jabari Parker.

    Learn the name.

  • baldchip Oct 16, 11:01 a.m.

    The Coach K machine continues. They may not be a Final 4 team this year-but next year-watch out. Louisville will be hot-then not-typical for a hot shot coach. Personally-I think Louisville is a horrible add for the ACC.

  • Turheel Oct 16, 11:01 a.m.

    the only way dook gets to the ff is if the ncaa sets up the brackets for him.

    — Posted by abcershateme

    The NCAA sets up the bracket for all 68 teams. You still have to win your way through the tournament. I have to defend Duke on that one. BTW, Duke will have as good a shot as anyone to reach the FF this season. They should be strong. UNC is a couple of years away from being back amongst the elite. I like next year's incoming class though, so we'll see. This year's team has a lot to improve on from last year. We'll know pretty quick how good they're going to be, or not.

  • 903 sing Terry Watson sing Oct 16, 11:06 a.m.

    Coach K says Dook will out gun all of it's opponents this season.

    — Posted by Obamacare is here

    Why would UNC fans joke about guns... PJ's the one tossing them out da window whilst dealing drugs...

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