Ryan Craig

Hot-shooting Singler a good sign for Duke

Posted February 5, 2010

After his team’s win over Florida State just more than a week ago, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski answered a postgame question about the luxury of having three players, in Nolan Smith, Jon Scheyer, and Kyle Singler, capable of carrying a team on the offensive end of the floor on any given night.

He joked that the team hadn’t felt very luxurious just yet because all three players hadn’t clicked very often on the same night.

Despite Nolan Smith’s modest point total of 14 in Thursday night’s 86-67 win over Georgia Tech, Coach K had to be feeling pretty darn good about things.

That’s because Kyle Singler, the one player out of the triumvirate that hadn’t had a signature night since Duke’s loss to Wisconsin early in the season, officially broke out of whatever shooting slump he might have been in.

Minutes after seemingly re-injuring a wrist that he initially hurt against Wake Forest, Singler began hitting three after three in a performance that brought back memories of former Blue Devil All-American J.J. Redick.

The Oregon-native hit on eight of his ten three-point attempts on his way to a 30-point night – simultaneously quelling all fears of what another whack to the wrist might mean for the 6-foot-8 forward and shooing away all concerns about what had been plaguing the shooting stroke of the preseason ACC Player of the Year.

When Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith play well, Duke is a potential conference champion and a threat to make the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

If Singler is on as well, the Blue Devils become a Final Four contender.

At his best, the versatile swingman is the toughest matchup in the ACC - a rare combination of size, ball-handling, basketball acumen and scoring prowess.

During his first two collegiate campaigns, Singler’s ability to knock down the three forced defenders to play him tight on the perimeter – that opened up driving opportunities, often against players that were taller and slower.

This year, his inaccuracy from beyond the three-point line allowed defenders to sag off of him and cut off the driving lanes he had become so accustomed to exploiting as a freshman and sophomore.

Duke spent much of its practice time since last weekend’s loss to Georgetown working on its motion offense – a scheme the coaching staff felt would create better opportunities for Singler to score.
By the time the clock hit 0:00 Thursday night, Singler had thanked his coaches by giving future opponents eight reasons to respect his shot once again.

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  • paulmichaelowens Feb 5, 9:46 a.m.

    I thought last night's game was an excellent basketball game. No mention of the two intentional fouls by GT either. Second week of the tournament? Jesus, we definitely don't have a Duke fan here. Not only does Duke have the 3 big timers with Smith, Scheyer, and Singler, they have the rest of the team that are also better than average. We saw good play out of Mason Plumlee last night, even though he had freshman mistakes. We saw good play out of Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek. GT's head coach looked like he gave up in the first half sitting down and pretty much just looking after the 10 minute mark. I guess he needs to be coaching on how to play basketball without fouling. If you take a closer look at Duke's losses they were mostly on opposing teams home courts in which they were shooting over 50 percent from the floor, and even with Georgetown shooting 72% from the floor! Also note how many teams act like they have won the National Championship by storming the floor after winning against Duke. Keep up the good work Coach K!

  • bpayne812-take two Feb 5, 11:40 a.m.

    I thought last night's game was an excellent basketball game. No mention of the two intentional... View More

    — Posted by paulmichaelowens

    Look I love the enthusiasm but what do you see different from this team than from past teams that makes you think they can make a deep run? I am a die harder but we all know Duke will go as far as their shooting allows them, and all it takes is to find a physical team that has great guard play to shut that shooting down. We have witnessed this for 5 or so years now. Do I think Duke can make a run, YES but will they probably not. But I will go down with them whenever it happens and I will be on here that day to take all the comments from the Heel fans saying CoacH K is done and Duke is overrated

  • aoakley336 Feb 5, 11:51 a.m.

    Heels fans? I don't think they'll be saying too much this year. Although, they might still be in the NIT when we lose out of the Big Dance IF they make the NIT.

  • pompey Feb 5, 12:20 p.m.

    Heels fans? I don't think they'll be saying too much this year. Although, they might still be... View More

    — Posted by aoakley336

    Heels fan here, Without doubt the devils are the class of the ACC this year, and will be carrying the ACC banner the "Big Dance". Do you think duke are a final four team? and as for UNC making it to the NIT, "IF" is the operative Word, we may get in because of the name.

  • pompey Feb 5, 12:41 p.m.

    Like state;-) I see the ACC as a whole, down this year. I thought GT would have made more of a game than they did last night, but here's to the days when UNC and Duke are number 1 and 2 in the nation again.....I hope!!!

  • bpayne812-take two Feb 5, 12:41 p.m.

    Heels fans? I don't think they'll be saying too much this year. Although, they might still be... View More

    — Posted by aoakley336

    Heels fan here, Without doubt the devils are the class of the ACC this year, and will be... View More

    — Posted by pompey

    Yeah you just might not have a .500 record to make the NIT. I know it probably won't happen but they had better beat Duke once and then win the rest of their home games against State, FSU, Miami. Assuming they lose all remaining road games (Maryland, Ga Tech, BC, Wake, Duke) and beat Duke at home they finish 17-14. Lose at home to Duke and have say FSU beat you at home then you HAVE to win a road game or you finish below .500. This all could happen but is highly unlikely

  • kickmeoutroy Feb 5, 12:44 p.m.

    Good Sign for Duke bad sign for everybody else.....

  • Hokies94 Feb 5, 1:16 p.m.

    Duke is really playing their game right now. Shooting like that they will win a bunch of games and go deep in the Tourney.

  • ugottabkiddinme Feb 5, 1:42 p.m.

    heels might not make the big dance but dook WILL NOT go to the final 4...its funny the short term memory puke fans have they just got toasted by georgetown on the road.....geuss what? the pukies will have to play away from hansbough indoor during the tourny....so all in all i would rather the heels won the NC last yr and be bad this one yr than to play every year as an avg team..which is what dook has become, at best

  • CaptLeo Feb 5, 1:43 p.m.

    Yeah, Duke is playing good ball right now. If Singler can stay hot shooting and Scheyer stays consistent I believe Duke will make a nice run in the NCAA Tournament. Coach K is coaching very well.

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