2008 Duke Blue Devils Basketball Preview
The Duke Blue Devils (28-6 overall, 13-3 ACC) finished second in their conference but for the second straight year put in a disappointing performance in the NCAA Tournament. Coach Mike Krzyaewski’s team is slowly developing a reputation for strong starts and weak finishes. In 2007, the team was out in the first game, and in 2008, they faltered also, barely getting by Belmont 71-70 in the first contest and losing to West Virginia 73-67.
Upfront, the Blue Devils were weak in 2007-2008. Forward Kyle Singler (28.6 PPG, 13.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 45.7 FG%, 77.4 FT%), who won All-ACC Freshman of the Year honors last season, tied for first in points and was second in rebounding for the Devils. But he was also exhausted by the end of the season, as he often stepped up to contribute to a team that put four guards on the court at once. Junior center Brian Zoubek (10.5 MPG, 3.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.5 APG, 59.6 FG%, 44.8 FT%) and freshman forward Miles Plumlee will backup Singler this season, cutting down on his minutes.
Last season, it was bombs away from the backcourt as the Devils put up almost 300-more treys than they did the season before. Greg Paulus (27.7 MPG, 11.4 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, 42.3 FG%, 82.7 FT%) hit 83 from downtown. Junior Gerald Henderson (26.2 MPG, 12.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 47.4 FG%, 66.9 FT%) proved last season that he could drive to the basket, helping to ensure that teams were kept off-balance by Duke’s offense. The guard could score inside, draw the foul, or take the ball in and kick it out to Paulus and company for an outside shot. Junior Jon Scheyer (28.3 MPG, 11.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.4 APG, 44.4 FG%, 88.9 FT%) was also a proficient scorer. The backcourt defense is prone to breakdowns.
With the North Carolina Tar Heels expected to rule the ACC for
a second straight season, Duke can simply be a second or third-place
team and a top-10 club nationally. Taking the pressure off this
team to be first-in-the-nation may allow them to grow enough to
be a true force in the post-season.