Editor’s Note: Welcome to the Duke Blue Devils Rookie Report where we will take a look at how the newcomers did. Each Sunday we will evaluate how the the team’s newcomers Rasheed Sulaimon, Amile Jefferson, Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee have performed over the course of the week.
Through two weeks of the college basketball season, it is becoming clear just how important strong freshman classes are in this era of college basketball. NC State and Kentucky, two of the better teams in the game right now, are extremely reliant on their freshmen for production on both ends.
While not dependent in the slightest, the contributions of Duke’s freshmen have been solid. Here is a look how how the newcomers played this week.
1) Rasheed Sulaimon
No. 1 for the second straight week, Sulaimon tops our Rookie Report with two rock-solid performances. He has settled into the starting lineup like an experienced vet and has done a good job of avoiding mistakes that typically accompany inexperience.
Sulaimon led the week off with a 10-point, five-assist, zero-turnover performance on Tuesday in the win against Kentucky. He was just 3-for-14 from the field, but all three makes were of the the 3-point variety and gave Duke three-, 10-, and 14-point leads in each instance.
The Florida Gulf Coast game was marked improvement, shooting 5-for-12 (3-for-8 from three) and hitting all six free throw attempts while registering just three turnovers in 33 minutes, finishing with 19 points.
Sulaimon will likely keep his stranglehold on the top spot as long as he keeps coming up with timely hoops and controls the ball.
2) Amile Jefferson
A relative non-factor in both games, Jefferson provided energy off the bench while jumping ahead of Alex Murphy on the forward depth chart. In two games, Jefferson combined for four points on 2-for-5 shooting with three rebounds, two blocks, two steals and an assist in 17 minutes.
As discussed earlier this week, there is a bit of a logjam at power/small forward in Durham. But Jefferson seems to be favored ahead of Murphy which will keep him in this second slot for another week.
3) Alex Murphy
Murphy lands in the third position once again, but only because he is actually an active participant for the team. Murphy has been a complete non-factor this season and in two games this week he combined for eight unforgettable minutes.
Not sure what is going on here, but Murphy seems to have fallen out of favor with Mike Krzyzewski.
4) Marshall Plumlee
Still on the shelf with a stress fracture, Plumlee could possibly find himself on the court in coming weeks. However, until he dresses for a game he will hang out in this spot.