It was a great week to be a member of the Duke basketball team as the Blue Devils took on two of the ACC’s weaker teams in Virginia Tech and Boston College. The lower level of competition allowed Mike Krzyzewski to play his full stable of players and the freshmen took advantage by having some of their finest performances.
The Blue Devils blew out both teams by a combined 53 points and gained a game on Miami after the Hurricanes finally lost a game, dropping a road contest to Wake Forest. This was the type of week where players gain confidence in what they’re doing while veterans try to keep the momentum of a season going.
Two of our four freshmen put up career days on Sunday and have landed themselves at the top of the report once again.
Here is this week’s edition of the Duke Basketball Rookie Report.
1) Rasheed Sulaimon
The budding star almost burst through his ceiling during Sunday’s win over Boston College as he poured in a game-high 27 points and doing so in a multitude of ways. This came on the heels of what is becoming one of his trademark stat lines when he put up 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting while simultaneously putting forth a solid effort against Virgina Tech’s Erick Green.
A McDonald’s All-America, we knew Sulaimon was extremely talented but in the last few weeks we’ve been treated to a display of just how good he is and how good he can be down the road. His activity has allowed Seth Curry a bit more breathing room as defenses now have to respect both wings on drive and kick and pick and roll situations.
For being Duke’s best player in one game and its second best in the other, Sulaimon earns the top spot in this week’s rookie report…again.
2) Amile Jefferson
Recently, Josh Hairston has made himself the choice at power forward after Jefferson struggled against Boston College and then was rendered useless against Maryland. This week, however, Jefferson forced himself back to the forefront with two solid games off the bench where his activity made him impossible to ignore on the court.
Against Virginia Tech he submitted a gritty 17-minute effort in which he scored four points and grabbed five rebounds as his confidence seemed to have returned. Against Boston College, that confidence spilled over as he notched a career-high 14 points and completed three old-fashioned three-point plays while leading the bench to a productive day.
3) Alex Murphy
Murphy got himself some quality minutes this week with the blowout victories, totally 23 minutes and 11 points in the time he did get. SCACCHoops.com’s tempo-adjusted stats have Murphy averaging 13.2 points per 40 minutes, proving that he could be a valuable player moving forward when consistent playing time comes his way.
4) Marshall Plumlee
The big guy is still looking for his second made field goal of the year and got limited run this week. Also, he turned the ball over on a valuable possession at the end of the game when Todd Zafirovski had a chance at a bucket.