As for getting outplayed, that's true. I do have a little trouble seeing us as especially overachieving in light of our place in the recruiting pecking order and the high school ratings of the individual players we have on our team. It seems a little odd if we don't think our coaches (best anywhere) and our elite players aren't good enough to get out of the 1st round. Frankly, though, the more upsetting issue for me was the lack of obvious passion in the final minutes. I don't know what was going on inside our guys' heads, but they all looked like they were at a funeral and the game wasn't even over.
Having said that, I'm sorry Miles left on such a desultory note. He was my favorite player on the team, and I certainly wish him well.
I'd like to thank Miles for 4 years of hard, solid play. No, he was never a star, but he was a young man who grew during his time at Duke and that is really what the college game should be about. He'll walk away with a degree, a championship ring, and hopefully in his eyes, many fond memories that will last a lifetime.
In the end we were what we were. We were a flawed team and those who were objective about viewing this team understood that. The heart and desire we saw throughout the year just wasn't enough to overcome those flaws. Questionable freethrow shooting, guards who couldn't guard, a raw albeit developing post game, sloppy ballhandling, and most of all no answer at the 3 position. Despite all these flaws these kids managed to put together a really solid year.
Based on what we saw this past year I don't expect Austin or Mason to leave for the NBA. Both have a lot of work to do on their game. Ryan and Seth started for most of the year, they can't say the role is new to them next year. Josh showed he could play under control these past few games. The key for him will be, can he consistently hit the jumper from the elbow. Tyler's D improved over the year, can he become more aggressive taking the ball to the hoop and drain the open shots when they are there. Andre needs to do some soul searching over the off season. The physical tools are there, the stroke is there. Can he get his head on straight? Do they sell mega-packs of confidence boosters in Durham? He really needs it.
Silent G, Alex, and Marshall all three kids were present, but only Mike got to see the court this year. What can they bring to the table only time will tell.
Yes, this loss hurts and mainly for the abuse I'll take at work Monday, but the season was without a doubt a very good one. I'll take solace in the fact that only one team actually wins it all.
Even though I had little expectations of a championship and was a bit fearful of what might happen in a matchup with KY, that loss still hurt. I think this team never quite fit together, mostly because they didn't have many (or maybe any) players who were proficient at creating shots for their teammates. Hopefully this is something Cook or Rivers if he comes back could grow into, as they both seem to have the talent necessary but just need a little seasoning. Anyone know what sort of timetable Austin and Mason will be on in terms of making their decision?
I was as disappointed as the rest of you after last night's game. It was difficult to watch as Lehigh made all the big plays to seal the game. After the game as I sat on my couch in a near coma, I decided to turn to ESPNEWS to watch the post-game interviews. That's when I saw Coach K and my disappointment turned to pride as he gave such a gracious and classy postgame interview. He made no excuses, expressed his disappointment, and gave all the credit to Lehigh. I can only hope I would have such poise after such a disappointing loss. As I turned off the tube to head to bed I felt reassured about our program and our leader. He is the best.
First, thanks to Miles for four great years. What a terrific kid. Don't stop until you've made your dreams come true.
More than any team in recent memory I think Coach K's "fist" analogy applied (in a negative way, unfortunately) to this year's team. There was a bit too much one-on-one play, and seemingly poor team chemistry. Even though Coach K is a master psychologist, this year's team proved to be quite a challenge.
Let's hope he can prevent any potentially similar problems from recurring next year. I think he might have to show some tough love to some of the players. But hey, if he did it with the Olympic team, he can surely do it at Duke!
Speaking of the Olympics, maybe yesterday's loss will help get Coach K fired up for the London games, which in my view would certainly be a silver lining of sorts.
Aside from the loss of Kelly, it seems to me that, this team lacked the cohesiveness and communication and intangibles of our prior Duke teams. I loved Coach's quote that "five fingers separately, weren't as powerful as a fist (or something to that effect)." The power of the network, of unity is something that just didn't seem to happen with this team. I thought about the loss last night and tried to figure out what made teams "glue" together. Is it senior leadership? A big man who could effectively pass out of the post (Zoubek) or a drive-and-kick point guard (KI, JW)? An amazing off the ball help defender (Shane)... I must admit that during the season we had success when we shot the lights out--but it almost worried me--whenever we've solely been a devoted three-ball team, the results haven't been good. Then again, coach can only play with the cards he's dealt. Any thoughts guys?
Go Duke--can't wait for next year. The worst part of losing the last game is that you need to wait 8 months to get revved up again.
You don't usually win games when your three best perimeter scorers combine for 8-32 shooting (4-19 from 3), and the best of them shot only 5-14. We got a lot of good looks, they just didn't go in. I don't think we had an issue with floor spacing. Curry took his usual shots. Dawkins took his usual shots. So did Rivers. We just missed shots. When you're a 3pt shooting team and you don't make 3pt shots, it's hard to win. And even though we shot so poorly, we still had a good chance to win.
Mason played very well, though he turned it over too much. Miles played okay. Rivers didn't win the battle of "best guard on the court" (lost it badly, actually). Curry and Dawkins just didn't show up. Thornton and Cook both played solidly.
This team had a lot of limitations. We knew that coming in. They have very few capable ballhandlers. They aren't overly quick on the perimeter. They aren't great defensively. They struggle with quick PF and they don't have good size at the SF. Despite this, we were able to get away with it with incredible shooting, timely offensive rebounds, and the occasional big scoring night from a big down low. Unfortunately, down the stretch, the shooting touch got away from us. And without that, we just fizzled.
I'm very disappointed that Miles had to go out like that. But, it was going to happen at some point - I just didn't see this team winning six in a row to close it. Miles really came on down the stretch of his senior year, and I'm happy for him. Hopefully he can continue to improve and maybe eventually crack an NBA roster. With his athleticism and size, it should just be a matter of focus and effort for it to happen.
Hopefully the guys that stick around learn from the late season losses. Dawkins needs to really work on his ballhandling, defense, and focus. Curry needs to get more confident with the ball in his hands so that he can attack off the dribble more often. Cook needs to get healthy, improve his defense and shooting. Mason (if he comes back) needs to work on his post moves and getting more comfortable/confident around the basket so that his athleticism can take over. Rivers (if he comes back) needs to improve his decision making, his ability to play off the ball (he had pretty much one play - dribble back to halfcourt, call for a high screen and try to drive), his court vision and passing skills, and his free throw shooting. And hopefully Gbinije, Murphy, and Marshall just continue to improve in all aspects so that maybe they can add some diversity to the lineup.
Tough way to end things. Hopefully we can use this to get better.
It is such a shame to see a team of guys with so much potential never live up to it. This team declined in play late in the season (not typically K), especially the last 4-5 games instead of getting better as the year progressed (typically K). I can't help but think they lost their legs as our 3 point shooting was abysmal the last part of the year. Missing Kelly clearly hurt us more than I think most people imagined it would. Yet I don't understand why if he was "available in certain situations" he was not at least put out there to give it a shot against Lehigh, nobody else could hit.
We lost this game because of Mason being in foul trouble, he was completely dominate early. Come back and show 'em what you can do as a Senior!
This makes two years in a row we underachieved in the tourney...
Guess I'm onto the recruiting scene now. Next year should be a vastly improved team if we land a couple of guys, and someone really takes over as leader. That's assuming AR and MP2 stay, as my gut says they will.
I must be the only one who noticed the real problem: the team played SCARED. They were tight. They resigned themselves to a fate well before the outcome was determined.
What they needed was CONFIDENCE, not motivation. This was the time for the coaching staff to do whatever it took to give them confidence, to let them feel like they could just go out and play basketball.
Failure is always an option.