i think that k's willingness to play guys on the bench all year long paid big dividends last night as 8 guys played at least 10 minutes and king and smith played 6 and 7 minutes each. after singler picked up 2 fouls in a nanosecond and some porous d to start the game, i'm not sure we win it without huge contributions from zoubek, mcclure and king (even though scheyer doesn't start, he plays so much i don't really consider him a traditional bench player). it's a refreshing change to know that there is a long line of guys who are hungry and who can play well when needed. the wholesale subs reminded me of the kentucky game in 2001.
It's something that was sorely missed last year. I think the bench utilization for the most part has been great this entire season. There have been times where a player might have seem to have been forgotten, but we can't question it like 07. I think this is one of Coach Ks most solid jobs ever. not the best, but one of the top 6 or 7. And to think he got 5th in COY voting.... HUH?
Late last season I caught a LOT of flack from some elder DBR members because I said we were fatigued. I was criticized, called names and all kinds of stuff. Just this week, there was a link right here on DBR to a report where Coach K said, "We are not tired like we were last season", or something very similar to that. Funny, not one of those who bashed me last year for mentioning fatigue, mentioned that article to me. Oh well, I guess they just forgot...
Anyway, thanks for the reminder Coach K, and it's encouraging to know we don't have tired legs this season. Go DUKE
I agree with the notion that our depth is one of the strengths of this team. Obviously this will be helpful when we have to play games on back to back days or every other day. We also have multiple scoring options should one or two guys have an "off" night or get in foul trouble (contrast last year's team).
I hope the wholesale use of our bench continues no matter what the stakes. I firmly believe that if we revert back to playing only 7 guys and some of the starters play 38-40 minutes we will fail to use one of the strengths that has gotten us this far.
That was a GREAT house by the way. I was told not to cheer, but I'm going to anyway. I agree TOTALLY with your remarks. Good stuff!
Depth is, of course, nice. But the reason Duke has gone deeper this season is because Duke has more good players than last season. If you gave Coach K last season's roster, he would play a short rotation again. But, quite obviously, if you give him a roster with 8, 9, or 10 good/useful players like this season's roster, he will play a deep bench. As he's demonstrated over and over again during his career, not just in 2008.
Duke is fresher this season in very large part because most of the players are better-conditioned. All the returning players worked hard to improve their conditioning in the offseason and are now reaping the benefits. Kyle Singler, on the other hand, has a freshman's body and conditioning level, and that's why the coaches are now commenting that he's tired. And that's probably why Kyle has shot so poorly recently. This is a big issue for Duke right now. But once Kyle has a full offseason in Duke's conditioning program, he should be fresher down the stretch next season.
Duke is better this season in very large part because all the returning players are improved. All the returning players worked hard to improve their skill level in the offseason and this entire season, they've been reaping the benefits. Every one of the sophomores and also Paulus and Nelson are more skilled than they were last season. Add a talented freshman like Singler to the mix and that is why Duke is a much better team this season.
Notice that even then, Duke stumbled down the stretch this season. If this were last season, many, many people would blame it on not giving bench players more minutes as the reason. But Duke has been deep this season, so clearly, there are other factors in play.
Depth is nice. But that's because depth is a reflection of having more players ready to contribute. Having lots of good players is a good thing.
You can't accurately say what other people would say, or would have said, until they say it. Last year we were tired, which I DID say then, and which Coach K talked about as recent as this week. I feel we had people last year who could have played enough to have had a positive effect on our fatigue factor. And you know, I may be wrong, but I think we did.
I don't think anyone questions if we have more talented players this season Trouble. I certainly don't. And look, I know you were not directing this at me, so don't get me wrong. But your comment about us stumbling down the stretch this season, and someone finding excuses for it, brings only this rebuttal. Losing close games on the road, and a highly competitive match to your arch rival and #1 team in the land is not even a stumble in my mind. You may or may not agree, but I think it is just the reality of life in the ACC. Hey, Carolina wasn't undefeated either ya know. It's TOUGH to win anywhere in the ACC. At the start of the Season, before a game was played, did anyone HONESTLY expect more than we got from this team thus far? I didn't. Let's all (and again, not saying you don't Trouble, because I know you do) give this team the credit they deserve. It's been a great season in my estimation, and I'm very proud of this DUKE team, win or lose today, tomorrow or next week!