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View Full Version : Willie Warren on Duke- Sentiments about Duke Title Shot



BlueintheFace
01-12-2009, 03:39 PM
LW: Which teams do you consider national title contenders? Is UConn in that group?

WW: Them and North Carolina. And us, if we play our A-game. I haven't seen Pitt enough yet to know if they're legit, and I just saw Duke play Davidson, and they handled Davidson pretty well, but for some reason I don't think Duke is as good as people make them out to be.

http://www.fannation.com/si_blogs/in_the_paint/posts/40121-qa-with-oklahomas-willie-warren

It doesn't really matter much, because, well who cares what others think and it isn't like the kid knows anything, but I really feel like this sentiment is very pervasive this year. We may be #2 in the nation and #1 in KenPom and Sagarin stat polls, but everyone seems to have a nagging suspicion that we aren't a contender. I wonder why that is... maybe it has to do with the last two years.... maybe we aren't... thoughts?

Mike Corey
01-12-2009, 03:49 PM
[url]We may be #2 in the nation and #1 in KenPom and Sagarin stat polls, but everyone seems to have a nagging suspicion that we aren't a contender. I wonder why that is... maybe it has to do with the last two years....

That, and wishful thinking, I'd venture to say.

KyDevilinIL
01-12-2009, 04:19 PM
It's more than the last two years. It's at least the last five, probably the last seven or so. Duke's been to a single Final Four since 2001. In that span – excluding the Final Four season – Duke has lost in the Sweet 16 four times, lost in the first round once and the second round once.

That's seven seasons. Willie Warren was what, about 10 or 11 when Duke won its last title? To many in this generation of college players, Duke is a team that's usually ranked highly but often flames out when it counts. Laettner, Hurley and Hill are to these guys what David Thompson, Lew Alcindor and the like were to my generation – vaguely familiar guys who were apparently pretty good "a long time ago."

So that's Warren's experience with Duke – he's going to assume they're overblown until proven otherwise. And if he's basing his opinion strictly on the Davidson game, then he did see us more or less lose a big lead in the second half at home. I don't begrudge him for doubting Duke's ability to be dominant after watching that.

Heck, I have moments when I think the exact same thing he does; 2006 and last season really did a number on my confidence, it seems. As much as I appreciate and enjoy what this team is doing, in the back of my mind I'm kind of bracing myself for the big letdown.

_Gary
01-12-2009, 04:25 PM
It's more than the last two years. It's at least the last five, probably the last seven or so. Duke's been to a single Final Four since 2001. In that span excluding the Final Four season Duke has lost in the Sweet 16 four times, lost in the first round once and the second round once.

That's seven seasons. Willie Warren was what, about 10 or 11 when Duke won its last title? To many in this generation of college players, Duke is a team that's usually ranked highly but often flames out when it counts. Laettner, Hurley and Hill are to these guys what David Thompson, Lew Alcindor and the like were to my generation vaguely familiar guys who were apparently pretty good "a long time ago."

So that's Warren's experience with Duke he's going to assume they're overblown until proven otherwise. And if he's basing his opinion strictly on the Davidson game, then he did see us more or less lose a big lead in the second half at home. I don't begrudge him for doubting Duke's ability to be dominant after watching that.

Heck, I have moments when I think the exact same thing he does; 2006 and last season really did a number on my confidence, it seems. As much as I appreciate and enjoy what this team is doing, in the back of my mind I'm kind of bracing myself for the big letdown.

I can't disagree with anything you've written as it concerns Warren and his perception of Duke. And while I certainly think we are better than we have been the last two seasons and think we should at least make the Elite Eight, I do have nagging doubts. At this point a huge portion of the country is probably in a "wait and see" mode with Duke. And that's not a bad thing at all. Not in the least.

SilkyJ
01-12-2009, 04:26 PM
We may be #2 in the nation and #1 in KenPom and Sagarin stat polls, but everyone seems to have a nagging suspicion that we aren't a contender. I wonder why that is... maybe it has to do with the last two years.... maybe we aren't... thoughts?

we are still improving, is my main thought. Right now we are on par with a lot of really good teams, but we are not an excellent team yet (Oklahoma, wake, uconn, georgetown, wake, I think are all right there with us.) We need continued improvement from our big men, Zoubs especially and better decision making overall, particularly at the PG spot. Those things can, and i think will, come so I think by season's end we might very well be a contender...

Clipsfan
01-12-2009, 05:53 PM
we are still improving, is my main thought. Right now we are on par with a lot of really good teams, but we are not an excellent team yet (Oklahoma, wake, uconn, georgetown, wake, I think are all right there with us.) We need continued improvement from our big men, Zoubs especially and better decision making overall, particularly at the PG spot. Those things can, and i think will, come so I think by season's end we might very well be a contender...

I think that we are improving, and defense will be the key to this season, but I am once again worried about fatigue down the stretch. I think that has been one of the key problems the last years (and I apologize for beating a dead horse, and I'm not looking to reopen the whole debate), and some of our key players are back to playing 35+ minutes per game. The FSU game was rough, and they looked beat at the end, and it showed in their FTs.

Virginian
01-12-2009, 06:20 PM
Forgive the line from Jaws, assuming I have it correct.

My point is that I hope our team looks at the tape of the Wake-UNC game and says "Uh, oh, we are REALLY going to have to elevate our game because we really have our work cut out for us. We better go out with a warrior mentality every single game we play or we're going to be kicked into the ditch."

There are two lessons here: any team can be beat AND that means we can win any game but only if we work our tales off every time out.

Gonna be interesting.

roywhite
01-12-2009, 06:31 PM
Forgive the line from Jaws, assuming I have it correct.

My point is that I hope our team looks at the tape of the Wake-UNC game and says "Uh, oh, we are REALLY going to have to elevate our game because we really have our work cut out for us. We better go out with a warrior mentality every single game we play or we're going to be kicked into the ditch."

There are two lessons here: any team can be beat AND that means we can win any game but only if we work our tales off every time out.

Gonna be interesting.

What does the tale of a shark with a long tail tell us?

That we must work our tails off till the end, or we will have another tale of a good season where we tailed off.

Billy Dat
01-12-2009, 07:12 PM
That's seven seasons. Willie Warren was what, about 10 or 11 when Duke won its last title? To many in this generation of college players, Duke is a team that's usually ranked highly but often flames out when it counts. Laettner, Hurley and Hill are to these guys what David Thompson, Lew Alcindor and the like were to my generation vaguely familiar guys who were apparently pretty good "a long time ago."


Yet he says one of his favorite players is Dr. J. Come on, Willie. Hit Duke up on YouTube, the 2001 highlights are there, kid!

GMR
01-12-2009, 07:22 PM
My feelings lie with several of the posters here about Duke's failures down the stretch for the last several years. I think what I saw in the last 10-12 minutes of the FSU game (I realize it was only one game) reminded me so much of Duke the last several years in the NCAA. They looked tired, were missing free throws(most of them short off the front rim), didn't have the same defensive intensity that they had for the first 3/4 of the game. They went from a 25 point lead to 6 at one point. That's 19 points in the wrong direction over about a 7 or 8 minute timespan.

Being ranked #2 or #3 is great, it should be given attention by the NC press, but we've been there several times in the last several years only to end the season on a less than satisfactory note. Is Duke on the same path this year?
Hope I'm Wrong.

GMR

captmojo
01-12-2009, 08:50 PM
...for some reason, I don't think Oklahoma is as good as they're made out to be.






Works both ways, don't it?









except for their coach :D

quickgtp
01-12-2009, 09:11 PM
This is funny, considering his team struggled with Davidson, and then they needed significant ref help to beat Purdue IN OT!

Sixthman
01-12-2009, 10:18 PM
This is funny, considering his team struggled with Davidson, and then they needed significant ref help to beat Purdue IN OT!

I was thinking the same thing.

roywhite
01-12-2009, 10:33 PM
My feelings lie with several of the posters here about Duke's failures down the stretch for the last several years. I think what I saw in the last 10-12 minutes of the FSU game (I realize it was only one game) reminded me so much of Duke the last several years in the NCAA. They looked tired, were missing free throws(most of them short off the front rim), didn't have the same defensive intensity that they had for the first 3/4 of the game. They went from a 25 point lead to 6 at one point. That's 19 points in the wrong direction over about a 7 or 8 minute timespan.

Being ranked #2 or #3 is great, it should be given attention by the NC press, but we've been there several times in the last several years only to end the season on a less than satisfactory note. Is Duke on the same path this year?
Hope I'm Wrong.

GMR

Just my take, but I don't consider the tournament results of the past two years to be especially relevant to what this team can, or will, accomplish. This is a better team, more experienced and physically stronger. Jay Bilas said in the game Saturday that he sees continued improvement for this team, calling them a legitimate final 4 threat.

To the FSU game, I'll take an 8-pt win conference win on the road, and this against a good team that gets up to play Duke at their place. If we hit a few foul shots at the end, it's a 12-14 point win and people would feel better about it. A win and a learning experience...

-bdbd
01-13-2009, 12:05 AM
Maybe for once they are UNDERestimating Duke...

I'll take it.

But I like our chances this season, better than most of the last 6 years. Face it, would you rather be at this point in the season ranked #2, undefeated in ACC play and with only one loss on the season.... OR .... with two ACC losses already, with victories only against largely very weak opponents and dropping out of the top-5?

I think Duke is better than most realize for two main reasons:
1. This is not a season with the usual 6-8 really strong power teams. In fact, if you ask most casuall BB fans, after UNC-ch you'll get a lot of differing opinions over who is in their Final 4 picks. That means we don't HAVE to be domineering to make it to Detroit. And yes, I think we're one of the 4 best right now. (Will be very interested to see how we play against another legit team in Georgetown.)

2. This team is better than most realize b/c it is stronger in ways that the casual fans don't always appreciate -- this is a tremendous Defensive team with an offense that is still catching up. Also, this is a very DEEP squad - probably the deepest in the last six season for Duke. That'll be important come March. Let's just hope Coach keeps playing the bench enough for them to develop and gain confidence mid-season, and help prevent the starters from wearing down (like last year). I believe that this is the sort of squad which will be much better in March than it was in Dec. Give 'em time.

Let's face it, at this point in the season would you rather have lots of press clippings but an 0-2 ACC record, or be 2-0 in the ACC and only one loss all season with a #2 ranking to boot. Sorry if the haven't dominated like some would like -- but they ARE winning. Gerald is coming out of his shell. Mr. Smith is playing very well, overall, at the point, with Greg having adapted well to coming off the bench. Scheyer and Singler are generally solid, and when was the last time we had a clearly identified strong starting Center? That glass really is half FULL (or more so). And they are developing, getting better....

-BDBD :cool:

slower
01-14-2009, 06:24 AM
If you read the linked article, he doesn't appear to be what you'd call a "high-character" guy. But I guess he's just "keepin' it real" or something like that.

Chitowndevil
01-14-2009, 01:42 PM
It's more than the last two years. It's at least the last five, probably the last seven or so. Duke's been to a single Final Four since 2001. In that span excluding the Final Four season Duke has lost in the Sweet 16 four times, lost in the first round once and the second round once.

That's seven seasons. Willie Warren was what, about 10 or 11 when Duke won its last title? To many in this generation of college players, Duke is a team that's usually ranked highly but often flames out when it counts.

This is a very good point. It applies not only to college kids, but also to the vast majority of media, who is writing for fans with attention spans of a couple of years at the very most. To those folks, Duke is a program that's spent a lot of time in the top 10 over the last few years but hasn't done much in March.

That's fine. Prior to 1991 Coach K "couldn't win the big game". You don't change these perceptions by reminding people of history, you change them by proving them wrong, i.e., winning.

Devils Rock
01-14-2009, 03:14 PM
I'm amazed at how many people (both Dukies and non-Dukies) seem to think this team is virtually identical to the teams of the past two years. Do I think they are worlds better? Not necessarily. But they are certainly different and potentially better. I would even say likely better. The primary reason is balance, both in terms of personnel and style of play. In this regard, I might even say that this team is better built to go far in the tourney then some of the JJ teams. As much as I loved JJ and Shel, those teams had virtually no depth whatsoever. Furthermore, it became common knowledge that if you could shut down JJ (not easy to do, but all it took was one team each year in the tourney to do it), you could take out the devils. This team has more inside game than the past two years (even if it's primarily on defense), more players to give minutes to, and is less reliant on the three point shot. Not to open a can of worms for the 100th time, but the only game I saw where Duke actually reminded me of the past few years was the Michigan game, not the FSU game. I don't care what anybody says about what the Michigan D did to our O, the bottom line is that when we took 2 pointers in that game they went in pretty regularly and when we took 3's they did not. Sure we had an off night, but we totally exposed ourself to that variable by shooting such a large number of threes (33 is a large number by any historical measure and represented over half of our total shots for the game).

As long as this team does not resort to three ball but rather uses the three as part of a balanced attack, this team has a very good chance to go far. Lots of good, seasoned players doing a variety of good things on the floor. Time will tell.

Skitzle
01-14-2009, 03:34 PM
In this regard, I might even say that this team is better built to go far in the tourney then some of the JJ teams. As much as I loved JJ and Shel, those teams had virtually no depth whatsoever. Furthermore, it became common knowledge that if you could shut down JJ (not easy to do, but all it took was one team each year in the tourney to do it), you could take out the devils.

One of those "JJ and Shel teams" lost a close game to the National Champion in the Final Four...

I don't think this team is better than that team... yet.... :)

77devil
01-14-2009, 04:08 PM
One of those "JJ and Shel teams" lost a close game to the National Champion in the Final Four...

I suspect the previous poster was referring to the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons. The 2004 final four team was not a "JJ and Shel team," and in fact was clearly led by Chris Duhon with a significant contribution from Luol Deng both absent from the subsequent two years.

Devils Rock
01-14-2009, 04:37 PM
I suspect the previous poster was referring to the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 seasons. The 2004 final four team was not a "JJ and Shel team," and in fact was clearly led by Chris Duhon with a significant contribution from Luol Deng both absent from the subsequent two years.

Yes, I was referring to 3 of JJ's years on campus. We had a pretty balanced team his sophomore year and I think that made a big difference. Although even that team struggled when JJ had his off night in the tournament. This follows my earlier post in that I think it is always dangerous to put too many eggs in one basket, whether it be one player or a reliance on the three or whatever. Most of the great teams that I can remember had no glaring weaknesses and generally were solid in most aspects of the game. All of the really great Duke teams that I can recall from the K era followed this model: even if they were a great 3 shooting team they wouldn't overly rely on it or even if they had a great player at one position, they wouldn't lean on that player for all of the production night in and night out.

ncexnyc
01-15-2009, 12:01 AM
I really find it hard to believe that people actually think that what has transpired in previous seasons doesn't have some effect on this current team.

This isn't a new team. Only Elliot, Miles, and Olek are freshman, everyone else knows what it's like to get bounced early from the tournament. Greg has experienced 3 straight years of major disappointment. It's called having the monkey on your back and you can talk about it not having any effect on you all you want, but it's definitely in the back of every players mind.

I'm sure the kids at Clemson can tell you all about this and in their case it isn't a monkey, but rather an 800 pound gorilla dressed in Carolina Blue.