As we noted in our ACC preview, Duke needs a couple of guys to play well in the backcourt. One of them is presumptive point guard Quinn Cook. The other is freshman Rasheed Sulaimon. In today’s exhibition game against DII champion Western Washington, they got a chance to see how both players are progressing as the season draws near.
According to the Duke University Chronicle, Cook got off to a good start, playing 32 minutes and notching 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Six turnovers were cause for concern, especially given that they came against non-DI competition. Clearly, Cook is preparing himself to lead the Blue Devils this season, however.
Sulaimon got a big chance to show what he could do, playing several minutes that would have normally gone to the injured Seth Curry. He scored 20 points, had 3 assists and swiped two steals. The Chronicle’s BlueZone blog observed the game, and offered some details:
On the team’s first possession, he made a nice cut and layed the ball in, absorbing the contact. He finished the first half with a team-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting, making 2-of-3 from deep.
19:47 in the first half—On Duke’s first possession, Rasheed Sulaimon set the pace for the entire first half with a layup. Duke basketball head coach Krzyzewski praised Sulaimon’s read on the play, saying that he made a cut against the design of the play, but at the same time it was the same read on the defense.
The blog noted that the game was played at a fast pace, as the final 105-87 score would indicate. As such, guard play was clearly at a premium, but a perceived Duke advantage in the post was not quite as evident as expected. Mason Plumlee grabbed 11 rebounds in 33 minutes, but as a team, the Devils only outrebounded the DII Vikings 41-34. Hidden inside that number is an 18-14 deficit on the offensive boards.
Neither the good stuff or the bad stuff is a big deal right now. It just tells us what drills Mike Krzyzewski will be running on Monday. For Duke fans, it’s always good to see your team get the yips out in an early exhibition. For the rest of us, it just makes the upcoming season all that more tangible.