Quinn Cook

Quinn Cook wants to be Duke’s leader, will he be? (VIDEO)

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Duke graduated Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly, also known as the Blue Devils top three scorers, and in the case of Plumlee and Kelly, Duke’s leading rebounders.

So safe to say means Coach K will rely on the likes of Rasheed Sulaimon, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker, Tyler Thornton, Amile Jefferson and rising junior point guard Quinn Cook. In an interview with Duke Blue Planet (seen above) Cook is looking to fill the role of leader.

“I think the biggest thing I learned about being a leader is leading by example,” Cook said in the interview. “Being the first guy in the gym, being the last one to leave, getting up early.”

source: Reuters

Cliches aside, Cook seems to be serious about taking on the added responsibilities this season. In June, he declined an invitation to try out for USA Basketball Men’s World University Games team in order to stay on campus in Durham. During the interview he said he’s working on his conditioning and adding muscle to his 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame.

The time spent in the gym will likely pay off for the junior floor leader, especially when this roster looks to favor his style of play. Outside of the rarely used 6-foot-11 Marshall Plumlee, Duke doesn’t really have a true post presence. The Blue Devils will be equipped with a lot of perimeter scorers and shooters. Cook will be the one pushing the ball in transition and penetrating the lane to get shooters open looks — something he did well this past season.

“The style of play this year that I see is very fast, very fast, very uptempo,” Cook said. “We have a lot of athletes, and I think coach will utilize our athletes to our advantage.”

Though, Cook needs to prove he’s a more consistent scorer. Last season, he did have some big scoring games — 27 on Clemson, 22 against Virginia. But there was also the 0-for-11 game against Wake Forest (had 14 assists), the 1-for-12 shooting in the blowout loss on the road to Miami, and the 3-of-11 from the field in the Elite Eight loss to Louisville.

The personnel Coach K has this year can pack a highlight reel quickly, but Cook doesn’t want to be the director of just an exciting offense, he wants to be the leader of the next title contender, and he seems determined on doing just that. He’ll have the weapons this season to do so, and from the reports if he somehow doesn’t go down as one of the Duke’s top point guards it won’t be for lack of effort.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.