Thanks to the arrival of one of the best recruiting classes in the country, Duke is expected by many to rebound in 2014-15 after being knocked out of the NCAA tournament by Mercer in the Round of 64 last season. Saturday night Mike Krzyzewski’s team took another step towards the start of the season with its’ “Countdown to Craziness” event, which included a dunk contest and two 12-minute intra-squad scrimmages.
The biggest standout was freshman center Jahlil Okafor, who scored a total of 27 points in the two scrimmages on 12-for-16 shooting from the field. The Chicago native is already considered to be one of the best players in college basketball despite the fact that he’s yet to play a game at the college level, and some of the attributes that resulted in Okafor’s five-star status were on display Saturday night.
“He has a great feel for the game and because he has such gigantic hands and great feet, he needs to have the ability to improvise,” Krzyzewski said about his freshman big man according to a school release. “So we want that, but we would like to have a couple go-to moves. Today, he really faced the basket well. He hasn’t really been shooting his shot from the outside, but he can shoot it. He is a good free throw shooter. He will pass it, too.
“We have to be careful that we don’t just throw it in there and watch. There are going to be double teams, but we feel we can surround him with guys who can shoot the ball. He is a special player and a great teammate. The guys really like him a lot.”
One of those possible shooters is guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who accounted for 22 points on the night. In total five Blue Devils managed to score at least ten points on the night, with Justise Winslow tallying 12 points and Matt Jones and Amile Jefferson scoring ten apiece. Freshman point guard Tyus Jones scored seven points, but he also accounted for six assists and just two turnovers in the scrimmages. Above are the top five highlights from the scrimmage sessions, courtesy of Duke Athletics.
As for the dunk contest, junior center Marshall Plumlee beat out freshman guard Grayson Allen to win the title.