Posts Tagged ‘Duke Blue Devils’

With the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic have selected Duke standout Paolo Banchero.

“When you’re playing poker, you don’t put your cards on the table, right?” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said regarding the surprise pick, according to team writer Dan Savage.

Banchero is the latest one-and-done prospect to come out of the Blue Devils’ program. The 6-foot-10 forward was the lead option of an explosive Duke offense, averaging 17.2 points, 7.8 boards, and 3.2 assists over 39 appearances last season. Banchero finished fourth in the ACC in free-throw attempts (188) and 10th in blocks (36).

His strong regular season earned him ACC Rookie of the Year honors and an All-ACC first-team nod. Banchero elevated his game in the NCAA Tournament, helping Duke earn another Final Four berth. The former five-star recruit posted 18.8 points on 50% shooting, including a sizzling 52.6% mark on nearly four triples per game.


Position: Forward
School: Duke
College experience: Freshman
Height: 6-foot-10
Weight: 250 lbs
Wingspan: 7-foot-1
Max vertical: N/A


  • Mix of quickness and strength creates mismatches for opposing big men
  • Has assortment of back-to-the-basket moves
  • Finishes well through contact
  • Efficient mid-range scorer
  • Uses crafty footwork to create his own shot
  • Great passer for his size
  • Solid ball-handling skills allow him to initiate fast breaks or pick-and-roll


  • Drives recklessly to rim at times
  • Defensive effort and focus fluctuate too often
  • Needs to improve off-hand finishing
  • Coughs up the rock frequently, registered fifth-most turnovers in ACC last season

Duke is on top of the college basketball world again.

The Blue Devils outlasted a resilient Wisconsin squad 68-63 to take home its fifth national title on Monday night.

For Duke, the story wasn’t Jahlil Okafor or Justise Winslow. Instead, this was Tyus Jones’ game and Grayson Allen’s coming out party.

Jones was too much for the Badgers, notching a game-high 23 points to go with five rebounds, including 19 of Duke’s 37 points in the second half, earning Most Outstanding Player honors. But Jones, one of the Blue Devils’ catalysts all season, was expected to come up big. Allen, on the other hand, was a rude awakening for Wisconsin.

The freshman guard didn’t play against the Badgers the first time around. But on the night that mattered most, he made his case as the best player on the court.

Allen was everywhere – diving for balls, pulling down rebounds and scoring critical baskets. On numerous occasions, he created must-see moments, making layups he had no business attempting.

In the last six games, Allen scored a combined 18 points. In the title game, he finished with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Now, it’s not to say that Okafor and Winslow were invisible, because they were far from it. The problem was that they got into foul trouble early, earning spots on the bench with four personal fouls each.

That didn’t stop the duo from combining for 21 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in the win.

But despite Duke’s late surge, it was impossible to dictate who would come out on top early, as the teams exchanged the lead 11 times in the first half and 16 times overall.

Duke shot 50 percent to Wisconsin’s 38 percent in the first half, taking the title game into halftime with a tie for the first time since 1988. They finished shooting 47 and 41 percent, respectively.

Across the court, inconsistent play by the Badgers proved to be their Achilles’ heel down the stretch.

Wisconsin converted six of their 20 shots from the field to go with three turnovers in the opening 14 minutes. On the flipside, they had no turnovers on 6-of-11 shooting from the field over the final six of the first half.

At one point in the second half, Wisconsin went close to four minutes without scoring a basket, while Duke continued to pad the score sheet in that same stretch.

Although the awards belonged to Frank Kaminsky over the weekend, he wasn’t able to carry the team to the promised land. Still, he did his part, scoring a double-double with a team-high 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Kaminsky’s performance was good enough for a win, but Wisconsin found success in the tournament – most notably against Kentucky – because everyone was involved in a big way, not a one-man show.

In the title game, that wasn’t the case. When the Badgers struggled, they depended on Kaminsky – and Duke knew it. Sam Dekker notched 12 points and eight rebounds, while Nigel Hayes scored 13 of his own.

But Traevon Jackson, the star when Duke upended Wisconsin in December, was invisible with a modest two points. Senior Josh Gasser also stumbled, failing to sink a basket while pulling down six rebounds.

So what was the turning point in the game?

Up nine with both Okafor and Winslow on the bench, that was the window for the Badgers to tighten the screws – and they couldn’t do it.

Allen went on a personal 8-3 run, keeping his team in the game long enough to pull away one last time before the final buzzer went off in the 2014-15 season.