Countdown To Craziness is Duke’s annual showcase to unveil the Men’s Basketball team to the public with a Blue/White scrimmage preceded by multiple student competitions and dance teams and a cappella singing groups. This year, the night also included the introduction of the 2015-2016 Women’s Basketball Team to the public.
The player introductions were very loud and provoked spirited reactions from the crowd. Each player’s introduction and the team’s video were projected onto Coach K Court. Once the players started warmups, another special moment occurred when Coach K honored the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Dr. Paul Modrich a professor at Duke. The team stopped warming up to take a photo with the professor at mid court.
As for the scrimmage itself, the first thing that jumps out at the viewer is how strong this team is defensively. While the offense is still a work in progress compared to last year’s group at the same time, the defense may very well be just as much ahead. Duke’s defenders are all tall and very athletic at just about every spot on the court. Sometimes in basketball scrimmages the scoring comes fast and often. In this 2015 Blue/White game, players had to earn every point scored.
Each player showed flashes of how they will be valuable to the team this season. Some notable observations:
- Matt Jones can score but may be Duke’s best perimeter/wing defender.
- The other captains, Plumlee and Jefferson, provide a tough work ethic and an attack the basket attitude.
- Luke Kennard and Brandon Ingram can score from a variety of locations on the court and could cause nightmares for opposing teams.
- Grayson Allen and Kennard seem to have the early green light to shoot at will. Grayson scored driving to the basket and from the perimeter finishing with 13 total points and a combined 5 assists and 3 steals.
- Chase Jeter will share time down low with Plumlee and Jefferson. The 6-foot-11 freshman seemed to get stronger as the night went on scoring while getting fouled and then hitting his free throws.
- Sean Obi scored the first basket of the night on a rebound put back and will provide depth to the front line along with Vrankovic.
- Derryck Thornton handled the ball for most of the evening for the Blue team getting 3 assists in both halves of the scrimmage. He was, however, plagued by turnovers and recorded seven of them on the night.
Players of the Night
SR - Marshall Plumlee
Coach K credited Marshall along with Amile for setting the tone of the evening with his strong inside play. Marshall was everywhere in both halves (games) on the evening. He played physical defense, blocked shots, ran the court very well, and provided highlight dunks that excited the crowd. Plumlee is very vocal on the court on defense making sure his teammates are aware of all screens that are coming and helping them be in the right spot. On the night he would score a combined 10 points on 5-6 shooting, with 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, an assist and a steal while playing all 24 minutes of the scrimmage.
FR - Luke Kennard
Kennard showed that he will be a major weapon for the Blue Devils this season. At times he handled the ball for his team. He showed no fear in shooting from any part of the court. Several times during the scrimmage he would come of screens to hit a jumper. He said after the game that Coach Jon Scheyer had worked with him on that skill a lot. He led his team in scoring during the first half with 9 points and would finish the night with 12 total.
Moment of the Night
This one is an easy pick. The unveiling of the 2015 NCAA National Championship Banner was a terrific moment for the coaches, fans, players, and recruits in attendance. Duke has won 5 titles in the last 25 years.