Posted: 3:09 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013
Duke held it’s annual media day and while Coach K said that as of today, Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson were the only sure starters, but that Quinn Cook would “probably” start.
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Conspicuously unnamed as a starter? Rasheed Sulaimon.
If we read the tea leaves right, that’s a challenge to young Sulaimon, that he’ll have to up his game to hang on to his spot. Since he’s a superb defender, he won’t go very far, but clearly last year at times he failed to live up to his offensive potential. If we had to guess, we’re guessing that the staff wants to see leadership and assertiveness commensurate with his talent.
He’ll have competition otherwise – Tyler Thornton could start and so could Andre Dawkins. Or Parker or Hood could move to the backcourt.
Thornton was named captain – no surprise there – but so was Rodney Hood, which is a bit of a surprise since he’s not played a game. Didn’t see that one coming.
On the other hand, who else? Not rookie Jabari Parker. Andre Dawkins was out for a year. Josh Hairston is inspirational but a role player. This is a young team and Hood might be the right choice. And everyone says he’s tremendous. Parker said this: “That guy, I didn’t know he was that good. Being in practice, his jump shot is so pure.”
Among other things, Coach K said that Quinn Cook has greatly improved his ball pressure. Add those things up and you have a deep, versatile and athletic team that has the potential to press from start to finish. And how cool is it to take Cook out and put Tyler Thornton, aka the Pitbull, in on defense? That would be incredibly disheartening.
This is going to be a fun team, possibly a singular one. Saturday’s practice is at 10:00 and free at Cameron or available from GoDuke.com.