Early Peek at Duke’s 2011-2012 Roster

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2011-2012 DUKE ROSTER

3 – TYLER THORNTON, Guard — 6’2, 180 (So)
5 – MASON PLUMLEE, Forward — 6’10, 230 (Jr)
15 – JOSH HAIRSTON, Forward — 6’8, 215 (So)
20 – ANDRE DAWKINS, Guard — 6’4, 190 (Jr)
21 – MILES PLUMLEE, Forward — 6’10, 240 (Sr)
30 – SETH CURRY, Guard — 6’1, 175 (Jr)
34 – RYAN KELLY, Forward — 6’8, 240 (Jr)
51 – TODD ZAFIROVSKI, Forward — 6’5, 210 (Jr)
N/A – AUSTIN RIVERS, GUARD — 6’5, 180 (Fr)
N/A – MICHAEL GBINIJE, FORWARD — 6’6, 180 (Fr)
N/A – QUINN COOK, GUARD — 6’0, 155 (Fr)
N/A – MARSHALL PLUMLEE — 7’0, 215 (Fr)
N/A – ALEX MURPHY — 6’8, 180 (Fr)

COACHING STAFF
Head Coach – Mike Kryzewski
Associate Head Coach – Steve Wojciechowski
Associate Head Coach – Chris Collins
Assistant Coach – Jeff Capel
Special Assistant – Nate James
Director of Basketball Operations – Chris Spatola
Graduate Assistant/Head Team Manager – Chris Carrawell

PROJECTED LINEUP:

STARTING FIVE:
PG – Seth Curry
SG – Andre Dawkins
SG – Austin Rivers
PF – Mason Plumlee
C – Miles Plumlee

BALLSY THOUGHTS:
I’ll be straight with you, I have no clue what the coaching staff is going to do. I don’t feel bad though, neither do they. The trick for the 2011-2012 team is to become more balanced. No more of this three-man offense. Scoring needs to come from outside and inside. With so many options available to the coaching staff, if you can’t put the ball in the basket, enjoy your view from the bench.

Anyhow, there are two basic questions that need to be answered. Who will play the point? Who will play the wing? Let’s start up top.

Duke basically has three options, Thornton, Cook or Curry. Ty Thornton had his moments last year, but he tended to foul to much on defense (most fouls per minute on the team) and I’m still not confident he has the athleticism to be a great point guard. If I had to pick between Thornton and Cook, I’d put my money on Cook. The freshman needs to get bigger and stronger and work on his outside shot, but he’s a smart, head’s up leader, who has the ability to get the ball inside to create baskets for others.

For now though, I’d go with Curry to start the season at PG. He doesn’t have a ton of experience at the point in a Duke uniform and he’s not going to scare anyone with his quickness, but he did a solid job in last season’s ACC quarters when Nolan Smith went out.

Also, if I can throw a curve ball option at you, how about Austin Rivers playing some point? If he’s really as good as advertised, then you’d want your best player with the ball in his hands. Just think about it.

Now let’s move to the wing. No matter who runs the point, the next big decision is, does Duke go with a traditional small forward or do they roll out three guards? Obviously I think the match up will dictate the decisions. There are a lot of three-guard teams in the ACC, so Duke can simply match. Of course if we’re facing North Carolina, I’m not sure you want to put a smaller guard up against Harrison Barnes.

For now, I clearly believe Austin Rivers is too talented to come off the bench, so he’s in there. I also expect bigger and better things from Andre Dawkins. I see both starting, with Duke’s freshman combo at SF (Murphy, Gbinije) coming off the bench.

SECOND UNIT:
G – Quinn Cook
G – Tyler Thornton
F – Mike Gbinije
F – Alex Murphy
F – Ryan Kelly
F – Josh Hairston
C – Marshall Plumlee

BALLSY THOUGHTS:
Seriously what is a coach suppose to do? He has an entire starting lineup sitting on his bench, plus two. Does anyone really see Coach K rolling out a 12-man rotation? He’s never done it before.

Here’s what I think I know…like I said up top, Cook is the number one option at PG. I think he gets 15+ to start the season off the bench. If he shows he can run the show and play lock down D, his minutes will continue to go up.

Right now, it’s going to be a battle for the backup role at SF between Gbinije and Murphy. Because Murphy joined Duke late in the process and decided to come a year early, he’s understandably been stealing all the headlines, but I’m warning folks now, don’t underestimate Gbinije. He may not play above the rim and he won’t launch it from downtown Durham, but he simply knows how to put the ball in the basket.

Inside, the options are a little clearer. Mason and Miles get the start. Maybe if one or the other makes the coaching staff unhappy, you’ll see Ryan Kelly steal some starts, but for now I’d have Kelly as the primary backup to both forward spots, with the youngest Plumlee getting 5-8 minutes per game.

Obviously this leaves both Ty Thornton and Josh Hairston as the odd men out. I’m not saying they’re not going to get any minutes, I’m just saying the’yre going to have to show vast improvement to beat out the more heralded players ahead of them.