Which Blue Devil will be key for Duke Basketball’s success in this years college basketball tournament?
Duke will head into this season’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as the 4-seed in the West regional. The Blue Devils had an up and down season, but which Duke basketball player will be most important for the team to be successful this postseason other than All-ACC selections Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram?
There are several different possibilities for Duke’s X-factor. Marshall Plumlee will be the main option in the post for the duration of the tournament with Amile Jefferson ruled out for the remainder of the year, Matt Jones has been one of the best perimeter defenders and three point shooters on the team, and Luke Kennard is a dynamic scorer who can at times be the best player on the floor scoring 30 points.
Even Chase Jeter made key plays for Duke and began showing signs of improvement towards the end of the season and Sean Obi had some big plays in the game vs. Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament. However, we’re going to go with freshman guard Derryck Thornton as the key for the Blue Devils going forward.
Derryck Thornton has struggled with inconsistency this season, sometimes looking like a freshman by being unsure of his decisions and struggles in all areas of the game whenever he’s missing shots which has caused him to be benched in favor of Kennard after he started for most of the ACC regular season. Whenever Thornton is in the game he is the primary person bring the ball down the court and is the only true point guard on the roster.
He has the potential to be a key offensive weapon for Duke in the tournament as a scorer or play-maker, but the key will be to limit turnovers and defend. There isn’t a lot of star power or one position that will dominate in the West region, unless we get a shooting guard match-up between Allen and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, so whichever teams are able to execute and manage their games well should be able to advance and Thornton will play a key role in that off the bench.
Duke Basketball will kick-off the 2016 NCAA Men’s Thursday afternoon at 12:15 when they take on UNC Wilmington in the Round of 32. Be sure to check out the Blue Devils this postseason and we’ll keep you updated as they look to defend their NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. Let’s go Duke!