Duke Basketball: The X-Factor Behind a Run Into Early April

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 15: Gary Trent Jr
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 15: Gary Trent Jr /

There is no shortage of talent on the Duke roster from the starting five to the bench, most players are capable of having a big game on any given night.

Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr., assuming he is healthy, are going to get theirs. Bagley and Carter are too big and talented to not get their fair share of points and rebounds every single game.

Grayson Allen will be the focal point of the offense as the senior leader as well as the primary ball handler.

Trevon Duval is a wild card, but recently we have seen the best of Tre. The ACC quarterfinal game against Notre Dame may have been his best game of the season, but after injuring his ankle in the opening minutes against North Carolina he struggled, but obviously, he was not at 100%.

That brings us to our X-Factor for the Blue Devils, Gary Trent Jr.

At the beginning of ACC play it felt like Trent couldn’t miss, but up until recently, it has been it a bit of a slump.

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Hopefully, Trent Jr. has found his stroke as he started to get hot in the second half in the win over North Carolina at Cameron.

In a game where no one could get anything to fall, Trent led the comeback charge for Duke in the loss to Carolina in Brooklyn with 20 points.

Despite struggling from behind the arc, (2-7) Trent Jr. went 5 of 9 on two-point field goal attempts.

With Gary Trent Jr. scoring at an efficient rate, he takes Duke to another level.

Bagley and Carter Jr. gather so much attention down low, with Grayson orchestrating the offense alongside Tre Duval, Gary Trent almost becomes the forgotten man of the Duke offense.

Averaging 14.3 points per game, it might be the quietest 14.3 points anyone has ever put up at Duke.

By now you know that Trent is a high volume shooter and if he catches fire, opponents better watch out.

When Gary is making shots it makes it easier on Grayson, Marvin, and Wendell with the defense having to come off them to guard Gary.

A 41.5% shooter from both the field and three-point range, Trent Jr. gives Duke the deeper level that other top teams in the tournament don’t have.

With four players in that starting lineup that have the ability to take over a game, ball distribution and unselfishness will be key for the Blue Devils.

There is no team in this tournament that has the talent level of Duke, but it is up to them whether or not they can put all the pieces of the puzzle together to cut down the nets in San Antonio.