Duke Basketball: Javin DeLaurier’s shooting streak shows grasp of role

(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

A junior co-captain is two-thirds of the way to setting a new ACC record, but just the fact that he’s within striking distance demonstrates his judicious shot selection and value to the Duke basketball team.

It’s been thirty days — will reach at least 35  — since Duke basketball big man Javin DeLaurier has missed a shot.

His current number of consecutive made field goals stands at 14, six shy of the mark of Alaa Abdelnaby, who holds the program and ACC record. However, in terms of time, DeLaurier has already more than doubled the number of days that Abdelnaby’s streak stayed intact (it spanned four games from Nov. 19-Dec. 3, 1988).

Granted, from his streak-starting bucket during the Blue Devils’ 113-49 home win against Stetson on Dec. 1 through the 69-58 win against Texas Tech at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 20, DeLaurier’s attempts have consisted of almost entirely dunks and layups; plus, five is his maximum number of shot attempts during any of the five games involved in the streak.

Still, though, when pairing this streak with his insane .862 clip on all field goals for the season, it’s obvious the 6-foot-10, 235-pounder from Shipman, Va., knows the definition of a good shot for himself. In other words, he knows his limitations and that he is at the back of the line when it comes to the Blue Devils’ scoring options.

Sure, DeLaurier does not appear to have been born with supreme hand-eye coordination or basketball instincts.

But he was born with ideal athleticism and attitude.

He was born to volunteer for cleanup duty every time he is on a court (he has started alongside the four freshmen for the past three games).

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The cleaning services of DeLaurier include finishing touches in transition and picking up after teammates by grabbing offensive rebounds  — he’s good for 2.0 per game so far while averaging just 15.3 minutes; he also wipes away opponents’ hopes to score around the rim by coming up with momentum-shifting blocks — he’s been good for 1.2 per game.

Good is the simplest way to describe DeLaurier. Good to have his defensive presence in the paint. Good to have his extra fouls. Good that if he fouls out — he has once and he’s ended with four fouls three times — the Blue Devils aren’t losing a great scorer. Good to have his easy buckets — he’s been good for 5.1 points per game. Good to have his leadership.

Yes, in terms of DeLaurier knowing, accepting, and performing his role for this squad, it’s just all good.

And if he keeps taking only good shots (i.e., dunks and layups), it wouldn’t be a shocker if he ends up breaking the NCAA record for most consecutive made baskets — Yale’s Brandon Sherrod made 30 in a row in 2016.

But it also wouldn’t be a shocker if it takes him another 30 days to get there.

Next. Six resolutions needed for Duke to win sixth title. dark

DeLaurier and the No. 1 Blue Devils (11-1) next play on Saturday at 8 p.m. against Clemson at home (not a shocker the game is on ESPN).