Some surprises: Ranking Duke basketball’s 10 key players thru 20 games

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball guard Alex O’Connell (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Alex O'Connell. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Junior. 434. Guard. 10. player

  • Games played: 20
  • Games started: 6
  • Minutes per game: 12.7
  • Points per game: 5.1
  • Rebounds per game: 2.3
  • Assists per game: 0.8
  • Steals per game: 0.7
  • Blocks per game: 0.0
  • Field goal percentage: 39.6
  • 3-point percentage: 25.0
  • Free throw percentage: 56.3
  • Grade: C (76)

Potential has always been evident. Consistency has not.

Duke basketball junior shooting guard Alex O’Connell possesses sufficient bounce to make impact plays. And the 6-foot-6, 190-pound Roswell, Ga., native used to display a reliable outside stroke, as he entered the season with a 52-for-125 career clip (41.6 percent) from beyond the 3-point line.

However, O’Connell has found the bottom of the net on only 13 of his 52 deep-ball attempts in his third campaign. That, along with the fact that he provides little in terms of defense and makes more head-scratching plays than thumbs-up plays on the other end, has led to a significant recent drop in minutes (five or less in each of the past three games).

O’Connell’s only double-digit scoring outings this season came against the three worst opponents: Colorado State, Central Arkansas, and Brown. Needless to say, if he doesn’t soon show improvement during his already-sparse minutes in ACC play, Krzyzewski is likely to eliminate him from the rotation altogether.