Four key takeaways from Duke basketball’s first intrasquad scrimmage

Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Jordan Goldwire (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A fourth takeaway from the first Duke basketball scrimmage…

4. Duke will likely have a platoon system in the frontcourt 

Other than Matthew Hurt, who is likely a lock for a starting position, the rest of the minutes for Duke’s frontcourt players seem to still be up for grabs. Henry Coleman, Patrick Tapé, and Mark Williams are all in contention for earning those minutes.

I really liked what I saw and read in regard to both Tapé and Coleman. Both newcomers — Tapé is a grad transfer, Coleman is a freshman — seem to play hard with great energy. They both also showed the ability to finish strong around the rim.

Tapé in particular showed off some of his athleticism. He had multiple powerful dunks in traffic. Coleman also had some nice finishes in traffic, including a nice and-one off a sweet pass from walk-on point guard Michael Saverino. Coleman then followed that with a nice up-and-under move. Both players grabbed 10 rebounds, and Coleman scored 17 points while Tape put up 14.

Mark Williams did have a few nice dunks around the rim and a nice high-low pass to Coleman. The size and length of Williams give the Blue Devils something they don’t otherwise have. The 7-foot freshman should be an effective rim protector and rebounder this year for Duke.

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It is likely that all three of these players could start the season as reserves. The 2020-21 Duke basketball team is deep both in the backcourt and on the wing, which will cost one or even two of these players minutes.

Coleman provides a little more versatility with his athleticism and ability to play multiple positions. Williams will certainly give Duke an easy lob target and a guy who can turn away shots around the basket. Tapé offers some experience that could give him the edge, especially if he continues to play hard and finish around the basket.

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