Five gifts the Duke basketball program needs for Christmas

Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forward Patrick Tape (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball Christmas gift: A prominent big man to emerge

In past years, Duke has been gifted with a dominant force in the paint: Wendell Carter Jr., Marvin Bagley III, Zion Williamson, Vernon Carey Jr., etc.

Someone the Blue Devils could throw the ball to on the block and get a basket when it truly needs it.

Mike Krzyzewski doesn’t have that this season.

When Jalen Johnson was healthy, Duke was playing a combination of Matthew Hurt and Jalen Johnson at the power forward and center positions, but neither player is truly a post-up threat which would leave the Blue Devils at a severe disadvantage.

However, in the victory over Notre Dame, graduate transfer Patrick Tape and freshman Mark Williams looked like they are continuing to develop into a potential threat in the paint which would open things up on offense for the plethora of guards and forwards.

Tape and Williams only combined to play 17 minutes with six points and five rebounds, but the ability to space the floor and allow Hurt to thrive at his natural power forward position truly helped the Blue Devils and much more of that will be needed in order for Duke to reach its potential this season.