Duke basketball: Coach K ignoring two players too often

Duke basketball (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball players who should play more often: Henry Coleman

In both halves on Saturday, freshman power forward Henry Coleman came off the bench for multiple stints. His combined 12 minutes on the floor marked both a career-high and his first double-digit total. And he responded fairly efficiently to his increased usage, finishing with four points on 2-for-2 shooting to go along with two strong rebounds and two instinctive 3-point assists.

However, Coleman’s most noticeable contribution was his ability to body up UNC’s boatload of bigs around the basket, stymying a few attempts in the process and fouling only once.

Granted, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound bruiser isn’t likely to score from beyond a few feet out. Nevertheless, giving more playing time to the former four-star recruit at either the four- or five-spot — early, late, and often in every game from here on out — stands to aid the Blue Devils in several regards:

  1. Matthew Hurt and Jalen Johnson are less likely to face foul trouble because Coleman could regularly guard opponents’ true beasts down low.
  2. Coleman comes across as a tougher, more able disruptor to opposing offenses than Hurt and a more consistently in-tune defender than Johnson; basically, he seems to just try a bit harder than both.
  3. Overall, Coleman serves as a pure source of energy and a top communicator on the team.
  4. It’s clear Coleman knows his limitations, meaning silly turnovers and ill-advised shots aren’t at all an issue; he’s turned the ball over only once in 34 total minutes and is 4-for-6 from the field all season.

Now, let’s examine the other Duke basketball freshman who should be enhancing his repertoire right now for the sake of next season’s bunch while simultaneously relieving the workload in the paint for the present group…