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: Mark Williams

Mark Williams, who is averaging only 8.5 minutes per contest but hasn’t dipped below 13 since the loss at Pitt five games ago, provides many of the same low-post benefits as Henry Coleman. On top of that, though, the 7-foot, 245-pound freshman center has the size and skill to at least partially alter any team’s gameplan against Duke.

In other words, Williams could help make the Blue Devils the aggressor more often. After all, due to a short supply of prolific 3-point shooters, the small-ball approach that Mike Krzyzewski seems stuck on these days isn’t exactly working out.

Inexplicably, however, Williams remained on the bench for all but four minutes of the second half versus UNC as the towering Tar Heels seized on a 22-13 rebounding advantage following the break.

With Williams in the lineup more often, the offense wouldn’t have to consist solely of five Blue Devils aimlessly — and so often quite carelessly — tossing the ball around the arc. Rather, based on his alley-oop finishes and reasonably smooth half-hooks off the glass, it seems he could become a relatively reliable weapon if given ample touches.

Also, Duke would pose more problems on defense with the stretchy five-star prospect as an anchor down low. Opponents definitely wouldn’t line up for easy layups as often; heck, Williams has nine blocks in only 45 minutes between the past three games. Plus, his teammates wouldn’t need to help out as much in the paint, leaving them no excuse to leave 3-point snipers wide open.

Mark Williams and Henry Coleman probably do have the tools to develop into a formidable Duke basketball tandem. Yet we have no way of knowing for certain until they start playing far more often.

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