Duke basketball: 3 Blue Devils who must drastically improve

Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Three areas for Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore to improve

  • Ball protection (3.5 turnovers per 40 minutes as a Blue Devil)
  • 3-point shooting (28.3 percent for his college career)
  • Confidence (countless disappearing acts)

If not for a couple of glaring flaws, Wendell Moore would have wrapped up a full-time Duke basketball starting gig a long time ago, perhaps even as a freshman. His length, athleticism, and resilient attitude are glowing strengths. There’s no question about any of that.

Therefore, once the season begins on Nov. 9 against Kentucky in the Champions Classic, the Blue Devils could surely use timely doses of all that is encouraging about Moore.

A couple of five-star Duke rookies are on tap at or near Moore’s position, though. This influx suggests the 6-foot-5, 215-pound former four-star recruit is in danger of drawing fewer starts, even as a probable co-captain this go-round, than in either of his first two campaigns (started 11 times as a freshman and then 19 across the Blue Devils’ 13-11 disappointment as a sophomore).

But the three-part formula for Moore to prosper as a junior is pretty straightforward:

  1. Create without letting the body get ahead of the mind, thereby without falling headfirst like a goalline fullback when trying to drive the lane or finish a fastbreak.
  2. Refine the 3-point stroke, aiming for at least a 35.0 shooting percentage with roughly 1.5 splashes per outing.
  3. Build self-belief by remembering past magic, such as when simply being in the right place at the right time on Feb. 28, 2020, left Chapel Hill in a state of utter agony.

Simple enough. At least on paper, anyway.