Duke basketball: Studs and duds as Blue Devils emphatically return

Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forward AJ Griffin (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball players who were studs against South Carolina State 

AJ Griffin

Prior to the news of the injury to Theo John, these three games were vital for AJ Griffin as the freshman needs to get up to speed with the rest of the team.

With John on the sidelines, the games have become that much more important from Griffin. And the White Plains, New York native delivered against South Carolina State with a team-high 19 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two blocks on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range.

Griffin’s shooting stroke looked confident, and his aggressiveness in attacking the basket was much improved from where it was in the month of November.

AJ Griffin still has two games ahead of him before the competition takes a massive jump in the ACC.

Joey Baker

Speaking of confident-looking shooting strokes, Joey Baker used the break to work on his shot, and it showed on Tuesday night.

Baker had 13 points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals, and a block on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from 3-point range in the victory.

The output was a season-high for the senior, and it seems like Joey Baker is turning into a very good piece off the bench who will let his shot play and has improved his defensive abilities.

Trevor Keels

The last two games against Gonzaga and Ohio State were not the best for Trevor Keels after he exploded onto the scene in his college debut against Kentucky.

However, the two-week break seemed to serve the freshman well as he looked like a refreshed and recharged player in the first half against South Carolina State.

Keels posted 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists in just 21 minutes on 4-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from deep.

The questions surrounding Trevor Keels are not about ability, rather consistency, and perhaps he was hitting a ‘freshman wall’ as the layoff was a chance for him to reset.

Trevor Keels, and his effectiveness, will be vital for the success of Duke this season.