Duke basketball: Studs and duds have one positional group blossoming

Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forwards Mark Williams, Paolo Banchero, and Wendell Moore (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball players who were studs against North Carolina State

Mark Williams

Saturday afternoon was one of Mark Williams’ best games of his Duke career as the sophomore center feasted on the smaller North Carolina State roster all day long.

Williams nearly recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and eight blocks in 27 minutes. The sophomore was 9-of-12 from the floor and did not commit a foul while only turning the ball over one time in his jaw-dropping performance.

Duke turns into a completely different team when Mark Williams is active and locked in on the defensive side of the ball as it allows guards and forwards to be aggressive on the perimeter, knowing Williams is a safety blanket in the paint protecting the rim.

The biggest issue with Williams this season has been consistency, and this game could be the turning point in his season as he gains confidence for the remainder of conference play.

Theo John

After scoring a combined ten points in his last six games, Theo John came off the bench and added ten points to the winning cause for the Blue Devils against North Carolina State.

John only logged 11 minutes in the victory and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 2-of-4 from the free throw line.

The Marquette graduate transfer pulled in two rebounds in the game and recorded one block.

Theo John is not asked to be a scoring threat for Duke this season. But anytime he can come off the bench and knock down a couple of buckets while filling in for Mark Williams is an added bonus for the Blue Devils.

Expect John to continue in his role for the team and be a key piece in anchoring the defense for the second unit.

Paolo Banchero

It has been said before, but it must be said again: Paolo Banchero is a stud.

The freshman phenom posted 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, and a block. And it felt like just another game for the Seattle native.

Banchero was 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-8 from the free throw line as he continues to build his resume for the ACC Player of the Year and the National Player of the Year awards.

As long as Paolo Banchero stays healthy, Duke will be a legit National Championship contender.