Duke basketball dominates as Jon Scheyer era officially begins

Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball head coach Jon Scheyer (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jon Scheyer era is off to a roaring start for the Duke basketball program. 

A Duke basketball press conference was held 43 years ago, which included a spelling bee, and college basketball was never the same.

Monday night, Jon Scheyer began his reign atop the sport’s premier program and it started off with a blowout victory over a solid Jacksonville (0-1) squad, selected to finish second in the ASUN Conference this season.

This year’s Duke team, similarly to the past four seasons, has a plethora of new faces.

Seven freshmen, two sophomores, two  juniors and four graduate transfers.

Duke (1-0) started the game with a set play, executed perfectly and got a bucket.

Duke struggled early in the first half to guard ball screens, specifically in the middle of the floor.

Their coverage seemed to be a mix of flat hedges with the guard recovering, drop coverage with the big, and a few hard hedges.

Although it improved in the second half, the defense was a bit slow with their rotations. However, it’s only the first game of the season.

The Blue Devils got out to an early 10-point lead in the first half before Jacksonville went to a zone defense and cut its deficit to three and significantly slowed Duke down.

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Then came Jaylen Blakes, the somewhat slept on sophomore who played sparingly last year.

He hit two 3-pointers and made some great defensive plays to give Duke the boost it needed.

If Blakes can mimic Sean Dockery, Jordan Goldwire, or even hit the ceiling of a Chris Duhon, this team will have a serious rotational weapon.

Duke basketball has clear freshman star after opening night

However, the star of the show was Mark Mitchell.

The overlooked freshman forward finished with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting.

He was aggressive on the offensive end throughout the game and proved to be a bit of an enigma for Jacksonville to figure out.

The next best player on the floor was veteran big man Ryan Young.

If you get this guy on your team at the local YMCA you’re not getting off the floor until he wants to be done playing.

He had several back to the basket buckets, a few scores off pick and rolls, and provided much needed stability and experience to this young Duke team.

Although Coach K was at home watching with his new dog, there were similarities with this team compared to his team’s of the past.

Of course, they were still playing the signature man to man pressure defense and ran baseline out of bounds plays from the last few years, as well as their traditional horns set.

There are still a few questions for this new staff to answer, like will Jon Scheyer follow some of K’s signature decisions of playing a seven player rotation or the tight leash for freshmen.

Posting 19 assists on 37 made field goals is a great start to the season and this team has the potential to play ten guys each game.

Either way, we’re off and running in the Jon Scheyer era, here is to always dreaming big.

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