The Return of Tre Jones

There was no player that took the loss to Michigan State harder than freshman point guard Tre Jones.  He was tasked with stopping Cassius Winston thus stopping the surging Michigan State Spartans.  On the last play Winston was able to escape the tenacious defense of Jones, forcing the young guard to watch as his man stole away a championship that seemed like destiny for the talented Blue Devils.  Jones officially announced that he is returning for his sophomore season.  The #29 ranked NBA prospect

Jones’s impact on next year’ Duke team could very well change the landscape of recruiting for not only 2019 but also 2020.  Reports that five-star recruit RJ Hampton is considering reclassification for the 2019 season so he can team up with Tre Jones can reshape the look of a team that will be filling major holes next season. When you lose 3 of your 5 starters and pretty much all of your offense it will be a transition to say the least.

If RJ Hampton does not reclassify and Mathew Hurt decides to play elsewhere Duke will still have a formidable starting lineup.

PG: Tre Jones

SG: Alex O’Connell

SF: Wendell Moore

PF: Javin Delaurier

C: Vernon Carey Jr.

With a bench that consists of Boogie Ellis, Marques Bolden, Joey Baker, Jordan Goldwire and Jack White the Blue Devils will have a mixture of young players and veterans.  Jones’s will need to develop his offensive game next season for Duke to be successful. He must improve on his 26% 3-point shooting but his command of the offense will be much more present next season with the losses of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett.  Both of the latter were ball centric players that need it to be successful. Jones will now be tasked with running the Blue Devils.

The minutes of O’Connell will help the shooting percentages of the team, but I am excited to see the overall numbers increase that Jones will have with more time with the ball.  Jones will not be forced to just sit on the outside and wait for a kickout from Zion.  He will be the penetrator and the kicker.  Jones will find himself in a new role wear his skill will be able to accompany his already existing leadership skills.

Game One of the NCAA Basketball Season

The NCAA Basketball season is back! November basketball doesn’t mean much in the long landscape of college basketball.  Teams that struggle on the first night mostly can regroup  when crunch time hits in February and March but as a sports community we are always quick to judgement so let’s judge away.

The Good- The ACC

As a Duke fan I try and keep my ACC biasis in check most of the time but this league is just to good to ignore.

Syracuse and Virginia will most likely be the most boring teams in basketball but their defensive ability will smother teams of all leavels.  Combined they both gave up just 76 points.

North Carolina avenged their loss to Wofford last year (they also covered -10.5).  Wofford is veteran team that gave them all they wanted.  North Carolina has a very underrated freshma class to compliment Luke Maye and Cameron Johnson.  This team is good.

We will get to the biggest statement win at the end of this article, don’t ignore the domination that Florida State showed last night. Florida is a solid team out of the revamped “basketball” conference the SEC.  Florida was never in that game.

The ACC showed how dominate they could be last night,  even Pittsburgh won!

The Bad- The Atlantic 10

The A-10 was set for some regression in 2018-19. Rhode Island lost their big stars and their coach.  St. Bonaventure lost a litany of starters, VCU has not been able to return to  since Shaka Smart moved on to Texas and the SLU Billikens are still transitioning into relevance under Travis Ford but opening night for this league did not go well.

George Mason, took a loss at home to the Ivy League’s Pennsylvania Quakers, traditionally not a terrible loss but for a team many saw as a top three contender in the Atlantic 10 this was very surprising.

George Washington continued its irrelavane after a dismal 2017-18 seaosn falling at home to American East’s Stony Brook Seawolves.  A game that saw George Washington blow an earyl 22-0 lead! George Washington is not good but this was a game that they were suppose to cruise to a win.

The Temple Owls were able to pull out a victory over La Salle but they did not look impressive to say the least struggling to keep the lead against a very unimpressive Lasalle squad.

Finally conference preseason favorite the SLU Billikens won but showed their potential issues in a ten point victory of Southeast Missouri State.  The Billikens could not find any shooting stroke making just 4-25 three point shots.  In today’s game lack of shooting will come back to haunt them.

Davidson and Rhode Island looked good beating two lesser teams but overall this was not a night to remember for the respected Atlanic 10 Conference.  Luckily for them they were over shadowed by a few games that had a bit more media draw.

THE SEC also had a pretty rough night.  Cough, Kentucky, Cough, Florida.

The Zion

There is a belief that Zion is the Holy Land and it truly exists.  Duke’s Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett and Tre Jones are the Zion of college basketball. The domination of the number two ranked Kentucky Wildcats was the tip of the iceberg of what this team can be.

While the four freshman bring the flash, role players Jack White, Marques Bolden, Alex O’Connell and Javin Delaurier complemented them perfectly on Tuesday night.  Talks of this team going undefeated are premature in the loaded ACC.  Games against defensive minded Syracuse and Virginia will give the Blue Devils trouble this season, but they established themselves as the true contenders, potentially the favorites to win it all.  There is a lot of basketball to play anything can happen over these next few months but as you watched the destruction of an extremely talented Kentucky team you could almost hear a collective groan from the rest of the college basketball world.