Player of the Week
Singler entered the season as a potential National Player of the Year candidate. The reigning Final Four MVP didn't quite live up to those expectations. His stats across the board failed to increase between his junior and senior years. In fact his points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and three pointers made per game all decreased from a year ago. Still his experience, energy, versatility and leadership earned him a spot on the All ACC 1st Team. It is also this collection of intangibles that powers Duke during the postseason. In Duke's first game in the ACC tournament, Singler scored 29 points on 10/15 shooting (9/9 FT), and pulled down 9 rebounds against Maryland. He has a shining track record in important games, which bodes well for the Blue Devils as they look to win a very competitive ACC tournament. They'll face Virginia (one of the only teams to have beaten Duke this season) on Saturday and (should they win) face the winner of Clemson vs. North Carolina on Sunday. The importance of Kyle Singler is only intensified now that Duke's leading scorer, Nolan Smith, is questionable for today's game with a toe injury.
If you missed their game last night against Florida State, I just feel sorry for you. Let's take a look at how they pulled off the upset, player by player. Malcolm Delaney struggled from the floor (5/16 FG), but came up big in the second half. He made important shots down the stretch and used his ball handling abilities to set his teammates up. Terrell Bell was held scoreless (0/7 FG) but worked hard defensively and pulled down five rebounds. Victor Davila scored six points and also made a very positive impact on the defensive end of the floor. Jeff Allen was Virginia Tech's meat. He had several nice moves around the basket and 4 offensive rebounds. On top of that, Allen had three assists and a vital steal with 19 seconds left that led to the game winning play. Sophomore, Manny Atkins played 31 minutes off the bench and hit 3 triples. Finally, there's point guard Erick Green. In spite of only shooting 1/12 from the field, Green caught a pass from Delaney and drilled the game winner with just 4.7 seconds remaining. Yes, Virginia Tech won while only playing six players, but they couldn't have done it without the end game review that waived off Derwin Kitchen's (almost) buzzer-beater. This victory will likely (finally) get the Hokies in the NCAA tournament.
Last Thursday, Miami came back from a 10 point deficit with only 43 seconds remaining against Virginia. It took some clutch shooting from Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant as well as some miraculous team defensive plays, but it also took a complete breakdown from the Cavaliers. They missed their last three free throws and turned the ball over four times during that 43 second stretch. They never even managed to attempt a field goal in that time period and the game was sent into overtime. Virginia's defense wasn't any better in the extra period as Miami made all five of their field goal attempts and went on to win the game 69-62. You have to imagine that if Virginia could have just inbounded the ball without turning it over one time, they would have played North Carolina the next day instead of Miami. Virginia would have probably lost in the quarterfinals anyway, but this is one horrifying way to end your season.
Top 5 NBA Prospects
1. Kyrie Irving - Despite missing the majority of the season with a toe injury, Irving remains a top candidate to be the top overall pick in this year's draft. His offensive composure, defensive intensity and playmaking ability make him a low risk/high reward pick this season. He won't fall out of the top three.
2. Harrison Barnes - A well-rounded wing player, with a silky smooth offensive game. Barnes is able to pull off NBA moves such as step-back jumpers, spin moves and fade-aways. He combines those skills with legit NBA range and a knack for performing well in heated situations. It's no wonder he's considered a top-10 pick by most.
3. Chris Singleton - Sorry John, but we all know who the premier defender in the ACC is. Chris Singleton not only has the physical tools to defend every position at the college level, but he has the tenacity to defend every position at the college level and do well. His offensive game has improved enough to warrant late-lottery discussions.
4. John Henson - Henson is a dynamic rebounder and shot blocker. His length cannot be overstated and he knows how to use it with his excellent athleticism and mobility to have a drastic impact on defense. He has some major holes in his game, but the potential is intriguing.
5. Mason Plumlee - Plumlee is still a very green banana. He's only averaging 7.2 points a game in his sophomore season and he's shooting 44% from the free throw line. However, he's a talented rebounder, defender and passer. He also has the touch, footwork and athleticism necessary to become a better offensive player in the future. Along with his teammates Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, Plumlee figures to go somewhere in the first round (depending on when he leaves school).
Nolan Smith was named ACC Player of the Year... John Henson was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year... Harrison Barnes was named ACC Rookie of the Year... Kyrie Irving could be getting close to making a return. He reportedly worked out with the team before their win against Maryland last Friday. Coach Krzyzewski still suggests that there is no time table for his return... Jordan Williams hurt Maryland's chances against Duke by missing 8 of his 10 free throws... The Miami Hurricanes blew a 19 point lead against the top-ranked Tar Heels last Friday. North Carolina took their first (and only) lead of the game on a Tyler Zeller layup as time expired... Chris Singleton was available to play in Florida State's loss against Virginia Tech, but remained on the bench for the entirety of the game... Bubble team Clemson defeated bubble team Boston College in their quarterfinals matchup, 70-47… Both ACC semifinal games (Clemson vs. North Carolina, Virginia Tech vs. Duke) will be broadcast on ESPN on Saturday morning…
I like Kyrie Irving play. Hoping he will become one of the superstar of NBA.
Nichole of Insulation
Vlade Divac was the best player, too bad he retired. Australian insurance brokers
honestly never liked vlade much sorry. but he had a good run
Kyle Singler made a great job in the games of Dukes' team. I agree that he is the potential national player. buniness training
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