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Cook vs. Thornton: Duke’s Point Guard Competition Round One
Round One in Duke’s point guard competition is in the books. Yesterday, the Devils defeated Washington State 105-87. Stealing the headlines was Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, and Rasheed Sulaimon but the point guard fight was in full swing. This was not a “real” game, but it will not go ignored. One thing learned in the win, Cook is in the lead for the starting job. Check the stats below to see how things stacked up between the two.
Quinn Cook: Minutes – 32 Points – 13 (4-10) Assists – 3 TO – 6
Tyler Thornton: Minutes – 24 Points – 3 (1-2) Assists – 2 TO – 0
If you look at the stats you can see that Duke played Cook 8 minutes longer. At this point in time, it appears that Cook is the front runner for the job. While the job is his to lose, it is not in the bag. The key stat that hurts him will be the turnovers. Playing against Western Washington may be tough, but it is nothing compared to the pressure he will face at the Dean Dome, Littlejohn, or PNC Arena. Once real-ball kicks off, he will not be able to be careless with the ball and certainly will not be allowed to have a ton of turnovers.
As last year proved, the job can be stolen.Tyler Thornton averaged almost double the minutes per game as Cook (21.1-11.7), but over time Cook seems to be becoming the better ball player.
This Duke team is not set up for a Jay Williams type of point guard. They simply don’t need to have the best PG in the ACC. They can contend for a banner with average point guard play. If one of these players is able to score 10-15 per game with 5-7 assists per game then that will be your starter.
Round One is in the books and I give it to Quinn Cook. Simply playing more minutes and scoring more points, gives me good reason to believe that Duke is more than just leaning in his direction. I will be interesting to see how the team chemistry changes with each player. As the exhibitions continue and the early season tournaments kickoff, this competition will be one we keep a close eye on. After each game we will update the race until it is officially no longer in question.