If the Duke basketball team is going to play like it did against Davidson on Friday night, the rest of the college basketball world is in trouble. The Blue Devils were dominant in a 111-77 victory, and it was a wonderful debut for newcomers Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood.
The offense put on a display that gave a glimpse into how explosive this team can be this season. Parker and Hood each finished with 22 points, while Quinn Cook added 21 and Rasheed Sulaimon came off the bench to score 20. Those four led the way, but nine different Blue Devils scored in the game.
All the offensive options were clicking for Duke. The team shot over 70-percent from the field and 61-percent from beyond the three-point line, going 13-of-21 from beyond the arc.
The ball movement was beautiful and everyone on the team shot well, which contributed to the Blue Devils having 16 assists compared to only four turnovers. With the number of playmakers Duke has this season, good ball movement will make this group extremely difficult to stop.
On Friday night, Davidson had no way of stopping Jabari Parker.
The highly touted freshman was as good as advertised, hitting eight-of-10 shots and grabbing six rebounds. Parker showed he was ready for the big stage right from the start, hitting two of Duke’s first three shots and assisting on the other basket.
His entire arsenal was on display in both halves against the overmatched Wildcats. Whether it was attacking the basket, knocking down outside shots, hitting fadeaway jumpers, or finishing ridiculous alley-oops, Parker proved he can do it all.
Not to be outdone, Rodney Hood also had a terrific debut in his first official game as a Blue Devil. Hood doesn’t have as much flash in his game as Parker, but he still looks incredibly smooth and seems to be a step ahead of everyone else on the court, often getting great position while staying completely under control. Hood was nine-of-10 from the field and also pulled down nine rebounds, which gave the team a lift in the first half while Amile Jefferson spent most of the half on the bench due to foul trouble.
While it’s clear Parker and Hood are Duke’s two primary offensive options, Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook proved they can be great alternatives with their performances. Both players have gone through some challenges in the preseason, but they played with confidence and poise and looked more comfortable in this new style of play.
Based on the score, one might think Davidson played a terrible game, which wasn’t true. The Wildcats are a very good team and they actually played relatively well in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Davidson’s senior leader, De’Mon Brooks, scored 24 points, and they only committed 10 turnovers. The biggest problem was shooting 3-of-21 from three-point range. For a team that will place a major emphasis on attacking from the perimeter, this was costly against a Duke team that happened to be on fire.
For Duke, it was a fantastic way to start the season. The new faces were able to get the experience of having the first official game and the returnees played well and should be able to build off this going forward. It will also give the Blue Devils a confidence and swagger going into Tuesday night’s showdown against Kansas.
It’s unlikely they will shoot this well again for a long time, but it was special to watch. And if this is an idea of the potential of this squad, this season is going to be a lot of fun for Duke fans.