Duke Basketball: Updated Power Rankings for the Blue Devils

PowerRankingsWe got a glimpse of what this season’s Duke basketball team can look like with the two games against Virginia and N.C. State last week.

Mike Krzyzewski took advantage of the depth on his bench, and the Blue Devils showed how they have the ability to overwhelm teams with their speed and athleticism, which was on full display in a 35-point victory over N.C. State.

Compared to last week, this edition of the Power Rankings can have a much more positive tone. It’s more fun to create rankings based on what guys are doing well versus what they’re doing wrong.

1. Amile Jefferson (+2)
Based on the performances in both games last week, I think Jefferson is most deserving of the top spot. He made some critical plays in the final seconds against Virginia and he’s continuing to emerge as a perfect role player in Duke’s system. Also, 23 rebounds in two games is exactly what the Blue Devils need from him.

2. Rasheed Sulaimon (+4)
Similar to Amile Jefferson, Rasheed Sulaimon was a huge factor for the Devils against Virginia, including hitting the game-winning basket, and he also followed it up with another strong outing against N.C. State. Sulaimon is excelling as the leader of Duke’s second unit, and he’s even doing a better job of picking his spots when on the court with Rodney Hood & Jabari Parker.

3. Jabari Parker (-1)
The stud freshman had a tough night against Virginia, but he had possibly the most complete game of his short college career against N.C. State. Not only was Parker aggressive with his offense and attacking the basket, he was also committed to being a factor with his defense. If Jabari can play like this at a consistent level, Duke becomes a completely different team.

4. Rodney Hood (-3)
Rodney Hood had a relatively quiet week, which probably feels good for him in knowing that he’s not going to have to carry this team through the ACC. Hood was very selective with his opportunities and let his teammates get going on offense. Hopefully, this stretch will help keep him fresh for later in the season.

5. Andre Dawkins
I think Andre Dawkins is another Blue Devil who will benefit from Mike Krzyzewski’s adjustment to using two primary rotations with his substitutions. Dawkins is able to come off the bench and immediately become one of the first options in the offense, and he can also commit to playing intense defense for the brief rotation.

6. Marshall Plumlee (+4)
Those of us that have been screaming about minutes for Marshall Plumlee all season are really patting ourselves on the back right now. While he doesn’t make a big impact in the box score, Plumlee brings great energy and offers size in the paint. Another key element for when Plumlee is on the floor is that he’s able to play the 5-spot, which allows other guys to play their natural positions.

7. Quinn Cook (-3)
The junior point guard had quiet games against Virginia and N.C. State. In a way, that’s a good thing. It meant he was playing under control and not trying to do too much. However, it’d also be good to see Cook snap out of the mini-shooting slump he appears to be in.

8. Josh Hairston (-1)
Josh Hairston grabbed five rebounds in 12 minutes against N.C. State. That’s the type of production he needs to give on a regular basis. He also had a ridiculous dunk off a missed shot that led me to believe Duke might have had someone else wearing a Josh Hairston jersey for the day.

9. Tyler Thornton (-1)
After a rather poor performance against Virginia, Thornton was terrific against the Wolfpack. He knocked down a couple three-point shots, but more importantly, he was a huge factor for Duke on the defensive end. He prevented N.C. State from trying to play in transition and finished with four steals.

10. Matt Jones (-1)
Matt Jones insertion into the starting lineup has been a great move by Coach K. He provides a better defensive presence, which maximizes Jones’ strengths. It also allows Rasheed Sulaimon and Andre Dawkins to become more aggressive on offense with the second unit, which maximizes their strengths. Hopefully Jones will continue to be a great fit in this spot.

11. Semi Ojeleye
Semi got playing time in both games last week! He grabbed two rebounds in two minutes of action against Virginia. Then, he scored four points and pulled down one rebound in six minutes of play against N.C. State. BRB. I’m going to pick up Semi for my fantasy team.

12. Nick Pagliuca
Every time the Crazies begin chanting, “WE WANT TODD!”, I think to myself that I’d rather see Nick. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to see both against the Wolfpack.

13. Todd Zafirovski
Todd rolled to the basket after setting a screen in the final seconds against N.C. State and it was beautiful. It wasn’t beautiful that no one passed him the ball. I wanted to see him bring the house down with a vicious dunk.


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David Aldridge

David Aldridge

David has been a die hard fan of Duke Basketball since the 1990's, when Coach K and the Blue Devils slapped the floor and made their way into his heart. During his playing days, David perfected his role on his basketball team as being the guy who would hold everyone on the bench back after a teammate would make a clutch shot. He once played N.C. State legend David Thompson in a game of H-O-R-S-E. David won.

5 Replies to “Duke Basketball: Updated Power Rankings for the Blue Devils”

  1. Bill Wheeler says:

    David

    Saturday on CBS the announcer stated that Coach K stated Parker needed another 18 months to be a better player. Lose weight and gain some strength. Does that mean Parker is staying for another year?

    1. cole hege says:

      Coming into this season I read a few things that suggested parker may possibly be around more than one year. Then I saw him play, along with the rest of the world and I said to myself “nevermind, no way he dominates every aspect of the (particularly offensive, but defensively too, when he decides he WANTS to) game. Now he’s a bit more human and goin through some growing pains. However, I think with his skill set, and knowledge of the gam, he will get back to the more dominate parker even against confrence play and tougher opponents. Conclusion: he leaves after this year. I hope I am dead wrong, but that seems to be the most likely outcome.

  2. RWT says:

    Marshall Plumlee has not recieved a pass on any offensive set in the last two games. If they would give him the opportunity to score it would really open it up.

    Why won’t his teammates pass the ball to him when he is open down low or lob for a dunk?

    1. David says:

      Probably because he turns it over every other time he touches the ball.

  3. Chic says:

    Coach K has definitely turned up the intensity! We are all sorry for the loss of his brother. We support you Coach K and know what kind of character that you have and that you instill in your players. The team gets better each week and we know you will, too! As far as Jabari Parker, he is in no way ready for the NBA. He needs allot of development and game experience. Enjoy the college excitement and the $ will come soon enough!

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