#6 Duke Gets Past Bellarmine, 76-54

First of all, why is there a blackout for a game that doesn’t allow fans? Seriously, broadcasting world? So I didn’t get to see it (thanks a lot, ACC Network) but Duke made its way past Bellarmine by a score of 76-54. Similarly to other games, there were high and low points for the Blue Devils, but they bounced back from Tuesday’s loss to Michigan State and regained some momentum. There were some big energy sparks, too. Take for instance:

DJ Steward is 6’2″ (he doesn’t look like it but anyone’s going to look short next to Mark Williams, our 7-footer), had a monster game in the opener with 24 points, and although his statline isn’t fantastic for tonight he still plays a major role for this team keeping the intensity high.

Interestingly, Mark Williams started today at the five. Mostly known for his incredible length, Williams had a pretty fantastic game in just 15 minutes. He only had 5 points but that was 2-3 from the field and 1-1 from the line, to go with 7 rebounds (4 of which were offensive), 4 blocks, and 3 assists. That’s a well-rounded game. He’s definitely an option going into the next few games to have some more minutes at the five. This could definitely be an asset defensively and on the offensive end, too. Williams is one of Duke’s best options in the frontcourt and he hasn’t played much to date. Coach K has been experimenting with the lineup and what he provided today will almost definitely help his playing time.

Matthew Hurt, have yourself a night. Hurt went for 24 points, hitting six threes of eight attempted. That’s a huge jump in efficiency for him. Hurt’s sharpshooting skills will be desperately needed come ACC play, so this game is a terrific sign for Duke.

Another interesting note: Bellarmine has officially played its first game in Division I. To be frank, Duke should’ve beat a first-time-Division I opponent by a lot more, but this is a learning team and a win is a win is a win. Defensively, there are a lot of holes. Offensively, there are a lot of holes. This is a young team that plays younger than any team we’ve had in the last few years. It’s important to remember the ceiling as well as where we stand in general.

What was scheduled to be Duke’s next game against Elon on Sunday has been postponed. It’s not super clear what the situation is regarding Duke’s next game; it’d potentially come this Tuesday against #5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. If that game were to happen it’d be a blockbuster. More to come as we find out what the situation is with Illinois’s program, as their next game has been canceled.

Bleed blue.

Zion Williamson Declares for 2019 NBA Draft

Zion Williamson has officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft, as he announced via Instagram on Monday. His declaration is the final of the three expected to come from Duke, and like his teammates Zion is likely to be signing with an agent, being the face of basketball and all. Unless the general manager of the NBA Draft lottery winner is suddenly without a brain, Zion will go #1 in the draft, no question about it.

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🔵Thank you Duke🔵#thebrotherhood

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Same to you, Zion.

All we can say is that while this wasn’t unexpected, thank you, Zion. Thank you for making this season as unforgettable as it was. Thank you for making fans across America jump and yell with electrifying dunks. Thank you for being the spark for your team like no other player on earth. Thank you for fighting, fighting, fighting every second for this team. But thank you most of all for being yourself: for loving the game, for grinning and laughing and being so happy all the time to make the game so much fun for everyone. Zion Williamson is every reason why we love the game of basketball.

Bleed blue. Look for updates as Matthew Hurt, one of the final recruits on the list for Coach K and Duke this year, makes his decision on Friday. All signs have pointed to his interest in going to Duke, especially after fellow Minnesota native Tre Jones announced his plans to return to Durham. Additionally, Hurt’s father canceled visits from two of the four head coaches that he’s considering playing for, which certainly isn’t a good sign for those programs (neither of which are Duke; the two were John Calipari of Kentucky and Bill Self of Kansas).