Friar Basketball

What’s in Store for David Duke in Year 2?

Duke Xavier Cincinnati Enquirer

In the ten years since Friarbasketball.com began, there have been a handful of days that completely set the online Providence community on fire. Perhaps none so much as when Providence native David Duke committed to the Friars two years ago.

National pundits praised the recruiting haul Ed Cooley pulled together, and former Friars like Kris Dunn, Ben Bentil, and Ricky Ledo were part of the outpouring of love directed Duke’s way the night he committed.

(David Duke Commits, Twitter Explodes)

It was quite a rise for Duke, who a year and a half earlier picked up his first high major offer (from PC) and eventually saw Syracuse, Kansas, Indiana, Villanova, UConn, Virginia Tech, and a host of others offer him a scholarship.

His final five consisted of PC, Virginia Tech, Indiana, Villanova, and Florida, but the recruitment ultimately seemed to come down to Providence and VaTech. The Hokies were a big threat that fall, but the hometown Friars eventually won out.

As a freshman last season, Duke was thrust into the starting point guard spot — marking the first time in the Cooley Era that an underclassman led PC’s offense. Duke started all 34 games a year ago, but eventually moved off of the ball, as Cooley and his staff spent the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign looking for answers at point guard that never came.

Just how much did Providence struggle at point guard last year? They finished in the 3rd percentile in pick and roll ball handler offense (343 out of 353 teams nationally). And while not entirely on the shoulders of the lead guards, the Friars were in just the 14th percentile in isolation offense (302 nationally).

A year prior, Kyron Cartwright navigated the offense with the presence of a four-year contributor, and bailed PC out by looking for his offense when all else broke down. That element of Providence’s offense left with Cartwright.

Duke spent much of his freshman year trying to find his offensive identity. His .654 points per possession in halfcourt sets had him in the 12th percentile nationally, but that number jumped to one point per possession in transition opportunities.

In hindsight, Duke’s struggles in navigating the offense should not have been a surprise. He was a freshman inserted into the starting lineup of a team that struggled to make open shots, even more so when fellow frosh AJ Reeves went down with a foot injury in December.

Those that followed Duke’s prep career saw that he played off of the ball during his first year at Cushing Academy (when his national breakout took place) before taking over point guard responsibilities as a senior. He was electric in the open floor in his first year at Cushing.

Where Duke excelled as a freshman at PC was on the defensive end. A springy 6’5 guard, Duke bothered jump shooters into just 26% shooting when guarded by him — one of the best marks in the country (88th percentile).

He was particularly effective at the top of PC’s 2-3 zone, holding opponents to 23% on all field goal attempts that he defended — good for the 92nd percentile nationally. Duke was also a well above average defender playing man to man, holding opponents to 36% shooting from the field.

Between defending pick and roll ball handlers, spot up, isolation, post up, or off screen opportunities, there really wasn’t a situation in which Duke’s defensive numbers did not shine last year.

By season’s end, he was giving All Americans Markus Howard and Myles Powell headaches. As early as December, he showed glimpses of being a bear on the defensive end. Look at the shots he forced Boston College star Ky Bowman into in December. Bowman shot 6-19 against Providence last year.

 

The addition of graduate transfer Luwane Pipkins (an explosive, shot seeking scoring point guard who comes to PC via UMass) may benefit Duke more than anyone on the roster. Not only will Pipkins take most of the ball handling responsibilities, he should help Providence play much faster. Duke was at his best when the Friars ran last season.

Lost in the disappointment of last season, was how Duke started to assert himself in the Big East Tournament. He shot 6-8 (including 2-3 from deep) in a 16-point effort against Butler in the first round, and attacked the rim with aggression versus Villanova a day later. In the Garden, he finished difficult shots with his left hand, elevated above defenders in traffic, played the passing lanes, shot from outside with confidence, and punished Butler star Kamar Baldwin in the post.

 

Freed from playmaking duties, Duke played downhill and looked like a different player.

Perhaps just as encouraging, he saw significant minutes on the Pan American team this summer at the point guard position and looked more than comfortable doing so. Powell, the Seton Hall star and preseason All American, told the press covering Team USA that Duke was the player whose ability surprised him most during the team’s time together.

Duke had his moments on the offensive end during his freshman year. He was the best player on the floor in PC’s fourth game of the season — a 76-67 win over South Carolina in which he shot 8-15 from the field and scored 20 points. The next day he scored 12 more on 5-8 shooting against Michigan. Other highlights included a nine point, nine assist evening at BC, and a tide-turning 18 points against Seton Hall in which he made three 3-pointers in the second half in short succession. He was just unable to string together consecutive games like these offensively.

With the addition of Pipkins and the offensive strengths of Duke, it will be disappointing if the 2019-20 Friars don’t pick up the pace. If they do, Duke is likely to look more like the player we saw at MSG in March on the offensive end. Defensively, his advanced numbers were great as a freshman and figured to only improve with added strength and experience.

Twitter: @Kevin_Farrahar

5 Comments

  1. Derec Lamendola

    October 1, 2019 at 5:33 am

    Providence College Mens Bssketball has to get reday for this season and derec Lamendola is going to beed Late tonight I dont know why is going on and becusee i Think tommmerrrow is Ocotber 1 All Reday back to providence College Mens Bssketball Seoasn All Redey and i didnt do my Derec Lamendola Party tonight becusee something not right so and you know this got stop I’m am doing and so let’s have a good week this week and let’s have a New Day and so we can have fun and get reday for the late Night Midd Night Madness and I’m am Celebrate tommmerrrow for the Providence College Mens Bssketball Seoasn and I’m am doing the Last Of Stepember and I didn’t do it tonight so and

    Providence College Mens Bssketball david duke has to Get BIGER SORONGER Jus like Kris Dunn and than I wont David Duke to Chave his head jus like kris Dunn and we need Nate Waston to Chave his hed to jus like beentil you know I meen so nate Waston can hit that Buzer Beedder at the Ryan Center decmeber 6 th get reday for this game and so

    Hi am Derec Lamendola.i wont Providence college mens Bssketball be on the Germilshles about the Providence College Mens Bssketball Seoasn and I wont providence College Mens Bssketball be on the NBC 10 News plers and pleeys get reday and than We Need the providence college Mens Bssketball

    Emmitt Holt to be back and Emmitt Holt Needs Alot.Hethley and ALOT BIGER STONGER You Know I meen and mielke wiggt needs alot Pertasking to has well so I won’t every one have a good week New Day tommerrow go need on time so we can get reday for This Providence College Mens Bssketball Late night midd Night Madness

  2. Anonymous

    October 1, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    I just lost half my brain cells

  3. Anonymous

    October 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Great write up on duke

  4. Pingback: Friar Starting Five: Tuesday Edition - Friar Basketball

  5. Derec Lamendola

    October 1, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Providence College Mens Basketball and i dont See ennething about Ed cooley on his twiter and we need to get back.and start get moving and so Ed Cooley can be on his Twitter and we need him back on twiter and I wont see something going on and I’m am Fouthing Ed Cooley on his Twitter and becusee i wont see what going on you know I meen and who’s iS reday for nether Seoasn All Redey and I’m am.so excited we are

    Back providence College Mens Bssketball Seoasn All Redey hear All reday and because we have to learn at School.and get FORKSING AT School and Despised in school and lsing up to the Presfers and

    Providence College Mens Bssketball has to get reday to be back on MBC 10 News and we Need All Of Every one providence college mens Bssketball to on the Chnaiel 10 NBC 10 News and Welcome.ocotber is Finale here All reday and Stepember is all over now is time for MY Team

    Providence college mens Bssketball on the NBC 10 News and I wont Noah Horaochler to play with us on providence College Mens Bssketball and I won’t Jared Byum to has well and I won’t Noach Horachler play with us and we Need him and we do and so time to get reday and

    Derec Lamendola Crew is Back and we Need Maliek Wight Needs Alot Presking and he Rlele dus i dont See Nuthing on PC Mens Basketball Twiter and Ed Cooley Twiter we need get reday so have a good tuesday every one and I won’t every one Be Safe swonds good Every one

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.