Duke was struggling with Arizona State Wednesday, barely leading a weak Sun Devils team at halftime. This led ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb to make an observation that, at the time, seemed innocuous enough: Duke, which features five white players 6-foot-8 or taller, was “alarmingly unathletic.” After Duke thumped a much more athletic Connecticut team Friday, Coach K took a few shots at Gottlieb.
He should be an expert on alarmingly non-athletic. So I’ll have to take a look at that a little bit closer because it comes from an expert who actually knows what it feels like to be alarmingly non-athletic.
Actually, we’re pretty athletic; we’re just not as athletic as UConn. Singler is a really good athlete. Lance, Miles. Jon is not leaping tall buildings with a single bound but he’s a real good athlete. But I wouldn’t call us like this athletic team, but we’re not amazingly non-athletic. And I would rather not get into a discussion with Doug because I have respect of his stature and he should have his arguments with people of similar stature. That would be a good thing.
A bit defensive, huh? Coach K should have just laughed it off. Duke is alarmingly unathletic. It is a fact. Fortunately, it takes more than athleticism to win basketball games. Connecticut shot just 53 percent from the line and turned the ball over 16 times. Coach K scouted Connecticut well – it doesn’t have a reliable shooter other than Jerome Dyson, and as a team, went 0-for-4 from deep.
We’ll hold off on our assessment of Duke until February rolls around. The last few years Duke has started strong, only to fade shortly after Groundhog Day.
The BIAH Quotables: Duke vs. UConn (Ballin is a Habit)