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.
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