As the final buzzer sounded on Duke’s season the cold reality set in on what was a tumultuous season. The curtain fell with a resounding thump. Most knew this Duke team wasn’t going to make a deep run into the tournament, but no one thought a loss in the first round to Lehigh was remotely possible. The loss to Lehigh served up a large helping of humble pie. After returning from Hawaii the signs were there. With a near loss to Belmont inside Cameron, followed by a blowout at the hands of Ohio St, another loss to Temple, and then the proverbial salt in the wound, 3 losses in Cameron to Florida St, Miami, and arch rival Carolina. The ACC Tournament was was hope once again that this Duke team could finally put it all together, give Duke new life, but it wasn’t to be, as we suffered a second loss to Fla St.
Lehigh came ready to play, they were not intimidated by the Blue Devils whatsoever. They outplayed Duke literally from the start. They were quicker and out hustled Duke from the beginning and deserved to win the game. We had no answer for CJ McCollum who put up 30 points, 6 rebs, 6 ast and 2 stl. McCollum was the two-time Patriot League player of the year and the nation’s fifth-leading scorer. The Mountain Hawks also had 17 points from Gabe Knutson. Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee led Duke with 19 pts but not much help from anyone else. Season over.
Miles Plumlee played his last game as a Blue Devil, a 4 year player who late in the year became a rebounding machine but never reached his potential as a scorer. Miles pulled down 242 rebounds this year, and for his career at Duke he had a total of 654 rebounds and scored 650 points, he also blocked 87 shots for the Blue Devils. Miles gave us many exciting moments and as always with any 4 year player, it will be sad to see him go.
With Miles graduating that leaves the Blue Devils ‘for the moment’ a lot of unanswered questions. Will Austin Rivers and Mason Plumlee opt for the NBA? Duke has secured only one recruit for the 2012-2013 season in Rasheed Sulaimon. Should Rivers and Plumlee return Duke will have a much more promising team next year, if not, the Blue Devils could face another harsh season especially if we don’t pick up more recruits.
All was not lost in this up and down season for Duke, there were bright spots. Coach K gave us one of his finest coaching jobs this year with a team that lacked the talent of past teams. Coach K pulled 27 wins out of a team that if coached by someone else might have fallen far short of that mark. One other point of note was the record for all time wins. Coach K passed Bobby Knight for all time wins and has set the mark at 927. No small feat.