Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Duke Guards Could Be Among Nation's Elite

By Mark Carroll - Blog Coordinator

Nolan Smith has only made two appearances at the Greater NC Pro-Am this summer, but his 38.5 points per game average is higher than any single game point total reached by any other player in the league. Furthermore, he has displayed excellent ability to get to the basket, which can go along with his improved ball-handling skills.

Smith's Duke teammate, incoming freshman Kyrie Irving, has been sensational in his four regular season games. One of the most polished point guards in the recruiting class of 2010, Irving is expected to step in as an immediate starter for the Blue Devils. Breaking the 30 point mark on two occasions this season, he has shown off his scoring capabilities and his strength of making all the right decisions.

With a proven veteran in Smith and a freshman phenom in Irving, Duke boasts what may ultimately prove to be the best backcourt in the nation. The older of the two averaged 17.4 points per game last season, including a 29 point performance over Baylor in the Elite Eight. Smith's role will only increase with the departure of First Team All-ACC guard Jon Scheyer, but Irving's presence is likely to ease the transition as he has lived up to the hype throughout this summer, offering a skill-set that is unmatched by most other point guards in the conference.

What makes the offensive juggernaut even scarier is the depth that they will have at the guard position this season. Sophomore Andre Dawkins will see increased minutes and could potentially compete for a starting spot with redshirt sophomore Seth Curry, who will be eligible to participate this season. Both have been impressive this summer, most notably last Thursday when they went head-to-head against one another, as Dawkins dropped an eye-opening 36 points and Curry came up with 28 on the other end.

The talent held within this backcourt will drive opposing coaches insane. When one player has an off night, there will likely be another to pick up the slack. Duke will have at least one guard coming off the bench that most other teams in the country would love to have as a starter. That can only mean good things for the team in dark blue.

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