Mike Krzyzewski has often attempted to slow down the freshmen focus hype machine this year. After Duke lost to Kansas in the Nov. 12 Champions Classicthe second game of the yearKrzyzewski said he "cant even fathom" how NBA teams could tank to improve their draft positioning and chances of landing one of the fab freshmenKentuckys Julius Randle, Kansass Andrew Wiggins, Dukes Jabari Parker and Arizonas Aaron Gordon (the club has since been expanded to include Kansass Joel Embiid, and, to a lesser extent, Syracuses Tyler Ennis).
Later that month, before the Blue Devils played Alabama and Arizona in New York, Krzyzewski suggested that ESPN was hyping the freshmen as a means of cross-promoting for the NBA, whose games are also shown on the network. There was the explanation that Parker was human (in case you werent aware) after his first off night of the season, Jan. 4 at Notre Dame. And then Wednesday night in Miami, with USA Basketball stars Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in attendance, Krzyzewski again offered some perspective on these first-year players.
While talking USA basketball, Kevin Durant tried out for the national team in the summer of 2007, after his freshman year at Texas, and he almost made the squad that won gold the next summer in Beijing.
"Durant, at that time, was further advanced than any of the freshmen now," Krzyzewski said. "Come on. Were talking about one of the top two players in the world. All these kids are going to be really good, but theyve got a long way to go before they get to that level. A lot of work."
Durant was the first freshman to ever receive the AP Player of the Year award (he was followed by Anthony Davis in 2012). In his one year as a Longhorn, Durant finished fourth in the country in scoring (25.8) and rebounding (11.1) while shooting 47 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the free-throw line. Durant averaged 36 minutes per game and led Texas in steals and blocks, too. He had 20 double-doubles and scored at least 30 points 11 times. When he was on the floor, The Longhorns used Durant on 31.6 percent of their offensive possessions.
For comparisons sake: through 19 games, Duke uses Parker on 31.3 percent of the offensive possessions that occur while he is on the floor. Parker averages 18.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range and 76 percent from the free-throw line. He averages 29 minute per game and does lead Duke in blocks. His career high for points is 27, against Kansas and Alabama.
The usage rates for the other freshman:
Randle 29.3 percent
Wiggins 23.8 percent
Embiid 23.6 percent
Gordon 23.6 percent
Ennis 19.3 percent
shooting percentage (from the field)
Embiid 67.9 percent
Randle: 54.5 percent
Gordon 50.5 percent
Wiggins 43.9 percent
Ennis 43.1 percent
Points per game