Speculation spread when injured Duke freshmen showed up to Wednesday’s game dressed in uniforms, warming up with the team.
Were we finally going to see Harry Giles play? Is Jayson Tatum back?
Was Marques Bolden ready to re-join a limited frontcourt?
Some believed the freshmen would even come off the bench in No. 6 Duke’s 88-67 win over William & Mary at Cameron Indoor Stadium. But they didn’t. They stayed where they’d been through all six games this season – at the end of the bench. So speculation remained just that.
Turns out, it was all a mental move for the sidelined bunch, a way to get them into a routine.
I will not be subtle if I yank your chain. I think I’m past the time of yanking. I used to do that a little more. I’m not into that that much. There’s actually a reason for (dressing the freshmen). I know it’s hard to believe that you all aren’t the reason for it.
Mike Krzyzewski to media
Coach Mike Krzyzewski further deaded any hopes on getting a time frame for the trio to get on the court, though Duke (5-1) does have a big game against Michigan State coming up Tuesday.
“I think on transition from serious injury, it’s not just physical, it’s mental, psychological,” Krzyzewski said. “I think to put on your uniform to do warmups as much as you can to be more part of the team that is something.”
Bolden, who sustained a lower-leg injury in preseason practice, and Giles, who’s still recovering from a knee scope, hit the floor with the other players before the game. Bolden was shooting around, while Giles just worked on just maneuvering inside.
Tatum, who sprained his foot in an earlier practice, remained standing at the baseline throughout warm ups.
“Actually, Harry looked pretty good in the warmup, he just hadn’t had any contact,” Krzyzewski said. “Marques looked pretty good. Jayson, we have to keep out a little bit longer to where he’s not doing that, but he’s progressing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we just don’t know how long that tunnel is. I think days like today helped.”
With one of the most discussed rookie classes in college basketball, one freshman has certainly stood out. Guard Frank Jackson led Wednesday’s game with 19 points.
He’s scored in double figures each game this season and has led Duke three times in scoring. He said Krzyzewski wants him to be himself – an aggressive scorer – while he holds it down for his fellow rookies.
“They’re rehabbing and doing all the things they need to do,” said Jackson, who’s started twice this season. “We want them to get into the routine of coming back. We’re almost there, so it’s going to be awesome to get them back.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
Appalachian State at Duke
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham
Michigan State at Duke
What: ACC-Big Ten Challenge
When: 9:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium