Duke’s Carter on playing without Bagley: ‘We just have to step up’
It’s still unclear, but the possibility that Duke could be without star freshman Marvin Bagley III on Wednesday is becoming more likely.
On Tuesday, when asked by a reporter had Bagley practiced with the team since he sat out against Georgia Tech on Sunday, Duke freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. said he hasn’t.
No. 12 Duke (20-5, 8-4 ACC) held practice Tuesday afternoon, a day prior to its game against Virginia Tech (18-7, 7-5 ACC) at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Bagley missed Sunday’s game at Georgia Tech as a precautionary measure, with what officials called a knee sprain. Bagley suffered the sprain in a game against North Carolina on Thursday.
Bagley played all but one minute of that game, and finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds. Duke lost 82-78.
Bagley has given Duke a few scares throughout the season. He missed the last 30 minutes of Duke’s game against then-No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 14 after he was poked in the eye by a teammate. Duke won that game 88-81 after a career-high 37-point performance from Duke senior guard Grayson Allen. Bagley returned the following game, a 78-61 win over Southern.
Bagley also injured his shoulder against Miami on Jan. 15. He left the game briefly, but eventually returned in Duke’s 83-75 win.
But Sunday was the first game Bagley had missed all season. Duke held off a comeback by Georgia Tech and won 80-69. Carter said when Bagley isn’t playing, it puts a lot of attention on other players.
“We just have to step up,” Carter said. “He comes and plays hard every day, every game. Marvin plays well on the offensive and defensive end so we just have to pick up that slack since he’s not out there with us.”
Bagley indicated that he was feeling alright prior to the Georgia Tech game.
Duke started 6-11, 246-pound sophomore center, Marques Bolden, in his place. Bolden, who is coming off a knee injury, played well early on. He finished with 8 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 25 minutes.
Duke has another big test on Wednesday against Virginia Tech and may have to do it without Bagley. The Hokies are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 61-60 overtime victory over then-No. 2 Virginia on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Bagley has been Duke’s best player this season. He leads the ACC in scoring (21.2) and rebounding (11.4).
On Monday, Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel III said he did not have an update on Bagley’s status for the game. Duke is expected to make an official announcement whether Bagley will play tomorrow.