Greentree Report 6/27

By Steve DiMiceli
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And on the third day, there was some reason for hope. The Dukes at Greentree took a turn for the better tonight with some improved performances and a very nice debut from Daniel Herrera.

Sean Johnson and Andre Marhold played in the first game, but Derrick Martin and Jerry Jones did not make it tonight. While Sean still had a cold shooting night, he got a one or two more to fall than the two previous contests. He scored 7 on 3 of 10 shooting including 1 for 2 from three. He had 4 assists and grabbed 3 rebounds that Talib Zanna wasn't able to steal from his teammates. Johnson looked a little smoother but he still is not quite to the point where he looked comfortable. However, he has gotten better with each game.  In the first, Sean's defense was sloppy on a two possession sequence, Aston Gibbs blew by him for an easy two. On the next trip down the floor, he missed his assignment for an easy lay up.

Marhold scored a point off a free throw but never really got started on offence. He missed on an alley-opp from Johnson. He grabbed two rebounds, but truly had a quiet game tonight. His defense was solid and he defended everyone at times including Gibbs. He did a nice job of disrupting shots and came up with his one block for the day.

In the second game, PJ Torres and Daniel Herrera debuted along side TJ McConnell and Mike Talley. Their team got off to a very quick start again tonight amassing a 32 - 8 lead before conceding a 14 - 0 run against the West Virginia recruit team that included Juwan Staten. It stayed fairly tight with the Duquesne side eventually coming out on top after Mike Talley kept it close with poor stretch FT shooting.

Herrera looked more ready than Torres tonight. Both look mature for their age and are fairly muscular. Finally, someone will give Eric Evans a run for his money in my hypothetical "which Duke would I want on my side in a fight" scenario. As promised, Herrera was not afraid to play inside or outside. Neither freshman started the game, but Herrera got hot quickly when he entered the game. He hit two three's, converted a lay up after being fouled and hit the ensuing free throw. He didn't score again. He created a lot of space for himself on offense and found the holes. On defense, he was a little bit too aggressive. I counted at least 3 fouls though I don't keep close track of them. He finished an even 50% from the field and from three. He had a nice stroke, but did miss one of his three's badly in the second half. He managed to find space down low, but failed to convert one bunny and was fouled on his other missed lay up.

I didn't get much on Torres tonight, but I suspect it was not his best. He very upright and even stiff on the dribble. Interestingly, he seemed very relaxed off the ball, but he never did quite get into the flow. His first step was not very quick and he had a hard time breaking down defenders. He was a very good passer and had one assist though he could've had more. He managed one rebound, and forced two steals.  I won't judge him based on one performance. Same goes for Herrera.

Talley had 8 on 2 of 8 from the floor, but he was horrendous from the FT line. 4 of 9. He hurt his team down the stretch  from the stripe. Like his past two outings, he was solid on the ball today. He found a lot of room to drive, but he was blocked clean on at least 3 occasions. He had three assists and three rebounds.

TJ struggled shooting again tonight. He's put on some muscle in the off season. Speculation was that his shot is off a touch as a result of his strengthening program. Hopefully, he'll work it out.  TJ recorded 6 steals and completely froze the opposition on a couple of drives to the hoop. He also had 5 assists and 6 boards.

BJ Montiero and Eric Evans seemed to come around in the final game of the night. Eric looked like his old self with crisp passes and some very nice drives. He worked well off the ball and was rewarded with return passes from his teammates. He went 2 for 7 including a 3, but aside from a shot he had blocked, every other shot could have just as easily gone in. His misses were so close. He was seeing the court and hitting the open man as well as I've ever seen him. He had a beautiful tip pass to Nasir Robinson that resulted in an easy bucket. Overall, it was a plus game for Eric.

BJ had the best performance of any Duke tonight. And get this, he played like a senior and was consistent the entire time he was in the game. BJ scored 14 points by finding the holes in the defense, running the floor in transition and making the baskets he should have on 6 for 7 shooting and a perfect trip to the free throw line. His one miss was a three pointer. He had 4 rebounds and looked solid defensively disrupting a number of shots that I saw.

As always, great talking to the very knowledgeable, friendly fans at the Greentree sports complex.