By Steve DiMiceli

In order to avoid a recap that needs to be taken with a grain of salt, I thought I could look at how some of the Dukes did in each of the scrimmage/exhibition safe evaluation categories I outlined earlier this week. 

- Athleticism

Two players stood out tonight in terms of their athleticism. Andre Marhold played well above the rim for most of the first half and in general looked less clumsy than he has in the past. He elevated for rebounds and scored 8 points on 4 dunks including a reverse jam over a CMU defender. Jeremiah Jones looked quicker than I remember him looking over the summer particularly on defense. While he certainly wasn't guarding anyone I would expect to out pace him, Jones was on him like glue the entire game.

- Work Rate/Tempo

No one really stood out to me here except for Jones and his defensive intensity.

- Effort:Results Ratio

I love it when my team's leader quietly scores in double figures. I hardly noticed Sean Johnson  tonight until I looked at the box score. When he wanted to get to the glass there was no stopping him for CMU, and if he were pushing, he could have doubled his point total. Instead, he did very well while holding back his best for a more meaningful game.

- New Skills

Ever since I heard how Jim Ferry likes to run his offense where each player on the court needs to pass, shoot and drive, I wondered how well Jerry Jones would do putting the ball on the floor. I've always found him to be a player who does better to allow his teammates to find him than to create for himself on the ball. He didn't seem very comfortable driving nor did he create much with it, but he did show he was more willing to work off the dribble.

- Comfort Zone/Tendencies

I noticed that several wing players really seemed to drift into a comfort zone behind the three point arc. In some cases, they cut off their runs towards the hoop in transition to settle for a three point attempt and I didn't like it. The culprits? Kadeem Pantholphlet, Jerry Jones and Quevyn Winters. On a positive note, I didn't see D-Mart hanging around out there.

- Decision Making

Here is a real area of concern for me at the moment. I get that this team is learning a new transition offense and I can accept that mistakes will be made. However, newcomer PG's Marvin Binney and Derrick Colter were a little too deliberate when bringing the ball up court. Often, I felt like they got themselves trapped deep in their end. I'd also like to see the big men looking up court to the wings forgoing the PG entirely. I think we'll see more of this in time as Ferry gets his players in place. I felt PJ Torres was more fluid leading the break and as a result, he presented as if he had been playing this system for a while.

However, I would concede that the problem may be as much  of a chemistry issue as a decision making issue. One way or the other, I think it will work itself out as the teammates gel and the break out becomes habituated.