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Duke Basketball: Should Quinn Cook's Play in First Exhibition Concern Coach K?

Oct 27, 2012; Durham, NC, USA; Western Washington Vikings guard Richard Woodworth (14) defends as Duke Blue Devils guard Quinn Cook (2) drives to the basket during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE
Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE
Doug BrodessCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2012

Quinn Cook started at the point in the Duke Blue Devils' first exhibition game of the 2012-13 college basketball season.

If you only look at his simple stat line of 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, you might be excited that he is back and will be ready to take charge of the team and run the show.

Going a little beyond the aforementioned statistics, Cook's game was less than stellar, especially when you consider that Duke was playing Western Washington.

And while I know that the reason that Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski schedules such games is to work out some of the kinks, I wonder if he is concerned over Cook's outing.

The sophomore point guard had three assists (which isn't bad) and six turnovers. One of the most positive qualities of Cook's freshmen season was that he took good care of the ball.

Playing in all but one of the Blue Devils' 34 games in the 2011-12 season, he handed out 63 assists while only committing 18 turnovers. That was a fantastic 3.5 assists-to-turnover ratio.

Cook's Saturday performance was disappointing because he neglected to effectively do the most important parts of his job as Duke's point guard.

The first assignment for any starting point guard is to get the ball to his teammates in scoring position. The second is to take care of the ball and not turn it over.

Bobby Hurley, the standard setter for all Duke point guards, averaged 7.7 assists and 3.8 turnovers per game in his four-year Blue Devil career.

His assist-to-turnover ratio is a realistic expectation of where Cook or anybody running the show at Cameron should strive for. Saturday, Cook didn't come close to this mark.

The other part of Cook's game that was semi-troubling was his three-point shooting. He went 1-of-5 from beyond the arc against Western Washington.

Because Cook only shot 25 percent from downtown last year, I'm pretty sure that was an area of development that he spent time on this past offseason.

Even though one October exhibition game doesn't determine what he is going to do for the rest of the season, one would hope that his shot selection and accuracy will improve even in Duke's next preseason outing against Winston Salem State on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Because the three-ball is such an important aspect to Duke's offensive scheme, Cook absolutely needs to shoot better than 20 to 25 percent from distance.

Cook is a sophomore. You would hope that he wasn't overcome with jitters. Because this "wasn't his first rodeo," you would expect that he would perform better.

No panic buttons being pushed here; I'm not trying to be a doomster. But if this Duke team is going to get anywhere close to where it should, someone needs to confidently and competently run the show. Cook should be that player. 

We'll see whether or not Coach K will have to go to Plan B down the road.

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