Duke Basketball: Is Quinn Cook a Championship Caliber Point Guard?

David AldridgeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2013

DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 26:  Nick Faust #5 of the Maryland Terrapins and Quinn Cook #2 of the Duke Blue Devils battle for a loose ball during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 26, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In the four seasons that Mike Krzyzewski has won national championships at Duke, he had a great point guard on each of those teams.

Bobby Hurley led the Blue Devils to back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992. Jason Williams ran the show for Duke in 2001. And Jon Scheyer mastered the position when the Blue Devils won the title again in 2010.

Now, as Mike Krzyzewski looks to win his fifth national championship, the point guard responsibility falls on Quinn Cook, a sophomore from Washington, D.C.

The question is—is Quinn Cook good enough to lead the Blue Devils to a championship?

When Cook plays his best, he is one of the most electrifying point guards in the country. He has proven he can elevate his game against tough competition with strong performances against Aaron Craft of Ohio State and Peyton Siva of Louisville.

Unfortunately for Duke, as good as Cook has been in those games, he's been just as bad in other games.

His season includes a one-of-12 shooting performance on the road against Miami and a zero-of-11 shooting performance in a home game against Wake Forest.

In order for the Blue Devils to make a run at the national championship in March, Cook will have to perform like he did against Louisville and not like he did against Miami. Thus, what he must look to do before anything else—to become one of the best point guards in the nation—is develop consistency.

The other challenge for Cook this season will be learning what his role is at any particular time for his team. It is a lot to ask from a sophomore who is still learning the game, but this will be critical in order for Duke to compete for a championship.

There will be some games when Duke needs Quinn Cook to be aggressive on offense and look for opportunities to create his shot. There will be other games when Cook needs to focus more on getting his teammates involved and making sure they get the ball in positions to score.

If Cook is able manage this difficult balance and succeed in both aspects of running the team, Duke will be a very tough team to beat in March.

Cook has shown flashes of brilliance throughout the year and he is coming off one of his best performances of the season when he had 18 points, five rebounds and six assists against Florida State.

If he is able to play like that come tournament time, Cook could earn himself a spot in the group of great point guards that helped lead Duke to a national championship.