Sophomore ahead Matthew Damage spoke with the media Tuesday afternoon, discussing his 20 kilos of added muscle, his change in mentality getting into the season and extra. Listed below are 5 takeaways:
A standard theme of assault from Duke’s opponents final 12 months was Damage’s slim physique. The 6-foot-9 ahead typically received pushed round within the submit, with opposing groups exploiting his struggles on the defensive finish and limiting his function on the offensive finish. So, Damage made it a spotlight to enhance upon that a part of his sport throughout this distinctive summer time of quarantine, noting that his enjoying weight is round 240 kilos this season in comparison with 220 a 12 months in the past.
“I received house round mid-March final 12 months, took per week or two off for the reason that season ended and simply [tried] to concentrate on consuming proper, consuming so much and simply keep understanding and lifting,” Damage stated. “I received with our energy coach, Coach [William Stephens]—three, 4 occasions per week we lifted. So simply doing that day by day throughout quarantine. I used to be fortunate sufficient to discover a gymnasium and a weight room, so I used to be blessed with that. I believe simply doing that daily, till I got here again to Duke on August 2, was actually helpful for me.”
Damage added that the additional energy will enable him to higher defend opposing energy forwards, a weak point that compelled head coach Mike Krzyzewski to maintain the sharpshooter off the ground for lengthy stretches final season. However the defensive aspect is not the one a part of Damage’s sport that may profit from the added kilos.
“I am much more comfy within the submit…. But in addition driving, too,” Damage stated. “I believe simply being stronger with the ball, there’s going to be lots of people making an attempt to swipe on the ball once I’m driving within the lane, however simply making an attempt to be sturdy and simply undergo contact.”
Getting out in transition
Similar to just about each different participant who’s talked to the media thus far this preseason, Damage talked about “enjoying quick” and “getting out in transition” as a number of the key strengths of this 12 months’s squad. Per KenPom, the Blue Devils ranked thirty fourth within the nation in adjusted tempo and forty ninth in common offensive possession size final season, down from twentieth and sixteenth a 12 months prior.
From what we have heard from Damage and his teammates, nevertheless, count on this season’s numbers to inch nearer to that of the Zion and R.J. present in 2018-19.
“We now have lots of athletic guys on our crew,” Damage stated. “And simply simply exhibiting what they’re succesful in transition could be very particular.”
One particular member of that athletic group is freshman ahead Jalen Johnson. The Wisconsin native, who involves Duke because the No. 13 recruit within the nation, has the athleticism, imaginative and prescient and ending potential that would remind followers of Jabari Parker’s time in Durham when all’s stated and executed.
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“Jalen out in transition—very particular, very particular,” Damage stated.
Mark Williams, defensive anchor
Whereas certainly one of Damage’s predominant focuses over the offseason was enhancing on the defensive finish, his function merely won’t ever be that of defensive anchor. Reasonably, that title will possible belong to Mark Williams.
Williams—a 7-foot middle who’s the youthful brother of former Blue Satan girls’s basketball star Elizabeth Williams—involves Duke because the No. 32 participant within the Class of 2020, and has already made his presence felt on the ground.
“I did not see a lot of [Williams] in highschool, however seeing him dwell and enjoying towards him—shot blocker, [he tries] to dam all the pieces,” Damage stated. “Typically he goaltends, however more often than not he blocks it. So I believe simply having that rim presence actually helps.”
Altering his mentality
Many noticed Damage, who was the No. 11 ranked recruit within the Class of 2019, as a possible one-and-done final season and the right stretch large for the fashionable NBA. However the Minnesota native struggled to dwell as much as that billing, averaging a mere 9.7 factors and three.8 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per sport.
A big a part of the explanation for his underwhelming freshman marketing campaign was his restricted potential on the defensive finish, however one other side that usually goes unnoticed is confidence, one thing affiliate head coach Jon Scheyer told The Athletic is one other focus for Damage heading into this 12 months.
“My mentality [has] modified so much since final 12 months,” Damage stated. “I believe simply being aggressive and simply making an attempt to be one of the best greatest participant on the ground every time…simply making an attempt to be aggressive and simply making an attempt to shoot my pictures that I’ve practiced my entire life.”
The little issues
Most followers would agree the 2 highlights of Duke’s 2019-20 season had been the buzzer-beaters via Tre Jones and Wendell Moore Jr. that took down North Carolina in Chapel Hill. However one other play that has fallen beneath the radar was Damage’s clutch offensive rebound to clinch a victory against No. 8 Florida State two days later.
Damage says one other aim of his getting into this 2020-21 marketing campaign is making extra of these sorts of hustle performs, the little issues that basically win faculty basketball video games.
“Final 12 months, I do not assume I competed in the way in which that I ought to [have[ and the way I’m capable [of],” Damage stated. “So I believe that rebound was a was instance of exhibiting the youthful guys what it takes to get a rebound and ACC.”
Duke’s teaching employees appears to share the identical focus.
“A few the clips in observe they had been exhibiting—costs, deflections and all the pieces,” Damage stated. “Simply the little performs that add as much as large performs.”