Chris Duhon came to Duke two years ago as a heralded recruit
whose penetration skills were supposed to complement and enhance
the explosive scoring talents of Jason Williams. Instead, Duhon
became a nice role player who, by his own admission, spent too
much time watching Williams and not enough time helping him. Now
that Williams has taken his 21.3 points per game to the NBA,
Duhon says he's ready to assume the leadership mantle--and for
Duke's sake, he had better be. On a team that will depend heavily
on six freshmen, Duhon (who's day-to-day with a sprained left
wrist suffered in a preseason game last Thursday) is the closest
thing the Blue Devils have to a known quantity. "I've spent the
last two years being groomed to be the leader," he says. "This is
definitely my team."
While Williams was often--perhaps too often--a one-man offense,
Duhon is more of an orchestrator. That means Duke will also need
big years from fifth-year swingman Dahntay Jones, the team's
leading returning scorer, and guard Daniel Ewing, who was the
Blue Devils' most accurate three-point shooter last year (45.7%).
In the end, though, Duke's fate will hinge on its freshmen, a
group that includes four McDonald's All-Americans. Guards Sean
Dockery and J.J. Redick will provide speed and outside shooting,
respectively, off the bench, but the biggest impact will have to
come from Shavlik Randolph and Shelden Williams. The 6'9",
255-pound Williams was, according to coach Mike Krzyzewski, the
team's best rebounder during the first few weeks of practice.
Randolph is the most skilled big man Duke has had since Christian
The Blue Devils' youth will make Duhon's job that much more
important. To drive home that point, the players elected him
captain, and the junior has taken his role to heart: He made
everyone work out at 5 a.m. one day because a player had missed a
class, and on occasion he has booted teammates out of pickup
games if they haven't performed to his standards. "Leadership is
very exciting, but it's also very demanding," Krzyzewski says. "I
told Chris not to worry about making mistakes. Just trust that
good things will happen."
At Duke, they usually do. --S.D.
COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS FOCUSED Duhon, the Devils' lone captain, relishes an increased leadership role.
POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT
SF Dahntay Jones 6'6" Sr. 11.2 ppg
PF Shavlik Randolph 6'10" Fr. 28.3 ppg*
C Shelden Williams 6'9" Fr. 11.1 rpg[cross]
SG Daniel Ewing 6'3" So. 6.5 ppg
PG Chris Duhon 6'1" Jr. 5.9 apg
*As high school senior
[cross] As high school junior
2001-02 RECORD: 31-4 (13-3, 2nd in ACC)
TOURNAMENT: Lost to Indiana in Sweet 16
Percentage of scoring that Duke must replace, having lost Jason
Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer to the NBA.
An opposing coach's view
The big men are multiskilled, but long-range shooting is a
"Who's going to be happy not being a star? Someone's going to have
to do the dirty work.... They might be more athletic inside than
in the past, but can they shoot threes as consistently as they
have over the last two seasons?... Chris Duhon is very good with
the ball in his hands, but he shot 34% from three-point range
last year, and Dahntay Jones shot 23%. They got a lot of good
looks, too, because people were keying on Jason Williams and Mike
Dunleavy.... Daniel Ewing didn't play a lot of minutes last year,
but when he was in, he played well. He could have a great
year.... Shelden Williams has the ability to kick your a
inside.... Shavlik Randolph is very skilled for a big man, but
can he withstand physical punishment? It's a good year for him to
break in because there aren't a lot of older big guys in the ACC."