Jabari Parker is the best player on the Blue Devils, but they are not a one man offense. Duke Blue Devils played Notre Dame recently, and Parker had his first off game of the season. They played Parker as well as any team that Duke has played this season. They were all over him, and didn’t let him get any easy shots all game. Parker was the offense for this Duke team during the nonconference part of their schedule, but this team has come a long way since then.
In the early part of the season, Parker being shut down would have spelled trouble for the Blue Devils, but Duke was able to score without their best offensive player contributing. Quinn Cook and Rodney Hood took over the scoring with Notre Dame focusing on Parker. The scoring was not the problem against Notre Dame.
The defense against Notre Dame was the problem. They took care of the paint, which is Duke’s weakness this season. A team that usually struggles on offense was able to create points on the Blue Devils. After a number of great games defensively, this was not one of their better games. Duke had been keeping teams to less than seventy points since the Arizona game, but they were not able to do that in this game.
Notre Dame did a great job on Parker, but with the attention on Parker opened up Hood for Duke. He was really important, along with Cook to be able to help Duke with their offense. Even with Parker struggling Notre Dame was still more worried about him than Hood.
The most important thing Duke needs from Parker is to be their guy when they need him. They need him to get the big basket when they need it. He can score in many different ways, and they will need him to stop a run or win a game. Parker can have a quite game, but they need him to be in the game. He can’t force anything shots when he isn’t playing well and he can’t let the rest of his game suffer.
This will be a blueprint for every team going forward like it was against Clemson. He is still a freshman, but they will need him to play with experience from now on if they don’t want to have happen again in South Bend. He forced shots and his overall game suffered. He has to be posed in these games, and play through when he struggles.
The Blue Devils were able to score on Notre Dame even with two of their best scorers had bad games. Parker and Rasheed Sulaimon both struggled scoring; this should give them optimism going forward because now they can completely focus on improving their defense. This was a tough loss for Duke, but they will bounce back. This game also taught them that they can score even without their best player.