Duke's carrousel of basketball excess keeps spinning with seemingly interchangeable components.
Chris Carrawell is Duke's lone senior and has emerged as the leading player of the year candidate in the ACC. The 6-foot-6 swingman played a supporting role during the Blue Devils' 37-2 romp to the national championship game last year.
The early defections of three starters and the graduation of Trajan Langdon opened the door for Carrawell to assume the leadership role. Filling in the same capacity as Langdon, the St. Louis native leads Duke (18-2, 9-0 ACC) with 18.3 points and 6.2 rebounds this season.
No. 3 Duke has run its conference winning streak to a record 31 regular-season games heading into tonight's game with Maryland. In addition to his scoring and exemplary defense, Carrawell provides emotional stability to the youthful Blue Devils just as Langdon did a year ago.
"Chris has gotten many, many big buckets for us," Krzyzewski said. "He's scored a lot of points but when he has scored them is more important. Chris scores when we need him to score. He's been our backup point guard and tremendous defender."
Carrawell started every game for Duke last year. He was the Devils' fifth scoring option, averaging 9.9 points but has been instrumental in continuing the success last year's team achieved.
TIME FOR CHANGE:
In an attempt to shake the Yellow Jackets out of their current slump, Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins shuffled his starting lineup in last Saturday's 89-57 victory over Florida A&M.
Junior guard T.J. Vines started in place of sophomore Tony Akins while 6-foot-5 freshman Clarence Moore started at forward instead of Jason Floyd. Cremins' experiment generated inspiring play by the entire team which he hopes spills into ACC play.
"We tried to get some enthusiasm back," Cremins said. "We tried to play some mind games to get us going again. I'd love to see those guys get their jobs back but they're going to have to work."
Vines scored nine points in 26 minutes while Akins responded with 11 in 23 minutes off the bench. Moore had a season-high 17 points and eight rebounds while Floyd played just 15 minutes and scored four points.
Tech has lost four consecutive conference games entering tonight's home game with Virginia.
He is a marked man, yet Clemson sophomore guard Will Solomon still manages to lead his team and shoulder the Tigers' scoring burden.
Opposing teams harass and run Solomon ragged but it hasn't prevented the 6-foot-2 scoring machine from leading the ACC with 20.8 points per game. Maturity and off-season workouts have enabled Solomon to maintain his frenetic pace while involving his teammates.
"Will Solomon is the finest conditioned athlete that I've had a chance to coach," said Clemson coach Larry Shyatt. "I've never seen a young player or an experienced player have the pressure place upon him by virtue of every shape and form. He has really has grown."
Reach Jimmy DeButts at (706) 823-3221.