If you've followed any of the Duke Basketball team over the summer you know it has been an active one for some and less so for others. That hasn't been the case for Duke point guard Quinn Cook, who has been all over the place. That certainly wasn't something that Cook was able to do last season as he struggled to recover from a knee injury he suffered in high school.
As a result of those troubles, Cook did not participate in Duke's trip last season in China and Dubai, though he traveled with the team. The Blue Devil staff at that point elected to hold Cook out of activities so that he could rest and strengthen his leg and knee.
Cook went on to show flashes last year but lacked the explosiveness and conditioning to play regular minutes, especially against top competition.
He played in 33 games last year, averaging about 11 minutes per game. Not bad numbers for a freshman but given how desperate Duke was for a play making point guard the Blue Devils could have used Cook. He did averaged just over four point and almost two assists per game.
At times Cook showed the ability to break down defenders and get the ball into the lane where he could finish or find open teammates.
It was that penetration that Duke could have used to keep defenses honest, but Cook's condition, and ability to not be a liability on defense.
Now healthy and in much better shape conditioning wise, Cook is primed to be the point guard that Duke was so desperate for last season. And his summer has certainly helped increase the chances that he could earn the starting spot.
In the NC Pro-Am Cook had a chance to build some chemistry with some incoming Blue Devils and show flashes of the game that he wasn't always able to show.
Cook has the ability to put the ball on the floor get in the land and finish or find open teammates but he is also a capable shooter, a combination that makes him dangerous. He sees the floor better than any player on the team and that makes his passing ability all the more dangerous.
But Cook didn't stop with the Pro-Am. He and teammate Marshall Plumlee played overseas in Estonia as part of a four nation tournament, so gaining valuable international experience will only benefit him and the Blue Devils.
The question though remains, will Cook be able to defend better than he did last year. Of course there was the nagging knee concerns that limited his mobility, but this year there will be no excuses.
I have written in the past that Tyler Thornton, who is not as skilled offensively as Cook would probably get the benefit of the doubt at the point guard position over Cook, however, if Cook shows the ability to be a better defender he should get the nod.
Duke's offense lacked diversity and consistency beyond Austin Rivers last year. With a more true point guard running things, that opens up opportunities for others to score. There is still time to figure things out but based on how he has performed this summer don't be shocked to see him in the starting lineup early this coming season.
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