Duke is a popular pick to win the national championship, and Eric Montross can see why.
“I don’t think anybody has more offense,” the UNC and Westwood One college basketball color analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think maybe there’s some teams that you could compare to, but I don’t think anybody has the offense that Duke does right now. The guys have really rise to the top.”
Sophomore Luke Kennard leads Duke with 20.1 points per game and is shooting 44.3 percent from three.
Just don’t call him a shooter.
“The thing about Kennard that is so good is that he’s not wed to the three-point line,” Montross said. “He is a scorer. He’s the kind of guy that gets inside the lane, will take the open shot, and typically what you’ve found from him is that he makes big-time plays. He had two four-point plays in the NCAA Tournament. He gets guys to pull the trigger on him and gets them up in the air and still makes shots. Luke Kennard, at 6-5 as a sophomore, is a tremendous, tremendous talent. I love to watch how he plays.”
Jayson Tatum, meanwhile, is averaging 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds. The freshman, believe it or not, is also Duke’s best foul shooter at 86.6 percent.
“Plenty of people know his name,” Montross said. “He has registered on the Richter scale several times this year – and should. He’s a tremendous individual offensive player. (He) has got the full package, and Duke is using every bit of it right now.”
And then, of course, there’s Grayson Allen. The mercurial junior is averaging 14.1 points for the Blue Devils and leads the team in temper tantrums.
“Grayson is a very good player if he can control, let’s say, his spirit,” Montross said diplomatically. “If you look at what Duke has done, when they can harness that – and they have during the ACC Tournament – he is a very, very good player.”
So is freshman Frank Jackson, a strong, slashing guard who is averaging 10.7 points per game. Taken as a whole, Duke is mighty tough to guard.
“All four those guys are 20-point scorers,” Montross said. “They are cable of scoring 20, and that gives you such balance. When you talk about people that like this team, I don’t think it’s a bad bet. I think that they are offensively loaded and their defense is playing better.”