Duke's latest basketball news: Mike Krzyzewski pulls Joey Baker's redshirt



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Duke's # 1 perimeter shooting requirement for his NCAA tournament next month outweighed the need for Joey Baker for the 2022-23 basketball season.

That's why, after not having played in the first 26 regular season games of the Blue Devils without working on a red track, Fayetteville's 6-7-year-old guard recorded his first minutes of the season in the 75-win victory. -65 Duke to Syracuse Saturday.

The Blue Devils (24-3, 12-2 ACC), despite their status as NCAA Champion contenders, proved to be an inconsistent 3-point shooting team. Duke ranks 328th in the country, having achieved 30.6% of his 3 points.

Duke has not finished a season with less than 37% behind all three points since the team in 2008-09 finished at 34.9. This year's Blue Devils will have to turn red to catch this pedestrian number.

His team's 8-of-39 attempts (20.5%) to score three points in the 88-72 loss to North Carolina on Wednesday night were enough for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to make a difference. The knee injury caused by Zion Williamson created an opening in the starting lineup, which allowed to deepen the rotation of the players.

Reserve junior striker Jack White, having missed 25 consecutive 3-point playoffs since his last appearance on January 12 at Florida State, Krzyzewski has inserted second goaltender Alex O Connell into the starting lineup for Williamson and announced to Baker that he would need his reserve role.

Baker said that it was "absolutely" good to see his red jersey burned so late in the season.

"I just tried to stay ready," Baker said. "At the end of the day, you just have to get better. That's what I do this season. I know I said to stay ready a thousand times, but that's what counts. I want to help this team win. "

Burnt redshirt

Krzyzewski said Baker has been more and more impressed by the practice coaches lately. With the regular season reduced to two weeks and the NCAA tournament a month away, he could no longer wait for the team's 3-point shot to improve.

"He played well at training," Krzyzewski said of Baker. "He did a good job. Obviously, we did not shoot well except for this Virginia game. Alex and Joey are two of our best shooters. So we will see if he can continue to buy things. "

Duke made 13 of 24 three-point baskets (54.2%) while earning 81-71 in Virginia on Feb. 9.

In the three games that followed that win, the Blue Devils had a combined total of 18 out of 83 (21.6%).

While O'Connell hit five of eight 8-point markers to score 20 points in Syracuse, Baker missed his only 3-pointer while recovering two rebounds in five minutes, all in the first period.

With that, his chances of redshirt are gone unless he suffers an injury that keeps him out of the rest of the season.

After joining the Blue Devils in October 2017 to be part of the 2019 recruiting class, Baker graduated with a year in advance for the Trinity Christian Academy in Fayetteville last May and held a contract with Is registered in Duke during the summer.

He then stated that he was ready to help the team this year if needed. But even if he did not, Baker thought he would improve his player status by joining the Duke program as a redshirt.

Baker stayed ready

On Thursday and Friday, as the Blue Devils drew up a plan for Syracuse without Williamson, Baker was told by the coaching staff to expect to play.

"Since the beginning of the season, I'm trying to make myself have and stay ready when my name will be called," Baker said. "I told them I would be ready if they needed me. This happened this week (because of) certain circumstances. So, again, I just tried to stay ready for the moment. "

Junior Duke forward Javin DeLaurier said Baker's work was noticed. He expects that he will provide positive contributions from now if Krzyzewski sticks to this plan.

"Joey, he's been working since he came to campus," said DeLaurier. "The coaches thought it was time for him to play a game and we were excited to see him there so that he could finally reap the rewards of his hard work. He came in and did good things for us.

Baker admitted to being worried, but not nervous, after playing his first college game.

He called the team "special" because the group is very united.

"Behind the scenes of locker rooms and practice, we're pushing each other," Baker said. "We are all winners. When we arrive on the ground, we fight. This shows."

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