Inside scoop on Redick: Outside shot not falling

Duke guard is shooting 34.8 percent from field, 29.1 percent on threes

ACC notebook

December 19, 2003|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Sophomore guard J.J. Redick is not the only reason Duke's offense is looking ordinary by Blue Devils standards. But Redick's shooting slump helps to explain Duke's scoring problems.

The No. 3 Blue Devils, who improved to 7-1 with a 69-51 victory over Princeton on Wednesday, are getting it done with strong defense, good free-throw shooting and enough scoring spurts to put away opponents - not to mention clutch play from heralded freshman forward Loul Deng.

But after spending recent seasons ranked among the nation's top scoring teams, Duke is ranked eighth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an average of 74.6 points per game and seventh in the league in field-goal percentage (.459).

One year after finishing second in the ACC's all-rookie voting by averaging 15.0 points on 41.1 percent shooting, including 39.9 percent from three-point range, Redick is struggling to find his mark. Through eight games, Duke's shooting guard is second on the team in scoring (13.4 points per game), yet has missed many shots.

Redick is shooting 34.8 percent from the field, and just 29.1 percent from three-point range. He has made just two threes per game. He is still looking for his first 20-point game after producing nine a year ago, the most any freshman has ever recorded in the 24-year era of coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Kryzyewski, looking for more defensive pop early in games, has even brought Redick off the bench twice. Duke is giving up just 56.5 points per game, third best in the ACC.

"[Redick] is taking great shots. He's right there," Krzyzewski told The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. "I'm not really concerned about it. As long as he's taking good shots, he'll hit them."

Redick, 6 feet 4, from Roanoke, Va., needs to improve soon, since shooting is basically his game. He is averaging one assist, two turnovers, a respectable 3.1 rebounds, but is not a threat to steal the ball. To his credit, Redick has become more of a slasher, which has sent him steadily to the free-throw line, where he continues to shine.

A year after shooting an ACC-record 91.9 percent at the foul line, Redick is a perfect 27-for-27 there.

"I've seen [Redick] on certain nights when you couldn't stop him. He's still pretty good," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "If he has a game where he hits two or three threes in a row early, he'll be fine."

UM's free-throw woes

Maybe Maryland should watch videotape of Redick to help cure its free-throw shooting woes. Or maybe the Terps should just check out teammate Chris McCray at the line more closely.

The Terps rank last in the ACC in free-throw percentage (.560), but that number would be lower if not for McCray, their 6-5 sophomore shooting guard. Through eight games, he has converted 82.6 percent of his attempts by making 19 of 23. Had he made one more free throw this year, McCray would be ranked among the top five in the conference.

"Hopefully, we'll have a rule where one guy can shoot all of the free throws for the team, like it was back in the 20s," Williams said.

While guards John Gilchrist and D.J. Strawberry have attracted more headlines lately, McCray (11.1 ppg) continues to diversify and sharpen his game, even as he is just beginning to find his outside shooting stroke.

He is averaging 2.4 steals, 3.6 rebounds and nearly one blocked shot, and has combined with the 6-5 Strawberry to make Maryland's three-guard lineup a unit that is tough on opposing passing lanes. And McCray's passing game has grown as well. After producing seven assists and no turnovers in Sunday's 96-72 rout of Pepperdine, McCray is averaging 3.6 assists.

Florida State rolling

Florida State is off to the best start in school history at 9-0, after last night's win over Wagner. The Seminoles have one of the ACC's premier players in senior guard Tim Pickett, a good-looking defense and a highly touted recruiting class led by 6-5 guard Von Wafer.

Then again, the Seminoles, who have won routinely by at least 20 points, have not exactly been tested. Their victims include Maine, Georgetown (Ky.) College, Nicholls State, South Carolina State, Fairleigh Dickinson, Wagner, Northwestern and Mississippi.

Florida State actually trailed Northwestern, one of the Big Ten's bottom feeders, at halftime before pulling away to win by 18. And in their lone quality victory, a 67-58 win at Miami - coach Leonard Hamilton's previous collegiate workplace - the Seminoles also came from behind in the second half.

Give them credit for stuffing their opponents and refusing to beat themselves. Going into last night, the Seminoles were holding teams to 54.1 points and 34.9 percent shooting, first and second in the ACC, respectively. And point guards Nate Johnson and Todd Galloway (City College) had combined for 64 assists and only 19 turnovers.

Et cetera

Duke, North Carolina and Georgia Tech are ranked third, fourth and fifth this week, marking the 17th time that the ACC has had three teams ranked simultaneously in the top five and the first time since Dec. 17, 2001. Georgia Tech has achieved its highest ranking since the Yellow Jackets reached No. 4 on Feb. 24, 1986. ... The Terps have played three overtime games, and already are threatening the 1997-98 squad that played four. Maryland also won its next-to-last regular-season game and its first-round NCAA tournament game a year ago on buzzer-beating shots.

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