Duke has had a week since its last game, which gave the Blue Devils time to get their injured players back up to speed.
Freshman Jalen Johnson returned to the floor in Duke’s last game, at Virginia Tech, but played limited minutes. He’s used the week to get back up to speed.
“He practiced every day,” Mike Krzyzewski said.
Duke also got good news from Patrick Tape, who has missed time with a back injury over the past two weeks.
“We even, yesterday, got Patrick back,” Krzyzewski said. “Patrick practiced for the first time. So it’s been awhile, but I think everybody who is eligible to play can play. Jalen has had good practices. He’s got to get that court experience, game experience.”
Duke has been playing without Johnson for the last month, so integrating him back into the offense and defense will take an adjustment from everyone.
“There is no system,” Krzyzewski said. :You’re developing a system. It’s not like he’s come back to a place he’s been before or we’ve been before. We’re trying to develop a team. So when you have somebody out like that, he’s not part of them team—the playing team. He’ll always be part of the team, don’t get me wrong. Now that he’s there, it gives us an opportunity to move forward, try to get to a better place with the entire unit. It’s good to finally get to a spot where we have everybody.”
The week off gave Johnson a chance to work back into the rotation with the team.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Krzyzewski said. “Because then you’re trying to put together what you’re going to do going forward. With Jalen, j you had like five practices where you’re trying to put some new things in that we think will be better for that group, and then we’ll see how it all turns out. We’re just trying to develop a team and give that team the best chance to win that it can.”