It wasn’t as if the Duke Blue Devils were a horrible basketball team while Ryan Kelly was injured, but having the basket-maker back has added additional options to an already offensively efficient group.
Duke has a slew of players that any team in the country would want. Seth Curry and his ability to hit jumpers, Mason Plumlee being the prototypical
white big man Duke has every year, and now an offensively versatile Kelly has rejoined the group. That is three players that could help the Blue Devils make a run deep in the tournament, and we haven’t even mentioned Quinn Cook and a bunch of role-players that make Duke, Duke.
Kelly came off his injury with a bang, scoring 36 points in only 32 minutes in Duke’s win against the Miami Hurricanes. While Kelly has slowed down a tad in the last two games, 13 points per, the ACC tournament will give Duke an even longer period of time for Kelly to get re-acclimated with the team before the NCAA tournament gets underway.
The Blue Devils are presumably a number one seed at the moment, and while they still need a good ACC tourney run to secure the seeding, it is more paramount that they have Kelly gelling with his teammates before Duke puts its dancing slippers on. Being a top seed is nice and all, but if Kelly isn’t “all the way back”, it could be for nothing. The 36 point outburst he had in his return shouldn’t trick anyone to think he is 100 percent.
Without Kelly, the Blue Devils are still one of the most dangerous teams this time of year. With him, well, there might not be a scarier basketball team full of academic-juggernauts in the entire nation.