Ryan Kelly should be done wearing ties to games soon, as he hopes to be back on the court in time for senior night. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
DURHAM—The biggest news of the day came after Duke had beaten Boston College by the score of 89-68. In the Duke locker room, Ryan Kelly met with the media for the first time since his Jan. 8 right foot injury. The game story goes into full detail, but here's the cliff notes version:
+Kelly is definitely coming back this year.
+He hasn't started practicing in drills and with contact yet, but he hopes to this week week.
+He has been practicing his lateral movements on the floor and shooting as well ("I can still shoot it if you’re wondering," he said).
+As far as a return date, Kelly said he would like to be back for senior night (March 5) against Virginia Tech. Since he hasn't practiced yet, he said "some amazing things would have to happen" for him to play this week against Virginia or Miami.
A few more notes:
***Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan leads ACC rookies in scoring with an average of 14.5 points per game. Rasheed Sulaimon is third on that list with an average of 11.9 points per game, but that will rise after his career-high, 27-point performance Sunday. Hanlan scored 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
“There’s not another freshman that I’d rather have on my team than Rasheed,” Mason Plumlee said. “And that’s easy.”
Sulaimon has grown tremendously on the defensive side of the ball as well, drawing Florida State’s Michael Snaer and Virginia Tech’s Erick Green in recent games. Mike Krzyzewski sees Sulaimon becoming even better and developing into one of the best on-ball defenders in the country.
“He should be a great defender,” Krzyzewski said. “This kid’s got it. Od gave him long arms and 6-3 ½ or 6-4 (height) and quickness, but it’s a process.”
****Plumlee scored 19 points on 11-of-15 shooting an added 15 rebounds, a new high during ACC play. He also added four assists (against five turnovers), two steals and a block.
“Mason has been the most important player to any team in our league this year,” Krzyzewski said. “I think he’s been the best payer in our conference.”
Plumlee is certainly a contender for the ACC Player of the Year award, just like Sulaimon could win Rookie of the year. Both face stiff competition, especially Plumlee, who would have to beat out Miami point guard Shane Larkin and Virginia Tech’s Green, the nation’s leading scorer.
Plumlee also became the eighth Blue Devil to record 1,000 career rebounds. He is one of only three Duke players (joining Mike Gminski and Sheldon Williams) to have 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks in his career.