Will Amile Jefferson be a difference maker on Saturday?

Talk about the irony.

First, NC State lost out a not so competitive recruiting battle for Raleigh’s Ryan Kelly more than four years ago. Then, last year, Amile Jefferson (click for tag) broke the hearts of WolfpackNation when he publicly announced for Duke just days after he told the NC State coaches and some players that he was going to announce for State.

Now, Ryan Kelly is hurt. What will Duke do? Will Amile Jefferson be thrust into a huge role?


Let me preface this piece by saying I have no inside knowledge of what Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s plan is sans Ryan Kelly or am I claiming to be smarter than the Blue Devils staff when it comes to what they should do.

Alex Murphy and Amile Jefferson may be Duke’s best options for dealing with the loss of Ryan Kelly.

I can, like everyone else, only hypothesize about what Duke will do to compensate without one of its best players for the foreseeable future. Unlike some though I think that the Blue Devils will adjust and be just fine though admittedly it could take some time.

For starters who starts in place of the injured Kelly. Well all signs right now have to point to 6-foot-7 junior forward Josh Hairston. Hairston isn’t Kelly, isn’t even close but he has the confidence of Krzyzewski to play the role he has been assigned to play. The questions is will his role change drastically with Kelly gone? It really shouldn’t because Hairston’s limited in what he can do well.

He plays hard, there is no mistaking that but he isn’t a real scoring threat. He can play respectable defense but he isn’t going to be the guy Krzyzewski puts on an opponents best player. He is a servicable body and a player who can hustle but who isn’t going to overwhelm anyone. In short he is a role player and his role isn’t changing.

The two guys whose roles are most likely to change are Amile Jefferson and Alex Murphy. Neither is averaging big minutes; Jefferson 8.8 minutes per game and Murphy at 5.6 minutes per game. Those two will probably see an increase in their floor time now but what in terms of production they provide is a mystery.

Jefferson isn’t going to be a major scoring threat but he can slash a little bit and attack the basket. He is not quite strong enough to bang against bigger, stronger, more experienced post players and he isn’t even close to the shooter Kelly is. That means he is going to have to pick his scoring opportunities and get chances on put backs and fast breaks. If he can hit a free throw with any consistency then you might start seeing him attack the basket even more.

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12-13 Basketball

5 Responses to Will Amile Jefferson be a difference maker on Saturday?

  1. GAWolf 01/11/2013 at 4:24 PM #

    This is indeed an amazing storyline for the game. First, Jefferson’s return to Raleigh wouldn’t be an easy one for him assuming the students kept up with his recruitment. Second, he’ll have loads of pressure if he’s made Kelly’s primary replacement.

    Hopefully our fans will be on him hard.

  2. redcanine 01/11/2013 at 5:19 PM #

    Amile’s presence may be the difference maker. How unfortunate for Duke.

  3. NCSU84 01/11/2013 at 6:21 PM #

    My wife, while listening to WTVD news, just heard one of the Plumlee bros. call State fans obnoxious. Duke calling State fans obnoxious?? Really?? I am lost for words. But I will be at the game tomorrow and I promise to meet mr plumblee’s expectations.

  4. saigonwolf 01/11/2013 at 8:46 PM #


    Scroll to the bottom and read the comment next to “Avg Game Wt”.

    It actually hurts us a little that Duke will be missing Kelly.

  5. GoldenChain 01/12/2013 at 2:45 PM #

    Amile fouled out.

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