Duke Wins Title Despite POY Kaminsky Dominating Okafor

AP Photo
The Associated Press
Auburn, AL

Charles Barkley said the key to the national championship was whether Jahlil Okafor or Frank Kaminsky found himself in foul trouble. Okafor endured foul trouble, yet Duke emerged victorious. Duke rallied for the win only after Kaminsky dominated Okafor so completely that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had to sit Okafor almost the entire last 12 minutes.

Okafor went to the bench down 48-39. For much of the year most thought Okafor would nudge Kaminsky for Player of the Year. But by the time Okafor sat, Kaminsky was ahead of him 18 points to 6, 9 rebounds to 2, and had two assists, a steal and a block to none of the above for Okafor. However, Duke dominated after Okafor left, and a rested Okafor finally grabbed a 3rd rebound and hit two baskets to salvage a 10-point outing in what was still a dominant Kaminsky performance.

Kaminsky Stat Okafor
7-16 FGM-Att 5-9
2-4 3-pt 0-0
5-6 FT 0-1
12 Reb 3
2 Ast 0
1 Stl 0
1 Blk 0
2 TO 2
1 PF 4
21 Pts 10

For most of the season most pundits thought Okafor would nudge Kaminsky for the Player of the Year honors. But www.valueaddbasketball.com continually showed there was no contest between the two.

However, a rested Amile Jefferson came off the bench as Kaminsky began to tire in the closing minutes of the Final Four during which he dominated the players who likely will be top picks in the NBA draft. The Duke team completed the incredible feat of winning a national title with only eight players, and unheralded freshman Grayson Allen was the sparkplug who came in to pressure to score 16 off the bench.

That was just enough for his fellow freshman Tyus Jones to take over and score 23 points.