We're striving to be focused for 40 minutes

Jon Gardiner/Duke Photography

Focus is key if Duke is going to consistently play 40 minutes of good basketball, rather than 20.

For anyone who follows Coach P on twitter or knows her at all, you know she is big on motivation and inspiration. Recently, we got an essay from an anonymous 12-year old who watches us play. In it he wrote, “To someone who is great, there is no such thing as the best. The only thing is to be better tomorrow than you were today.”

Buying into that is probably one of the most important things for any team to do to reach its potential. For us, the month of January was one of growing toward the maturity to commit to that approach and the consistency to do it all the time.

We started conference action with some strong play, were challenged on the road a few times, and buckled down in our preparation and practices. We took a painful loss to UConn in Storrs toward the end of the month, our first loss of the year. That defeat was disappointing, but it also was representative of something we’ve struggled with all year: playing only 20 minutes of good basketball, not 40.

Since then, we have rebounded for some strong performances at home against Miami, and most recently at our cross-town rivals, North Carolina in Chapel Hill. But we still have struggled to play how we want to for an entire game.

As we get closer and closer to the end of the conference regular season, we are striving to become the team we can and need to be, one that is relentless and focused for 40 minutes. That is our goal: to be better tomorrow than we are today.

Go Duke.