This edition of High School Hoops begins by looking at the Class of 2009 commitments. Ryan Kelly scored 22 points and recorded three blocked shots as Ravenscroft defeated Durham Academy 94-43 on Friday night. On Tuesday, Kelly scored 23 points in a 69-54 win over Cary Academy. Ravenscroft hosts John Wall and Word of God on Wednesday, February 4.
Mason Plumlee scored 16 points on Friday night as Christ School defeated Asheville Christian Academy 84-59. Tony Kimbro added 12 points and Marshall Plumlee recorded five blocked shots. On Tuesday, Mason Plumlee scored 14 points in a 69-29 blowout of Carolina Day School.
Moving to the Class of 2010 commitments, Andre Dawkins scored 30 points in the first half on Tuesday evening in a 98-46 victory. Dawkins made six 3-pointers in the game. On Friday night, Atlantic Shores defeated Isle of Wright 62-45 with Dawkins scoring 20 points.
Tyler Thornton scored 11 points as Gonzaga defeated St. John's 66-52 in our nation's Capital on Friday night. Thornton missed a couple of free ones and was 1-for-3 from the charity stripe.
Moving on to recruiting prospects, Josh Smith scored a career high 43 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, and blocked seven shots in leading Kentwood to a 62-60 victory over Kentridge, in the Les Schwab Kent Shootout, on Friday night. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has the full game details posted as does the Seattle Times. Smith is on a scoring rampage in recent games. He scored 40 points, on Tuesday, as Kentwood defeated Jefferson 56-45. Kentwood lead 39-38 at the end of the 3rd Quarter and outscored Jefferson 17-7 in the final period.
Harrison Barnes recorded a double-double of 26 points and 13 rebounds as Ames defeated Southeast Polk 72-43. On Friday night, Ames took to the road and defeated West Des Moines Valley 63-40. Barnes scored 18 points in the victory.
Brandon Knight scored 47 points as Pine Crest defeated North Broward Prep 89-63. Knight made six 3-point shots in the game. As of Tuesday, January 27, Knight was averaging 30.3 points per game and had made 75 3-point shots in 19 games. He is also making over 78 percent of his free throw attempts.
• Game 21 •
[1 AP/1 Coaches] Duke (18-2, 5-1 ACC) vs. Virginia (7-9, 1-4 ACC)
Sunday, February 1, 2009 • 2:08 PM ET • FSN
Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) • Durham, N.C.
Blue Devil Bits
Duke is 18-2 on the year, including a 5-1 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play, following a 70-68 loss at No. 6 Wake Forest on Wednesday.
Duke is 12-0 at home this season with a 3-0 home record in league play. The Blue
Devils have won 10 or more home games in each of the last 14 seasons, posting a 193-18 (.915) record during that span, including four undefeated seasons.
The Blue Devils are ranked first in the AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Duke has now been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll 111 times, the second-most in NCAA history.
Duke is also rated first in the latest RPI according to CollegeRPI.com. The site ranks Duke’s strength of schedule sixth in the NCAA.
Sophomore Kyle Singler finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds against Wake Forest. Singler now has six double-doubles this season and 10 for his career.
Gerald Henderson scored 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting on Wednesday. He also had eight rebounds and three steals in the loss. Henderson has scored 20 or more points in four of the last six games.
Senior David McClure matched a career high with 12 rebounds in 25 minutes against the Demon Deacons. The Ridgefield, Conn., native grabbed nine rebounds in the second half and now has three career games with 10 or more rebounds.
Numbers Game -
Duke will play its first February game of 2009 on Sunday against Virginia. Under Coach K, the Blue Devils are 165-63 in the month of February, including a 14-7 record against the Cavaliers.
The Blue Devils have won the last 12 meetings with Virginia in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The last time Duke lost at home to the Cavaliers was on Jan. 14, 1995, under Pete Gaudet, 91-88, in double overtime. The last loss at home to Virginia under Coach K was a 77-69 setback on Jan. 17, 1993.
Duke has a 14-0 record all-time against Virginia when ranked No. 1 in the AP poll. The Blue Devils have been ranked in each of the last 27 games against the Cavaliers.
The Blue Devils are the only team in the ACC holding opponents to under 60 points per game in conference play. Duke is allowing 54.7 points per game in league action and has held five of its six opponents under 60 points, including two opponent to under 50 points.
Duke leads the ACC in field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense in conference-only games. The Blue Devils are holding teams to .365 shooting from the field and .243 from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Kyle Singler is tied for sixth in the ACC with six double-figure rebound games this season. Singler is third in the league with six double-doubles, including two games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Gerald Henderson has scored in double figures in 12 straight games, which is tied for the fifth-longest streak in the ACC. He has scored 20 or more points in four of the last six games, averaging 20.8 points per game in that span.
Junior Brian Zoubek is two blocked shots shy of 50 for his career. Duke has 29 players all-time with 50 or more blocks, including two other current Blue Devils Gerald Henderson (60) and David McClure (50).
Duke is ranked No. 1 for the first time since the final AP poll of the 2005-06 season. Under Mike Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils have been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll 93 times. Since 1990, Duke has held the top spot in the country for 80 weeks, more than any other school in the nation.
Junior Jon Scheyer ranks fourth in the ACC in free throw percentage (.854, 88-of-103). He has made 16 consecutive free throws and now ranks fifth all-time in the league history in free throw percentage (.864, 323-of-374).
Junior Gerald Henderson is leading the ACC with a .595 (47-of-79) field goal percentage in conference play. He also ranks seventh in scoring at 19.7 ppg., 11th in rebounds at 7.2 rpg. and second in steals at 2.7 spg. in ACC contests.
Duke is 471-54 under Coach K when outrebounding the opposition. The Blue Devils have outrebounded their opponents 15 times this season, posting a 14-1 record in those games.
Blue Devil Nation has decided that we'll return to linking some of the more interesting articles and will offer you some comments ranging from what we're hearing to opinion.
Capel to replace Williams? Watkins disses UVA for Devils, Duke Super Bowl connections, women's hoops updates, more football prospect news, another former coach with Duke ties up for the Maryland job? Random tidbits and nuggets as our daily links of interest returns.
Signing Day for college football is this coming Wednesday and Coach Cutcliffe is set to welcome his first true recruiting class. One of the late prizes is a wide reciever prospect Charles Watkins who pulled away from Virginia after a recent visit to Duke. In the link above, Watkins says all went well with his visit and that Coach K said he'd be allowed to try out for the basketball team. Here is another link talking of Duke prospect Lex Butler and his recovery from the dread Achilles tendon injury. I can relate to this in that I'm just over a year removed from a complete tear.
Looking for a Duke connection in this weekends Super Bowl? Here is a story on Ben Patrick from his hometown newspaper. And let's not forget Patrick Bailey who suits up for Pittsburgh. Here is a nice link from the Duke Chronicle. FWIW, I am pulling for the Cardinals, but I'd lay the points with Pittsburgh if I were a betting man.
So, you've been hearing about the troubles in Maryland concerning basketball coach Gary Williams. It looks as if a new coach may be coming to Terp Town and don't be surprised if there are not some Duke ties. Sources have long claimed that Mike Brey would leave Notre Dame for another job and some are saying he'd listen. But Sooner fans are already worrying about overtures for Jeff Capel as you can see in this link. For future reference, remember this - the DePaul job could interest another Blue Devil. Here is the latest on Williams from the Baltimore Sun. Then there is Rob Daniels latest blurb at the ACC Sports Journal.
Former Duke Women's player Barbara Krause will be honored on March the 7th. Speaking of the women, our Blue Devils were upset in overtime for their second loss of the season. The upstart 18th ranked Florida State 'Noles defeated our women on the road last evening.
In this link, Gerald Henderson is listed as one of the top five shooting guards in the nation. I like what they say about him possibly furthering his skill set under Coach K. Speaking of Hendo or "G," as he is known to his teammates and staff - here is an excellent read on the budding star from Alwyn Featherston. Okay, Al for some of you, but I like his full name better;)
And Caulton Tudor actually says, don't bury Duke just yet! Okay, so who is actually burying the Devils after a two point loss on the road in Winston Salem? Still, Mr. Tudor is not always this generous when it comes to Duke, so we decided to link him.
Jason Morris is a 6-5 wing prospect, currently playing at the Tony Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. Coming in on a nine-game winning streak, the Bearcats of Hotchkiss faced a talented Tilton School program, featuring UConn commitments Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel as
well as Gerard Coleman, one of the better shooting guards in the class of 2010.
Whether it was a lingering virus or the blanketing defense of Coleman, Morris struggled with his shot (8 for 22) and effort throughout the contest, which Tilton won handily 98-79.
After the contest, Jason spoke with Blue Devil Nation about his current status, but, with his coach standing behind me, was far more terse in his responses than he was over the Summer.
Blue Devil Nation: How are you doing terms of your health? The last time I saw you were recovering from injuries to both your lower abdominal muscles and more recently an ankle injury, which you said, at the time, was affecting your quickness. [private]
Jason Morris: I've got bad knees now.
BDN: Wow, I saw you had some contraptions under both knees.
JM: (laughs) Yeah, I'm hoping its just growing pains but right now its tendinitis.
BDN: What are you able to do about it?
JM: Right now, I'm just taking Advil.
JM: Yeah, Advil and some other anti-inflammatory.
Blue Devil Nation: Well, how has your season gone thus far? As a team, I know you headed into the weekend on an eight-game winning streak, but it hasn't been the easiest thing to follow how you personally are performing.
Jason Morris: Well, I've been sick so Ive missed a lot of the year so far. This was only like my sixth game so far out of like fifteen.
BDN: What did you have?
JM: Just a nasty virus. I only started playing again like three days ago.
BDN: Do you know how much you're averaging so far this year?
JM: Not really ... probably between eighteen and twenty.
BDN: Is this about average playing time for you (played 29 of 32 minutes)?
JM: (looks over my shoulder at coach) Yeah, this is about average for me when I'm healthy.
Blue Devil Nation: Whats the current status of your recruitment?
Jason Morris:Since the last time, Wake offered and Duke has shown minor interest. Otherwise, its been fairly status quo.
BDN: You were talking over the summer about taking trips during the school year? Have you made any so far? Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
JM: Yeah, I'm planning on taking them during the spring.
BDN:I remember you mentioned that Hotchkiss was much more, well, lenient towards athletes than musicians.
JM: Yeah (laughs)
BDN: Have you set up any visits so far?
J.M.:Nothing official, but I'm planning on it.
BDN: What are some upcoming matchups that you're looking forward to? I know in one week in February you're going to play St. Anthony's and Oak Hill.
JM: Those are definitely the big ones ... those are the ones.
Blue Devil Nation:How does Tilton compare to the average team that you face during the regular season?
Jason Morris: Well, its difficult to do a back-to-back.
BDN: I know you guys had an eight game winning streak, but I wasn't sure if you won yesterday.
JM:Yeah, we won. With this team (Tilton), its hard to match-up with their height.
BDN:Yeah, you had no answer for Oriakhi and Coombs-McDaniel.
JM: Right! But that's now excuse. (looking over to the head coach) We have to figure out how to get more people involved.
BDN: Do you have a time frame for when you'd like to cut down on your list? In the past, you mentioned the spring and then ultimately decide at the end of your senior year. Is that still the case?
JM: Not really, I'm just trying to slowly deal with recruiting right now. Nothing formal right now. The visits should help me with the pros and cons of some programs.
BDN: One of the thing you talked about wanting to keep working on and improving upon was challenging yourself on defense. Have you noticed an improvement in that area? How does competing with Derrick Wilson in practice help you?
JM: Its difficult to gauge at this point with my health the way its been.
BDN: Whats your current size? In July, you were a little under 64, but expecting to grow quite a bit.
JM: I'm now about 6-5, 208.
BDN: Are most schools looking at you as a three? Two?
JM: Both really. They're trying to keep their options open.
BDN: Hows your school work going this year?
JM: Good, so far. I mean its difficult, but I'm trying to handle it.
Blue Devil Nation: Do you still do the Breakfast Club and dynamic training?
JM: Not nearly as much. We, well, I was able to do it in the Fall, but then I got sick and, with basketball season, I just don't have the time, but I'm going to do the dynamic training in the Springwell that AAU.
BDN: Which AAU program are you going to be with (played with Atlanta Celtics and New England Playaz in the prior years)?
JM: The Gauchos actually.
BDN: If you don't me asking, why? Was it anything political? More exposure?
JM: No, just, well, exposure and better caliber of players and a chance to win.
BDN: I know you're computer savvy with the Slingbox, etc. Do you follow your rankings from the various services? How fair or accurate do you feel they are?
JM: I don't look at the rankings. I'm just not interested really.
BDN: You mentioned in the past that the Duke coaches had been in contact with your father. Have you or your father heard from them recently? I know you mentioned they had shown minor interest.
JM: My father has spoken with them. I really haven't too much. Its just easier for them to contact through him. Ive gotten an e-mail.
BDN: Have you watched them or much college basketball on television this year? I know you have that Slingbox.
JM: Not really, Ive been working on my schoolwork and getting healthy and, of course, playing basketball.
BDN: Thanks, Jason. I hope you stay healthy the rest of the year and you'll be fine no matter what school you choose.
Duke came into the Wake Forest game riding a ten game winning streak which helped them earn a number one ranking in the nation, but as Wake will tell you, teams don't stay there long.
The Deacons who were ranked in the same position a week ago held on to win by a 70-68 score in a game that was not decided until the final buzzer.
Duke woke up to play outstanding basketball over the last ten minutes of the game, but not before digging a 13 point hole. While Duke is likely disappointed with their effort over forty minutes, the comeback proved that you cannot count them out.
Kyle Singler, Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer and David McClure put the Dukies on their back in the second half. SIngler scored 22 points and grabbed 12 boards while Henderson chipped in with 20 points and 7 rebounds. A total of 32 of their 44 points were scored after intermission.
While Scheyer continued to struggle from the field, he drained some key free throws while David McClure played good defense and had a team high tying 12 rebounds.
The problem is that most of the other Devils were missing in action. Smith had 6 points, Paulus 5 and Plumlee 4 to round out the scoring. That's just six players scoring against one of the leagues deepest teams.
Despite the lack of early intensity, Duke looked poised to send the game to overtime, but a missed switch on the defensive end allowed an easy Johnson bucket.
The Wake Forest fans rushed the court and Duke was hanging their heads, but it is a game they'll learn from. Duke will now regroup and prepare for Virginia on Super Bowl Sunday.
Tom Konchalski has been the editor and publisher of the highly respected High School Basketball Insider Report for more than thirty-five years. Currently, more than 225 colleges subscribe to his service. He is one of the select McDonald's All-American voters. After a weekend at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts, Mr. Konchalski sat down with Blue Devil Nation to talk about some Duke commitments and prospects.
Mason Plumlee: First of all, he has surprising athleticism. He can really jump. The trouble is his body lacks flexibility. He's got to get pliable. I really think he needs a person to work with him on that. He plays too erect. He never really bends his knees. He tries to back people down. He's got the quickness. The main thing he lacks is flexibility. He's got the size. He's very coachable. [private] He'll be a four-year player there and I think he'll be a good player in time.
Ryan Kelly: Ryan has so much more fluidity to his game right now. He really does so many things. He's got nearly a perfect skill set for a guy 6'9." He's not going to be a three. He's a step out four man, who has very good skills. Defensively, he'll be capable of defending the four, but he just needs to get stronger. Plumlee less so, but also most kids coming from high school need to get a lot stronger.
Andre Dawkins: He's a very good shooter... 6'4"...plays in a system. He's a guy that you don't need to get fifteen shots per game. He'll play within the system. He will knock down the three-pointer, but he's very patient. He doesn't really look to create his shot that much, but he'll take the shots that come to him. He'll be a very good system player. He's a big off guard that can shoot the ball. He's a good example of the saying "good shots make good shooters and bad shots make bad shooters."
Tyler Thornton: He's a utility guard. I don't think he's a pure point guard. He's not a great outside shooter, but he has really active hands. I think he'll be a defensive catalyst. He'll be a utility guard...a little point guard...a little off guard. He's a program player. You might say that's a euphemism for a career backup, but he'll be a program player. He'll be part of a winning process. Listen I don't think they're going to beat North Carolina or win the ACC or a national title with Thornton starting for them, but I think he can help.
Josh Hairston: Now, Josh Hairston's got a chance to be really good. He's 6'8," skilled, athletic with a good body, yet hasn't really hit the weights much yet. I think a big part of going after Tyler was that he was a D.C. teammate of his and continue to work D.C. Assault. Nolan was the first player to commit from the program and, if these two also have a good experience at Duke, they will be in good position to get future players as well.
John Wall: He's Evil Knievel without the cycle. He's the most explosive athlete in the class. He's just in a different class. He's 6'3 ½." He tries to just run by people. He plays at one speed. He's got to...if hes going to play and be an elite point guard...learn to play at different speeds. He'll drive by you...dunk on you...throw alley oops, but he's got to learn to not always try to play at one hundred miles per hour. As a point guard right now, he'll get assists mainly because he'll get by people and create numerical disadvantage. Through that...he'll find people, but he's got to learn to play at different speeds. He's just explosive. He's got to shoot it better. He's got to get more selective with his shot and push the ball at different paces. Someone has got to work with him on that...but there is no one in this class at his level of athleticism.
Harrison Barnes: I've never had a chance to see him play yet, but he's supposed to be a terrific player. I was at Reebok, when he was at Nike.
Kyrie Irving: Very good player. His father is in the Hall of Fame at BU. He played at Adlai Stevenson in the Bronx. His name is pronounced "Dedrick," but it's spelled Drederick. He played mostly for Jarvis at BU. He was a very, very good player at BU. He was about 6'3." Kyrie is now 6'1." He transferred in from Montclair Kimberly Academy. He would be eligible today, but they don't play again until Thursday. Right now, he's sort of a combination guard...at least 6'1." I'll tell you what I thought he and Isaiah Epps (Pitt) were the best junior guards in Jersey, but now he may very well be the best. He can shoot the ball very well. He can handle it and he's younger physically. See, Isaiah Epps is going to have to go prep school next year. He's run out of eligibility. I think he's a combination guard, but because of his size...he's 6'1"...wherever he goes they'll probably try to make him into a point guard. He's a talented player. He could play at that level. Would he be an all-American at Duke? Probably not, but he could be very good for them.
Jason Morris: Well, he didn't shoot well today again. His father, Phil, played in NY too. He lives with his mother down in Augusta, but the father played in New York and first talked about him when he was in the sixth grade...but everybody thinks their kid is great in the sixth grade. He goes to a very good school. He's going to play with the Gauchos, but he's played with other organizations in the past. Jason Morris has great explosion with the ball. He really elevates. He's got Otis-like elevation with the ball. He can stop on a dime and explode with his jump shot. I think he'll be very good and he's mature for his age. [/private]