Duke Basketball Recruiting Update – Wall, Barnes, Bledsoe

The John Wall saga continues into May

BDN Photo
BDN Photo

Don’t look for Wall to trim his list today, but [private] Friday and  Monday are possibilities, as is any other day in the future.  There are many complexities which make up the battle for Wall.  And it remains to be seen if World Wide Wes can swoop in at the last minute and work his magic.  Make no mistake, he will likely make a play on the Wall Camp during the midnight hour.

On the other hand, Wall’s Mom continues to side with the Blue Devils and some feel Brian Clifton wants him to stick close to home as well.  But before anything can happen, John needs to pass his SAT’s.  He will make his first attempt on Saturday, but there are many who feel it may take another try before it’s done, according to sources I have within the school.   If  Wall does not pass his SAT, he would forgo college and the options available are many.  Keep in mind that he has three opportunities to pass before the school year begins.

Still, if Wall can pass, Duke will remain in the race with Kentucky and a school or two which will likely make his final list.   I told you long ago that it would come down to Duke and Kentucky and while that could change, I have no reason to think it will.  As for a timeline on a decision, I will stick with what I told you a few weeks back in that this one could drag out until May 20th at the latest.  IOW, I am certain it will go into May.

As for Wall’s meeting with Krzyzewski, nothing is etched in stone as I type, but that could change within hours.  Duke still wants a face to face where Coach K will get to chat with Wall one more time before a decision is made.

Eric Bledsoe

I told you on the message board that Bledsoe had passed his ACT and that he would visit Memphis and Kentucky on Saturday.  There is nothing set up with Duke at this time, but Bledsoe remains interested and the staff is following this situation with Nate James as the lead recruiter.  I have said for the past few weeks that Bledsoe is a long shot, and I stick by that.

Harrison Barnes

I told you a while back that UNC got in the Harrison Barnes sweepstakes and that they have an unofficial visit scheduled with him in June after the NBA Player Developmental Camp.  That seemed like bad news at the time, but the Heels have a lot of catching up to do.  Barnes is telling everyone his recruitment is wide open, but if we allow some patience, this could be a similar situation to Kyle Singler’s.  Singler was thought to favor Duke all along, but he waited until the end for the decision, which put a lot of Duke fans on pins and needles.  I don’t look for Barnes to verbal anytime soon.  Oh yeah!  The good news is that, not to be outdone, Coach K and the Duke staff “may” get an unofficial visit the same weekend Harrison heads to Chapel Hill for the first time.  This would make the third visit to Duke for Barnes.
There are no other unofficial visits set up at this time.  (I had to edit this  for the nature is sensitive)

A busy July ahead for the staff

Duke will not be able to hit the road until July which gives them a much smaller window than in years past due to NCAA rules changes.  Until then, they will study what they hear and by August, we will have a good idea as to who is really on the radar.

Event coverage

We will be mapping out the rest of our spring and summer schedule shortly, but rest assured we’ll be represented at the tournaments that count.  There will be no drop-off in our coverage of the nation’s best prospects.

One last note.  There are some things involving the John Wall recruitment where I am sworn to silence.  I must respect the wishes of my sources on this, but promise to keep you more than just a little aware of what is going on.  Thanks for being a member of the Blue Devil Nation.  The best is yet to come. [/private]

Quick Hitter – Kyle Hill talks of his position switch and Duke Football

Kyle Hill (right)
Kyle Hill (right)

For Duke to have a successful 2009 campaign, it will be important for young players like Kyle Hill to lead the way for the offensive line.  BDN talked with Kyle after the spring football game and here are his thoughts going into the off season.  It is worth noting that once again, Coach David Cutcliffe said that all of his players would stick around and workout this summer.

You have switched positions on the offensive line, how is that going?

It’s been going pretty good, I’m enjoying it.  I was playing left tackle last spring and guard last Fall, so it’s a nice switch to go back to left tackle.

Do you feel like this team is now looking to you for leadership on the offensive line?

I think they are really just looking for whoever can step forward and be a good leader.  You know, myself and Brian have been trying to do our best to be good examples and work hard for the rest of the line to follow us.

Coach said you’ve have put on a little  weight, can you talk about that?

I’ve put on about twenty pounds and I can definitely feel the strength difference.  It feels a lot better and it is helping me in a positive way and has helped out a lot.

You have two years under Coach Cutcliffe and have seen last year’s team and this year’s team.  Do you feel that you can be as good or better than last year?

Oh, I definitely think so.  The amount of intensity and the work ethic is unbelievable.  We just keep working hard and feel at least as good as we did if not better.  I really feel we can do better than we did last year.

What are your thoughts on the spring game?

It was very game like.  It was fast paced for a spring game and we competed hard against the defense which was a lot of fun and a good experience.

Former Duke All American Claude “T” Moorman, II passes

mailgooglecomDURHAM, N.C. – Former Duke football standout Claude “T” Moorman, II, MD passed away on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 in his hometown of Plymouth, N.C. He was 69 years old.

Born August 21, 1939 in Roanoke, Va., Moorman was raised in Miami, Fla., where he was President of the Student Body at Miami High School and an all-state and All-America football player for the Stingarees.  He matriculated to Duke University where he lettered three years (1958-60) for Duke and helped lead the Blue Devils to the 1960 ACC Championship, a No. 10 final national ranking by the Associated Press and a 7-6 win over seventh-ranked Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. He recorded the game-winning touchdown on a pass reception in the fourth quarter against the Razorbacks.

As a senior in 1960, Moorman was selected a first team All-America by both the Football Writers Association of America and the Football News as well as earning first team All-ACC honors. He posted 54 receptions, still the 12th-best single season total for a Blue Devil and the second-highest ever by a tight end. He finished his career with 71 receptions for 709 yards and five touchdowns.

Moorman was recently honored as a member of the 2008 ACC Legends representing Duke University at the ACC Championship game in Tampa, Fla. He was also named to the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, Duke’s Top 50 Athletes of the Century (Blue Devil Weekly), Florida’s all-time Top 100 Football Players and the Miami High School and Duke University Halls of Fame.

He attended Duke Medical School, completed his MD in 1966, and trained in Orthopaedics at Duke under Dr. Lenox Baker. He volunteered for medical service in Vietnam in 1970 and served with the AMA/USAID Team. He completed law school in 1979 and served with the Army Department of Legal Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. Moorman subsequently commanded US Army Reserve Units at multiple sites and retired as a Colonel from the USAR in 1998. He formed and directed anesthesia groups in Leesburg, Va., Stuart, Fla., and Port St. Lucie, Fla., during his time as an Army Reserve Commander.

Moorman’s last decade was focused on living his dream as a farmer on the Albemarle Sound in Washington County, N.C.

He was proceeded in death by his parents and is survived by his cherished companion Mary Dinkins, his children Tee and Lynne Moorman of Durham, N.C., Pam and Scott Beecher of Concord, N.C., Tommy and Debra Moorman of Wake Forest, N.C., Jay and Jamee Moorman of Yuma, Ariz., Jill and Jason Kelso of Orlando, Fla., and his grandchildren Tommy Beecher, Matthew Beecher, Austin Moorman, C.T. Moorman IV, Katie Beecher, Virginia Moorman, Josh Moorman, Marianne Moorman, B.J. Beecher, Dax Moorman, Ellison Kelso, Loch Moorman.

A memorial service will be held at the Duke University Hall of Honor (adjacent to Cameron Indoor Stadium) at 4:00 p.m. with reception following in the Yoh Football Building on May 2, 2009. Internment will take place at the Arlington National Cemetery on July 22, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. with full military honors.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in his memory to the Bassett Society, a scholarship support for Duke athletes pursuing medical/dental education. Bassett Society, DUMC, Box 3639, Durham, NC  27710.

Blue Devil Nation Premium – In depth interview with future Blue Devil Josh Hairston

Picture property of Natalie Hairston and may not be used without permission from BDN or the photgrapher
Picture property of Natalie Hairston and may not be used or duplicated without permission from BDN or the photographer

Blue Devil Nation Premium caught up with Josh Hairston to find out how his AAU season was going.  In the process, we talked of his high school season, his future AAU events, Adidas Nation and much more in an informative interview.  Having talked with Josh on several occasions during his high school and AAU career, I have a good idea of who this young man is, but he never disappoints in adding something new each time we speak.  Josh is open and excited that he is to be a future Duke Blue Devil.  We think you’ll enjoy this detailed interview –

I just wanted to check in and see how things we’re going with you …

Yes sir (in an upbeat and excited voice)

When do you get out of school?

About four or five weeks …

Are you counting down the days?

(emphatic) Aw man, I’m counting them down.  It’s been a long and successful school year but I’m ready to move on to that senior year.

How about recapping the end of your high school season for the Blue Devil Nation …

We made a great run and finished at the top of our Battlefield District, won the tournament and went on to the regional tournament and then down to Richmond for the state tournament and won all that.  So it was a real successful year.  We set our goals and took each one a step at a time and the further we got the better and better we played, so it was a real successful year.

That’s great!  Did you win any individual honors?

Yes, I was named [private] player of the year for Virginia AA and regional player of the year and district player of the year.

Wow!  Congratulations … I know you’ve already played in a couple of AAU events, can you tell me about those a little bit and how you played?

Okay.  I started off in New Jersey and I feel I played very well.  All the [private] write ups that came back and the feedback I got was very positive.  We also went to the championship game where we lost by one point to the New England Playaz so that was hard.  We didn’t come ready to play so we had to live with it and keep on working.  Then we had pour tournament up in Chantilly, Virginia and we went through that and we actually beat the New England Playaz by 20 or 25 points in the championship game.  Then we went down to Arkansas.  We didn’t play our best as a team but the feedback I got was pretty positive but none of that real matters if your team didn’t do well, so it was a disappointment for us but you just have to shake it off.

You are going to be playing exclusively for D.C. Assault this spring and summer, correct?

Yes sir.

You guys have like a black team and such, can you talk of that and which one you’ll play for?

We have like three or four 17 and under teams but I play for D.C. Assault Gold.

Can you tell me a little bit about your team and who plays with you?

Tyler [Thornton], you know, Tyler is on the team.  We are a real successful team.  We have Eric Adkins who just recently committed to Notre Dame.  Then we have Max who is headed to UMass and Cedric Lindsey – a whole lot of schools are looking at him too.  We are very deep on the beach and are a well rounded team that plays well together.

You have played with Tyler [Thornton] several times in the past already.  Can you find that the chemistry continues to build when you two are on the court.

I do. (Keeping the upbeat tone for the whole interview now) It’s almost like we can read each others minds when we are pout there.  I know what he’s going to do and he knows what I am going to do.  I can tell you when he is going to pull up for a jumper or head to the basket and when I know he’s going to do things like that, I just go to the basket and try to get a rebound.  Tyler, the kind of player he is, when he wants to take over a game he can and we can kind of read each others minds on the court.

Can you talk about your future AAU events and what you have coming up?

Yes sir.  I know we have the Southern Invitational coming up and then we’ll have Bob Gibbons down there at Duke and UNC.  And then I know we will go to Las Vegas and Los Angeles and we will go down to Florida for Team Breakdowns tournament.  I’m on that Adidas Nations team so I’m going to miss some of that.

Tell me a little bit about that?

(exuberant) Aw man, that’s a great experience, it’s an honor to be a part of that.  You are selected and play with a select group of players.  I am talking about Josh Smith, Brandon Knight, guys like that.  We recently had a practice in Las Vegas and it’s the real deal.  I enjoy playing with them.  I think we have a couple fo more practices left and then we’ll head out to Dallas and I can’t wait for that.

What is it like playing with a bunch of stars as opposed to AAU and high school ball?

You know, it’s hard sometimes because you have to play with as good or better players.  Josh Smith, Brandon Knight and Jared Sullinger are all at the top of their class and that is not even necessarily saying that they are better than everybody or better than everybody in the program, but we are all used to being the man on our high school team.  When all of us come together it’s hard, but our team is playing well together.  I mean, as soon as we stepped on the court the chemistry was there.  It’s hard at first, but you have to learn to play through it and work as a team and that’s hopefully how you will ge the job done.

Who do you think is the toughest guy out there?

Tristan … (paused to think)  I remember, I played Tristan fifteen and under and I mean, his game has grown so much.  I mean he can shoot the ball and get to the basket at will.  If you let him, he’ll dunk on you.  So, Tristan I’ve been impressed with.  Then you have guys like Trey Golden and Josh Smith.  They impress every time they step out on the floor.  I can’t really say that one person has impressed me more than another because I was impressed with everybody so far.

How do you feel that you played?

I feel I played very well.   A lot of them were on the team last year and I think there were like three or four of us added on this year.  Those guys welcomed me with open arms and I have learned everything quickly.  I mean they threw me right in there and I started playing.

Can you tell me who this team will be playing and when these games will go down?

For Adidas Nation, we’ll play the other countries of the world.  We will play Europe and Canada, Latin America and such like that.  We will just prepare for that.  That comes up in August down in Dallas.  Right now, we are just scrimmaging the 2011 team and they’re full of talent of late.

What is your current height and weight?

6-8,  215

So you are a solid 6-8 now?

Yes sir, a solid 6-8.

Do you still feel like you are growing?

You know, I hope so.  I don’t know if it’s because they see me everyday but my teachers and priciple at school, when I walk into the office they always say I’m getting bigger and my mom says that too, so I hope so.

Do you ever go around the message boards and see rumors like Josh might open up his recruiting and the like?  What do you make of stuff like that?

Yes sir.  My mom reads that stuff, but I don’t really pay attention to it.  You hear things like, I’m not that good, I won’t make it Duke and I will sit on the bench and stuff like that.  I really don’t pay attention to it and I know what coaches have told me.  I know I can walk into any situation and walk into to any college and start, but I know I will have to outwork the next guy.  On message boards some people are very negative and others are very positive and supportive and things like that.  I know I see some backing me up at times and I wish I could thank them, but I really don’t pay attention to that.  I know that my commitment to Duke is full and they know it and as long as that is the case, it’s all that counts.  I called to talk with Coach Wojo today and left him a message so we’ll talk by tomorrow.

Do you continue to follow recruiting and who your future teammates might be?

I do, I do because it’s important who I will play with.

What do you think about the John Wall situation which seems to dominate the talk of late?

Whatever school gets John they are getting a one and done player.  I think John Wall really is that good and I would like to say I will be able to play with him when I get there.  But I am going to be honest with myself and say John Wall is a one year player.

How would you feel about playing with Harrison Barnes?

Aw man, I played with Harrison at the Nike Hoop Jamboree Camp.  He’s a phenomenal player and can do almost everything out on the basketball court.  When he was down at the UNC game in Cameron and I saw him with that Duke T-Shirt on, my face lit up and I said, okay we have a chance with him.  I really don’t push the envelope and try to get him to come to Duke, but I will throw little hints here and ther telling him Duke really wants him and he knows that.  I think he will make the smart decision.

What will you work on the rest of the summer with concerns to basketball?

Definitely to continue to get bigger.  I don”t want to put on too much weight and be a muscle head, but if I can put on some more weight it will help me finish around the basket.  I will work on my jump shot and continue to take it our further.   I feel if I do those two thing everything will be fine.

Josh, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you and I will see you on the AAU trail soon.

Yes sir, thank you.

Talk about this article on the Blue Devil Nation Premium Message Board. [/private]

The Duke Blue Devils men’s team celebrate their 2009 accomplishments

poaulussThe Duke Men’s Basketball Awards Banquet was held this past Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium and serves as a season ending celebration.  For those in attendance there is that feeling of being a part of the team as you listen the seniors give emotional and personal speeches.  The voice of the Blue Devils, Bob Harris, got the evening started and he soon gave way to Athletic Director Kevin White.

White made it quite clear that Mike Krzyzewski had been a big factor when he interviewed for the job and ultimately left Notre Dame.   It was clear that White realized K’s accomplishments as he presented him with the Amos Alonzo Stagg trophy.

Krzyzewski took to the podium, where he acknowledged appreciation for the crowd that gathered and looked out adoringly to his family, introducing each and every one in one fell swoop.  His family has always played a big role in the awards banquets, coming up with themes and video highlights features for the seniors and assigning each their own individual song.

Just in front of Krzyzewski’s table sat the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Champions trophy and he let everybody know of how proud he was of that accomplishment.  We should all recognize that Duke won thirty games against a schedule ranked number one in the RPI and that, when the chips were down after a loss to Boston College, masterful adjustments led to the ACC crown and a number two seed in the NCAA Tournament.

This was, after all, a new staff with the addition of Nate James and the departure of Johnny Dawkins to Stanford.  Not only did Dawkins leave, but so did Mike Scragge, the head of basketball operations.  K’s son-in-law, Chris Spatola, took over that job and Chris Carrawell came aboard as well and both may be in line to coach one day.

The point is that Duke persevered by making changes before and after the season.  With a team that had no dominant center and a point guard by committee, this w,as in my opinion, one of Coach K and his staff’s finer jobs.  Had the average fan been given the opportunity to take the aforementioned thirty wins, ACC title and Sweet 16 going into this season, I’m pretty sure they would have said, fine by me.

But Krzyzewski knows that it takes players to perform and he was quick to thank them for the experience of coaching them and this was genuine adoration, not just coach-speak.  He then gave way to his assistant coaches who handed out individual awards where Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson were named MVP’s.

Coach Collins was his perpetually exuberant self as he handed out each award, and Wojo limped to the stage on a crutch due to recently suffering an ACL injury in a pick-up game.  Nate James made his first appearance and some of the players mentioned how good it was to have a guy like him around.  Heck, Coach K even called him “Nate Dogg,” as the crowd let out laughter.

But despite funny cracks all the way around, it may have been Marty Pocius who stole the show.  He alluded to the fact that his first roommate left for Arizona State and then his second to California and wondered out loud, is it me?  He then mentioned that both went a long way west to get away.   Pocius then stated that he was assigned a walk-on for a roommate the next season.

Marty also joked of his language curve and how hard it was for a Lithuanian to learn English.  “I’d be sitting around in the locker room and be listening to a joke and everybody would start laughing.  By the time I caught up with it and laughed they had moved on to the next joke.”

After each senior spoke, Krzyzewski would finish up with some comments and introduce the next one in line.  When he came to Dave McClure, he stated that he just got a text from Matt Christensen with his well wishes.  This again brought a laugh from the crowd for Christensen had a longer stint at Duke than, well, anybody.  McClure’s injuries made it seem like he was here for almost as long.  Even Pocius jokingly referred to him as “Uncle McClure.”

But when Dave was at the podium flashbacks of one of the most selfless players in Duke history filled my head.  They, of course, showed that awesome shot to win the game versus Clemson a bit later in his tribute video.

When it was time for Greg Paulus to have his turn, Krzyzewski showed the highest admiration, reminiscing on when he recruited him and how tough he was.  While he certainly didn’t mention some of his detractors, he made sure that all knew that during Greg’s four years that Duke went 112-28, which averaged out to 28 wins a season.

Paulus was grateful for the comments and walked off the round stage with the dignity of a champion, an ACC Champion.   It’s not often that a three year starter can accept a new role for the betterment of his team, and Paulus gave his heart and soul to Duke during his four years.

During some of the awards, a hoot or holler if you will, rang out for Gerald Henderson to stay.  But those in the know realized that the talented “G” or Hendo was just hours before he was to announce that he would be entering the NBA Draft.

I suppose some would have liked to hear a farewell speech from Gerald, but this night is traditionally set aside for seniors.  While I certainly hope Henderson will return, my sources say he is likely gone and Duke fans should not hold that against him for he served the royal blue well.

Maybe that’s why Krzyzewski didn’t really talk as much about next season as he has in past events, but maybe he just wanted these kids to enjoy their championship.  Before the hall of fame coach made his final trip to the podium, the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Champions banner fell from above and K stood under it to applause from the diehard fans who were there.

He then called his team up and, once they settled together, the championship trophy was hoisted high by Brian Zoubek as the circular stage turned so all the crowd could see.  It was a proud moment for all and the smiling faces of the players, the fans and family alike is what makes this event special.  Quite simply, it was a celebration of accomplishments, and the history books will always have Duke crowned the 2009 ACC Champs.

Men’s Banquet Photo Gallery is located in the menu to your right.
2008-09 Duke Men’s Basketball Award Winners (courtesy GoDuke.com)

Swett-Baylin Award (Most Valuable Player): Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler
Dr. Deryl Hart Award (Top Scholar-Athlete): Greg Paulus
Glenn E. “Ted” Mann, Jr., Award (Reserve Contributing Most to Team Morale): Elliot Williams
Coach’s Award (Player Exemplifying the Commitment and Values of Duke Basketball): Lance Thomas
Iron Dukes Award (Most Minutes Played): Jon Scheyer
Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Awards: Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer
Best Field Goal Percentage Award: Gerald Henderson
Best Rebounding Average Award: Kyle Singler
Best Free Throw Percentage Award: Jon Scheyer
Most Assists Award: Jon Scheyer
Best Defensive Player Award: Gerald Henderson
Gopal Varadhan Senior Manager Award: Joey McMahon, Griffin Tormey
Harry Rainey Spirit Award: Elise Rose
Charles Hogan Memorial Band Award: John Roelofs

Wallmania continues – John Wall is ready to trim his list this week

John Wall - BDN Photo
John Wall - BDN Photo

John Wall has returned from Miami where he took a look at the facilities, met the president and took in a baseball game and, of course, South Beach.  According to Wall, he will trim his list to two or three schools on Thursday or Friday of this week.

How was the visit to Miami?

It was good, I toured the facilities, went to a baseball game and met with their president.

Did you see South Beach?

Yeah, got to see south beach.  It was really hot down there.

On Friday, Calipari came in, can you talk about that visit just a little bit?

He [private] just said the same thing he was saying at Memphis, nothing had changed.

Will you visit Duke?

I don’t know yet.

So you may work out something?

Yeah.

Do you have any idea when you will trim your list or make a decision?

This week.  At the end of the week.

Is there a number you are looking for, two, three?

Yeah, two or three.

Just briefly, can you tell me where you are in the process?  Are you talking it over with those around you …

I guess, just  that.

What are your plans in the next couple of days?

Just to get some rest.

Okay, I appreciate your time.

It’s safe to say that John Wall is playing it very close to the vest for now as seen by the above answers.  Talk about this on the message board. [/private]