Andre Dawkins leads Boo Williams into the semi finals with a three point barrage

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Future Duke player Andre Dawkins was on fire from the three point stripe hitting 8 of 12 and tallying 30 plus points in Boo Williams easy victory over the Georgia Stars.  The AAU nationals are winding down and Boo Williams has been playing together making a late season run for the title after a disappointing summer.  BDN will continue to update you on the action as the event winds down.  Our interviews from Las Vegas and Orlando began today with an in depth talk with Kyrie Irving.  If you want the absolute, hands down best coverage of Duke basketball recruiting then join BDN Premium today.  Our members are discusssing the latest happenings on the message board and we are just scratching the surface with our on site reports.

One on one with Kyrie Irving – “It’s an honor to have Coach K watching me”

Kyrie Irving - copyright BDN Photo
Kyrie Irving - copyright BDN Photo

One of the bigger stars in Orlando during the Showcase and AAU Nationals was Duke prospect Kyrie Irving.  People are still talking about his play on the New Jersey Celtics and Roadrunners teams where he dropped thirty points almost every time out.  In leading his team with upset wins over the two best AAU teams all summer long, Irving ended the AAU season in style.  BDN caught up with Kyrie for a one on one interview where he was obviously happy to see Coach K and the Duke staff at all of his games.  Kyrie talks of friendships with other prospects, Coach K, the recruiting process and Jason Williams and his Jersey roots in yet another in depth interview from BDN Premium -

This is Mark Watson of Sports Nation Network standing here with Kyrie Irving who just had yet another 30 point game in this tournament.  Your scoring average has to be around 31 ppg, but you’ve also been a giant killer in that your New Jersey Celtics team beat All Ohio Red and Team Final in back to back games.  That’s quite an accomplishment!  They of course, have been the two best teams on the AAU circuit all season long.  Talk about your personal and team success in Orlando.

(Kyrie smiled as I was asking the question and his face showed pride from his teams play) This tournament has been great.  We had two impressive wins over All Ohio Team Red and Team Final.  Those were great victories especially winning them with my teammates from high school.  Our chemistry on that team is far beyond any others and playing in the AAU circuit with them on the Celtics is fun and playing with the Roadrunners makes it even more enjoyable.  In these tournaments I just try to go out, get my team involved and help my team to victory. [private]

I guess on the outside looking in a lot of people would see all these points you score and would think maybe Kyrie Irving Irving just throws the ball up a lot, but that’s not the case, you’re a team players that plays within the chemistry of the system.

Uh hum (acknowledged my statement)

ki dunkOne of the things that I have noticed and find admirable is that when your teammates make a mistake you overlook that take it in stride getting back on defense and or just keep going.

You have to keep going and look to the next play.  That’s me working on my leadership skills for next season.  People tend to get a little frustrated, especially with all of these college coaches watching and they’ll make mistakes and get down on themselves. So, I just try to take the leadership role and encourage them.

Everybody is coming out to see you play, several of the venues have been packed during your games.  Be it fans, coaches or guys going to other schools they all seem to be turning out.  Let’s talk about that.  I’m looking down in the end zone right now and there is the entire Indiana staff watching and hanging around after your game.   What is it like to have all the coaches out in force?

It’s great, I enjoy seeing them.  Seeing all these great colleges is a blessing with them here watching and I enjoy them more playing with my friends and teammates on the AAU circuit.

Some have said in the past that Indiana was the leader.  There was talk on message boards that IU was named a leader.  Can I just clarify that?  Is there a leader and is it Indiana or were they just in there early on?

They were in there early.  To name Indiana my favorite was kind of premature.  All the schools are still balanced  and I am still going through the process at full force right now.  I don’t have a favorite right now so I am just taking it day by day.

Rivers, Irving and Dawkins share a moment between games
Rivers, Irving and Dawkins share a moment between games

You have had Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) the Olympic coach  following your every move this weekend catching your every move (KI smiling in acknowledgement).   What was it like to play in front of a guy like him?

Aw, it was great I enjoyed it!  I put on a show and it was just great to have him here.  He’s coached so many great guys like LeBron and Kobe and seeing him here … he’s like a celebrity there watching me so it was great.  Just to know that he took time out and came in from Vegas to see me … it’s an honor.  I mean, he didn’t have to come in here with everything he had going on, but he did.

Is it a plus on his side that he has been able to coach and interact with such talented players?

Yeah (nodding).

Do you find that an attractive situation?

Yeah.  He has a lot of connections … one of the great point guards, I think if he didn’t get in that motor cycle accident he would have been a ten time all star to this day in Jason Williams.  That really attracts me because he is from Jersey and that just really attracts me.

Yeah, he talked with all the teams and was really straight forward with some personal issues in his talks to all the teams.  So, you can relate to that being a Jersey guy …

Yeah.

… did he have good things to say about Duke or did he even go there?

No, he didn’t go there.

Kyrie, when will you get down to business in the recruiting process?

Nothing is set in stone right now.  I am just going through the camps right now.  I have the Elite 24 and the Nike Global games and after that just a break.

Well, you deserve that break.  It’s been a pleasure to have followed you balling on the AAU circuit this season.  In the past, I hadn’t really been able to see the Roadrunners a lot but this year I have.

Thanks.

Let me ask you this, have you set up any unofficial visits with other schools or are you working on that?

No not really, I am just playing these games and resting up.  We play so many games a lot.

You have mentioned your Dad in past conversations and obviously he’ll play a big role in your decision.  Have you talked to him about some of the schools?  Is he here this weekend?

Now, he’s not here.  Usually he doesn’t travel to these kinds of tournaments, he likes me to figure it out so he gives me some space to let me figure out the process.  I will call him every night and let him know how I played, but most of the time it is about my weaknesses and what I didn’t do or can do better in a game.  He’s is not just my biggest fan but a critic as well and yeah, I call him every night.

So, you get to call him and say hey Dad, I went off in front of Coach K today and all of the other coaches?

(laughed and smiled) Yeah, yeah I do.  He enjoys it with me so ..

Is that where you learned most of your basketball skills growing up, Kyrie?

Yes.  My father went to BU (Boston) and they retired his number there and went overseas to Australia and played there.  Actually, that’s where I was born.  So basketball runs in my family, my mom plays basketball …

Would you like to play for Team USA one day?  Have you ever thought about that or is it something you would like to do.

As of right now, a decision that I have made is that I am not going to play with the USA team.  I am going to play with Australia.

That’ll be a lot of fun.

Yeah.

Are other teams trying to squeeze in now or make a run at you?

(paused to think) Uh, I’m not sure, they probably call my father but I won;t know until I call him.

So, what will you say tonight?  Just another thirty point game Dad?

I’m going to tell him my shot wasn’t really falling in the first half because they were in a zone.  But once they went man I started getting my points.  Other than that we don’t really speak about the recruiting unless we are face to face.

You have a tough game tomorrow with Boo Williams – Dawkins going to Duke, Marshall to UNC, McKie to Wake Forest.  What are your thoughts going into that game?

I love it.  I want to play the best.  We played them before the (NJ Celtics) and beat them in a great game.  Me and Michael Gilchrist had a great game against them.  I didn’t even know we were playing them, but now that I do, I am looking forward to it.

Now, with Michael Gilchrist you guys are tight in that you hang in the circuit and play together in high school, right?

Yeah, we keep in touch.  We are relatively close in just a friend like relationship.

I have seen you talking to a lot of guys around here.  Is that just from growing up with them in the circuit?  I saw you with Austin Rivers and Andre Dawkins the other day.  Is that a common thing, do you just go around talking to the guys?

When I started going to the top camps that is when I started getting to know them.  Going to those camps again, this is the first season I have gone to the top camps – I met the top players.

Kyrie, you have had a fantastic week of play.  Thanks for your time and good luck.

Thanks a lot. [/private]

Redick, Hill, Williams turn out in force to support Coach K and watch Dawkins in Orlando

Grant Hill chat with Coach K, Jeff Capel and Mike Brey - copyright BDN Photo
Grant Hill chat with Coach K, Jeff Capel and Mike Brey - copyright BDN Photo

ORLANDO – Duke was sending a message to prospects this weekend, that being, if you come to Duke you are a part of a family.  You can add to that, once you are in the family, it’s for life.

As the AAU Nationals continued in sunny Orlando, Florida, there was quite a Duke flavor permeating the arenas.

Mike Kryzyzewski arrived on the scene with Steve Wojcichowski today, where they joined Chris Collins following prospective Duke targets.

Imagine being a future Dukie and looking up in the stands and seeing not only your assistant coaches, but Hall of Famer Grant Hill and JJ Redick.

That was the case for Andre Dawkins, the class of 2010 commitment who plays with Boo Williams.

“JJ was fun to watch when I was coming up.  He had such fire and swagger about him and opponents hated him.  And that’s what you want, you don’t want your opponents to like you.  It was great to see them out here supporting me,” said Dawkins after his teams win.

I asked Andre what it was like to be a part of the Duke family and he paused before saying, “It’s a lot of fun but I don’t know if it’s quite sunk in yet.”

Chris Collins and JJ Redick watched Andre Dawkins game Monday evening - copyright BDN Photo
Chris Collins and JJ Redick watched Andre Dawkins game Monday evening - copyright BDN Photo

Just before Grant Hill went to watch Andre Dawkins with Wojo and Collins, he sat with Mike Krzyzewski who was also sitting with former Duke assistant and current Notre Dame coach Mike Brey.

But Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel was also there, as was Roshown McCleod, Jason Williams and Johnny Dawkins.

All of the former players paid tribute to their former coach who just came in from not only watching prospects in Las Vegas, but tending to his Team USA duties.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim was also seated beside Krzyzweski for much of the evening and he, of course, serves as an assistant.  It’s worth noting that Krzyzewski has called him a co-head coach out of respect for his long time friend.

It didn’t take long for the crowd to notice the gathering of Dukies, for many could be seen snapping pictures of Coach K, and some even trying to breach the lines between the coaches, media and fans to get a closer glimpse.

Fans also were aware of JJ Redick’s presence and many of the young ballers were sneaking over to get a look.  Heck, even the coaches were stretching their necks, many likely marveling that when the Devils turn out they do it in style.

Jason Williams gave kids a talk they'd remember - copyright BDN Photo
Jason Williams gave kids a talk they'd remember - copyright BDN Photo

BDN was on the scene all day long and we’ll bring you more coverage in our premium subscription section.  In fact, we will have reports and interviews from Las Vegas and Orlando well into the following week.

Join Blue Devil Nation today to get live reports all week long from Orlando.  We bring you up close and personal to the best basketball program in the land with unmatched recruiting coverage.  Interviews from this event and Las Vegas will be coming shortly.

Day One – AAU Nationals – The Duke staff follows Beal, Dawkins and Irving

Coaches take in the action today in Orlando
Coaches take in the action today in Orlando

The championship game from the Showcase will be tonight, but the AAU Nationals are underway as well.  A bevy of college coaching greats  have descended upon Disney’s Wide World of Sports to get one last look at some of the nations top basketball prospects.  Coach K and his staff are out in force and they are intermingled with the likes of Roy Williams, Billy Donovan and others.

One of Duke’s main targets is Kyrie Irving, but Irving was unable to participate in his New Jersey Roadrunners final game because he suited up for the New Jersey Celtics for their upset run.  Despite that, Krzyzewski sat with assistants Collins and Wojciechowski out of respect and to show that the guard is at the top of their list.

It gets better for Duke fans who [private] want to dream for Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers and Andre Dawkins all mingled before the tip off of the Boo Williams game.  Now, let’s not make too much of that, but it was still a nice thing to see.  The Duke Captain and his cohorts of course watched Andre Dawkins perform, as he drained 19 points in an easy opening win for Boo Williams.

They then took in Brad Beal’s final game where his team fell short and Beal struggled.  During the contest Johnny Dawkins, Jay Williams, Mike Brey and Roshown McCleod all sat on the front row, with Kansas coach being the odd man out.  I jokingly thought about asking him if he got the memo that the row was for Blue Devils only.

Oddly, Billy Donovan came in late in the second half and, for those of you who don’t know, Duke, Florida and Kansas are considered the front runners for Beal’s services.

Despite his off game, Beal told BDN that he would just pick it up and go at it again.  He was excited to see the coaches in the stands for his game and noticed Krzyzewski as did many in the crowd.  I will have more on that later.

After the game, Jay Williams shared his experience with both teams in a twenty-minute conversation that included Beal.  He told the entire story of the motorcycle wreck, warning the kids of what could happen and that they needed to invest their money wisely and make good decisions.

Andy Katz asked Coach K to take part in the ESPN telecast but K declined for now, stating he was there to watch the games.  The Duke staff headed to a local high school to watch Irving, who can now play in that the showcase is over, and they will return to see Andre Dawkins and Austin Rivers play in two separate gyms.

I will go into more detail when time allows. [/private]

Las Vegas AAU Action continues – Miller, Bello, Hairston, Thornton and more

Quincy Miller
Quincy Miller

There was more AAU action in Las Vegas today as the event nears the end.  There are complete reports from the events on the Blue Devil Nation Premium message board and plenty will be coming in the week ahead.  Mark Watson has just finished up with the Showcase in Orlando and is ready for the AAU Nationals which begin to day.  The Blue Devil Nation is on top of Duke Basketball recruiting folowing true targets to close out the AAU season.

The following are notes from Las Vegas [private] which are located on the premium message board from Sunday.  For the complete group of notes, go to the message board.  If you are a paying subscriber (which you are if you can read this) you need to register for the message board separately if you haven’t already.

Team Detroit hung on to win 51-50 over MBA Elite.
McCallum and Ferguson had 12 apiece.
LaQuinton Ross and Rodney Hood were a combined 3/17. Demarco Cox had 10 points and 8 boards.

D-One wins 87-76, but the score isn’t indicative of how close the game was.
Bello was 8/9 from the field.  Amazingly, he still hasn’t hit a jump shot from the field in the seven games I’ve watched of his. They now advance to the semi-finals of the Reebok Summer Championships.

I’m not sure whether they’ll be broadcasting the next game live, but they do have some videos up already.

Miller and Bello are set to tip off against the Franchize All-Stars.
California Supreme(Gary Franklin, Dwayne Pollee, Keala King, Tyler Lamb) will take on Team Detroit (McCallum, Ziegler, Ferguson) in the other semi-final.

It’s scary to think that this kid has two more years of high school. Miller could get minutes on this team now…Q Miller with a three as I’m typing this. LoL  He had four blocks in one sequence. [/private]

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Boyle Jr. lead the NJ Celtics to a stunning win over Team Final

cetEvery now and then special performances grace the AAU circuit, be it an individual prospect or a team.  On Saturday at the Showcase in Orlando, Florida there was such a performance.  The New Jersey Celtics aided by the addition of Kyrie Irving  are the talk of the tournament after playing giant killer.

The Celtics took on mighty All Ohio Red and Team Final in back to back games. New Jersey defeated Ohio led by Jared Sullinger and Adrian Payne behind a gutsy team effort.  Just a couple of hours later, in marched Team Final led by the likes of Michael Gilchrist and Dion Waiters.  Guess what?  They went down to.

In the span of a few hours, the New Jersey Celtics knocked off the two most consistent and or best teams in AAU ball this season.  The Celtics are made of of St. Patrick’s players, a high school power coached by Kevin Boyle.  However, the Celtics did not have all of his players.  Missing was Michael Gilchrist who happens to be the top rated player in the class of 2011.

In short, the Celtics would have been installed as a large double digit underdog if that kind of thing happened at this level.  Thus the reason why fans started to pack the gym as word spread that they were on the verge of pulling their second straight upset.  As one person said, a fire marshall would have cleared the area from not just fans but refs who stopped in after calling other games.

It looked as if  Team Final would pull away early, but after going down nine points, a Celtics timeout righted the ship.  As is the case in all great games, scripting the outcome would have been impossible and for those who saw this game it was a special treat which would pump the blood of any basketball fan.

A quick look on the sidelines showed a who’s who in the major college coaching ranks.  Duke was represented by Chris Collins while Coach K is in Vegas with Team USA.  He was flanked by Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel and Roshown McCleod.  Not far from them were Roy Williams and Billy Donovan and John Calipari of UNC ,Florida and Kentucky respectively.  They were but a few well recognized figures which would take in the game.

Many were there to see Michael Gilchrist and loaded Team Final, but some were also there to see Kyrie Irving a player Duke, Indiana and Kentucky are battling over.  In the end, it would be Irving and a coaches son that stole the show and they did so in style.

It was clear that the Celtics would live by the three or die by it and a few missed shots put them in a hole which they closed to five in the first half.  A the game progressed the Devils hung in and gained confidence cutting the lead to two on an Irving deuce late in the third 49-47.

textThat is when the  Kyrie Irving Show started.  Irving stole the ball and went coast to coast to tie the game.  Just after that he drove the baseline and put his team up three on a three point play.  Then on another Team Final miss he drove in for a floater was fouled hit both shots and the Celtics took a 52-47 lead as their sideline erupted.

Gilchrist stopped the slide with a power move and basket, but then Irving made the play of the game.  As he drove the baseline he put a spins move breaking the legs of two defenders rolling perfectly to the basket for a lay in to the oohs of the entire gym.  Coaches were looking at one another and testing away, eyebrows raised at the play.

Team Final put together a run and took the lead but Irving then drove the baseline for a thunderous dunk and Final answered once again with a Waiters two.  Irving once again had the ball and was fouled by Gilchrist draining both shots.  Before you could blink he was at the line again hitting each shot.  This is where I will fast forward ahead for a moment to let you know he ended the contest going 20 of 20 from the free throw stripe.

Waiters then got hot and put together 4 of his 11 points and the poised Team Final would not go away.  The last Waiters bucket put his team up 3 points.  The Celtic’s then missed and Gilchrist got the ball  in a clear out but Irving stole the ball from his high school teammate drove the court hit the deuce and was fouled and he of course hit the shot.  Then there was another Rakeem Christmas bucket.

As the dust from the flurry of play was clearing, Team Final called timeout holding a three point edge with seconds left seemingly having the game in hand.  Enter Kevin Boyle Jr.  Boyle who ended the game with 28 points nailed a three point shot from about six feet in from half court to send the game to overtime as the electricity from the entertaining game tolled through he veins of all watching.

With he Celtics up one, Waiters then hit a dagger of a three giving his team a 75-73 edge, but Kevin Boyle Jr. would hit one of his six three pointers as he took over and before you could look.  From that point on, it was apparent that the Celtics would be the talk of the evening and tournament no matter the champion.

Irving closed the game out hitting two free throws and in the end Irving showed why he is the real deal finishing with 37 points.  BDN talked with Irving after the game and that interview will appear on our premium message board with all of the updates from Orlando and Las Vegas.

If you don’t already know, BDN is on the Vegas and Orlando scene and our members are getting information as it happens.  We have a bevy of interviews on the way as Andrew Slater closes out Vegas and I will continue to be in Orlando until Thursday of this week.  It’s a great time to join and see what you are missing!