It’s Blue Devils versus Blue Devils at the NC Pro Am

Ryan Kelly had 16 points - Rick Crank Photography
Ryan Kelly had 16 points - Rick Crank Photography

Four Duke Blue Devils took to the floor in McDougald Gym on the campus of NC Central during the continuing NC Pro Am event.  Interestingly, the Dukies went head to head, two each playing for WR Starkey and Team Duhon.  Coming into the game Team Duhon was a the top of the standings led by Mason Plumlee and the sharp shooting Jon Scheyer.

On this night Team Starkey would claw their way to a 69-60 victory behind Lance Thomas and Ryan Kelly.  Kelly paced his squad with team high 10  first half points showing a soft touch from the outside.  Oddly, Ryan did not play for a good nine minutes in the second half despite his effectiveness.  Kelly would end the game with 16 points and had a couple of dunks at the start of the game.

His teammate Lance Thomas tallied 8 points and as usual was active on the floor.  Thomas even drained 1 of 2 three point shots, the first, a misss looking as if he was uncomfortable with the shot.  Still, Thomas was putting more arch on the ball than I had seen during his career at Duke.

Mason Plumlee has had some good showings, but his shots were dropping off the rim early where he started 0-6 from the field.  He came out in the second half and nailed a three point shot, finishing with 7 points.  It is worth noting that he had some early foul problems as well.

Jon Scheyer hit four three point shots and missed maybe two shots the entire game.  He scored a team high 18 points and had several open looks where teammates took the ball one on one.  But that is the nature of the game in this event where all of the players want to shine.

Plumlee and Thomas go head to head in last nights action
Plumlee and Thomas go head to head in last nights action

The action continues this evening and admission is free, so stop in if you are in the area.  All photos from this event are provided by Rick Crank Photography.  Crank will continue to be a part of Blue Devil Nation and other ventures.

Wednesday, July 22

6 pm KG vs Lucky 7
7 pm WR Starkey vs Navy
8 pm God Bless My Success vs Team Duhon
9 pm Hendricks vs E-Net

Exciting new changes at Blue Devil Nation and member testimonials

zzzzzzThe Blue Devil Nation has some exciting changes on the way and we would also like to share with you some information on the site in general.  This includes member testimonials at the very bottom. none of which have been altered in any way.

Feature writers – BDN will be adding feature writers in the near future.  Jim Sumner starts it off with a take on the history of Duke football recruiting in the state of North Carolina, and Al Featherston is aboard as well.  These are two of the very best in their field and both are steeped in Duke history.  Their familiarity with the athletic programs at Duke should be a wonderful addition and there contributions will remain on the free portion of the site.

Front page changes – Our site designer, Susan Rego, is hard at work on a new front page for the site, which will have a slider with the four latest offerings and improved navigation.  We have added a video feature that is a work in progress and we will also add some daily links for the first time since our inception due to member responses in a recent poll.   We think you will like the changes and we’ll refine them as we go.

Message Boards – We will not offer free message boards, for we have seen what most of them turn into over time.  However, we do support and visit the DBR forums and recommend them for conversation. What we do have is a great premium subscription members-only message board which features some really good conversation.  Our message board has grown significantly and the community is strong in ethics and keeping away from in-fighting and all of the things which are unattractive at most boards.  You will find that our members make up “Blue Devil Nation,” and they are encouraged to participate in coverage around the country.  Whether you lurk or join in the conversation, it’s no longer a secret that BDN’s message board is the place to be for extended insider tips and talk with fellow fans.

Member participation - Andrew Slater has an interview coming up with Kyle Singler from the LeBron James Skills Academy, where he allowed our premium members to ask the questions.  We encourage member participation at BDN.

The BDN Team –  I have already mentioned Susan, who takes care of pretty much everything, but I want to take a little time to talk about others.

Bob Green remains the chief moderator and will continue to write articles for BDN.  Bob has been with me since we created the message board and he runs the Bob Green Football Picking contest, where you can claim a prize if you win the cup.

And then there is Andrew Slater.  Andrew was a long-time member before he joined the BDN Premium staff covering recruiting like few people can.  His interviews are as in-depth as they come and his analogies and contacts on the AAU scene are solid.  We also have a great group of moderators who rarely have to work due to the tameness of our forum.  Then there are the fans.  That’s you I am talking about for, again, we are all a part of the Blue Devil Nation.

Integrity – I feel BDN has earned the respect of many in the field of sports reporting for we always strive to be professional and to surround ourselves with respected people.  This site will not take another school’s team to task or bash an opposing player, for the emphasis is on the best Duke fan experience we can provide.  We do not deal in rumors, but in facts in our premium section and we will not reconstruct conversations to appease the fan base.  What we hear in interviews is what you hear.

Ads - BDN has stayed away from ads thus far, as we are not dependent on them for income.  However, we will start including some local and national ads provided they fit our clientele.  If you are interested in advertising on BDN, contact me.  There will be more opportunities coming up with new features as well.  What I can promise you is that we will not allow tacky ads to bounce off the page at you.

Our premium section – Between Andrew and myself, BDN covers almost every major AAU event in person.  We see and talk to the prospects first hand.  We have a solid network of legitimate sources and we generally are ahead of the curve with information.  BDN’s message board community is a big part of the premium experience as well, for there are insiders, coaches from AAU, and a general mix of knowledgeable people discussing Duke athletics.  Just go to our premium section of offerings and look at the long list of articles waiting for you to read.   Go ahead and compare us to the competition, especially in the recruiting world, for that’s what we want.  Our member retention rate is the best in the business for a reason.

It’s a great time to join, for Andrew is already in Las Vegas and sending back reports.  Heck, we still have Brandon Knight and Andre Dawkins interviews left over from the Peach Jam. Just dive into our numerous premium offerings and catch up with all the latest happenings, behind the scenes photos, and so much more.   I will head out to Orlando for the final event of the summer, the AAU Nationals on Friday and will report from their throgh Thursday.  I feel certain that anyone who joins BDN Premium will be satisfied.  In fact, if you contact me within 24 hours of joining and are not satisfied, we will give you a full refund on the spot.  Please be aware that there is a 24 hour window for you may get caught up in the AAU updates. 

Member satisfaction - Bob Green took a survey of our members and the results say it all.  Here are some percentages and results –

How does a BDN Premium subscription rank against other premium sites?

-28.5% did not vote

-38.8% BDN much better than other premium sites

-32.7% BDN is better than other premium sites

One person* voted not as good as other sites.  Also, 76% of our members subscribe to another site, 92.9% read BDN’s free articles, 78.8% want us to do more daily links and 83% visit BDN Premium multiple times per day.

Below are some testimonials from our members -

- Over the years I have tried several ‘pay sites’, some better than others, but none that ever caused me to renew my subsciption. Blue Devil Nation is without a doubt the best site I have seen for all things Duke. Breaking news, great recruiting updates and info-well before it becomes general knowledge.

- My testimonial is quite simple – I have *never* felt compelled to join any pay sites before BDN. Based off what Mark Watson offered within the context of the free DBR message board I felt compelled to try a one month trial basis. The quality of the information and the forum is fantastic – I’m now hooked and a loyal subscriber.

- I’ve been a member of a number of Duke fan sites and have paid to be an “insider” at many of them as well. Too often I would find out about “inside” information on free boards or worse yet, from rival premium members before getting the information from the service I was paying for. That has never happened with Blue Devil Nation the coverage of recruiting events has been outstanding. The membership has been worth every penny.

- I joined BDN at the same time as I joined 2 other Duke related “insider” sites, and lets just say i cancelled my subscriptions at the other 2 after a weeks. This site is above and beyond any other site I’ve ever been a part of and continues to impress me.

- I’ve only been a member of BDN for a few weeks now and already it’s been much worth the money. I have been a member of other Duke insider sites but nothing comes close to what BDN has already provided me in this short time span. The coverage is great and the articles and insider info is unbeatable.

- Where else can you find out about important things nearly a month before the other “premium” sites do? Not only do you get information early, it is also very accurate! This site has the best coverage of AAU events, HANDS DOWN. I will be renewing my yearly subscription every year from here on out.

- I am a Duke ’54 alum and have been a BDN subscriber since inception.BDN is the best site for insightful, no-nonesense writing on Duke basketball, and some folks forget the valuable contribution its members make to its staying on top of the basketball reporting trail……….

- Prior to Blue Devil Nation, I always concluded that premium sites were probably overated and to a degree unnecessary. After trying BDN…boy was I missing out on some great info! My biggest revelation…not all premium sites are created equal. Blue Devil Nation is top dog hands down when it comes to sources close to the Duke program. BDN always receives timely information and their hard work and ethics are top notch. If you love Duke Basketball and recruiting…this is the best place to be on the net.

- BDN is great! You get solid information early and the message board is full of true Blue Devil fans. Not the sky is falling, Rome is burning types.

- I love this site, and applaud Mark for his dedication and high standards. I go way back to the “Prodigy” origins of DBR, and really regret the change in tone that has evolved there over the years. BDN is friendly, informative, cutting-edge, and ethical – and of great importance to me, not snooty and condescending. Let’s keep it that way!

- I have been a member of BDN close to its inception. There has not been one moment that I regret becoming a member. This site is worth every penny and more. The info you recieve is not info that is handed down through national media channels. Mark and Andrew get out there and work it and it shows. I am also a member of BDN Premium because the core of Duke fans here are just that, fans. We are able to go back and forth in a civilized manner and not made to feel inferior. That is refreshing mostly because I have not found another site that offers this. If you are on the fence about joining, I suggest signing up for a trial.  I guarantee you will be a member for a long time.

- Hands down the best insider site for Duke basketball.  It is money well spent and I wish I had joined earlier.

- It’s quite simple, if you want up-to-date and accurate information as to what’s going on in the world of Duke sports. If you want to have good, lively discussions about Duke basketball/football/recruiting; then this is most definitely the site for you. You can try the rest, but BDN is the best. The other sites just can’t compare.

-  First of all there is Mark “watzone” Watson, a human encyclopedia of Duke Basketball and football.  The addition of Andrew Slater has made an already great site even better.  Their AAU coverage is incredible.  There’s a bgood reason that TDD doesn’t link BDN, for they know there is a lot of bang for the buck and that they simply cannot compare.  BDN is passionate about their coverage.

– Friendly, ethical, dependable information flows from BDN daily.  The message board is unique in that opposing fans cannot disrupt the conversation.  I am a member of two other sites for I am a junkie, but BDN is on top of it.  That’s why I choose to chime on the message board here instead of wading through the garbage posts at the other subscription sites.

Duke Basketball’s Coach K will lead Team USA through the 2012 Olympics (Audio)

Coach K will lead Team USA through 2012 - Photo c/r Blue Devil Nation
Coach K will lead Team USA through 2012 - Photo c/r Blue Devil Nation

The Blue Devil Nation would like to congratulate Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski for being selected to lead Team USA through the 2012 Olympics.  The following is Part I of Krzyzewski’s interview with the media.  Simply hit play and turn the volume up.  If you have a lap top, ear buds are suggested.

Viva Las Vegas! AAU Coverage begins shortly – BDN style!

BDN covers all the major events in person, including Barnes driving on Pressey at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp.
BDN covers all the major events in person, including Barnes driving on Pressey at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp.

What can Blue Devil Nation Premium do for an encore after covering almost every major event?  Well, go to Vegas of course.  Not only will Coach Krzyzewski be named the coach for Team USA again, he will be taking in the nation’s top high school prospects with a portion of his staff.  BDN’s Andrew Slater is in route to Vegas now.  In fact he just reported in mid-air on our members only message board that Seth Greenberg and other coaches were on his flight.

Slater just finished his very popular coverage of the LeBron James Skills Academy and I just finished up the Peach Jam and will head to Orlando and the AAU Nationals this weekend to bring you the best AAU coverage of Duke prospects anywhere.  At BDN, we get out to the events in order to tell you who the staff is watching and we bring you live updates from the events followed by interviews shortly thereafter.

There is not one other premium subscription site that can lay claim to covering all but two major events.  In fact, they usually get their information from national recruiting gurus who do not concentrate on Duke prospects.  If you have been on the fence about joining, now is the perfect time.  I am so certain that you will like the coverage that I will grant a full refund within 24 hours of signing up.  The BDN staff thinks you will be hooked once you try us, so what are you waiting for?

BDN coverage is unique in every way.  Get behind the scenes by joining today.
BDN coverage is unique in every way. Get behind the scenes by joining today.

To get an idea of our premium offerings, highlight them and scroll down at the latest entries.  Our information is timely and accurate and quite frankly ahead of the curve in every way.  If you are a recruiting junkie, you are missing out every second you wait.

We’ll be announcing some site changes tomorrow and will give you authentic testimonials from our members which says it all.  Isn’t it time you subscribed to the best – Blue Devil Nation Premium?  Once you have joined you can discuss the very latest happenings on a message board you are sure to love for it’s unique members’ insights.  Come on in, the water is warm and the information is as sizzling.  If you don’t like the site, I will give you a full refund within 24 hours.  We are the hardest working Duke Internet site around for that is what it takes to bring you the coverage Duke Athletics deserves.

2011 prospect Michael Gilchrist has the interest of many

Michael Gilchrist - c/r BDN Photo Join BDN Premium for the best recruiting coverage of any Duke site.  We will guarantee you you'll like it.  So, we'll give you a full refund withing 24 hours of signing up if you disagree.
Michael Gilchrist - c/r BDN Photo Join BDN Premium for the best recruiting coverage of any Duke site. We will guarantee that you'll like it or we'll give you a full refund within (24 hours) of signing up if you are not satisfied. That means you can read all of our articles and then decide for yourself in the aforementioned time frame.

Michael Gilchrist is a ridiculously talented fifteen year old prospect who could already compete at the college level.  Every AAU event I go to, he seems to be hitting buzzer beating half court shots or dominating guys two years older and ranked at the top of their class.  The hype surrounding this young fellow is still gaining steam and there is no doubt that he is the best player in his class and that his future looks blindingly bright.  BDN caught up with Gilchrist and learned more about how his camp will be handling the process in the future.

I know it’s tough after a loss like that for you guys don’t lose many?

It’s fine.

What did coach tell you about the next time,  just bring it?

Yeah, umh, just give it your all.  That’s it, just give it your all.   (BDN covers the AAU in Las Vegas starting tomorrow, join the best Duke recruiting subscription now and you won’t miss a beat.) [private]

(Other site) What schools are you hearing from now?

What’s that?

(Other site) What schools are you hearing from?

(That’s when his mom stepped in saying, “We’re not going to talk about schools right now.  It’s very early in the process for him.”  She seemed upset at the sudden abruptness of the question of schools from a member of another site.  Hey, tone and easing in is important with these kids.  The question about schools was asked in a not so friendly authoritative business like manner)

So, it is going to go down until the end?

(Mom again. ” We have no idea, it’s a family decision and we’re just going to keep it close to our family.  There is too much in the media about the schools and his selection.  We are going to let him take his time and it’s his life and his decision.  That’s what me and Dad have decided so that’s the way it is going to be.”

As a family are you feeling the pressure from all of the hype?

(Mom – “We don’t feel any pressure, because me and Dad are driving this bus.  Michael is fifteen he is having a good time, that’s all.”  She then took a step back as the Nike reps eyes were wide from surprise at how she bristled.)  I then felt as if I would try to close out the interview in some way other than walking off.)

Michael, what do you feel like you can improve on in your game?

I can improve on everything.  Just improve on everything.

So, at this point you just want to concentrate on your basketball and not so much the recruiting process?

Yes, yes.

Okay.

Do you know where you guys are going from here?

I am going to Florida, the (AAU) nationals.

There are a lot of elite camps going on, have you been invited to any of those?

Just the skill academiess.

Thanks for your time and good luck the rest of the tournament.

In closing, I got the impression that Gilchrist is a young kid who is coming to grips with the hye surrounding him.  With the nations top coaches and the likes of World Wide Wes watching your every move, it has to be daunting.  Gilchrist seemed shy and uncertain with his answers, but his mom did allude to the fact he is just fifteen years old and that is something we all need to remember.

Michael is destined to be a special player.  In fact, Coach K feels he is the best player in all of high school basketball at this early age.  Duke knows that it will be a battle royall for his service, but they made sure that their presence was at the forefront in his games.  The Blue Devils do have Gilchrist on their radar and contacts have been made. [/private]

Coach Cutcliffe talks Duke Football and the Durham Community

Coach Cutcliffe and his daughter took Duke Football to the Durham Rescue Mission this past Sunday.
Coach Cutcliffe and his daughter took Duke Football to the Durham Rescue Mission this past Sunday.

The Duke Football team went to the Durham Rescue Mission on Sunday afternoon to feast with kids and parents in yet another effort to reach out to the Duke Community.  BDN was on hand and able to procure a few comments from Coach Cutcliffe about the upcoming season.  Season tickets and plans may be purchased at GoDuke.com.  The beginning of the interview was with other media members, but there is a break when I was able to talk to the coach one on one.  Enjoy the interview and support Duke Football –

“When we come out here there is no question who benefits the most, we do.  This is an uplifting experience for our players and certainly I see the children thrilled, their moms thrilled … this is an event we will continue to do every year.” said David Cutcliffe.

Since you have come to Duke, you have stated you want to be Durham’s team and this is but another example …

Yeah, it is.  One of the things I want our players to realize that when they are out in Durham, how positive of a place it is.  This facility here is surrounded by beauty here.  The players recognize that there are quality things going on in Durham.  The rescue mission and women’s rescue mission both.  I want our players to realize it’s a bigger picture than just playing in Wallace Wade.  There is a Duke community, a Durham community and a social community and our players do a good job.

You are getting ready to start the season ..

We start August 6th, we report August 5th.  This team is prepared, I know they are in condition, I know they are hungry , I know they are eager.  We’ve got a big challenge in front of us where we open with last year’s national champions in the football play off sub division.  Richmond is a big challenge right off the bat, but I think this team is ready and it is going to be interesting.

On N.C. Central …

Well, Mose Risen and I have become friends and our assistants have had relationships with him.  So, we went to lunch and started talking about what it would mean to his program and what it would mean to Durham to have a classic game between our two major institutions in Durham, so as we talked about it, I went to Kevin White and Stan Wilcox in our administration and told them it was something I would like to pursue.  It’ll be a great thing.  Everywhere I go in Durham, the Central fans are telling me we are going to get beat.  There is a lot of interest, even with our employees on Duke campus who have been around Central for years.  It’s amazing that the two have finally got together and I think it is going to be a lot of fun.  It’s a 7:00 kickoff and I hope we get great weather late in September, a September evening can be wonderful and I really pray that Wallace Wade doesn’t have enough seats.  I want to see standing room only and a great night of fierce competition between two fine football teams.

On being Durham’s team …

We have a great community and being such a small institution, the numbers, just crunch the numbers, we’ve got the best bargain in town.  No offense to Central, no offense to the Durham Bulls, but we have the best bargain in town.  It’s a great family experience, six or seven home games, fun for kids, fun for wives and husbands.  I want people to understand that it is wide open and there is a great opportunity to follow a great football program.  We go out into the community, I do a lot of speaking in the community, go to a lot of churches and civic organizations.  We want to be a part of Durham.  We love Durham and being a part of it.

Players interacting with kids
Players interacting with kids

(BDN questions from this point on) Will a game like Central give you an opportunity to show Durham fans that this is a team that wants your support.

If they come, they will have a lot of fun.  There is not a bad seat in Wallace Wade, it’s really relatively easy in and out.  I have been told, but I haven’t eaten one, that we have great hot dogs and concessions.  We have improved the rest room facilities for the coming season and there is an on-going process to make our stadium even more fan friendly.  We have blow-ups for kids, tailgating, whatever you want to eat and enjoy a Saturday afternoon.  And our ticket prices?  You can get a family four pack, or four tickets for a 199.00 for the entire season.  You can have a blast being a part of Duke Football.  My thought is if we can continue to get our players out in the community people will grow to love our kids just like I have.  We have the finest young men around and I want people to realize they are pulling for a bunch of great young men that are a positive part of that community.

Coach, you seem to be instilling that in your players.  Do you have a sort of prerequisite that you expect your guys to adhere to?

Absolutely, you know how important it is to all of us.  It’s in our staff and in our team room it’s faith, families and future in front of football.  We put our faith, family values and the future in all that we do and it is all a part of a life lesson.  I have always done that in 34 years of coaching and I am not about to change now.  They can call it old-fashioned, they can call it boring that you should be focused totally on winning games, but I believe that helps you win football games.  When you have a gut check in the fourth quarter and you care about each other and you have made it family, then I believe you are willing to fight a little harder and a little longer for victory.

Coach, you’ve got a 100 yard practice field down there now.  It looks really good …

Huge!

team-talkCan you comment on what it means to have better facilities now and on the way?

Well, I said this comically but not comically – we would get to the 25 yard line and not know what to do, we had 75 yards of field.  We were the only program in America without a 120 yard practice field, so it is huge.  I can conduct a practice like we like to practice on one field if need be.  If we get rain or the grass field is too wet, we can put our team there and operate and absolutely be good to go.  And recruiting?  The practice center is just about finished down there and we can go in and we’ll have special teams meetings, real good visual effects and Coach Middleton will get them pumped and into it and we can go straight on to the field right from there and execute it.  We love to have special teams meeting prior to practice and the good part of it is this is just phase one and we are going to continue this.  People also realize that Duke Football is here to stay.

Coach, the freshman are in, the kids are on campus.  How do the guys look overall?

Really good.  A good looking group of freshman.  We have 27 scholarship freshman, a few more walk-ons who have come in and gone to school.  We will have a few more walk-ons in August.  So our squad is going to have about fifteen more players on the squad than what we had a year ago.  And that is significant in how we will practice.  The conditioning level of our team?  It’s as good as any I have been around.  I couldn’t say that a year ago.  My hat is off to Noel Durfey, Sonny Falcone (strength and conditioning) and their staff.

So, there is a firm foundation and the guys are adhering to that?

Absolutely.

… and that’s the way it is going to be with Duke Football?

This is what they expect, we’ve really made them understand, it is not going to be easy.  Nothing about playing football at Duke is going to be easy.  It’s not an alternative to where you think you are going to win, those days are past, it’s all history.  The only reason why we want you is because you are a winner on and off the field and if you are not don’t even consider coming to Duke.

thadThe staff is almost ready to go …

Our coaches are just coming off vacation and everybody reports the same day.  The reporting date is officially August the 5th and we are on the field the 6th.  I don’t think I have ever been so anxious to see how this squad throws, catches it, runs, intercepts it, breaks on the ball, all of those things.  I can’t wait to see what this team looks like.

Coach, you are making great strides in recruiting in state.  Can you talk a little bit about that?

Relationships!  We’ve got a lot of long time relationships with coaches in this state whether it is myself or Jim Collins, Scottie and others.  I started recruiting this state as an assistant in 1982.  That’s a long time ago now, unfortunately longer ago than I want to remember.  Being a communicator with our coaches and being proud to be a part of the state of North Carolina.  I promise you, if you can play in this state, we are going to recruit you.  Obviously, we have certain needs but we are out there knocking the doors down and we continue to do that.

Can you comment about the off-season quarterback college and the camps?

We had our quarterback college and the camps and little guys camps.  It was as a big a success that I have been around.  I don’t know the exact numbers but we taught them Duke football and Duke strategy.  We don’t run those camps just to recruit.  I tell our coaches all the time, that I don’t want a bunch of hugging and pats on the back.  I want coaching and want them to understand what Duke Football is about and, as I said, it is not going to be easy.  So, we work them as hard as we can and it gives those kids an idea of what is happening here.  And I tell our coaches, the good players know you are serious about it and the reason they can be good is that these guys can coach so there is a side benefit.  I love what we are doing in camp right now and the kids will go and tell that we are serious about football.

Do you know how many days remain before kickoff against Richmond?

I don’t keep up with that, but my secretary Peggy is sure to remind me.  All I know is that we have 29 practices to prepare and we’ll be ready.