[private]Going into the ACC season what are the coaches saying?
Keep on playing hard. It will be ACC caliber play or whatever you want to call it - we' just have to keep playing hard and can't take days off.
Do you feel any different going into ACC play with a year under your belt?
A little bit, but not much. You just have to meet expectations and keep on doing what you are doing.
The inside play seems better this season -
I think it is just guys have been in this offensive system a little bit longer and we are more comfortable. I think Brian has given us a big lift. He was injured last season or most of it. He's healthy this year and he brings a little bit of height to us and he just gives us a different look which is good.
Talk about the play of Nolan Smith and how he is doing since his injury on Wednesday.
I think Nolan has been playing really well. Nolan had a good practice today. He practiced the whole time. You wouldn't know he got injured aside from the knee pads he is wearing. He went right back at it.
On a new offensive coaching philosophy -
I think we are just running a little more motion. I think it just brings a different aspect to the way we play the game. A lot of guys on our team know how to play basketball and with this motion offense it allows us to make reads.
You didn't do that as a team last year?
We really didn't. We mostly ran set last year and set some picks and used more ball screens. This year we are using more ball screens but it's in the motion offense which making reads passing and cutting more is good.
Be sure to check out our sections or archives for articles fall off the front page fast during the regular season.[/private]
[private]Starting point guard Nolan Smith will be ready go in the Blue Devils ACC opener against Virginia Tech this Sunday night. Smith has practiced the last two days. "Nolan practiced the whole time today. He practiced the
whole time and he looks good. He wouldn't even tell you he was injured if it wasn't for the knee pads," said Duke player Kyle Singler during today's press conference. "He's meant a lot to our team and is ready to go," said Gerald Henderson. Smith was held out of the last half versus Loyola, Maryland after tweaking his knee.
Smith is averaging 10.9 PPG to go with 2.3 APG. The injury was a left knee bruise.[/private]
The Blue Devil Nation sat down with John Wall for an exclusive one on one interview and talked about many things, including the recruiting process. We have condensed two separate interviews on successive nights into one and feel you will enjoy hearing the latest on the top prospect. Wall won
the Glaxo Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award and his team takes on rival Ravenscroft this Wednesday night. Wall almost led his Word of God team to a victory over Christ School, but came up just short. Blue Devil Nation Premium is a subscription service which offers you accurate and detailed information on all things Duke. WIth all of our latest offerings and scheduled events, it's a great time to join. [private]
You had seven blocks in the second game of the tournament. What do you attribute that defensive effort to?
We just concentrate on our defense and what the coaches teach you. I like to leak out on defense a lot, but tonight I had to stay down there and help my other teammates.
We've talked several times at various events. Everybody is coming at John Wall and wants to know whats up. There are just three and a half months left before you will make a decision. Are you starting to think about that? I mean, do you say wow, I've got to get down to business?
Yeah, I am going to get down to it. It's kind of a tough decision because it's the last decision you make as a kid. It's kind of tough and I'm trying to make the best decision for me and my family.
Do you still feel like a kid? I mean you have been through a lot during the process.
Yeah, I still feel like a kid and get to hang out with my friends. When I get between these four lines or I'm in my classroom at school I have to take it serious to become a man.
What has Word of God done for John Wall?
It's helped me a lot. It helps me off the court, with academics and made me a better person. It's made me see things in life I wouldn't have learned staying in a private school. The smaller environment has helped me.
You've had several people watching you - the Duke and N.C. State staffs ... what does that mean to you?
I used to it now, but it feels good. When one of the top college coaches in the country comes in you have to try to be calm and run your team and try not to do stuff that takes you out of your game.
Are you really serious about all of the schools on your list?
Have you been on an unofficial to N.C. State yet?
Yeah, I took a visit there.
What about Duke?
I haven't took one yet. I'm supposed to be setting that up. Maybe this weekend.
You've said that you have talked to Coach K several times, what is he saying?
He just tells me he wants me to come see the school and not to do anything until I get a chance to get over there and check out Duke.
I talked to your coach last night and Clifton as well recently. It seem like the visit to Duke has been really hard to set up. Is there any reason for that or is there some sort of thing that concerns someone?
My coaches just wanted me to focus on this tournament right now. With my Mom being in the hospital I've just been telling the coaches I'd talk to them after she gets well. Everything went well in her surgery so I feel some pressure off of me now. So now I will start setting my visits after this tournament.
I've heard that you had a good time in Memphis on a visit??
I did. I really liked the coaches and players and had a good time on the visit. They told me I could be like Derrick Rose. I liked the facility and felt comfortable.
Will the pending decision be John Walls to make? I gather that there is three important components at work here, that being your high school coach Levi Beckwith, your AAU coach Clifton and your Mom. Is that pretty much accurate?
Yeah. This is my decision but my Mom said that said I had been home so long that it was my decision.
Wouldn't that be a hard decision to make? Going away?
Yeah, it's going to be pretty tough. That's why I'm trying to see which school would be the best fit for me. If one fits me best elsewhere I will have to move out of state and go to college, if one fits me best here then I will stay close to home.
What are you looking for in a coach?
A coach that plays the style of ball I play. A coach who going to push you and not just say you are going to have a starting spot when you get there. You have to have a good relationship. I want to see if like I get a turnover or something how long he'll take a player out or if he'll let him play through some mistakes. I can only take in what people tell me but you can't believe what everybody says because they don't want you to go to a school.
Do you think coaches are straight up for the most part?
It's hard to tell because they are getting payed a certain amount of money and they're trying to get the best players so they can win. If they are not winning they are not going to keep their job long. It's kind of tough, so you have to go out and find coaches you feel you can trust and feel most comfortable with.
What are your goals for the rest of the season besides winning as a team?
I'm just want to be the best player I can be. Prepare myself for college and help my teammates.
What three words or phrases best describes John Wall at this point and time?
Fun, fast and a celebrity I guess.
Are there any games you've marked on the schedule as being special?
I think Ravenscroft will be special.
And you get to play them twice, right?
I appreciate your time and wish you the best of luck and hope your Mom gets well soon.
Ryan Kelly helped Ravenscroft go 2-1 during the Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational and his play earned him not only a spot on the All Tournament team, but his bracket's Most Outstanding Player Award. [private]
Kelly was visibly disappointed after his teams loss to Centennial where the wheels came off and the
lack of depth in the Ravens' back court was exposed by constant pressure.
Ravenscroft hopes to bounce back against Word of God this coming Wednesday. John Wall, C,J. Leslie and company will travel over to participate in a big game on both teams schedule. Unfortunately for Duke fans, Duke hosts Davidson and Curry that same evening.
Kelly was able to talk with Coach Krzyzewski after his teams loss as we passed to do an interview.
Kelly attended yesterday's Duke-Loyola game as did the Plumlees. They were also able to meet with Andre Dawkins, a class of 2010 commitment.
Part I -
What does a guy like Ryan Kelly do with his time off?
Go to church, get some shots up, go to movies and hang out with my girlfriend.
A girlfriend? How long have you two been together?
About a year now (smiling). Her name is Lindsey Cowher. She plays for the Girls team at Ravenscroft.
And she is the daughter of Bill Cowher the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach? Whats it like to be around him?
I am very fortunate. I've had a lot of good opportunities and met a lot of good people in my life. My parents are great. I've been blessed. I'm having a fun time and just finishing my senior year of high school.
Is it hard to go through all of these tournaments and then get it back together for school?
We'll find out. (laughing) No, I think I handle it pretty well being responsible. We have our study halls after school and we all do a good job
Your Coach, Kevin Billerman said you were able to talk to the Duke coaches a lot ...
Yeah, I talk to them pretty consistently after their games. I let them know about my season and they let me know how theirs is going. Obviously they are doing pretty well.
Were you able to talk with Wojo or Collins the other night?
No, the timing ... they probably left just before the game ended.
Do the Duke coaches give you a heads up when they are coming?
Yeah, they let me know when they are coming most of the time.
Part II (after his teams loss to Cetennial)
That was a tough loss, but Ryan Kelly will bounce back. What will you do in order for that to happen?
We just have to play better as a team and get our confidence back. At Chic-Fil-A we lost a couple because we jumped to some really good teams. I felt like we had gotten it back a little bit (to straight coming in) ... actually I felt we had it (confidence) back to where it should be, but today it disappeared.
You played a good game, so it must have been frustrating that your team played well early only to come apart in the second half.
We never let it slip to the point where we weren't in it. We just couldn't get over to hump to get it under ten again. We kept it close for awhile but thats where the confidence comes in tying to get over the hump. [/private]
[private]The Blue Devils close out 2008 in style by defeating Loyola, Maryland 92-51 to raise their record to 11-1. There was little sign of lay off blues, save the fact that Duke hit just one three point field goal in route to 92 points.
Despite being cold from beyond the stripe, Duke was on target in all other phases of the game. Kyle Singler led the Dukies with 20 points.
Brian Zoubek had one of his best games of the season scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Gerald Henderson continued his stellar play of late, tallying 19 points. "G" as he is known by his teammates and staff was pretty much all over the court making several outstanding plays.
Hendersons play prompted Krzyzewski to say, “I think G now has put three really good games together. We need him, we need him badly – he and Jon and Kyle, really are the three guys that have to be there every day for us at a really high level.”
There will be no more breaks the rest of the season as ACC play begins in earnest. Duke will host Virginia Tech this Sunday and getting off to a good start against what has proved to be a tough match up will be vital.
“We’re excited to get going. Hopefully some of the students are back Sunday night to create a really good atmosphere in here. Virginia Tech has played a very difficult schedule. In Vassallo, they have one of the top scorers in the league. They’re a veteran team – I think they’re a really good basketball team. Once you start ACC play, everything is kind of even. That’s why you start 0-0 again,” said Krzyzewski.
Today's win was the Blue Devils 66th straight home victory ove an out of conference opponent. Check back in with the Blue Devil Nation this Friday for player quotes going into ACC play.