BDN’s Q & A with prospect Quinn Cook

DeMatha PG Quinn Cook - BDN Photo

Can you talk about being the first junior in roughly fifty years to win the Washington D.C. Metro player of the Year award?

Oh, it was a huge honor. Being the first guy in nearly 50 years and playing against the type of competition we had this year with Kendall and Tyler and everybody. I was very appreciative. It meant a lot.

What's the latest in your recruitment? Do you have a timeline for when you'd like to decide by?

I'm trying to cut it down to [private] a more manageable amount of schools, like,  about fifteen. Then, by the end of the summer, I hope to have it cut down to about five and then take my officials in the Fall. Hopefully, decide either by the middle of my senior year or by the end, if I have to.

Are those primarily the same schools that were after you in late January?

Yes, sir.

Who's after you hardest right now?

Oh, well, pretty much everybody is coming at about the same amount.

Have you taken any visits recently? Do you have any visits planned?

I know I'm going to visit Kentucky and then Arizona. After that, I'm not sure. I'm sure I'll see some others.

What do you think you've improved upon most since last AAU season?

I'd say my ball handling and my passing.

What do you feel is the weakest part of your game right now?

Rebounding. Even if I'm a guard, I've got to be able to rebound my position and get better at that.

Are any schools recruiting you to play off the ball at times?

No, not at this time. They all pretty much say they want me to have the ball in my hands at all times.

How important is immediate playing time to you?

It's very important.

Is playing with other great guards on the roster something you would embrace?

Yes, definitely. I want to win, first and foremost. If there are other guards there, I still feel like I'll be able to get mine. I don't see it necessarily as a problem.

This is your last go around on the AAU circuit with these guys. Do you find yourself getting, at all, more emotional?

Not yet, I'm just trying to approach every game with the mindset of wanting to win. I just want to win every game. That's it right now.

Have you noticed a major difference between playing with the sixteens versus now playing with the seventeens? Tyler mentioned that it was a big wake up call for him last year.

Yes, definitely. Guys are so much more mature and talented. It's faster and these are the best of the best. Definitely, big difference.

Where's your dad's shirt? I thought you wore during every game.

I have it. It's right over there. I just had it on during the warm-ups.

Alright, thanks, Quinn. Good luck throughout the season and congratulations on the award.

No problem, sir. Thank you. [/private]

Duke leads for OG prospect Lucas Patrick

BDN's look at offensive line prospects continues with a look at Lucas Patrick -

Lucas Patrick is a 6’4” 287 pound junior offensive guard from Brentwood, Tennessee. In 2009, Brentwood finished second in the Tennessean’s year-end mid-state poll, falling one game short of the state championship. Lucas received the team’s Junior Weight Room Award, anchoring an offensive line that helped senior RB Jeremy Coffey run for a school-record 1596 rushing yards.

On the field, Lucas says, “I like to be physical, come out and hit somebody.” With Brentwood’s option-style offense, Lucas is able to get downfield and make big blocks for the running game. He hopes that he is thought of as someone who “plays smart and is a team player.” For his senior year, Lucas is looking forward to becoming a leader on and off the field. “I want to get the best out of my teammates and be someone who makes them work,” he said. With Lucas leading the offensive line in the option-style attack, Brentwood has their sights set on a state championship in 2010.

For his college choice, Lucas is “definitely looking for a good academic school.” He prefers a campus that is “not small, but has a real sense of community.” And of course, he’s looking to compete on the field for an elite football program. As an offensive lineman, Lucas says he has learned to value “camaraderie among the players - where everyone’s got your back.” He’s looking for a coach who will be a person and a coach, not just a disciplinarian on the field.

“I have a top list of schools, and Duke is the top right now,” Lucas said about the schools he’s considering. He’s received interest from Cincinnati, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee, and also holds offers from Duke, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, and Arkansas. This spring, Lucas enjoyed visits to Duke, Cincinnati, and Vanderbilt.

While he is admittedly “not a city boy,” Lucas was impressed with the way the Bearcats “compete on every snap, and really try to get better every play.” Vanderbilt is his hometown school, just fifteen minutes down the road from Brentwood, and Lucas has developed a strong relationship with offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, who he sees as a coach who can help to “lead in football and in life.”

After discussing football and faith with Duke offensive line coach Matt Luke and team chaplain Mitch Mitchell, Lucas felt strongly that Duke was a place where he would fit, but he came away most impressed by the Duke players. “The players did not hesitate to talk with me, they didn’t even wait for a coach to introduce us. They came up and talked to me on the sidelines during practice,” he said of his visit to Duke for the spring game.

Lucas is in the first week of spring practice and is looking forward to visits from coaches during the spring evaluation period. He is waiting to hear how serious Tennessee is with their interest, and intends to make his college decision by the end of spring practice so that he can focus on his senior year. Lucas added that he definitely intends to attend Duke’s summer camp.

Offers are flying in for junior Duke prospect OT Shane Mertz

Mertz is expecting more offers in the near future.

Duke was the first school to offer a scholarship to Shane Mertz, a 6’8” 275 pound junior offensive tackle from Hazlet, New Jersey, and the offers have kept coming in. On Tuesday, he received an offer from Buffalo and on Wednesday, he received an offer from Rutgers, bringing his total to four, with several others showing interest. Coaches from North Carolina also visited him at Raritan High on Wednesday and left with video highlights from his junior year.

On the field, Shane is a fierce competitor who excels with sound footwork and natural athletic ability. Heading into his senior year, he’s working hard to “become a more complete, stronger player,” and he’s already gained 25-30 pounds this offseason. He takes great pride in his work in the classroom, and academics will be very important in his college choice. “I definitely want to be an engineer,” he added, “so I’m looking for a school with a really good engineering program.”

Shane is looking for a football program with prestige, and says that he plays his best under a coaching staff that will push him. “I would definitely prefer a more strict coach,” he said, “that’s what I’m used to - a staff that’s a pusher.”

Four schools have offered scholarships to the talented offensive line prospect, and Shane has been able to visit three so far this spring. Duke was the first school to offer and after visiting for their spring game, Shane said he “absolutely loved it there. The campus was great and I loved the whole coaching staff. That’s why I really want to go back.” Shane plans to visit Duke again in May for more of a “one-on-one visit.”

Maryland was the second school to offer the junior, and Shane has heard “nothing but great things about it. I’m really looking forward to visiting and am researching more about their engineering program.” Buffalo just offered a scholarship this week after Shane recently enjoyed a visit to campus for their spring game. Rutgers, the most recent to offer, is just 45 minutes from Shane’s home and is also his father’s alma mater. “He’s really been pushing me to be a big Rutgers football fan.” Shane plans to visit Rutgers again in May to meet with the coaching staff and learn more about their football and engineering programs.

Several other schools have shown increased interest this spring, and Shane is hoping to receive more offers in the coming weeks. Notably, UNC visited Raritan High this week; Shane hopes to impress his other suitors (which include Ohio State, Notre Dame, Northwestern, North Carolina, and Central Florida) through spring and summer camps and workouts. He plans to make his college choice around the end of the summer, but may wait until after his senior season so that schools have additional time to evaluate him.

Amir Williams Talks of his Visit to Duke

On Thursday, 6'10" Amir Williams of Detroit Country Day visited Duke University and was able to view the team's banquet. By Saturday, he was back at work helping The Family AAU program of Detroit reach the Finals of the King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron, Ohio. After speaking at length with Blue Devil Nation two weeks ago, he updated his situation following an early win over the Georgia Tornadoes. [private]

Can you tell the audience about your trip to Duke?

Sure, I got there on Thursday and saw the facilities, talked to the coaches, and met some of the players. I went to the team banquet and got a real feel for the place.

What did you actually see, in terms of the facilities, etcetera?

They took me on a tour of the campus and I saw the different basketball areas. I got to hang out with some of the players and see different things.

Who took you on the tour?

Coach Nate James. He showed me all around campus and everything.

You made it in time for the team banquet ceremony. How was that?

Oh, it was great. It was amazing to see the passion of the fans and how many there were. The players talked about what the program meant to them and then they talked about winning the National Title and it was just a really cool ceremony.

Did you meet with Coach K this time?

Yes, I did. We talked for a while. He told me how he thought I could help the program and also how they could help me too. We talked about how I would fit into their plans and all sorts of things.

What was your impression after the meeting?

Oh, it was just a really good talk and it helped to clear up things. He's a great leader and obviously a great coach, but it was really good to meet him.

Do you have any other visits planned at this time?

No, I don't have any other visits planned.

What's your next AAU event so fans can have a chance to watch you?

I'm not absolutely sure right now. I know we're playing in Houston in a few weeks and we might be in Indianapolis, but I'm not absolutely sure. I'm also trying to get ready for the USA Trials. I'm really excited about that opportunity. I know that's in San Antonio this year.

Good luck to you for the rest of the tournament, Amir. We'll keep checking up on you.

Thanks, man. I appreciate it.[/private]

Sean Renfree recaps Duke Spring Football

Sean Renfree will be handed the ball to lead this seasons young Blue Devils team. BDN Photo

DURHAM - BDN takes a look back at spring practice with this audio clip from Sean Renfree, the Blue Devil projected starting quarterback.  Renfree of course, sat out for most of the spring rehabilitating his season ending injury from a season ago.  All eyes will be on Sean Renfree this season with the loss of four year starter Thaddeus Lewis.

Jon Scheyer’s farewell speech from the Awards Banquet ceremony

copyright BDN Photo

DURHAM - BDN's coverage of the magical national championship continues with Jon Scheyer making his farewell speech from the annual Duke Basketball Awards Banquet in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Needless to say this years event was truly special in that Scheyer leaves Duke with a National Championship.  What an amazing season!

Just press play -[private]

Scheyer is still on fire! [/private]