Blue Devils pay a visit to the President in D.C.

WASHINGTON – This is what you get for ever picking North Carolina, Mr. President.

President Barack Obama on Thursday heaped praise on the Duke men’s basketball team for winning the NCAA championship last month – a Blue Devils squad that capped its run in one of the more exciting title games in recent memory, a 61-59 contest against upstart Butler that came down to the final shot.

Obam and former Dukie Reggie Love pictured left welcome the Blue Devils to WashingtonBut standing in the Rose Garden on a sticky day, Obama was still taking heat for (correctly) picking North Carolina, Duke’s rival, to win it all in 2009. Duke’s coach Mike Krzyzeki bristled a bit at Obama at the time and said the president should stick to fixing the economy. The two have since made up.

“It was nothing personal,” Obama joked on Thursday with the coach and team standing behind him. “Just trying to win some money.”

A smiling Krzyzewski returned the favor by giving Obama a framed copy of this year’s winning bracket – with Duke right in the center.

Obama lauded Duke for growing as a team and being part of their community. After their moment at the White House, the players and coaches were headed to the Pentagon to thank members of the military and then to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects.

The president commended the coach for his style, quoting Krzyzewski’s philosophy as saying a team is like a hand, which can attack with more force when it comes together like a fist. “Very subtle, Coach,” Obama said.

The hoops-loving Obama spent time talking to the players and taking photos before the ceremony.

“For him to take the time out to greet us in such a way is just terrific,” Krzyzewski said.

Duke taking a look at Florida athlete Torrey Campbell


Torrey Campbell is a 5’11” 180 pound junior athlete from Naples, Florida. Torrey is a two-sport athlete for both the football and track teams at Barron Collier High School. Torrey’s outstanding athleticism has garnered him a lot of attention in recent months from major college football programs across the country.

On offense, Torrey has played running back in high school, using his elusive speed to rush for six touchdowns as a junior. Most college are recruiting him to play in the secondary on the defensive side of the field, which is a transition Torrey began during his junior year, registering ten tackles and forcing a fumble. On defense, Torrey says his strengths are “being fast to the ball, and just making plays all over the field.” Heading into his senior year, Torrey is working primarily on his footwork on defense, as this is still a relatively new position for him. Barron Collier will hold camps this summer at Florida Atlantic University, which may prevent Torrey from attending any additional camps.

As he approaches his college decision, Torrey is looking for a school with a good education; he has looked at graduation rates and wants to make sure he receives a good education because “after football there has to be something.” He’s looking for a coaching staff that is “down to earth” and players that are “easy to get along with.” Proximity to home is not important to Torrey, but the actual location of the school, in terms of a good college town or city, will be important.

To date, Torrey has received scholarship offers from 15 college programs, and a handful are starting to stick out to him, though he is still considering all of his options. In no particular order, Tennessee, Boston College, South Florida, Iowa, and Louisville have impressed the junior so far. In June, Torrey will travel to Iowa to compete in the hurdles at the USA Track and Field Nationals, and hopes to visit the Iowa campus then. In July, he is hoping to visit Boston College, Tennessee, and Rutgers. He has also visited South Florida, being relatively close to home, and also took in Georgia Tech and Georgia recently, though the latter two have yet to offer a scholarship. Some schools have started to show interest in Torrey as a two-sport athlete, and he would be very interested in continuing to run track at the collegiate level.

The Duke staff recently visited Torrey during his spring workouts, and he mentioned that he is impressed with the job they are doing rebuilding the Duke program. Torrey hopes to visit as many schools as possible over the summer, before he makes a final decision.

A link and a word of thanks to the Blue Devil Nation

Occasionally we like to give a shout out to those who support the Blue Devil Nation with links.  If you are into daily Duke links, check out Duke Report.com.

I’ve always said that fans make up the Blue Devil Nation and I would like to say thanks to all of you for your visit to our site.  BDN is here to stay and once the dust settles behind the scenes we’ll be making a couple of positive changes.  We hope you have enjoyed our coverage be it on the recruiting trail or the road to the National Championship where we followed Duke every step of the way.  It’s an exciting time to be a Duke fan, and many of you are still soaking up the good vibes that come with a national title.  Football recruiting is hot with all the coaches beating the trail, and our coverage of recruiting will heat up as summer draws near.  This weekend we cover our sixth straight Tournament of Champions event, where the nation’s best high school basketball players are participating.  As always, we’ll have some free offerings mixed in with our premium offerings.  Thanks to our members for helping to keep the ball rolling and if you like what you see at BDN, you, too, can support us by joining Blue Devil Nation Premium.  Thanks again for your visit.

Midweek thoughts – Redick, TOC and more

Collins Dad gets the Sixers job and JJ Redick is playing well in Orlando - BDN Photo

Don’t look now but a lot of Orlando fans would like to see JJ Redick take over for Vince Carter in tonight’s lineup against Boston.  As it turns out when Redick is in the lineup the Magic are outscoring playoff opponents by 20 points.  On the other hand, when Carter takes to the court they are 22 points in the hole.  I doubt you’ll see a change take place in the lineup this evening but make no mistake this has been Redick’s coming out season.  Redick has raised his stock and jumped through a lot of hoops in Orlando and other NBA teams are taking notice.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the near future in that Redick is becoming a fan favorite while Carter is closing out his career as an underachiever.  Carter has always been a sensational athlete going back to his days at North Carolina, but he has never seemed to buy into the team concept.  I’ll never forget my first impression of Vince Carter from back in the day when he was in Chapel Hill.  You can often see Duke and UNC players visiting local malls and there was a day when Carter strolled through the now defunct South Square Mall in Durham.  People were asking for his autograph and he signed them but never looked anyone in the eyes while acting like he had won the nations MVP.  The Tar Heels had just lost in the NCAA Tournament and Carter could only talk about how he would be in the NBA soon.  Perhaps that is why he came off the bench as a freshman under Dean Smith for he always seemed focused on himself.  His freshman campaign was a bust in Chapel Hill in that he came out of high school as one of the most hyped players in his class.  Carter didn’t look any of the fans in the eye that day while signing and acted like a a guy who knew he was the man with his arrogant like demeanor.  By contrast, Antwan Jamison  accompanied him and was all smiles showing tremendous character and caring by mingling with fans and children. But the real key is Jamison talked team and returning to UNC to lead them to a title while Carter talked individualism.  People change, but Carter will retire without an NBA ring if he disappears tonight against an active Celtics defense.   Too bad he didn’t learn any lessons from the affable Jameson nor did the highly hyped freshman start for Smith in his first season.  The reason for that was that the talented Carter wasn’t a team first guy and he seemed to think his flashy dunks were proof enough that he should start.  But Carters troubles are Redicks gain for now and despite what happens in the future with Orlando, Redick seems to have his career at a point where he is taking off.  Carter is wrapping up his legacy and all he will likely have to show for it is scoring a lot of points not that there is anythiong wrong with that.  But in the NBA and at UNC, Carter was never able to help lead a team to a title.  For more on Redick and Carter, go to link from the Orlando Sentinal.

Bob Gibbon’s Tournament of Champions kicks off this weekend in the Triangle where games are played on the campuses of Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State.  The NCAA will likely pass a rule in the near future which would take tournaments away from major college facilities.  A lot of talents has passed through the TOC over the years including LeBron James and Greg Oden to name a few.  This may be your last chance to catch one of the premiere AAU events, so check out the action if you are in town for Memorial Day weekend.  Some of the Duke recruiting targets there include, Shabazz Muhammad, Marshall Plumlee and JP Tokoto.  BDN Premium will be on the scene to bring you our usual great coverage.

Another quick congrats to Doug Collins who is now the coach of the Philadelphia Sixers [76ers].  While Chris will be at Duke this season one cannot help but wonder if he will stroll the sidelines in the NBA one day.  During an in season press conference, Krzyzewski said he could see Chris in the NBA one day and I can too.  Chris is a good x’s and o’s guy and his lineage and familiarity with the league is a huge benefit.  Rumor has it that he watches just about every NBA game going when not serving Duke.  Chris of course will be in Las Vegas often helping Krzyzewski with Team USA.  Not saying Chris will not stick around nor that more colleges will not be calling, but it’s not a stretch to think he will be coaching an NBA team one day.

The facts on Carrick Felix and his decision to reopen his recruitment

BDN wishes Carrick Felix the best as he reopens his recruitment.

The news broke this morning that Carrick Felix would not join the Duke Basketball team in the 2010-11 season.  With rumors and speculation flying everywhere, BDN decided it was time for the facts.  “His reasoning for not attending Duke is that he sat down and talked with some people and didn’t think he could accomplish his goals at Duke with concerns to college basketball,” said Colby Blaine, his assistant coach at Southern Idaho Junior College.

Blaine continued, “He wants to open his recruitment back up and see what his options are and [private] where his abilities will help him in college basketball.”

“Carrick didn’t have any exact answers for his exact reasoning for pursuing other opportunities, but he saw something he wanted to explore, so he pulled the trigger on it.  We support it out here and are going along with it.”

Blaine said Felix decision came in the last six or seven days and that he would not be attending Duke.   Blaine who will be working local camps this summer said he had built a strong relationship with Felix calling him a special kid that deserves the best.

In the end, perceived playing time was the biggest factor and there was no problem with admissions as was reported earlier. Felix is already in talks with other schools and his plans will become clear in the near future. [/private]

For more on Carrick Felix and the best Duke Basketball Recruiting coverage, join Blue Devil Nation Premium.

Monday Musings – Felix will not play for Duke, QB offered, Collins to Sixers

This Monday morning the BDN sends a shout out to the parents of Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston both of whom will be on campus this summer. BDN Photo

Well, it never fails folks!  I attempt to take 48 hours away from the wired world and all heck breaks loose.  Okay, okay, not that much but enough starting with the answer to the question about Carrick Felix.  Yes, it is true in that he will not enroll at Duke.  The word is admissions were the hold up but the fact is nothing official is out there yet and he has opened up his recruitment.  The BDN wishes Felix the best in all of his future endeavors but fortunately Duke is really deep this coming season.  Felix was viewed as an athletic wing with good defensive capabilities to go with his explosiveness.  The Duke staff was looking forward to working with him before the latest happenings.

The Duke Football staff has been on the recruiting trail and they are working it hard.  Duke offered Colorado quarterback Brock Berglund which you can read about in our football section.  We’ll have more on this and another offer coming shortly.

More props to Doug Collins who will be officially named the coach of the Philadelphia Sixers today.  Doug of course is the father of Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins and played his most memorable moments in Philly as a player.  While Chris will be returning to Duke this season one has to wonder if this will open some doors down the road.  Collins [Chris] is a basketball fanatic who misses only the occasional bounce of the ball if a game is on television.  BDN wishes Doug the very best in his new job.

You may have seen a few folks saying Jon Scheyer could play basketball in Israel.  It’s not far fetched.  BDN will follow the situation.

This weekend will likely be an end to one of the AAU’s best tournaments, the Tournament of Champions where the games are played on the campuses of Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State.  BDN Premium members will get all the skinny and this may be your last chance to catch this tournament in that the NCAA will soon not allow these events to be played on major college campuses.  A lot of other changes are in the works and as summer rolls in we’ll discuss the future of off season hoops.