Rivers leads USA past Canada

In a record-setting night, the USA U18 National Team (4-0) earned a berth in the gold medal game with a 122-89 semifinal victory over Canada (2-2) Tuesday night at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.

“That’s the goal and that’s what we came here for,” said USA and University of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. “Not trying to sound conceited, but we expected to be in this position and this is what we’ve worked for. We’ve been together for three weeks and we’ve worked for this moment. Hopefully, we can come out and seize the opportunity tomorrow.”

Austin Rivers (Winter Park H.S. / Winter Park, Fla.) poured in a game-high 35 points for the USA, shooting 12-of-18 from the field and sinking 9-of-12 in 3-point range, establishing new U.S. records at the U18 tournament. His 35 points broke the former record of 34 set by Calbert Cheaney versus Brazil in 1990, the first FIBA Americas U18 Championship. His nine 3-pointers made surpassed three different players who had previously sunk five 3-pointers in a single game, Aaron Brooks (2002), Terry Dehere (1990) and Steve Lepore (1998).

“Sometimes I just get in grooves where I hit a couple shots,” said Rivers. “You feel like the basket’s real wide. I know I hit a couple shots and then everything started going from there. After that it felt like any shot I threw up would go in, so it’s kind of like a lot of adrenaline. It felt like I had ultimate energy. Everything was falling.”

Additionally, the team set a new single-game record at this event with 14 made 3-point field goals, breaking the previous record that was set in 2002, and tied in 2008 and again in the USA’s first contest this year.

“I thought we played well,” added Capel. “We did a good job defensively early. I thought our guys respected Canada and we knew they were a very good team. We came out and jumped on them early. I thought we did it with our defense. One of the things was a huge key for us was (Kyle) Wiltjer. He’s their leading scorer and we wanted to try to take him out of the game. We did a very, very good job of that. He was shooting about 68 percent from three coming into this game. One of our main goals was to not even let him get a 3-point attempt and our guys did a good job of following through on that.”

The U.S. squad will meet also undefeated Brazil (4-0) for the gold medal at 7:00 p.m. (all times CDT) Wednesday. Brazil upended defending gold medalist Argentina (2-2) 70-56 in the other semifinal game. Argentina and Canada will play for the bronze medal at 5:00 p.m. All four teams earlier qualified for the 2011 U19 World Championships in Latvia.

With the win, the U.S. upped its overall record to 37-2 at this event, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, and has won four gold medals (1990, 1994, 1998, 2006), one silver medal (2008) and one bronze medal (2002) at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Tony Mitchell (L.G. Pinkston H.S. / Dallas, Texas), who is headed to Missouri, added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick’s H.S. / Elizabeth, N.J.), a Duke signee, contributed 12 points and seven assists. Jereme Richmond (Waukegan H.S. / Waukegan, Ill.), who will play for Illinois next year, scored 11 points. Josh Hairston (Montrose Christian School (Md.) / Fredericksburg, Va.), a future Duke player, rounded out the double-figure players with 10 points.

The red, white and blue, which has trailed for a total of 1:24 through four games, led wire-to-wire against Canada. Appropriately, Rivers got the scoring started with a 3-pointer 52 seconds into the game. By the 3:33 mark the U.S. was up 22-2 and at 2:51 Canada scored its first field goal of the night.

“I love it. I love it,” stated Capel on Rivers’ performance. “It’s just really neat to watch him go through that. Really, the best part about it was watching his teammates. Seeing how excited they are. These are some of his peers, some guys that are a little bit older than him, but just seeing how excited they were for him was really pretty neat.”

Rivers tied the former U.S. 3-point record with his fifth trey to close the first quarter scoring and put the U.S. up 37-10. Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Rivers, who was perfect from beyond the arc in his first nine attempts, had the record with his sixth made three.

For complete coverage visit USABasketball.com

Coach K is in a happy place at Duke

When Krzyzewski helped return Gold for Team USA there was a sense of relief. In this picture Coach addresses fans at RDU upon his return and there is a big smile on his face. The smile was there again during his annual summer press conference where he addressed the state of affairs on all things Duke and USA Basketball. - BDN Photo

DURHAM - Still basking in the glow of Duke's fourth national championship, Coach K took to the podium on Monday for his annual summer press conference.  There was an unusually sparse media contingent as the USA and Duke coach entered the room yet it didn't seem to bother him one bit.  Krzyzewski was into his third sentence when you could hear a thundering herd of media clomp up the steps talking away as they descended upon the conference which had already started.

It turns out that they had trouble getting into Cameron and what were 7 members suddenly turned into about 27 press members.  In years past Coach Krzyzewski might have bristled at such a thing but not this time.  Krzyzewski joked away smiling and laughing off the tardiness and the fact that he was interrupted.  And just like the seemingly sparse turnout when he first entered the room, the situation didn't faze him in the least.

The reason is that Krzyzewski seems very comfortable in his skin these days and he is admittedly fresher than he's been in a long time.  Of course, coming off a national title would relax anyone but there is more to it than that alone.

Krzyzewski is at a point in his career where he is more focused than ever on the tasks at hand.  When he left for Beijing for the summer Olympics you could almost see the worry on his face in that it was his first go round in an attempt to gain Gold back for the Americans.

Being the ultimate patriot, Krzyzewski probably felt the weight of the world on his shoulders and long time rumors have him up late night getting little sleep while planning strategy or watching film.  His hard work certainly reaped a reward in that he returned USA Basketball to it's rightful place, that being the King of the Hill in world basketball.

Just this past season his team made a terrific run and won his fourth national championship and nobody saw it coming.  In fact, those infamous message boards where fan hordes gather were all up in arms when Harrison Barnes wound up at UNC after a long recruiting process where many felt Duke led.  Add to that, the transfer of Elliot Williams and Gerald Henderson leaving early to become a Charlotte Bobcat and I will say it again, nobody saw Duke coming. 

Losing Barnes was not easy for Krzyzewski formed what seemed like a great relationship with the nations top prospect.  But instead of wallowing in the disappointment which was great, he pulled up his trousers, rolled up his sleeves and started his quest to be the best and we all know that in the end, Duke was indeed the last team standing.

The loss of Williams wasn't expected either and his decision came at the midnight hour where there was little recourse or actions which could help fill his spot.  And those dastardly public message boards were full of worry from fans who thought it was all over for Duke Basketball and who would be their on ball defender?

Duke was suddenly considered painfully un-athletic, had no true point guard and they wouldn't be able to guard anyone with their vaunted yet seemingly injured man to man defense.  What was Krzyzewski to do?

Well, for one he does the same thing he always has and that is creating a team strategy according to his personnel.  Duke, as it turned out, was one of if not the best defensive team in the nation.  Of course there was to be a crowning achievement as well and that speaks to his ability to develop and push the right buttons of three fabulous seniors who have seen four years of his system.

Despite the fact that few questions were about Team USA during the press conference, Krzyzewwski was sitting up there probably  multi tasking away in his mind.  He had already talked to those in the professional ranks and had Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek set up with their choice of teams as he disclosed partial information on their futures.  At the same time he was likely going over a list in his head of participants for his latest version of Team USA.

But was Krzyzewski worrying aloud about the fact that key free agents and the likes of Kobe Bryant would not play?  Nope.  He was as cool about that as he was everything else.

Krzyzewski does a lot that goes unseen, part of his endless multi tasking.

During last summers AAU Nationals I was near Krzyzewski when a gentlemen came up in glee shaking his hand and thanking him profusely.  It turned out to be the father of Toney Douglas [now with the New York Knicks], the All ACC player from his opponent mind you, Florida State.

Krzyzewski had made some calls to his various NBA connections for a kid he came to respect from his efforts against the Blue Devils.  It didn't matter that he had no major ties to him and this is the kind of thing you will not hear about for he is not one to gloat, but it could be just a small sampling of the kind of things that has Krzyzewski so happy within himself these days.

Okay, that's is a story for another day and this is where I will  finally use a quote from the press conference and a partial one at that.  "I'm a coach, that's what I do," said Kryzewski.  Here is a man that seems to have a great and better than ever understanding of what he wants and he is quite comfortable with his life.

Krzyzewski would later briefly address the fact that people and some media types make ill willed statements and or write negative articles about the program and that most of it was based on little fact.  But he brushed it off as well saying he could not control the haters and they were going to say what they wanted.

I suppose it is obvious that I feel Krzyzewski is one happy camper these days and that he is relaxed, energized and more than willing to take on the role as the busiest coach this summer.  In the coming months he will attend some AAU events, travel to four countries with Team USA and keep tabs on his own team who will likely have the pressure of being pre season number one and he is okay with that pressure.  Heck he's okay with anything these days for he probably is one step ahead of us again as he always seems to be with concerns to his team.

Another question he was asked is how Duke would fare with a freshman point guard and he pretty much said have you seen Kyrie Irving?  Despite the loss of the great Jon Scheyer, once again, he was more than just a little okay for he has found that happy place in his life and he is doing what he loves, which is again coaching the nations finest talent.

Duke fans probably wish they could take a page out of the K-book and not be fazed by the eventual reality that Coach K will retire but we know how worrisome die hards can be.  But in my humble opinion that is not an immediate worry for it was evident in my eyes that Coach isn't going anywhere anytime soon for this is his home, his legacy and the ride is far from over.

[We will have more thoughts coming from the press conference and were going to put up the audio, but you can go to WRAL and watch the Q & A pretty much in it's entirety.] Take advantage of our trial offer and join BDN Premium for full site access and talk about this article on our private message boards.

2011 prospect Bernard Sullivan pays a visit to Duke

Photo courtesy of National Hoops Report, check their blog out.

If you are a BDN Premium member you have already read on the message board that Bernard Sullivan [North Mecklinberg HS, NC, 6-7, 198 class of 2011] is visiting Duke today.  Sullivan is a North Carolina native with good basketball skills and a love for music and education as well.  Sullivan has been playing well during this summers AAU ball and he is garnering interest form new schools daily.  We sat down with Sullivan and got his thoughts on Duke and the recruiting process in another in depth interview.

How did you fare during the NBAPA Top 100 Camp?

It was a blessing to be invited as one of the top 100 players and I really learned where I was with my game while learning from some of the NBA's best coaches.  It's great to get that experience and the camp is much more than just basketball, we have classes which teaches you about life.

Describe your game in your own words?

I would say I'm a combo forward and a versatile player who can step inside and out.  I hustle the whole game and I want to win and will do whatever it takes to win.

What is your school list looking like?

Before the summer it was Clemson, Virginia Tech, Penn State but after playing well in the tournaments I have all of a sudden had a lot of coaches call like Duke, Maryland, Kansas State, Georgetown, so I see the difference and I will just feel everything out and enjoy the recruiting process.

Who will play a major role in your decision?

My [private] parents, high school coach, Jerry Jordan who has worked with me.

You mentioned Duke.  Who did you talk to there?

Nate James.

What did he have to say to you?

He said he had heard  I had been playing well in tournaments and that they're interested in me and want to come down and see me play in July.  That's what he said, that they were very interested in recruiting me.

Are you interested in Duke?

I'm definitely interested in one of the best athletic and academic schools in the country, you can't get any better than that along with one of the greatest coaches.

Any other ACC schools showing interest?

Every ACC school but Carolina, Wake and Miami.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

Definitely Carolina.  I'm from ACC country and everybody pulls for Duke or Carolina and for me it was Carolina.

Is that a bad omen for Duke?

I don't think so.  Wherever I go ... in the ACC you cannot go wrong whether it is Duke, Clemson ..

And a school that prepares you for the NBA is good?

You have life after college so a good basketball school as well as an academic school will help me get ready for the next level in basketball and life.

Who were some of the toughest guys you went up against at the NBAPA Camp?

I'm not to sure of all the names but a friend told me I just played against a top ten guy and I played very well and felt good about my performances overall.

Have you thought about a major?

I would like to major in psychology, my dads a psychologist, so he wants me to be a psychologist but I wouldn't mid minoring in music because I play a little piano and sing a little bit.

Music is your big hobby?

Shoot, music is not that much of a hobby because I have been playing and signing longer than I have been playing basketball.  I like video games, reading and hanging out like teenagers.

Who are your favorite artists?

I like R & B, Music Soul Child, I like gospel and old school like Stevie Wonder and the Temptations, stuff like that.

Which video game is keeping you occupied the most?

NBA 2K 10.  I love basketball and to be able to play int on a video game is great.

Do you pattern your game after any players?

A lot of people tell me I play a little bit like Michael Beasley.  He can post up, take you out and shoot, I feel like I play a lot like him.  I'm athletic and he is athletic so a lot of people think we play the same game.

And your go to move is?

I like to jab for my set up move, and whatever is open I take.

When will you get serious about the recruiting process?

I will be sure to take all my visits.  I enjoy the process and want to get the most I can out of it.

I am going to put you on the spot for a minute.  If you could pick four schools you would love to visit which ones would that be?

Virginia, Duke, Penn State, Clemson and Virginia Tech.

It sounds like you like the ACC?

Yeah to me it's the best conference in the country and the one I am most familiar with.

Thanks for your time!

No problem

ATTENTION MEMBERS - some of you have not registered for the message board and that is where a lot of informations is disbursed, so if you are new and or old, it's a good idea to sign up now!Be sure to drop us a line so we can okay you for the boards. [/private]

One on one with 2012 prospect Marcus Paige

BDN interviews 2012 PG prospect Marcus Paige

One of the most unselfish point guards playing on the AAU circuit is Iowan Marcus Paige, a 6-0, 160 pound point guard.  Paige plays on one of the AAU's top teams but with them playing the vast majority of their games in middle America, a lot of scouts and recruiting types don't get to see a lot of him.  With just a couple of views, it would be hard for me to properly assess his game, but it is easy to see why the smooth, unselfish prospect is starting to hear form a lot of schools.  Paige is an exceptionally strong student in the classroom as well giving him pretty much the whole package. BDN sat down with Paige for an in depth getting to know you interview and here is what Paige had to say -

Describe your game in your own words?

Well I like to think of myself as a floor general to get the right guy the ball to scorers or whoever has the hot hand.  When it comes down to it, I can score with the ball myself.  What ever my team needs me to do to win,  I consider myself a winner.

How about a little background, like where you were born, etc.

Born in Ceder Rapids Iowa and raised in Marrion right outside of Ceder Rapids.  You know, not much going on in Iowa, just working on my game there.

In the middle America, huh?

Yeah, a couple of cornfields.

Well, Harrison Barnes put them on the map and you're playing well.

Yeah [smiles]

Which schools are actively recruiting you?

Yeah, I have about five offers and a lot of schools have called when they could the other day [private].

And they are?

Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State and UNI.

Will proximity play a role in your ultimate decision?

Well, no for me not really.  I don't have a problem with getting out and maybe going to the east coast.  It won't really effect my decision at all.

I'm from ACC country.  Are any ACC schools getting involved?

Yeah, actually Virginia has been really, really interested.  I will stay after the camp and I have talked to Coach Bennett and they're pretty interested.  Also, Miami called and seem interested, so starting to get some ACC looks, yeah.

I suppose it is a bit early in the process but have you thought about when you might make a decision?

Yeah, I would consider it somewhat early but I don;t want to be one of those guys who drags it along.

No Skype for you?

[laughs] No, no, I don't need any of that.

What are you like off the hardwood? 

I like to hang out with a small group of friends that I have but mainly a lot of ball.  I like to be around my family.  My sister, she just moved out and she will be playing at Wisconsin as a freshman this year, so I like to hang with my family and basketball people.

Where did you learn your basketball skills?

Both my mom and my Dad played basketball at small schools and my mom is my high school coach in Marion.  I kind of grew up around the game and watching the NBA.  My Dad has the Jordan games recorded, so studying the game from a young age.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

I grew up as a UNC fan.  I was a huge Vince Carter guy and I have always been my dream school, so we'll see.  They've sent a couple of letters and my coach talked to one of their assistants but nothing serious yet.

What about the other side of the spectrum, that being Duke?

You know I'm a pretty good student with a 4.0 and a school like Duke with academics and almost everybody who comes out of there is successful and the great tradition that they have it would be hard not to look at a school like Duke if they came on.

Do you pattern your game after anybody?

I watch a lot of different guys but I don't pattern my game after any one particular player.  I learn things from watching Chris Paul and Jason Kidd and how he is so unselfish and gets the job done.

The toughest guy you faced during the NBAPA Top 100 camp would be?

Mike Kobango, I thought I did alright against him though.

What can you take away from the camp?

On or off the court?

On the court.

I think I improved as a defender here because I had to guard so many players.  I worked with Chris Duhon a lot on how to defend ball screens and that is something I will take back.  And Kevin Ollie was my coach and his teaching for me will go a long ways.

Do you feel being here as a rising junior gives you an edge over others in your class?

Yeah I think it gives all the young guys here an advantage and they have a chance to do it again next year.  Just learning how to develop skills from the best is a nice advantage to have,

Who will play major roles in your eventual decision?

My close family, my mom and dad and maybe my AAU or high school coach.

How important is immediate playing time for you?

That's something that makes a school more appealing but I have to come in a learn for a year and then run the team in my sophomore year is great but playing right away is something I want to do.

And you play AAU ball for ...

Martin Brothers.

That's why I haven't seen you play a lot in that your team stays in the mid west.  Have you ever thought about playing with another team?

Another team?'  It would be nice to go to some tournaments like Boo Williams and Peach Jam.  The Iowa team we have is pretty good, we won secondplace in the showcase last year.  Yeah other than middle America it's hard to catch us.

Where will you go from here?

Milwaukee first and then Chicago and the AAU Nationals.

What are you looking for in a coach?

I just want to have a good relationship with a coach who will push me not just say positive things but one who will make me the best player I can be and where I can have a great relationship with thew whole staff.

Thanks for your time.

Yeah, no problem, thank you. [/private]


Q & A with Duke’s Andre Dawkins

Andre Dawkins - BDN Photo

DURHAM - The Blue Devil Nation participated in a question and answer session with rising Duke sophomore Andre Dawkins who talks of his off season work and what he hopes to accomplish this coming season.  Our questions are marked [BDN].

You look as if you grew an inch?

I don't know for sure I haven't measured.

But you look like you put on some bulk.

Yeah, I'm trying to get in the weight room.

[BDN] What have you been doing over the summer?

I've just been working on my overall game but obviously focusing on handling the ball better and just get in really good shape so I'm ready to go.

[BDN] Duke can actually put a lineup on the floor that has five guys who can nail the three next season and you'll have Kyrie dishing you the ball.  Are you excited at the possibilities?

It should be fun.  I think certain lineups we'll put out there it'll be hard for teams to guard.  Even with three or four shooters and when Kyle is playing on the wing, we have enough shooters to knock down the shots.

Mark mentioned Kyrie.  Have you seen him play?

We've played against each other before on the AAU circuit before I left a year early, so I've seen him a lot and he has a chance to be a really good player here.  He can really get out on the break and he loves to do that and even our bigs can get out and run you know, so it should be really exciting.

[BDN] Have you been working out at Duke and what did you do over the summer?

I've really just been at home working out, trying to lift in the mornings and go to the gym after that and get another workout in at night or play pickup.  When we went up to see President Obama I stayed with Nolan for a week and worked out with him.

Did you talk with former Boo Williams teammate James McAdoo and if so what did you say to him with concern to leaving school a year early?

No, I didn't talk to him but it obviously didn't work out for a reason but I didn't talk to him.

[BDN] Are you happy with your decision to come in a year early as a freshman?

Uhm, yeah I think it worked out fine.  I mean not everybody is going to come in and win a national championship in their first year, so that might put a little more glitter in it than it should but I think it worked out for me just fine.

Coach K said Ryan had grown and is weighing in at 230 pounds ...

I haven't seen Ryan, I just got back two days ago but Miles has been consistently getting bigger so it should be exciting.

Do you feel better prepared having a year under your belt going into next season?

I would hope so.  I know what the coaches are expecting, you know, in practice and workouts and things like that.  I just have to be consistent.

[BDN] Coaches sometimes meet with players before they leave school and tell them what to work on, did you talk to coach and if so, what was said?

I talked with Coach Collins after the season was over and he told me to work on my ball handling and get in better shape for those were the two points that kind of held me back last year.

How many times have you watched the national championship game this off season?

I have actually only watched it like twice.  I really don't like to watch it because every time I do I thinks that shots going to go in, so I try to stay away from it. [brought a good laugh from media members]

[BDN] Did a lot of people at home come up and talk of the title?

Being at home is always humbling and we don't talk about it much but it is always cool to have people coming up and congratulating you and talk about what a great year we had.

[BDN] Your good friend Kendall Marshall will be a freshman at UNC, did you razz him a bit pumping your ring at him?

I talked to him a little bit.  He's a good friend and he wasn't bitter so I didn't rub it in too much.  I mean they won it the year before so ...

[BDN] What suggestions can you offer him going into his freshman season?

Really just stay focused.  There will be times when you don't know what to do because you don't know what the coaches want but just listen and work as hard as you can.

Monday Musings – Future Dukies, football thoughts, summer ballin’

A bunch of Devils - Elton Brand, Nate James, Ricky Price and Chris Carrawell

Good Monday Morning Blue Devil Nation!  I trust most of you put the hangover of the US teams soccer loss behind you by now.  I understand why so many nations talk of every little mistake and throw players under th.... what?  You don't like soccer?  Okay, okay, it's time for more Monday Musings.

The Duke Blue Devils are well represented in the FIBA America's tournament where incoming freshmen Josh Hairston and Kyrie Irving are donning the USA uniform.  Team USA destroyed Mexico 114-38 last evening where Kyrie Irving totaled 14 points to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 15:49 of play.  His future teammate Josh Hairston chipped in with 11 points, 4 rebounds in 14:02.  Two key Duke prospects also contributed in the easy win.  Austin Rivers tossed in 16 points in 17:06 of play while Quincy Miller led the Americans in minutes with 25:00 which translated into 15 points and 6 rebounds.  Interestingly, Miller is rooming with Irving and Rivers.  It should be fun to watch this teams progress.

I'll be heading over to Duke for Coach Krzyzewski's annual summer address where he fields all kinds of questions from a media throng.  Be sure to check in later this afternoon for what Coach had to say.

After reading a pre season football magazine, I noticed that Wake Forest opens with Presbyterian on a Thursday evening.  The significance is that they once again find a way to get a few extra days of preparation before facing Duke at home on September 11th.  This is a key early ACC matchup for both squads.

Another thing I noticed is that Duke's schedule is once again one of the nation's toughest, ranked ninth in the country.  That made me wonder who scheduled the likes of Richmond and Elon instead of VPI and Western Carolina in season openers.  Elon is ranked between 2nd and 6th nationally in FCS pre season polls.

It appears that Duke's Jon Scheyer will get a shot to make the Washington Wizard's as he'll be playing summer league ball for them.  Still awaiting official word

Did you know that Duke lost just four players to injury last season?  That put them in a three way tie for the second least injuries in the nation folks!  The law of averages cannot possibly be as kind to the football devils this season, but we can certainly hope for the best.  With a lack of depth on the defensive front, staying healthy will be a key for that position.

On a more positive note, the Duke offensive line is showing signs of progress and is deeper than in years past.  With some key youngsters casting their lot with Duke of late, it's clear that Coach has this position looking up with a bright future ahead. 

Duke loses very little from this seasons projected offensive starters and that means that Duke fans will likely see steady offensive production on the field for this season and next.  The key for that to happen is quarterback play, but the Blue Devils have some good young depth at the position led by Sean Renfree. 

Anybody got any extras for Bama?

One last thing ... plenty of prospect interviews coming at BDN Premium and we're still running a one month trial period for those interested.  Join now and talk Duke Athletics on our most rational members only message board where you'll stay in the know.