Donovan Smith

OL Prospect Donovan Smith talks of his visit to Duke

Donovan Smith is a 6’5” 285 pound OT from Owings Mills, Maryland, and one of Duke’s top remaining targets for the class of 2011. The Blue Devils were one of the first schools to offer Donovan a scholarship, and the four-star prospect was finally able to visit the campus earlier this week. With nearly two dozen scholarship offers, Smith is one of the most sought after lineman on the east coast.

On the field, Donovan has impressed coaches with his quick feet and great knees. He considers himself a fast learner and is always working to improve his strength and footwork. “You can never be too good with footwork, and I’ve been spending a lot of time in the weight room,” he said to BDN.

As he approaches his college decision, Donovan has several criteria he’s looking for in a college. First, “the player-coach bond, the relationships where you can say anything on and off the field,” are really important to Donovan, along with “a family atmosphere – I’m a big family man,” he added. He wants to play for an enthusiastic fan base, and he’d like the opportunity to play early in his career. “I don’t want anything to be handed to me,” he explained, “but I want to be able to earn a spot. I don’t want to be just another name to fill the depth chart.” Of course, academics and a coaching staff are important, as well. In summary, he’s “looking for a program that will prepare me for the next level,” and would prefer to play in a pro-style offense.

As 2010 has progressed, Donovan has continued to receive interest and scholarship offers from more and more schools. “I was hoping to narrow it down to a top 10 or 12 soon, and hopefully by the end of August or early September,” Donovan said when asked about his timeframe for a decision, “and then continue to narrow it down through the fall.” While he doesn’t have any leaders at this point, he did mention six schools that have stood out to him and “will definitely make the cut” in late August: UCLA, Virginia, UConn, Michigan State, Syracuse, and Penn State.

Donovan recapped his Duke visit for BDN: “I got to Duke at about 9 AM and spent about two hours there. They showed me the campus, facilities, and stadium – the regular stuff. I met all the coaches – they were actually in a meeting – and then I sat down with Coach Cutcliffe. He told me what they were about, how he’s preparing his guys to be good in the classroom, and a good father and husband. He told me the importance of a college degree and that even if football doesn’t work out, you’re always going to be a father and a husband. It was a good visit.”

Later that day, he visited North Carolina, where he toured their facilities and met with Offensive Line Coach Sam Pittman, followed by a brief introduction to Head Coach Butch Davis. “He was kind of giving me the eye test,” Donovan said of his visit with Coach Davis. At the end of the day, Donovan made the trip to Raleigh to visit North Carolina State, where he was surprised to meet Head Coach Tom O’Brien, who greeted him with a written scholarship offer.

In closing, Donovan mentioned that he plans to bring his positive attitude to college, and he’ll stay the same person despite the attention, successes, and failures. “I’ll still be me, on and off the field, regardless of what happens.”

Nolan Smith drops 43 points at the N.C. Pro Am

Ryan Kelly continues to show improvement. Photo copyright Rick Crank special to BDN

DURHAM, N.C. - There were some solid individual efforts during Tuesday evenings N.C. Pro Am but it was Nolan Smith who stole the buzz.  Smith looked over to his Dreamwork's coach and  bench with 5 seconds on the first half clock of his game, he then turned and left three pairs of sneakers on the court as he weaved through the defense to score at the buzzer as the crowd showed their approval.

Smith would go on to score 43 points and his moves dazzled the crowd bringing them to their feet or drawing multiple reactions.  In short, there was nobody who could stop Smith from invoking his will.  Smith told BDN after the game that he had been working non stop to improve and touched on his preparation to go to New York to be with the U.S. Select team.

Smith had help from two Plumlee brothers, no, not Miles and Mason, but Mason and Marshall.  The youngest Plumlee a rising senior at Christ School Arden started the game by jumping center and scored 6 points to go to go with 2 blocks.  His brother Mason brought about some of the evenings loudest roars of approval with his emphatic dunks and ability to handle the ball in the open court.

Plumlee [Mason] finished with 15 points, grabbing 7 boards and his most impressive stat was his team high 5 assists.  BDN also got word that Mason and Miles were selected as counselors at the Adidas Nations event and they will head to Minnesota where their brother Marshall will play in the event.

All of the Blue Devils had their moments in the win which included Nolan putting it off the backboard for Mason to throw down a dunk.  Mason matched up most of the evening with Jawad Williams.

The next game featured four Blue Devils where the three freshman faced off with Ryan Kelly's team.  On this night Kyrie coasted along with 13 points but he had moments where he showed I can do what I want when I want.  He dished several assists and his teammate Tyler Thornton added 4 points.

Josh Hairston scored 12 points and is averaging 15.0 ppg in his last two outings.  One might think that these Dukies played on the winning team but it was a gallant effort by Ryan Kelly which enabled his depth shy D-One team to defeat Hendrick 79-75.

A late Irving bucket cut the lead to two in a sea saw affair, but that was as close as they would come for Kelly answered by finishing off an alley-oop dunk.  Kelly finished the game with 21 points.

"We just got out in transition and played confident.  I've been working hard all summer and being able to showcase that work is great.  It was just our night," said Kelly.

In the night cap Miles Plumlee took to the court where he was greeted by former Los Angeles Laker and current Atlanta Hawk Josh Powell.  The current NBA star coming off a championship scored a game high 27 points and at times taught Plumlee a lesson.  But the eldest Plumlee never backed down and got his shot off with a variety of moves on his way to 19 points.

Plumlee had to play the whole way in the middle where his team had to add two players due to no-shows.  The athletic Plumlee can only benefit from playing tough competition.

Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry attended the games but did not play.  The N.C. State guys are preparing to go to the Bahama's while the UNC guys were once again no-shows.  BDN learned from a good source that the Heels would be there for the play offs.  The games continue this coming Tuesday as the event starts to wrap up.

Be sure to sign up for BDN Twitter for the latest updates from the Pro Am and the recruiting trail.  And we have more on Nolan Smith coming your way in the morning.  BDn's stats differ a bit from the official stats but we assure you they are accurate.


BDN checks in with Duke’s Mason Plumlee

Duke's Mason Plumlee chats with BDN - Photo rights Rick Crank, BDN

DURHAM, N.C. - The Blue Devil Nation caught up to Duke's rising sophomore Mason Plumlee during the N.C. Pro Am last evening.  We talked to Mason about his off season efforts work, his thoughts on the freshman, his brother Marshall and more.

Mason's stat line for last night - 15 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block,1 steal, 5 assists.  Stay tuned to BDN  for a full report on last evenings action and a talk with Nolan Smith who dropped 43.

Just press play -

Duke’s Donovan Varner named to All ACC team

GREENSBORO, N.C. – North Carolina led all Atlantic Coast Conference schools with five players selected to the 2010 Preseason All-ACC Football team in voting conducted by the media at the annual ACC Football Kickoff, which was held July 25-26 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro.
The Preseason All-ACC team was announced Wednesday.

In all, 20 of the 23 honorees on the team earned first or second-team All-ACC honors last fall, with 16 having been selected to the All-ACC first team. The three remaining players who were voted onto the 2010 preseason team were Honorable Mention All-ACC last year.

North Carolina’s defense, which finished sixth nationally last year in total defense, had all five of the UNC players selected to the preseason All-ACC squad in defensive end Robert Quinn (Ladson, S.C.), defensive tackle Marvin Austin (Washington, D.C.), linebacker Quan Sturdivant (Oakboro, N.C.), cornerback Kendric Burney (Jacksonville, N.C.) and safety Deunta Williams (Jacksonville, N.C.). 
Boston College was next with four players chosen in tailback Montel Harris (Jacksonville, Fla.), offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.), offensive guard Thomas Claiborne (Randolph, Mass.) and linebacker Luke Kuechly (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Clemson and Miami each had three players honored, followed by Maryland and Florida State with two and Duke, Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia Tech with one each.
Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel (Tallahassee, Fla.) garnered the most votes, being named on 48 of the 52 ballots while North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn (47 votes) and Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams (45) were the next highest.

Though Florida State had just two players chosen, they were quarterback Christian Ponder (Colleyville, Tex.), the media pick for ACC Preseason Player of the Year, and offensive guard Rodney Hudson (Mobile, Ala.), who is seeking to become only the seventh player in ACC history--and only the fourth position player--to be selected to the All-ACC Football Team for four consecutive seasons. Hudson was a second-team All-ACC choice as a freshman in 2007 and earned first-team honors in 2008 and 2009.
Miami’s Matt Bosher (Jupiter, Fla.), who earned first-team All-ACC honors as a placekicker and second team as a punter last year, was named to the preseason team at both positions.

Maryland’s Torrey Smith (Colonial Beach, Va.), who set ACC single-season kickoff return yardage records in each of the last two seasons, was also named to the preseason team at two positions—specialist and wide receiver. Smith was a second-team All-ACC choice at both positions last year.
Those who were chosen first-team All-ACC last fall included Robert Quinn, Quan Sturdivant, Kendric Burney and Deunta Williams of North Carolina; Allen Bailey, Matt Bosher and Brandon Harris of Miami; Anthony Castonzo and Luke Kuechly of Boston College; DeAndre McDaniel of Clemson, Donovan Varner of Duke, Rodney Hudson of Florida State, Sean Bedford of Georgia Tech, Alex Wujciak of Maryland, George Bryan of NC State and Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech.

Boston College’s Montel Harris, Clemson’s Chris Hairston, Maryland’s Torrey Smith, Miami’s Matt Bosher and North Carolina’s Marvin Austin were selected to the 2009 All-ACC second team, while Boston College’s Thomas Claiborne, Clemson’s Jarvis Jenkins and Florida State’s Christian Ponder were honorable mention All-ACC last fall.
Ten of the ACC’s 12 teams were represented on the team, and a total of 52 ballots were cast at the Kickoff for the preseason all-conference football team.
2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Team                                         
Pos. Name (Votes)                                          Ht      Wt       Class             Hometown
WR  Donovan Varner, Duke (27)                    5-9     170      Junior            Miami, Fla.                             
WR  Torrey Smith, Maryland (19)                   6-1     200      Junior            Colonial Beach, Va.                            
TE    George Bryan, NC State (21)                   6-5     265      Junior            Castle Hayne, N.C.
T      Anthony Castonzo, Boston College (43)  6-7     295      Senior            Hawthorn Woods, Ill.                         
T      Chris Hairston, Clemson (21)                  6-7     325      Senior            Winston-Salem, N.C.
G     Rodney Hudson, Florida State (43)          6-2     282      Senior            Mobile, Ala.                                        
G     Thomas Claiborne, Boston College (21)  6-3     325      Senior            Randolph, Mass.
C      Sean Bedford, Georgia Tech (25)            6-1     274      Senior            Gainesville, Fla.
QB   Christian Ponder, Florida State (35)         6-3     227      Senior            Colleyville, Tex.
RB   Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech (45)          5-10   211      Sophomore    Manassas, Va.
RB   Montel Harris, Boston College (30)         5-10   200      Junior            Jacksonville, Fla.
Pos. Name (Votes)                                          Ht      Wt       Class             Hometown                 
DE   Robert Quinn, North Carolina (47)          6-5     270      Junior            Ladson, S.C.
DE   Allen Bailey, Miami (31)                         6-4     288      Senior            Sapelo, Ga.
DT   Marvin Austin, North Carolina (32)         6-3     305      Senior            Washington, D.C.
DT   Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson (27)                   6-4     310      Senior            Clemson, S.C.
LB   Alex Wujciak, Maryland (34)                  6-3     245      Senior            West Caldwell, N.J.
LB   Quan Sturdivant,    North Carolina (32)   6-2     235      Senior            Oakboro, N.C.
LB   Luke Kuechly, Boston College (25)         6-3     225      Sophomore    Cincinnati, Ohio
CB   Kendric Burney, North Carolina (27)      5-9     190      Senior            Jacksonville, N.C.
CB   Brandon Harris, Miami (26)                     5-11   195      Junior            Miami, Fla.
S      DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (48)          6-1     215      Senior            Tallahassee, Fla.
S      Deunta Williams, North Carolina (41)     6-2     210      Senior            Jacksonville, N.C.
Pos. Name (Votes)                                          Ht      Wt       Class             Hometown
PK   Matt Bosher, Miami (32)                          6-0     205      Senior            Jupiter, Fla.
P      Matt Bosher, Miami (20)                          6-0     205      Senior            Jupiter, Fla.
SP    Torrey Smith, Maryland (24)                   6-1     210      Junior            Colonial Beach, Va.

BDN goes 1 on 1 with Duke Freshman Josh Hairston

Josh Hairston throws down a dunk at the N.C. Pro Am - Photo Rick Crank for BDN

DURHAM, N.C. -Duke freshman Josh Hairston is starting to adjust to college life and the rigors of non stop basketball.  Hairston has joined fellow freshman Kyrie Irving and Tyler Thornton and their team is on display at the N.C Pro Am.  Hairston struggled in his first game out of the gate going against the likes of Josh Powell of the L.A. Lakers but he regrouped and bounced back with an 18 point effort in his last outing.  BDN caught up to Hairtson to get his thoughts -

Just press play -

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