Duke Coach David Cutcliffe addresses the media at ACC Operation Football

BDN took this shot of Cutcliffe and his team before they came out of the locker room to play and defeat N.C. State last season. Cutcliffe addressed the media in Greensboro today. BDN Photo

GREENSBORO, N.C. - In years past the Duke Football coach would have very few media members around him during the annual ACC Operation Football event which kicks off the season.  Coach David Cutcliffe entertained a throng of reporters who wanted to hear his take on Duke Football which is an obvious sign that times are changing.  In a short time, Cutcliffe has brought Duke to a point where they are no longer a game you circle as a sure win.   Duke has improved under Cutliffe and fans are hoping he takes another step this coming season.  He has some core players in place and he has rebuilt the offensive line since his acceptance of Duke’s offer to become the man who will turn around a program.  In fact, the ACC writers have picked Duke last for ten straight seasons until this year.  If Duke was not in this years toughest division which is akin to the  American League East in baseball, who is to say he wouldn’t guide them to higher than their projected fifth place finish?  We have broken Cutcliffe’s comments into three parts.  The first part features his opening statement followed by a few questions.  Take a listen to what Coach Cut had to say, for I am sure you will enjoy his insight.

Monday Musings – ACC Operation Football, media guides, future schedules and AAU Basketball

BDN is at ACC Operation Football today while Andrew wraps up his AAU coverage in Las Vegas. Busy week ahead, so stay tuned.

Are you ready for some football?  You better be for ACC Operation Kickoff got underway in Greensboro, North Carolina.  For many fans, the media gathering  signals the start of ACC Football season. 

 The votes are already in for the projected order of finish in the conference and the player of the year and the results will be released at 3:30 today.  I went with Florida State in the Atlantic and Virginia Tech in the coastal but it wouldn’t surprise me if Georgia Tech, Miami or North Carolina won the Coastal for they are that even.  Could all of them go 6-2 in the conference?  We’ll soon know.

– Electronic media has a huge presence in Greensboro and there are signs that we are in the infancy of a new age of convergence.  There will be some trial and error in the effort to merge new and old but in the end it’s a necessary progression.  But there are concerns and you can bet that the ACC will control who they allow access to for it seems everybody has a team blog these days.

One change is the fact that Duke will no longer print a glossy media guide.  That’s right collecting purist’s, those yearbooks are for now a thing of the past.   I’ll miss those old black and white glossy guides but there is an upside.  Duke has produced the most informative guide in the conference for pure information.  No photo’s or glitz, just information.

 In April, the NCAA passed a law which no longer allows schools to send traditional media guides to prospects or recruits.  For many schools, this was an opportunity to show off their program.  I doubt that’s the reason for Georgia Tech and Maryland’s bare bones offerings. [I had a little crow for breakfast for Georgia Tech's offering is here today as is Maryland's]

Maryland produced it’s basketball media guide on DVD-R and put out a few pages for football.  But as paltry as there information for media is, it’s still better than Georgia Tech who provided a few stapled pages from a copier that could use some ink.

North Carolina trimmed their 2011 Media Guide down as did some of the other school but those I have not mentioned were all  average or above average in their offerings.  Okay, let me get to the point.  Media members need hard copies to facilitate their best work.

You see a lot of stuff on PDF files, but have you ever tried to open that during or after  a game while still being able to access to your article? The navigation is awkward at best especially for long documents.  May the hard copies live forever.

– The Duke Men’s Basketball Coaches are winding up their viewing of AAU events this week.  Coaches James and Collins are in Orlando for the Showcase and  AAU Nationals.  As you may have seen in our tweets or updates if you are a member, Kryzyzewski took in Murphy and Muhammad in Las Vegas while juggling his Team USA duties.  Lot’s to come for members of BDN Premium this week.

– And be sure to tune in to ESPN 3 at 7:00 EST tonight, for Michael Gbinije and Team Takeover will face Each One led by Austin Rivers. 

Here is a look at the 2011, 2012 Duke Football schedules –

2011 Duke Football Schedule

Home – Richmond, Stanford, Tulane, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Away – Florida International, Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia

2012 Duke Football Schedule

Home – Florida International, Memphis, N.C. Central, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia

Away – Stanford, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

ACC Operation Football – 1 on 1 with Chris Rwabukamba

Chris Rwabukamba talks about the coming football season with BDN - Photo BDN

GREENSBORO, N.C.  – BDN caught up with Duke senior quarterback Chris Rwabukamba during ACC Operation Football and got his thoughts on the coming season, match ups and more in this one on one interview.  Rwabukamba is a native of Canada via Rowanda which is a story on to itself and one you will surely read about this coming week.  Being Duke’s most experienced secondary player, the role of leadership is now in the lap of Rwabukamba.

Press play –

One on one with Duke freshman Tyler Thornton

Tyler Thornton is showing off his game at the N.C. Pro Am, photo Rick Crank special to BDN. pixbyric.com

DURHAM, N.C. - On the first night of the N.C. Pro Am incoming Duke freshman Tyler Thornton laced up his sneakers only to find himself on a team of 18 players.  The coach didn’t know who Thornton was, so he sat there on the bench for the whole first half.  When I slipped word his way, Thornton played in the following half and was very effective in his brief minutes. 

Thornton’s playing time has increased since that first evening and most fans who’ve watched him play come away impressed.  Thornton is the kind of player simply does what it takes for his team to compete. 

He has showed the ability to be a good defender always hustling on defense and it is quite obvious that he has worked on his outside shot this off season.  BDN caught up to Thornton after a recent game and got his thoughts on what it is like to finally be on the Duke campus.

Just press play –

Andre Dawkins erupts for 36 points at the N.C. Pro Am

Andrae Dawkins dropped 36 while his teammate and opponent last evening Seth Curry. Curry ended the game with 27 and got the win. Photo Rick Crank for BDN, pixbyrix.com

DURHAM, N.C. - On a steamy summer night the N.C. Pro Am continued but no shows from North Carolina and N.C. State disappointed some for anticipated match ups would not take place.  Well, that is if you are a Heel or Pack faithful for the Blue Devils turned out in force.  On a night when the defense mirrored the NBA All Star game seven Blue Devils were in action and three of them scored 20 plus points.  And two of the Devils would go head to head in the evenings most entertaining game

Kyrie Irving wasted little time in wowing the crowd by daring the defenders to stay with him using cross over dribbles and stutter steps to free up his shot or set up a dish to a teammate.  Irving hung in the air for one showboat assist which brought the crowd to their feet, but it was a catch while hanging in mid air and a tomahawk dunk that really had the place rocking.  Irving ended the evening with 22 points and 7 assists.  Irving was scheduled to go against N.C. State freshman Ryan Harrow who failed to show due to prior obligations.

While Tyler Thornton did not score a point, he played solid on ball defense and his shadowing frustrated opponents into mistakes or an uninvited elbow push off.  Thornton dished 3 assists and played a solid overall game.

But the third Team Hendricks Dukie, Josh Hairston impressed as well where he scored 18 points, his tournament high.  Four of his baskets came off either Irving or Thornton assists and he was comfortable in the paint while floating out to hit turnaround jumpers.

Hendrick’s won the game by a 110-96 margin and they will play again this coming Tuesday.

In the night cap Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry put on a show.  The two teammates traded baskets early on, smiling at each other as if to say top that as the game progressed. 

“I came out and hit my first couple of shots and then a three from the corner and I was really feeling it after that,” said Dawkins who would end the game with a dazzling 36 point effort. 

“I see him do it every day, so it’s no surprise for me,” said Curry who sat out last season after transferring from Liberty.

Curry nailed a trio of three point shots to start the game setting the bar high but Andre was the first to draw blood with a three of his own.

“He hit the first one and said, “What are you going to do,?” it was fun and good competition.  With two great shooters it was fun to go back and forth, stated Curry.

“Yeah, we were keeping tabs the whole game to see who had more points but he is playing the distributor for his team and didn’t put up as many shots as I did playing the two spot for my team,” said Dawkins who for a while could not miss.

Curry replied by saying, “He got the points  but I got the win.”  He continued, “Last year we were on each others team in practice a lot so we got to know each others game and we try to make each other better.”

If last night was any indication of the future, when Curry and Dawkins are both on a roll it will bode quite well for the Blue Devils.

BDN Sidebar -Ryan Kelly chipped in 9 points and played a solid overall game but with former Wolfpack and current Los Angeles Laker Josh Powell [31 points] joining Team Jamison his D-One team fell 101-95 which evened things up after Kelly led them to a win with 31 last week.

Miles Plumlee added 10 points to the victors and had a vicious behind the head dunk.  He was also on the end of Dawkins best assist of the night where he caught a behind the back pass for a dunk on the break.

Rodney Rodgers got a warm reception as he took to mid court in a wheel chair after his tragic accident.  The former Durham Hillside and Wake Forest star spoke of his foundation.

The games will continue next Tuesday with tip off of the first contest scheduled for around 6:00.  Be prepared to walk a distance due to parking issues and keep in mind that the doors will be shut down upon capacity. Admission is free.

For more Pro Am thoughts check out the BDN Premium message board where we report live and be sure to sign up for our twitter page for the best updates available. Be sure to check out our live updates from the recruiting trail where BDN’s Andre Slater is in Las Vegas checking out all the action as Coach K, Collins and James scout the nations top prospects.

Kyrie Irving talks hoops and more

Kyrie high stepping in his Nikes. Photo Rick Crank pixbyric.com for BDN

There is a buzz around the N.C. Pro Am which involves the play of incoming freshman Kyrie Irving.  Ever the competitor, Irving relishs the opportunity to go up against any and all comers.  After committing two early turnovers in his most recent game, Irving settled in and dropped 33 points.  The New Jersey native wowed the crowd with his ball handling ability and he blew by pretty much everybody who tried to guard him in his last outing.  BDN teamed with the News and Observer’s Ken Tysiac to get Irving’s thoughts on many issues which you can hear via BDN Audio. 

Note -You will need to adjust your volume for there are some technical issues with the recording which we could not resolve, meaning it is loud and more distorted than we like but it is still worth a listen.

Just press play -