Boost Mobile Elite 24 Recap

VENICE BEACH - From the concrete jungle of New York to the sunny beaches of L.A, the Boost Mobile Elite 24 concluded the summers AAU schedule with an All-Star game in Venice Beach.  While we didn’t have Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane running the courts, we did have the top 24 high school prospects in the nation.

The event kicked off Wednesday with a Midnight Run at the Hanger Athletic Xchange, also known as the HAX.  Starring in the game were the elite high school prospects along with some of the youngest talent the NBA has to offer.  Reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans teamed up with DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Bobby Brown and recent #1 draft pick John Wall to take on the youngsters. While the game was full of crossovers and fadeaways, one in particular has gotten fans across the internet buzzing.  Austin Rivers, the 6’4 guard from Winter Park High School in Florida, crossed up recent #1 draft pick John Wall and took it straight to the basket for a lay in. Regardless of the big play, the pros dominated most of the games they played in.

The second day of the event offered a training and combine session followed by a scrimmage.  Conducting the training session was current Denver Nuggets strength and conditioning coach, Steve Hess.  Now, if you’ve never met the guy, all you need to know is he is one of the most intense people you will have ever met. While most players struggled with the core exercises, one particularly stood out, 2011 point guard Myck Kabongo.  Ending the combine session was Brandon Jennings discussing his struggles to get to where he is, as well as reminding the players to keep an open mind when it comes to signing a shoe deal. While no one completely dominated the scrimmage, there were a few standout players. 2012 prospect Shabazz Muhammad did show off some of his strong inside moves.  The talented wing-forward grabbed multiple rebounds inside showing off his strength, which lead to easy put backs. The other standout was 2011 Findlay Prep point guard Myck Kabongo.  Myck displayed his advanced dribbling skills and excellent court vision often making passes you wouldn’t think possible.

The third day offered the skills and dunk competition.  2011 guard Brad Beal of Chaminade College Prep School in St. Louis, Missouri, won the skills competition over Oak Hill point guard Quinn Cook. The dunk competition featured 8 contestants including Deuce Bello, Jahii Carson, Amir Garrett, Nick Johnson, LeBryan Nash, Norman Powell, Gabe York and Stephen Maxwell.  Deuce Bello edged out local prospect Stephen Maxwell in the finals, although his most impressive dunk was in the second round when he teamed up with fellow Westchester Day player, Quincy Miller. Quincy, seated under the net, bounced the ball and Bello completed a full windmill over Miller to bring the Venice Beach crowd to their feet.

Concluding the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event was the All-Star game on Saturday.  Clear and sunny skies offered the perfect weather for an outdoor basketball game.  While the crowd on Friday was much more laid-back, Saturday’s crowd created a much better atmosphere. There was a certain buzz in the air throughout the game.  The game offered a typical All-Star feel, big dunks and little to no defense, except in the final minute.  Kyle Wiltjer, who committed to Kentucky at halftime, was the games leading scorer with 20. In the end, The Raymond Lewis East Squad beat The Marques Jackson West squad 131-128.

Stay tuned for more interviews with Duke recruiting targets which will be feature this week in BDN Premium, your inside source for on the spot coverage Duke Athletics.

BDN checks in with Alex Murphy at the Boost Mobile Elite 24

Duke prospect Alex Murphy took time to chat with BDN during the Mobile Boost Elite 24 event in Venice Beach, California. Photo- BDN, Rick Crank

VENICE BEACH - Fresh off battling some of the brightest and youngest stars the NBA has to offer, BDN caught up with the rising junior from St. Marks Prep School, Alex Murphy. The young prospect more than held his own in the Midnight Run game which starred NBA talents Brandon Jennings, current NBA Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, DeMar DeRozan and recent #1 pick John Wall.
BDN: We’re here with Alex Murphy at the Elite 24 Midnight Run.  First things first Alex, could we please get your height and weight?

AM: Yeah, yeah, 6’8 about 210lbs.

BDN: So, you’re a rising junior, how excited are you for this game? Could you give us some thoughts on it?

AM: Yeah, absolutely, I’m definitely excited.  It’s an honor to be picked for this game.  Obviously it’s the Elite 24, the top 24 players are picked.  I think I’m one of 3 juniors picked for the game.  It’s definitely exciting.  It’s a lot of fun out here in L.A. so far, so hopefully it continues.

BDN: That’s good, man, I hope so too.  So you’ve had a pretty good summer so far and this is a nice way to end it with the Elite 24.  Do you feel like you’ve [private] played as well as possible?

AM: Uh, yeah, I think I had a good summer.  I’m always hard on myself though. I think there’s always room for improvement no matter what people tell you how well you played, in my head I think I could have definitely played better.  But like I said I was happy with it and I think I had a good summer individually and we had a good summer as a team too.

BDN: So you’ve got a big season ahead of you, do you have any specific goals, either personal or team, that you’d like to achieve?

AM: Oh well, as a team definitely we want to win the NEPSAC Class B championship, which is the league we’re in.  It’s a big league we’re in with all the prep schools. And, individually, I think I just want to get better and just take my game to the next level and do whatever I can to do that.

BDN: Right, right.  Now is there anything specific on offense or defense that you’d like to work on?

AM:  Yeah, well, strength and quickness.  Those are two things that at each level you go up those take a step up too, so I got to keep improving on those and just all aspects of the game, nobody's a complete player.

BDN: Absolutely.  So you’ve had a pretty hectic AAU schedule but you spent a lot of time in Gainesville earlier this summer.  Could you talk about how he has helped with your game or with any tips in recruitment?

AM: Yeah, I was down there for about a week visiting with him, just hanging out with him.  I don’t get to see him a lot now cause he’s down there obviously, so that was good.  Yeah, he’s definitely helped me with the whole recruiting process.  Obviously he went through it himself, so if I ever have any questions or concerns or anything like that I can always talk to him about it, he’s really good about it. 

BDN: Do you guys ever get to play a little one on one? And does it get pretty competitive?

AM:  Yeah, it is, it’s real competitive; we play all the time whenever we get the chance.  I mean, I’ll beat him in games here and there, but usually when we play serious he’ll end up getting me cause he’s older than me and stronger than me, but I’ll get him soon.

BDN: So you and Shabazz Muhammad spent some time earlier this summer taking in the Team USA training camp.  Could you talk about that experience and how it went? Did you watch anyone specific or get to play with them?

AM:  Yea me and Shabazz were there on different days, we didn’t get to play with any of those guys.  Obviously we saw all those guys that are on the USA team right now over in Greece and Turkey:  Durant, Derrick Rose and all of them.  Kevin Durant is probably my favorite player in the NBA, so seeing him and getting a chance to meet him was really cool.

BDN: Oh, definitely.  You had the chance to play in the Adidas Nations earlier this summer, could you talk about that experience a little bit?

AM: Yeah, that was a great experience; it was a lot of fun, you got to play against the best players in the class.  The most recent Nations program was in Chicago where all the countries from around the world were there, so we got to play against the European team, the Asian team, the African team, the Latin American team, so you got to play against guys all over the world, so that was really cool and a good experience.

BDN: Yeah, that must have been very cool.  Now playing the AAU schedule you get to play against a lot of tough players night in and night out. Is there anyone that you would say was the toughest?

AM: I wouldn’t say there was one player. I played against a lot of good players.  Like I said, a lot of good players in 2011 cause I played up in the 17’s this year, and then in my class as well, all the top guys are here and I played against pretty much all of them.

BDN: So just to switch focus to recruiting a little bit, could you talk about who is coming after you the hardest right now?

AM: Yea I think a couple of schools are coming after me hard now after this summer:  Duke, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Texas, Villanova, Butler, Boston College.  Those are just some of the schools that are coming to mind.

BDN: That’s a nice list.  Now, most recruits cut their list down usually.  Do you think you’ll follow suit with that or just commit when you’re ready?

AM: I think after I get back from here I’ll probably sit down with my parents and discuss that.  I’ll probably cut the list, well I wouldn’t say cut it down but I’ll have a list of about 7-10 schools or somewhere in that range.  Now with the timetable, there really is no timetable, just whenever the decision feels right and I know where I want to go.  I definitely still want to visit some more places, so hopefully I’ll do that this fall.

BDN: Could you talk about what factors will go into your decision of picking a school?

AM: I think ultimately my goal is to one day play in the NBA, so, obviously, all the schools that are recruiting me can help and offer that. I think it’s where you feel most comfortable and I think that starts with the relationship with the head coach; style of play is import as well. I think another important factor is am I going to be able to go in and play right away, or am I going to have to come in and sit. Obviously in some situations that has worked out great for people, but in my mind I don’t think I can go anywhere and just sit out and sit my freshman and sophomore year and not play.  I mean I love to play the game so there’s a lot of different factors that come into it.

BDN: Absolutely. Do you have any visits planned for this upcoming college season?

AM:  I don’t have any planned as of right now, but obviously, like I said, I want to visit some places before I make a decision, but I’m not sure when and where yet.

Thank you Alex.
AM: Sure, no problem man. [/private]

Rivers setting up visits to Duke and UNC

Austin Rivers - BDN Photo

VENICE BEACH - According to BDN correspondent Varand Khachadauri, Austin Rivers will visit Duke and UNC in October.  There is more going on behind the scenes at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event in California and our guy will be in the thick of things all week long.  Already, BDN has secured interviews with top prospects Rivers and Murphy and we have also chatted with a young man who may open his recruitment back up.  For reports on all the action, join BDN Premium and visit our members only message board for tidbits and stay tuned for the interviews.

Coach Cutcliffe pleased with progress during scrimmage

DURHAM - The Duke Blue Devils held their final viewable scrimmage before the season opener with Elon last evening and BDN took in the action catching up with Coach Cutcliffe for his comments.  There were lots of fireworks on offense where several players made big plays,  Cutcliffe talks of this and development of young players and much more in this informative two part interview.

Part One -

And be sure to catch part two where Cutcliffe talks about August Campbell, the offensive line, depth, Josh Snead's long T.D. run, the backup quarterback and more -

Durham’s Hillside Connection Ready To Spark The Duke Offense

Desmond Scott and Corey Gattis talk football with the Blue Devil Nation - BDN Photo, RIck Crank

DURHAM - It's no secret that Coach Cutcliife and Duke Football have been mining local in state talent since his arrival on campus.   Two of those players which signed under his regime are local Durham kids in Corey Gattis and Desmond Scott.  The duo played their high school football at Durham Hillside and both hope to contribute on the offensive end this season.  BDN caught up with the duo for an interview during the annual Meet the Blue Devils day and here is what they had to say -