2012 athlete C.J. Stancil is impressed with what Duke has to offer

Photo copyright CosbyTitans.com

With national signing day just a few days away, football recruiting will officially transition from the class of 2011 to the class of 2012. Duke kicked off the 2012 recruiting season this past weekend with the first of two Junior Days in Durham. Over 100 prospects made the trip to campus and most came away impressed with the Blue Devil program. BDN kicks off our coverage of the class of 2012 with a series of interviews with this weekend’s visitors.

C.J. Stancil is a 5’11” 185 pound athlete from Chesterfield, VA. As a junior, C.J. was named 2nd-team All District at running back. The speedy prospect visited Durham for Junior Day and came away impressed with what the program has to offer. Highlights of C.J.'s junior season can be viewed here.

BDN: Can you start off by describing the strengths and weaknesses of your game for someone who hasn’t had a chance to see you play?

Well, on defense, on the defensive side of the ball, I’m a ball-hawk. I’m always near the ball, flying to the ball and I go 100% every play. I’m very physical and I have good feet. On offense, I just like contact, also I play running back, so I like to get the ball and get in the end zone.


BDN: As you work this spring and summer, what are some of the goals you have for yourself individually and your team next fall?

My #1 goal is to make the playoffs this year. That would be a great achievement for our school because we’ve only been open for 5 or 6 years and our football team has never made the playoffs, so that would be my main goal. Individual-wise, I would like to make the All-Dominion District Team and possibly All-State. I want to win Districts too, of course, for our team. That would be good.


BDN: What are the most important things you are looking for in a college?

I’m just looking for an environment that fits me well. I’m looking for the coaches to be – to seem like they actually care about you and want the best for you, and to really know what they’re doing. I just really want the coaches – I’m not really sure exactly what I’m trying to say, but I just want an environment that fits me and feels at home to me. I could actually see that at Duke the other day. I really liked the vibe I was getting from the whole campus and the coaches and everything.


BDN: What schools have you recently heard from? Who was the first school to contact you?

Duke has contacted me, UVA and Rutgers were some of the first one. U of R [Richmond] came by the school, Virginia Tech also came by the school, and Liberty, a 1-AA school. That’s about it. Those are pretty much the schools I’m considering. I’ve also heard from Wake Forest through the mail, and Tulsa and Missouri, but those were only through the mail.


BDN: What are your plans for visits and camps?

No doubt. I’m trying to get out to a lot of the junior days. I’m going to UVA’s junior day, I’m going to U of R’s junior day. Those are coming up pretty soon. I’m looking to go to Wake Forest too, maybe.


BDN: It’s still very early in the process, but ideally, when would you like to make your college decision?

I would definitely like to take my time in my decision. Probably towards the end of the season. I don’t want to be too quick in my decision.


BDN: Is there anything else you think is important for ACC football fans to know about you?

My grades are very good in school. I take pride in my grades and try to keep those up because I know that’s important. I haven’t decided what I want to study yet, I just want to keep my options open.


BDN: Thanks a lot, C.J. and best of luck.

No problem.

Future Dukies Cook, Gbinije and Plumlee set to invade Cameron Indoor Stadium

Future Blue Devil Michael Gbinije is pictured here during Countdown to Craziness. Gbinije returns to Cameron, this time to play on February 11th in a double header put on by Play by Play Sports - Photo BDN

Go ahead and mark your calendars for February 11th for on that day you'll get a chance to see three of the four future Duke players in the Class of 2011 play in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Scholastic Play by Play Classics has arranged for a double header in Cameron where Oak Hill Academy led by Quinn Cook will take on Christ School and Marshall Plumlee at 7:30, followed by a 9:00 game featuring Michael Gbinije and St. Benedictine versus Our Savior of New York.

Micheal Gbinije was the first of the trio to commit to Duke, followed by Marshall Plumlee and then Quinn Cook.  The three round out Duke's 2011 recruiting class which also features Austin Rivers of Winter Park High School in Florida.

Gbinije is  smooth, well rounded wing which Krzyzewski hinted could play right away in a role at Duke over the summer.  Marshall Plumlee is the starting center for Christ School which of course produced his brothers and current Duke players Mason and Miles Plumlee.  Cook is a point guard who plays storied Oak Hill Academy.

Other prospects of note include future St. John's player, junior Jevon Thomas and another junior big man in Chris Obekpa who lead a tough Our Svior of New York squad.

Tickets for the event will be $15.00 at the door and they can be pruchased in advance  by going here.  The group will also sponsor an event at the Dean Dome the following evening where locals can see future Tar Heels James McAdoo and P.J. Hairston.

Stay tuned to Blue Devil Nation for more on the event and as always, we'll be on the scene to bring you complete coverage.

BDN’s Monday Musings

Photo - Lance King for BDN

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings despite the fact that you probably have the Monday Blues after the Blue Devils lop sided loss to St. John's.


I'm not about to tell you that Duke doesn't have some major concerns after their flat performance against a fired up St. John's team.  But I will mention that they tend to bounce back under Krzyzewski and ask you to recall their loss to Georgetown last year.  Now before you say St. John's is not in their league, look at their wins against the same Georgetown team, accompanied by Notre Dame and West Virginia this season.  And might I remind you that Duke was 17-4 lat year after 21 games  as opposed to 19-2 this season?  The only way you get better is to be humbled enough to regain the hunger it takes to win.

Football Signing Day

This Wednesday is signing day for Duke Football and BDN will be on the scene to report on the future Blue Devils players.  The general public can also meet with Coach Cutcliffe and his staff and get a bite to eat, hear about the players  and you can get your tickets for the event here.  The Blue Devils also held their junior day and Patrick Cacchio will be reporting on the new names to be on the look out for next season.

Measuring Stick for the Duke Women's Team

The Duke Women's Basketball team puts their undefeated record on the line when they travel to play Connecticut.  What a test this will be for the Blue Devils have a chance to see how they measure up against  Gino Auriemma and Maya Moore in a hostile environment.  It'll be of vital importance for the team to not play on their heals and believe they can win.  And as always, the play of Jasmine Thomas will be important but it's here supporting cast that has to get it done.  Should be interesting, so tune in tonight

Next up Maryland

Duke travels to Maryland this Wednesday to take on those pesky Terrapin's and their rabid fans in a 9:00 game on ESPN.  Maryland has won three straight games including a 74-63  road victory against Georgia Tech last evening and that pushes their season record to 4-3 in the ACC and 14-7 overall.  Maryland will be hungry to take on a Duke team coming off a decisive loss and a win would not only put them back into the conference race, it would boost their resume come seasons end.

Three NBA Dukies Help Lead Their Teams to a Win

Grant Hill helped Phoenix gain a 104-102 win over New Orleans by knocking down 7 of 10 shots which translate into 16 points the second most on the Suns team.  Meanwhile JJ Redick had 17 in Orlando's blowout win over Cleveland.  Rounding it out was Elton Brand nailed 6 of 7 shots for 15 points as Philadelphia dropped Denver 110-99.

St. John’s deals Duke their second loss of the season

There are a million and one cliches I could use when describing Duke's 93-78 loss to St. John's and in this case many of them fit.  The wheels came off is one that comes to mind as is they weren't ready to play.  Then again, we could go with they were outplayed as well and there are plenty more fits.  The bottom line though is that sometimes it takes multiple explanations to explain a loss and this is one of them.

Duke travelled to New York City where they are accustomed to performing well enough to win in front of a strong local alumni base.  These games were scheduled specifically for the purpose of a guaranteed games in New York and sometimes that can backfire on you.  Not to take away anything from a stellar St. John's performance, but it is not easy getting a sudden 1:00 Sunday afternoon start, especially on the road.  And the one thing which is obvious is Duke was certainly not ready to match the home teams intensity and or they were not ready to play.

It's not often that a team gets in the Blue Devils collective grills and knocks them back, but that's what the Red Storm did early on.   St. John's put the Blue Devils on Duke their heals as they played their way into a deep 46-25 half time deficit.  Duke could not stop the penetrations, they could not recover on the baseline on defense and they couldn't hit a three point shot, their bread and butter.

While on the surface the loss may seem alarming to some, it is not unusual for teams to play a bad game.  Duke got throttled on the road at Georgetown last season, making the game respectable at the end.  The Red Storm's victory was similar in many ways but will Duke get the same result as they did last season?  That of course remains to be seen.

You'll see many media types start to disregard Duke again, stating they have weaknesses.  They do have weaknesses but so do other teams and this one loss exposes some areas indeed but it is far from over for the men in blue.  Last season, Duke went on a run after the loss to the Hoyas and this seasons group can do the same, save one element.  Experience.

St. John's is a senior laden team of Bronx like tough guys and they exploited the youth in the Blue Devils lineup past Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.  In that sense, it's fair to question whether Duke can make a title run in that last years team featured three seniors and the aforementioned Singler and Smith.

But can you discount Duke Coach Mike Kryzyzewski's ability to turn a loss like this into a positive?  While it will not be as easy due to a lack of experience this season, there are still no teams which stand heads and tails above others in the Top 10.

Duke is circled on the schedule of every team they play and when they do not match their oppositions intensity, they will get upset.  This loss will be the talk of the town for a good two weeks but by seasons end I'm betting nobody really remembers it.

No matter how you see this loss, it's evident that Duke is now facing another test.  Maryland will be just as hungry on Wednesday night and that game is far more important than the last one for it is an ACC game.  And all eyes will be on Duke to see if they are imploding as a team.  Already many would have you think it'll happen.

Tradition says Duke fans shouldn't worry too much about a single loss, but it's more than fair to be worried about how they'll bounce back against a Maryland team and it's fans who revile them.  And those Terrapins will be just as hungry as was today's opponent and like many teams left on the schedule, they're  a team playing for their NCAA Tournament life.

Notes from BDN's Andrew Slater in NYC - -Coach K deemphasized the importance of the game vis-a-vis ACC vs BE. He felt that this was simply about SJU and Duke. He felt SJU played beautifully today, that they passed the ball very well, and that their two best players, Hardy and Brownlee, played like their best players today. He said he didn't want to take away from St. John's win, but felt that his program didn't compete-until it was too late. He talked about his players' faces being blank and not being talkative. 

-He felt that his team did not compete today until the middle of the second half. He was disappointed in the collective effort. He felt, for whatever reason, the team simply didn't play as hard as it has throughout the season.
-Coach K talked about how St. John's was able to get into the lane against every type of defense (zone, press, man) that they threw at them. He talked about the matchup problem that Brownlee caused as a guy who plays the 4 or 5 for SJU, when he's a 3.
-When asked how he'd compare it to the Georgetown loss last year, he said these type of losses occur every year.
-Coach K felt that they were more athletic than Duke and tried to exploit that today. He mentioned that he thought Coach Lavin was a good coach and did a good job at UCLA, a very difficult place to coach.
-Coach K said that Kyrie will take off his cast at the end of the week. He'll then have an X-ray and Cat Scan.

Duke at St. John’s Game Notes

Photo - LKI

Game 21 [3 AP / 3 Coaches] Duke (19-1, 6-1 ACC) vs. St. John's (11-8, 4-5 Big East) Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011 * 1:00 p.m.

Opening Tip

* Duke (19-1, 6-1 ACC) faces St. John's (11-8, 4-5 Big East) on Sunday, Jan. 30 at Madison Square Garden.  Tipoff is set for 1:00 p.m.

* The game is being televised by CBS with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play) and Clark Kellogg (analyst) calling the action.

 * Duke is ranked No. 3 in the AP Poll and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, while St. John's is unranked in both polls.

* The Blue Devils' 19-1 record matches the best start in program history. Duke has now opened the season 19-1 nine times.

* Duke has won 37 of the last 39 games entering Sunday's game with St. John's. * The Blue Devils have won 10 of their last 14 games against Big East opponents. Duke-St. John's Series History

 * Duke has won the last seven meetings and leads the all-time series 14-5.

* The Blue Devils have won five of the last seven games by 10 or more points.

* Duke has won six of eight games, including three straight, at Madison Square Garden.

 * Duke has won 14 of the 16 meetings under Mike Krzyzewski. Duke at Madison Square Garden

* Duke is 25-14 all-time, including a 20-6 mark under Mike Krzyzewski, at Madison Square Garden.

* The Blue Devils have won five straight and 12 of their last 13 games at MSG. Numbers Game

 * Duke has scored 80 or more points in 15 games this season. The Blue Devils have won 30 consecutive games when scoring 80+ points. Duke is 497-46 under Coach K when scoring 80 or more points in a game.

* The Blue Devils have had at least one player score 20 or more points in 15 straight games.

* Duke has had seven different players score 20 or more points in a game; marking the fourth time in school history a Blue Devil team has had seven 20-point scorers.

 * The Blue Devils are averaging 40.1 rebounds in eight January games. Duke has outrebounded the opposition in seven of the eight games this month and 14 times overall.

 * Nolan Smith is attempting to become the first player in ACC history to lead the league in scoring and assists. Smith is currently averaging 20.5 points and 5.7 assists per game. He is one of four players in the NCAA averaging over 20.0 points and 5.0 assists per game.

* Mason Plumlee has raised his rebound average an ACC-best 5.7 rebounds per game from a year ago. He ranks fourth in the ACC in rebounding at 8.8 rpg. and has grabbed 10 or more rebounds 10 times this season, including each of the last five games.

* Ryan Kelly is averaging 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, while shooting 76.9 percent (20-of-26) from the field and 80.0 percent (8-of-10) from three-point range over the last four games. He made 18 consecutive field goal attempts during that stretch, the second-longest streak in Duke history.

* Kyle Singler is 21 points shy of moving into the top 20 on the ACC scoring list. He enters Sunday's game with 2,124 career points.