EYBL Session 3 Recap – Duke prospects aplenty

Andrew Wiggins and Theo Pinson are two future Duke Basketball Prospects - BDN Photo, Lance King

For many, Memorial Day Weekend is a time of remembrance, family, friends, and grilling. But for recruiting junkies this is a time to catch the top prospects in the nation battle it out. For the second straight year Nike ran its new EYBL, Elite Youth Basketball League. The league hosts three sessions starting in Hampton, VA at the Boo Williams Sports complex in early April, Dallas, TX at the Fieldhouse USA in late April, and the last leg, before the finals, was held in Los Angeles, CA at the HAX this past weekend. The culminating event after the three regular season events will be the Nike Peach Jam held in North Augusta, SC from July 12-15th. The top 24 teams will be invited to battle it out for the EYBL Championship as well as a contract from Nike.

This year there was a bevy of Duke prospects at hand in L.A including the likes of Jabari Parker, Tony Parker, Alex Poythress, Rodney Purvis, Theo Pinson, Rasheed Sulaimon (verbal commit), Andrew Wiggins, and Nerlens Noel. Let’s see what went on with them this weekend.

I know it was [private] early morning but it’s hard to forget your basketball jersey at the hotel isn’t it? Well there was a little mishap with Tony Parker and his jersey. Tony had forgotten his jersey at the hotel and unfortunately it was not brought back in time for him to play in his first game vs. Playground Elite (WI). With Tony out this meant Alex Poythress was the main attraction. Alex went 5-8 from the field for 12pts and 5rebounds. He also had 2 blocks.  Alex put on a nice display of athleticism with a beautiful baseline reverse layup. He has the type of frame that NBA GM’s drool over. At already 6’8 it is clear that his upper body still has room to fill out, and when it does watch out! Alex is seemingly known for his three point shot, however, that is not all this talent can do. Alex displays a great slashing ability and has been on the connecting end of several big time alley oops that will surely come to a YouTube channel near you. His most impressive attribute in my opinion is how seemingly effortless he makes his put backs look. At this point though, it is clear his handle will need improvement but that can come with time and repetition. His defense can use more consistent intensity, but again, this is not a worry as it can be coached and drilled into him, and AAU ball isn’t exactly a clinic for defense. In his night game Alex went for only 9pts on 4-7 shooting but had 8rebounds including 2 offensive.

Tony Parker finally got around to getting his jersey for the Georgia Stars second game of the night vs. a solid New Jersey Playaz team. Tony put on one of his better displays this game putting up 17pts and 6 rebounds on an efficient 8-12 from the field and 1-3 from the line. Using his wide frame Tony parked himself in the paint and didn’t move, which should be a delight to hear for many Duke fans. Tony shows lots of comfort with his back to the basket often backing his man down before displaying an extremely quick spin move to mini hook shot. Tony also has no problem dropping a 5-8ft fade away jumper that is a joy to see go in. There was a little bit of controversy in this game between Tony and his coach but I assure Duke fans there is no worry with this. In his game against Alabama Challenge Tony was consistently fed the ball in the post. The Georgia Stars would work the ball around the arc while Tony would flash in the post from side to side. In this game Tony displayed some quality vision by passing inside to his teammates on many occasions. Unfortunately not many of his teammates hit the shots but the passes were there from Tony. Parker put up 19pts and 8 rebounds on another solid 8-14 shooting performance while also going 3-5 from the line. He continued to display his comfort in the post as well as a solid face up game. In catching up with Tony after the game he knows that his post game is solid but that adding a respectable face up game is essential in his development.

We’ve discussed one Parker, now let’s move onto another one, Jabari Parker. Regarded as a top two prospect in the 2013 class, Jabari displayed a plethora of moves this weekend. One of his best attributes is his knowledge of the game at such a young age which has no doubt been strengthened by his father’s tutelage. Jabari displays great instinct in when to give the ball up. He often made plays this weekend which eventually led his team to an easy bucket. In his game vs. All Ohio Red, Jabari put up 16pts and 7 rebounds on 8-19 shooting from the field but went 0-3 from the line. Jabari also had 4 blocks in this game which speaks well of his defense, something he really enjoys doing. While not a freak athlete at this point, he more than holds his own against the competition in that regard. What makes him special is how seemingly smooth he looks on the court gliding around. In his match up against BABC, Jabari put up 12pts and 6 rebounds on an efficient 5-6 shooting from the field. He also added 3 assists. One thing is for sure, Jabari Parker is a future pro right now and if Duke is so fortunate to land the Chicago product then we will be in great hands with him.

Let’s move onto one of the more impressive defenders not only in the EYBL but in the entire country, Nerlens Noel. Sporting a classic high top fade and pogo stick type frame, Noel is exactly the type of athletic defender every division one school is coveting. In his matchup against the Charlotte Royals he put up 13pts and 8 rebounds on 5-6 shooting from the field and 3-3 from the charity stripe. As far as his defense goes, he had 4 blocked and altered countless others. Noels length and athleticism gave fits inside to the opposition which clearly got frustrated all weekend. He has an incredibly quick second jump similar to Shawn Marion which allows to get up quickly again for the rebound or blocking/altering another shot. Most of his points this weekend came off of put backs and moves from about 10ft and in.

The only verbal commitment Duke had at the EYBL was 2012 guard Rasheed Sulaimon. Rasheed hurt his ankle in his game against Arkansas Wings Elite. Before his injury he was matched up with 2012’s Archie Goodwin, often regarded as one of the better players and athletes in his class. Rasheed has become a big time defender and he proved it in the 19 minutes he played that game. He held Archie to 3-12 shooting, and quite frankly some of those buckets came after Rasheed had left the game with injury. The play in which the injury occurred was a 3pt shot from the wing which he hit, but on his way down he landed awkwardly on his ankle and stated he had heard a pop. Fortunately he was able to come back in and show that it wasn’t too severe. Impressive to say the least, considering many players may have considered shutting it down for at least the day as to not risk anything further. His handle has proven to be much more advanced than I had originally anticipated, clearly showing he is improving in this area. His lateral quickness allows him to really stay in front of his defender. Combine that with a low defensive stance that would make Coach K extremely proud and you’ve got one good looking future defender. At this point Rasheed is showing to be a very solid shooter from beyond the arc as well as a bit of a mid-range game. As he adds strength he will be able to follow through and finish with contact when he gets to the rim. His best offensive game came against MoKan Elite where he put up 17pts, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, and 1 steal on a solid 7-14 shooting.

At one point it was thought that 2012 guard Rodney Purvis would never leave the state for college. That is until he had committed to Louisville due to an incredible relationship with now former Louisville assistant Tim Fuller. Once Fuller left Louisville, it was thought Rodney would decommit, and sure enough he eventually did. Before he had committed to Louisville, the North Carolina product had Duke very high on his list, and now, post decommitment, it seems Duke is right back up there. Rodney displayed some very nice dribble penetration this weekend that either led to a bucket or a kick out to a teammate. He had multiple And 1 situations all throughout the weekend which speaks well of his strength at this age as he finished well through contact. Rodney also showed some quality effort as I saw him dive for multiple loose balls, a quality any team certainly would enjoy. He attempted many pull up jumpers from about the 18ft mark which unfortunately were inconsistent. With time and practice he should improve on that aspect of his game. Rodney also showed some quality defense this weekend. He is very quick going both north and south but also going east to west. From a scoring perspective, his best offensive game came in his last, against the Jackson Tigers. Rodney put up 18pts, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists on 7-16 shooting from the field and 3-6 from the line. He consistently put up between 15 and 18 points all weekend long. As Andrew mentioned it seems as if at this point it is a N.C State/Duke race, though we all know how fluid recruiting is. In speaking with him this weekend I asked if he would be leaving Upper Room Academy since it seems to be only going through the junior year. He told me that he is planning on staying because they are supposed to soon add a senior year.

It may be a ways from now but Theo Pinson and Andrew Wiggins have firmly placed themselves at the top of everyone’s 2014 list. The two athletic guards displayed flashes this weekend that shows why everyone is so high on the two freshman. As far as this tournament goes, neither guard put up ridiculous numbers. Against the Arkansas Wings Elite, Theo put up 17pts and 4 rebounds on 7-11 shooting from the field and 3-5 from the line. Andrew had his best offensive game against Boo Williams when he put up 13pts on 3-12 shooting from the field and 7-10 from the free throw line. Both players showed off superb athleticism this weekend as well as flashes of what is to come in the future. As freshman, it is a testament to their poise that their coaches have trusted them enough to put them on the big stage. Both players showed confidence in taking their shots and not being nervous in such a setting. I spoke with one of the CIA Bounce staff after their game and he spoke very highly of Andrew Wiggins. I had asked how it was working with him and he could not have been more complimentary of him. He stated that he’s really just a kid at this point who isn’t fully aware of the onslaught of media that is in his future, but that to this point he has handled it with maturity beyond his years. He also said that the game has already at this point really slowed down for Andrew, which is extremely vital to his early development. Simply put, these two players look to have big time futures.

The game of the weekend was easily CP3 vs. Houston Hoops, so good that I felt it deserved its own paragraph. This game hosted 5 top 50 guys including Rasheed Sulaimon, L.J Rose, J-Mychal Reese, Rodney Purvis, and Theo Pinson. The crowd was big time for this highly anticipated match up. The bounce of the ball and squeak of the sneakers was overshadowed by the playful banter between families of both teams. This game meant something to these players and families, and both teams showed it. While Rodney put up 17 points, it did not come easy. The experienced trio of J-Mychal Reese, Rasheed Sulaimon, and L.J Rose made it very difficult for Rodney to penetrate to the hoop. Instead he was forced to shoot much more than he probably liked and had to earn his points at the line where he went for an impressive 7-8. Despite a hobbled ankle, Rasheed continued to play overall stellar defense against CP3. At halftime the game was 30-28 Houston Hoops. The second half had a flurry of traded baskets keeping a quick and exciting pace. The crowd grew even more ruckus as the game was within a few points. In the end a very solid Houston Hoops team pulled out the victory 63-58. Rasheed ended up with 14pts and 3 rebounds on 3-9 shooting from the field and 7-9 from the line. Rasheed continuously attacked the hoop getting past quick defenders. He hit a few clutch free throws to ensure his team the win.

As far as other players that impressed me this weekend there were three. Houston Hoops’ Justin Jackson, a 2014 prospect, showed a nice soft touch around the rim for such a young player. Justin is a 6’5 wing prospect from Bryan, Texas. Secondly I was extremely impressed with Tony Parker and Alex Poythress’ teammate Marcus Hunt, a 6’5 215lbs 2012 prospect. Marcus displayed a great ability to attack the hoop and often finished through contact. He has a strong frame for his age which helps against smaller guards. The third prospect which impressed me was Jahlil Okafor of Mac Irvin Fire. The 2014 prospect is 6’10 and 255lbs and showed a lot of quality flashes for a young freshman. He is a big body down low that many coaches will surely observe over the next few years. His teammate and Duke prospect Jabari Parker spoke very highly of Jahlil even calling him the best freshman in the country. [/private]

Nike EYBL Prospect Report

Alex Poythress is playing at the Nike EYBL in Los Angeles this weekend. BDN Photo

BDN Premium has Andrew Slater and Varand Khacadouri covering the Nike EYBL event in Los Angeles this weekend and their reports are coming in via the message board and our twitter site.  We’ll have player interviews coming this week and much more including some members take on the prospects.

In fact, one of our knowledgeable members, Caleb has shared his early take on the kids and here they are while we await more reports from California.

Here are some thoughts and comments from what I saw this weekend -

Julius Randle: From what I saw he’s the player I most like from the class of 2013. He looks to be a legit 6′-9″ from looking at him. He is strong with the basketball and aggressive. Likes to use the glass alot when shooting in and around the paint. He has a good feel for the game and attacks the basket hard. He handles the ball well…but would be a serious matchup problem at the four. He was double teamed a lot by defenses yet still scored strong when I watched. When you watch him play it’s hard to believe he is class of 2013! Very mature game.

Jabari Parker: Really [private] good all around player. Very smooth. Understands the game at a high level. Not super quick or fast but he is athletic. Fundamentally sound…gets team- mates involved well. Not as big or strong as Randle…more of a 3/2. His game reminds me of a slightly less explosive Grant Hill. I think with added strength he will be a special player. Very un-selfish. He is a very pleasant kid. Duke would be fortunate to get Jabari.

Nerlen Noels: I hope that Duke really goes after this kid. He blocks shots like he is on a pogo stick! He can go up down and then back up again really quick. I saw him block shots with both right and left hand. He can block jump-shots! He’s just so long and makes you change your shot when driving to the hoop. On offense he plays within himself and doesn’t force much. With time his offensive game will improve. He is not a liability at all on offense and he does display some touch around the basket. He does need some added strength. He will be a wiry, strong type of athlete.

Tony Parker: I like Tony. I hope Duke gets him. He really grew on me this weekend. Varand described his game well. He has good footwork…especially this strong low post spin move that he uses well to score with. He’s definitely a power forward/college center.  He seems to be a legitimate 6-8+ but the days of 270lbs are over. Some are saying he hasn’t been playing well of late…if that is the case, he may be adjusting to playing at a lighter weight. Regardless, he played well this weekend. He plays best when he’s getting the ball. He is a good kid…I repeat he is a good kid.

Alex Poythress: Effortless leaper. Long and athletic. Offensively he is a 4/3… defensively he could probably guard the 2 and 3 very effectively. Could develop into a passing lane nightmare. He had a two handed dunk where he literally glided through the air without much effort and with plenty of hang time.  It would be hard not to take this kid if he wanted to commit. Seems to be tight with Tony Parker. Another really good kid.

Theo Pinson: Very gifted but young. When it’s all said and done he’ll be a great one. Displayed a nice shooting touch out to 3. His handle is good. He can dribble with both hands. He was active around the basket at times but definitely needs more strength to finish inside. The game I saw him play was against Houston Hoops, (Rasheed’s team). It was probably a little tough for Theo to shine against such a talented trio of elite level Houston Hoop guards…led by Rasheed. Theo’s dad is really cool and level headed. He mentioned that the experience of playing in such a high level game would only help Theo get better. Lots of up-side.

Rodney Purvis: I think we’re all fairly familiar with Rodney’s game. He is strong and really has the look of a player. Very confident player and he traded baskets with Rasheed a couple of times. I think Varand mentioned that he deferred a little too much during crunch time against Houston Hoops but he will be big time. He is  a legit 6-3 and he can take it to the hole strong. After the game against Houston Hoops which was easily the best and most competitive game that I saw, Rodney was very nice and forthcoming with answering questions and picture taking. I would really like to land him.

Rasheed Suilamon: He has the tools to be great. In what was probably the best game of the weekend (Houston Hoops vs. CP3) he was the best player. His handle is legit. He can lose a defender with his cross-over and changing of speeds. Once he gets past his defender he attacks the basket hard. With added strength he will finish more consistently. He can knock down the deep three or pull up for his jumper off the dribble. He’s an energy player who can defend well. His personality is magnetic…I really like him and predict he will be one of my all-time favorite’s when he leaves Duke. He will represent Duke very well.

Thanks again to Andrew and Varand for a great weekend! [/private]

Valor Christian's Alex Kozan is one of the top OL prospects in the class of 2012

Valor Christian OL Alex Kozan has a plan

Valor Christian's Alex Kozan is one of the top OL prospects in the class of 2012

In their three-plus years in Durham, Head Coach David Cutcliffe and Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke have built the Duke offensive line into what is expected to be a position of strength in 2011. The past two recruiting classes have brought in a very good group of young offensive linemen, and the Blue Devils hope to continue that trend with the class of 2012. Alex Kozan, a 6’4” 295 pound prospect from Valor Christian in Colorado, is one of the most highly recruited offensive linemen in the country, and the Blue Devils are among the long list of schools he is considering.

BDN: Can you start off by describing your strengths for fans who haven’t had a chance to see you play?

As a player, I’m smart, I never forget my assignments, I’ve got good quick feet that allows me to stay in good position. Explosiveness off the ball, hand contact, hip movement, that kind of stuff, that’d be my strength.

BDN: What are some of the things you have been working on this spring?

Pretty much everything, you know, you just work on technique, you’ve always got to work on technique when you’ve been off the game for six months, so you just work on pass technique, run technique, that kind of stuff.

BDN: Coming off back-to-back state championships, is a three-peat your goal for your senior year?

Definitely, you know we’ve got a strong senior class, we’ve got probably 25 seniors this year. A lot of us have been with the program since our freshman year, our first varsity year when we went 4-6 that year and then won two back-to-back championships, so we’re just trying to get it done for a three-peat this year.

BDN: As you look at your college decision, what are the most important factors you are looking for in a school?

Five things. Number one, business program, that’s going to be my major in college, so a good business program. Number two would be coaching staff that I get along with and is going to develop me as a player, send guys to the NFL and send guys to be All-Conference players. Number three is going to be the strength and conditioning program of the team, does it have a good strength and conditioning program? Will they develop me physically, get me bigger, faster, stronger? Number four is whether it’s a place where I can compete, both as a player to start earlier and where I can compete as a team for conference championships, BCS bowl games and national titles. Number five is that I have a strong faith in God, so a place where I can grow that faith and they’re going to be supportive of that.

BDN: What schools have you been in contact with the most?

On the East Coast, for your region, I’d say North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, South Carolina, would kind of be in that area. Up more Northeast would be Pitt, Syracuse and Connecticut.

BDN: Have any schools stopped by your practices this spring?

We’ve had Syracuse, UConn, I don’t think Duke came out, Wake came out, North Carolina is supposed to come out, I don’t know if they’re still coming. Those are the schools that have come out from the East Coast.

BDN: Do you have any visits planned for this spring or summer?

I’m still looking at it. I’m going to narrow it down to 7 or 5 by July or August and I’m going to try to visit as many of those schools as I can unofficially, and then a couple of them on official visits if they’re farther away, like schools on the East Coast, to get a better feel for the program.

BDN: It sounds like you have a good idea for when you want to narrow things down; do you have an idea for when you would like to make your final decision?

I want to take a couple officials, so I’d probably say October.

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

You know, just off the field, I’m going to be a great person, a strong character for the team, I’m going to help the team off the field, I’m not a guy who will get in trouble or anything like that. On the field, I’ll give 110% and people will see that in my game.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Alex, and best of luck to you.

Alright, thanks.

 

Football Friday wishes Blue Devil Nation a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend

BDN Premium Football Friday: Recruiting updates

Football Friday wishes Blue Devil Nation a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend

In case you haven’t noticed, things tend to come in waves here at BDN Premium. With AAU coverage in full swing, we’re also entering the heat of the college football recruiting season. The Blue Devils have added another verbal commitment this week, and they’re just getting started. [private]

 

Class of 2012 up to 4

California LB Deion Williams joined TE Erich Schneider, DE Allen Jackson, and SAF Dwayne Norman as the first four verbal commitments in the class of 2012 this week. As a junior, Williams earned 2nd Team All-Trinity League honors, playing on both sides of the ball. Though Duke was his only offer to date, the coaching staff targeted Williams early on in the recruiting season and there’s reason to believe that they expect him to develop into a solid college player.

Back to the board

During the recent spring evaluation period, the Duke coaching staff was out in full force, scouting the country for players who will make an impact for their program. At the start of the evaluation period, Duke had extended around 50-60 offers. That number has now swelled to nearly 100, so let’s take another look at the recruiting board by position.

Duke was the first to offer Tarboro RB Todd Gurley

Running backs

Let’s start with one of the positions of greatest need in 2012, after not bringing in a running back in 2011. Duke is up to 12 offers at running back, a good indication that they hope to take more than one in this class. Eleven of those prospects are still undecided, with J.C. Coleman, a Virginia Tech commit, being the lone exception. Dontonio Jordan is expected to announce his decision today, with most expecting his pick to be Kansas or Stanford. We’ve already heard from several of the remaining prospects, so we have some idea of where Duke stands with them: Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall, l’Tavius Mathers and Nick Tompkins. Interviews with some of the new names will be posted this week.

Offensive linemen

The offensive linemen are widely considered to be the strength of the class of 2011, and Duke hopes that success continues in the class of 2012. So far, Coach Luke and the staff have come up empty, losing six offensive line prospects to other schools; most recently, Patrick DeStefano to Clemson and Max Tuerk to USC. There are eleven uncommitted offensive line prospects remaining on Duke’s board, and we will focus on this position in interviews next week.

Defensive linemen

It’s no secret that Duke needs to improve on defense, and recruiting well along the defensive front would go a long way towards that cause. With an athletic defensive end prospect in Allen Jackson already on board, Duke is looking at 8 additional defensive end prospects and 12 defensive tackle prospects. Of those offered, only two have committed elsewhere: Brent Wilkerson to Penn State and Matt Godin to Michigan. Again, a lot of these prospects aren’t new to us: Torey Agee, Korren Kirven, David Reader, Jordan Watkins, and Carlos Wray.

Duke would love for Keilin Rayner to join Deion Williams at LB in the class of 2012

 

Linebackers

The Blue Devils added Deion Williams to the class of 2012 this week, and will look to add at least one additional linebacker in this class. Keilin Rayner remains at the top of the list, but Jeremiah Allison is a new west coast prospect that has entered the mix. We’ll hear from him this week as well.

Safeties

Dwayne Norman became the newest member of the Duke secondary last week, but he is joined by five other uncommitted prospects on the recruiting board, which includes Ron Geohaghan, C.J. Prosise, and Jonavaughn Williams.

Cornerbacks

After losing out on Ronald Darby to Notre Dame, Duke remains focused on a group of five cornerbacks, led by Larry Hope and Albert Reid.

Tight ends

Duke views Erich Schneider, the first commitment of the class of 2012, as a tight end prospect, but will need to add at least one more to build depth at the position with the graduation of Cooper Helfet and Danny Parker. While they lost out on Evan Baylis to Oregon, Duke remains aggressive with a group of elite tight ends, headlined by Dan Beilinson, Justin Meredith, Kent Taylor, and Colin Thompson.

Wide receivers

The Duke offense remains attractive to elite wide receivers, and with All-ACC receivers Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon now upperclassmen, the Blue Devils will need to reload at the position in the class of 2012. Micheal Summers is an athlete we recently heard from who could fit nicely as a slot receiver, and Duke continues to pursue Jared Crump, Justin Johnson, and Max McCaffrey.

Duke has offered GA dual-threat QB Chris Moody

Quarterbacks

So now you’re asking, did he really mean quarterbacks? I thought Bilal Marshall was the only one with an offer. Well, here’s your reward for reading this far. Duke has extended an offer to Georgia QB Chris Moody, another dual-threat prospect in the class of 2012. Moody has offers from other ACC programs such as Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech, along with an offer from Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks. Here’s a highlight clip for those who want to see more.

Busy week

For most of you, this is a holiday weekend, and we wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day. For those of us here at BDN Premium, it will be a busy weekend, and we hope you’ll come back for the best AAU and Duke football recruiting coverage around. WE ARE DUKE.

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Huge recruiting coverage weekend in store

Top notch coverage of the main Duke recruiting targets awaits you - join BDN Premium and judge for yourself the quality input. Pictured Julius Randle

If you are not a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium, now is a great time to join for our Nike EYBL live coverage begins on Friday.  As many of you know, the Tournament of Champions features no main Duke prospects at this time, but at the Nike EYBL in California?

BDN Recruiting Analyst Andrew Slater and our west coast correspondent Varand  Khachadouri will both cover the loaded event.  You will get first hand reviews and live updates on our members only message board from the events start to finish.

And who will you hear about?  Let’s start with the Georgia duo of Tony Parker and Alex Poythress, two front court players at the top of the Blue Devils wish list.  Our staff will also follow Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, two absolute studs.

They will also check out the talented CIA Bounce team with Andrew Wiggins and a young upstart named Theo Pinson.  And of course, covering Pinson means you will hear from another hot name on the Duke recruiting radar, PG Rodney Purvis.

Heck, I am just scratching the surface with names … Nerlens Noel, Brannen Greene, Trent Williams and others will be checked out as well.  And of course, the interviews then start rolling in all next week and beyond.  And if you haven’t seen one of our interviews of late, let’s just say they are about as concise as one can get, averaging almost 2000 words each.

Summer time balling and covering the grass roots circuit is our time of year, a strength of this site, but we are more than that.

Football recruiting is red-hot and we have the fastest growing premium football coverage around where Patrick Cacchio is on the ball with the latest breaking news.  He’s broke the last two recruits at Duke and this site is definitely football friendly.  He also pens a weekly in depth article called Football Friday for members only.

Check out BDN Premium for yourself if you are a Blue Devils fan that loves a dedicated site that is Duke-centric.  While we are starting to cover the national recruiting scene as well, we are the only site sending reps to get the information you really want to hear, that being the latest on Duke prospects and that will not end.

And changes are in store as well, as we rework the site to better suit your needs.  Quite frankly, we have a great staff, friendly members that want you to join them in the latest discussion on a flame free message board that isn’t filled with not so witty one liners distracting from the subject matter.

And we are all Duke fans at heart just like you and that shines through as well. 

If there is a press conference at Duke, we are there in person.  If there are events from the Men’s Basketball Banquet, the NC Pro Am action to the Coach K Academy, we are there.  And if there is a basketball or football game, we are there in person as well.  In short, BDN a full coverage site.

I’m excited about the future here and again, I love the staff I have assembled that has a perfect balance of youth and wisdom.  I personally invite you to join us and promise you that you will love the information within.  We want you to compare BDN’s coverage with our competition for we are more than proud of our product and think you get a lot of bang for the buck over a years time,

Lastly, thanks for visiting Blue Devil Nation and be sure to bookmark the site and follow us on our informative Twitter and Facebook pages which can be found on the main page.  And it is you that makes up the Blue Devil Nation, a site with total dedication to Duke Athletics.  Now, come on in and join us!

Mark Watson, owner of Blue Devil Nation

Alex Murphy prepares for his Duke arrrival

Photo copyright by Rick Crank and Blue Devil Nation

It wasn’t that long ago that Alex Murphy was a part of the 2012 class where he joined Rasheed Sulaimon as two of the Blue Devils to be.  Since that time, Murphy, who had the credits, decided to graduate early and attend Duke University this coming season.

Murphy will have graduated from school by the start of next week and, after spending a bit more time with his family, he will be in Durham no later than July 1st to enroll.

The first two calls to Murphy went unanswered in that he was in the gym getting his shots up with his Dad or working out with Chris Herron.  I worked around his schedule in order to bring you the latest on the soon to be freshman basketball player at Duke University.

Murphy will join a five man freshman class and the group will hit the road running once on campus in an effort to crash course the newcomers on the intricacies of the Duke system.  One month after their arrival, they will head to China with ten practices under their belt.

You’ve been working out a lot in the off season while finishing up at St. Mark’s.  Can you describe an average workout for Duke fans?

The things I try to do? I get a lot of shots up right now.  There are a lot of guys I work with around here, sometimes my brother and a few other guys.  We go one on one and work on some skill stuff and conditioning.

What is your current height and weight?

I’m about 6-8 and 215 pounds.

What position do you envision for yourself at Duke?  Would you consider yourself a hybrid forward, a wing?

Yeah, I mean, anywhere.  Kind of a hybrid forward or wing.  I think I am most comfortable on the wing especially in transition and in the half court as well.  That’s where I envision myself.

When will you arrive on campus?

I am not sure of the exact date but probably July 1st or 2nd.

Once there, you will be going on a trip to China and Dubai with the team.  Are you looking forward to that?

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I am not sure the exact date we’ll leave for that either but it will be some time in early August.  So, we’ll have a period of time together before go and hopefully will be on the same page when we get over there.

Duke recently added Jeff Capel to an already solid and stable staff.  And Nate James will still be in the fold as well.  What do you think of the Capel addition and have you had a chance to talk with him?

I haven’t spoken to him yet but obviously he has a great reputation having coached at Oklahoma, I think for five years.  Any time you have a guy with head coaching experience and wants to come back, especially to his alma mater you want the guy there.  I think we have the best, one of the best coaching staff in the country now.  As you said, with Coach James still being there and around, he’s a great guy too.

Was Nate James involved with your recruitment?  I know Chris Collins was the lead assistant, but anything from James?

Um, yeah, a little, he definitely watched us play a few times and I talked with him when I was down there and he’s a great guy and all the players get along with him really well.  He’s got a great personality, so …

Is there a part of you that second guesses your decision to graduate a year earlier than planned? 

No, not at all.  Before I made the decision, it was tough because I didn’t know whether or not I wanted to do it.  But once I made the decision I haven’t looked back once thinking maybe I shouldn’t have done it.  I knew it was what I want to do, so ..

Are you a bit nervous about the situation?  Is there extra pressure or a sense of urgency to prepare?

Yeah, a little bit.  I am excited, anxious, nervous, a lot of different things.  Coming in your freshman year I think it’s a good thing if you are a little nervous.  I will just come in and do the best I can.

Have you had a chance to speak with the staff of late?  Have they spoken to you about how they might use you and what to prepare for?

Not as much about how they are going to use me.  They sort of mentioned that throughout the recruiting process, so not too much of that recently.  I talk to Collins a lot.  In fact, I’m going to call him a little bit later today.  They’ve been great in this.

Do you talk to the players much or have you been staying in touch with any of them?

Yeah, a little bit.  Here and there we talk a bit.  I know all the guys I am coming in with, Marshall, Mike, Quinn and Austin.  I talk to them a bit but obviously when I get down there the whole team will be together and we’ll spend a lot of time together, so that will be good.

What is the one thing you look most forward to when getting to Duke?

I don’t think there is one thing, I am just excited about the whole experience.  Just to be with the team all the time, working out, meeting new people, seeing more of the school, just everything.

Many have talked about certain players who might redshirt this season, but my understanding is that no plans have been made and the staff wants all to compete and go from there.

Yeah, that’s the idea right now.  I’m going to come down … there is no plan to redshirt right now, so I am going to go down there with the mentality I am not going to and try and earn a spot.  There is no plan and it will not be decided until the season comes.

Alright man, I appreciate your time Alex, have a good day.

Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Murphy to Duke

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