Lutheran (CA) LB Deion Williams is the fourth member of Duke's class of 2012

California LB Deion Williams commits to Duke

Lutheran (CA) LB Deion Williams is the fourth member of Duke's class of 2012

The Duke staff has recruited California well in recent years, and that trend continues in the class of 2012, as the Blue Devils received their 4th verbal commitment on Wednesday from a Golden State prospect. Deion Williams, a 6’0” 215 pound outside linebacker prospect from Orange Lutheran, called Coach Cutcliffe Wednesday and informed him of his decision. The 2nd team All-Trinity League honoree should help to fill the Blue Devils’ need for a hard-hitting linebacker. A standout both on the field and in the classroom, Duke was the first school to offer Williams and he was able to visit Durham earlier this spring for an unofficial visit. The newest Blue Devil checked in with BDN shortly after his decision.

 

BDN: How did you come to your decision?

I actually just called Coach Cutcliffe today and sealed the deal. I was thinking about going to visit other places and see if anywhere else was a better fit for me, but the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that nowhere else would prepare me for my future like Duke would.

BDN: What other schools were you considering?

I was looking for Stanford to show some interest but they haven’t, and Washington as well, but they haven’t shown me any real interest.

BDN: What was it about Duke that really stood out to you and helped you make your decision?

Well, Duke, it’s a very beautiful place, a very beautiful campus, so that really stood out to me. And then just what I want to do with my life, the study of genetics, and going into that field, I feel like Duke has one of the best programs in the world, and a lot of other people feel that way as well, so they were just the best fit for me going into college.

BDN: Congratulations, Deion, and best of luck to you.

Thank you, thank you.

 

BDN Premium checks in with prospect Peter Jok

Childhood years can be a tumultuous time for a lot of kids. At 3, Peter Jok lost his father to violence in war-ravaged Sudan. At nine, his mother ultimately moved the family to Des Moines, Iowa to begin a new life. Two years later, the young man put away his soccer ball and began playing basketball. At a reported 6’6,” he’s now successfully playing the sport that has helped several of his relatives achieve a college education and, in two instances (Manute Bol and Luol Deng), an NBA career.

After a season in which he didn’t enjoy his prior explosiveness, Jok underwent an MRI, which revealed a torn patellar tendon. In June, he’s expecting to undergo surgery to repair it and the rehab will take several months. Recently, Jok and his guardian Mike Dixon’s son, Pete, transferred high schools from Roosevelt HS in Des Moines to Valley HS in West Des Moines, where he will be coached by former Iowa guard, Jeff Horner. On the AAU circuit, the sophomore Jok is averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds per game in limited action for the All-Iowa Attack, who are 7-3 in Nike’s EYBL.

His older brother, Dau, was a freshman guard at the University of Pennsylvania this past season and is currently on a trip that will take him through Rwanda and Southern Sudan, distributing soccer and basketballs to young girls and boys. Dau Jok, who set up a foundation in their slain father’s name, Dut Jok, is looking to ultimately empower the Southern Sudanese youth through athletics and education.

Recently, the more laconic Peter Jok spoke with Blue Devil Nation.

How do you feel you’ve played so far over this AAU season? [private]

Well, I tore my patellar tendon. So, I’m really not supposed to be playing. I’m just waiting to have surgery.

And when are you scheduled to have surgery?

June. Well, the middle of June.

How long will it take you to recover from that?

Several months.

Wow, I’m sorry to hear that, but, hopefully, you’ll feel a lot better afterwards.

Yeah, I hope so.

In terms of a position, what do you view yourself as, long-term?

Probably, realistically, as a small forward.

For those that haven’t had an opportunity to see you yet, can you describe your game for the audience?

Well, I just like to play inside-out and my weakness, right now, is attacking the basket.  I feel like I have weak knees. Until I get my strength back, I don’t see any chance of it improving.

When did the injury occur or was it a gradual issue?

It happened last year in a Nike camp. I played through the season, but, when I finally got an MRI, they said I must’ve torn my patellar tendon.

I can’t believe you could play at this level with that issue.

Yeah, I know. (laughs)

In terms of your strengths, what do you feel are some of them?

On the court?

Yes, I’m sorry. On the court..

Probably my shot. My mid-range has gotten a lot better. I feel a lot more comfortable shooting  and hitting it.

Which teams are after you right now?

Yeah, but  I have a guardian take care of that. He handles all of that and so I don’t have to think about that.

Sure. Did you have a favorite team growing up?

No, not really. I watched a lot of Oklahoma growing up because my cousin was on the team.

Which cousin was that?

Oh, Longar Longar.

Sure.

Yeah, I used to watch him play.

 

Now, is it true that you’re related to both Manute Bol and Luol Deng as well?

Yeah, it’s true. When we first came here, I remember I spoke to Manute Bol at a family reunion.

 

In Iowa or elsewhere?

No, in Kansas actually. We have a lot of family there. So, yeah, he was very encouraging.

I know your older brother was a freshman this year at Penn.

Yeah, he is.
 

Have you ever spoken with Luol Deng?

No, but my older brother has. I don’t really, like, know him that well.

Is there a player that you try to model your game after?

Kevin Durant.

A very skilled forward. Maybe we can touch on your journey from Sudan to ultimately Iowa. It’s a unique story… coming out of a war ravaged area to Des Moines.

Oh, well, I came here when I was nine so I don’t really remember much.

Perhaps, that’s for the best.

Yeah, I guess and my mom doesn’t really like to talk about it that much.

Sure, nevertheless, you arrived in 2003.

Yeah, exactly, I arrived in ’03 and I started playing in ’05. I actually used to play a lot of soccer.

 

Now, do you still play that in the fall?

No, not anymore.

 

Concentrating on basketball?

Yeah, exactly, concentrating.

Who will you turn to for guidance whenever you do decide?

Longar Longar, my big brother, and then another cousin named Jok Jok…and then my uncles. They all look after me and guide me in life.

Are your uncles in Kansas?

My main uncle is in Minnesota and then my guardian…he guides me too.

His name’s Mike Nixon.

Yes, Mike Nixon.
 
Although it’ll only be until June, what are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

Not much. Just trying to wait until this knee gets healed.

Will you be able to work on your upper-body when you’re in rehab?

Yes, when I get to rehab, I will.
 

So, it won’t be wasted time?

Yeah, hopefully not.

What will you be looking for ideally in the program that you ultimately decide upon?

Just a team that runs and a good coaching staff.

So, you prefer an up-tempo system.

Yeah, definitely.

 

You’ve come a long way already and your brother’s in Philadelphia, but will distance be a factor for you?

I really don’t know. I’m not sure.

Do you have a time when you’d like to decide by?

To be honest, I’m not really thinking at all about recruiting.

What are some of your outside interests, outside of school and basketball?

I like hanging out with my girl.

Well, that’s a first, but probably a good use of your time.
(laughs)

 

Now, does she play too?

Yeah, she played a little bit at my old school.
 

I know that’s a touchy issue in your area and, perhaps, you’d rather not talk about it, but was it difficult for you to leave your prior school in the middle of the year?

Yeah, it was difficult, but…I don’t know.

 

In doing my research, I was surprised at how much discussion or contention there was over you leaving your prior school and joining a new one. Were you surprised  by that?

Yeah, I tried not to pay too much attention to it at the time.

 

Well, good luck at the new school. Was transferring a big deal to you?

Yeah, no, I was surprised by all of that.

Is it difficult for you to be separated from your mother so often?

Yeah, well, you get used to it. She came back last night. She goes back and forth a lot.

I’ve been there many times, but how did you land in Des Moines  or the greater Des Moines area, of all places?

My grandma was there.

Oh, your grandmother. That makes sense.

Yeah, she was living there.

What has your brother, Dau (freshman at Penn), told you so far about college basketball and the adjustments that he’s had to make, as he’s stepped up in competition? Has he offered you advice?

He’s talked about the need to tighten your ball-handling as much as possible and concentrate on defense a lot more in high school. Play as hard on that end as you can.

Do you guys plan on playing with or against each other this summer?

No, but we used to play all of the time when he was in high school.

Are you a good student as well? I figure, with your brother at Penn, you’ve got to be a pretty good student.

Oh, yeah, my mom’s all about that. My mother would never let me or my brothers get away without studying or putting in a good effort. She values an education.

That’s good to hear.Do you have a favorite NBA team?

Oh, the Lakers. The Lakers are my team. I love Kobe Bryant.

You mentioned before that Duke had called your house recently.

Yeah, they called my guardian.

 

Do you know which coach called?

No, I have no idea.

Would you be interested in them, if they decided to pursue you?
In Duke?

Sure, I would.

What’s your current height and weight? What height are you projected to be?

They say I’l be somewhere between 6’8 and 6’10.” I currently 6’6″ and 194.

 

What would you like to weigh by next high school season? You mentioned before that you were planning on working on your upper-body while you’re rehabbing.

Yeah, I’d like to weigh somewhere between 210 and 215 by the start of the season.

How are you going to try to keep the mid-range and three-point shot that you’ve been working on, while going through all of that rehab?

They said, after a couple of months, that I’ll be able to shoot on it. It shouldn’t hurt my shot that bad.

I would think this would be the case, but has it dramatically affected your leaping ability?

Oh, yeah, it has. It’s been terrible.

Yeah, in the past, I though you were frankly more explosive than you’ve demonstrated recently, but your shot is a lot more consistent.

Yeah, I was a lot more explosive

 

Hopefully, after this surgery, we’ll see you skying through the air again.

Yeah, I hope so.

 

Do you feel that you’re a better a shooter as well now?

Yeah, I think so.

In terms of next year in high school, what are you hoping to accomplish?

Win the state. Last year, we got knocked out way too early, but, next year, we should be really good.

Thank you very much for your time.

Oh, sure. [/private]

Duke Prospect Micheal Summers hopes to decide in June

As the spring recruiting season begins to wrap up and the summer camp circuit lies ahead, college football recruiting is heating up across the country. Duke is no exception, as the Blue Devil coaching staff has been touring the country evaluating prospects over the past several weeks. As their recruiting net widens, the staff has remained focused on their initial recruiting targets, including a top athlete from the talent-rich state of Georgia. BDN last spoke with Micheal Summers, a 6’1″ 190 pound prospect from Statesboro, in March, shortly after he had received his first verbal scholarship offer from Duke. As would be expected for a prospect with his athleticism, Summers’ recruitment has picked up this spring, and he gave BDN an update.

BDN: How have things been going for you this spring?

We just wrapped up spring football last Thursday. It went great, getting back into the rhythm of things, just working on hitting the hole more explosive, working on my pad level, and catching the ball a lot more.

BDN: Which coaches have stopped by your practices this spring?

I got the chance to talk with Pittsburgh, Georgia, Florida, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Duke, Kent State, and Vanderbilt.

BDN: Which schools have you had the most contact with this spring?

I’ve been in contact with Pitt, Florida, Georgia Tech, Duke, Kent State, and Louisville, so just about all of them.

BDN: Have you taken any recent visits or do you have any visits planned?

Yes, I plan on visiting. I plan on going back to Duke, I plan on going to Florida, I plan on going to Pittsburgh, and Middle Tennessee.

BDN: Do you have any plans for camps this summer?

As of now, not right now.

BDN: Where would you say you are in your recruiting process right now?

Right now, I’m still working my options, but Duke is my favorite. They’re my number one right now. I really like Duke. I’m not really set on which school I’m going to yet, I’m keeping my options open, but Duke is my favorite right now.

BDN: When we last spoke, you mentioned hoping to make your decision sometime before the end of the summer. Do you have a better idea for when you want to commit now?

I want to make my decision by the end of June.

BDN: Is there anything else you want college football fans to know about you?

I’m working out with a personal trainer, a lot of speed and agility work, trying to work on my stride and being more explosive, working on my turnover.

BDN: Well it definitely sounds like your hard work is paying off. Thanks a lot, Mike, and best of luck.

Alright, thanks.

BDN Monday Musings – Devils in the NBA draft, recruiting …

BDN Photo

In this weeks Monday Musings, I ramble a bit about the history Duke Basketball in the NBA Draft. We also touch on recruiting and upcoming events and salute the LAX and golf teams for their success and advancement.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the coveted number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft last week and that means it is almost a foregone conclusion that Kyrie Irving will be their pick.  Many might think that he will be the Blue Devils first overall number one pick in draft history but may I remind you that Elton Brand went to the Chicago Bulls in 1999 as the top pick. 

Two other Blue Devils were the second overall pick, that being  Jay Williams with the same Bulls team in 2002.  Danny Ferry was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers in the second spot in 1989 and he elected to go overseas before landing in Cleveland not only as a player but the eventual General Manager of the club in the LeBron James era. 

Speaking of the Cavaliers, they drafted two other Krzyzewski era Blue Devils as well.  Trajon Langdon was their 11th  pick in the 1st round in 1999 and Carlos Boozer was a 2nd round steal in 2002. 

When folks think the Chicago Bulls organization, Micheal Jordon comes to mind and that has made it hard for some Duke fans to root for the team.  Despite going down a game in their series with Miami, the Bulls seem to be a team of the future.  Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng  are two current Blue Devils playing major minutes for said Bulls and I must admit that I am pulling for, dare I say this, da Bulls.  And no, Deng was not drafted by the Bulls, for it was the Phoenix Suns who plucked him with the 7th overall pick in 2004.

Among active coaches, Mike Krzyzewski leads the pack with 21 1st round draft picks, followed by the guy down the road, Roy Williams who has had 17 at Kansas and North Carolina.  When Irving is selected in the draft , Duke will lead Williams 16-15 and gain sole possession of the most NBA lottery picks for a school. 

 If Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler go in the first round in this years draft, Duke will have had 24 1st round picks since 1985.  A total of 53 Duke players have been on NBA rosters over the legues history.  Former Duke great Dick Groat/ started it all off  as the 3rd overall pick by Fort Wayne in 1952.   The last Blue Devil drafted was Gerald Henderson by the Charlotte Bobcat’s in 2009. 

The last Blue Devil to make an NBA roster was the undrafted Brian Zoubek who is with the New Jersey Nets organization.   Gene “Tinkerbell” Banks and Kenny Dennard going 28th and 78th in the 1981 draft were the first Blue Devils selected in the Krzyzewski era, however, he coached them but one year, that being his first season at Duke.  The first two Duke players drafted that played four season under Krzyzewski at Duke were Johnny Dawkins and Mark Alarie, two 1st round picks in the 1986 draft.  ESPN announcer Jay Bilas also went 108th that same season.

On the recruiting front, Perry Ellis name became hot over the weekend.  Duke has opened a door with the prospect most felt was a strong Kansas lean through new assistant coach Jeff Capel.  But the Dukies have a lot of catching up to do before this one becomes interesting.

The basketball recruiting trail starts back up this coming weekend with a local event the Tournament of Champions.  This has been a great event in the past but new NCAA rules do not allow games to be played on college campuses.   That means a logistical nightmare in that the games will be held at various high school gyms in the Triangle area. 

We’ll be there to bring you coverage on Duke targets for Blue Devil Nation Premium, our extended coverage subscription service which keeps you in the know on all things Duke.  BDN Premium will also have our west coast correspondent, Varand Khachadouri covering the Nike EYBL event in Los Angeles, so if you love in depth Duke focused recruiting coverage, join now and see how we roll during grass roots balling. 

And you can also look forward to hearing from soon to be Blue Devil hoopsters Alex Murphy later today, followed by Quinn Cook tomorrow.  Both kids will arrive on campus the first of July and they tell us what they are most looking forward to and more in two of our latest interviews.  Last week alone, BDN Premium brought you four major prospect interviews through our exceedingly well versed recruiting aficionado, Andrew Slater and this week, there will be more.

The Duke Men’s LAX team defeated Notre Dame 7-5 to once again advance to the Final 4.   The Blue Devils sophomore goaltender Dan Wigrizermade 14 saves on goal helping Duke get past the Irish who they defeated for the national title a season ago.  Duke (14-5) will play unseeded Maryland on May 28 at M&T Bank Stadium at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.  Here is a recap from GoDuke.com.  Meanwhile, the Men’s Golf team won the Eastern Regional as well and that was their first ever regional final title.  And the Duke female LAX team rocked #4Florida and they too, advanced in the NCAA tournament.

New Duke AC Jeff Capel addresses the media

DURHAM – New Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel addressed the local media today on the campus of Duke University.  The former Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth coach brings a lot of experience to the basketball staff and after a whirlwind move into temporary housing he is already settling in to his duties, namely the recruiting trail.

“Life can only be understood backwards,” were words Capels Grandmother shared with him and that advice now makes sense to the former Blue Devil player.

“Control what you can control, it’s a tough profession but a rewarding one,” said Capel, who continued,  “It was hard, difficult and I didn’t like it but it was whats supposed to happen,” in reference to his release at Oklahoma.

The Sooners loss is the Blue Devils gain.  Capel brings a new set of eyes to the program and the fact he has had such experience on the sidelines will certainly help him with his new gig.

“Duke helped prepare me for life, not just coach and the program but Duke,” said the former Fayetteville native.  While at Duke Capel played for the national championship, something he points to as the highlight of his career along with a steller game against Purdue in the regional finals which helped the Devils advance.

When asked how he could help the program, Capel stated, “I don’t know right now.  Maybe I can understand some things during a day better than some of the other guys,” referring to his head coaching experience.

Capel joins former teammates and friends Chris Collins, Steve Wojociechowski and Nate James at Duke, giving him a comfort level from day one.  “Chris and Wojo are trained to be head coaches and they will be successful when they head out.  I have been a coach and I thou\ght I was really go four great years at VCU.  I wanted to get it back going.  When I took the OU job it was under turmoil which may have chosen to forget.”

And while there are some familiarities coming back to Duke, Capel sees changes since his playing days which ended in 1997.  “It’s different.  I would periodically visit campus but not for an extended length of time.  When I walked into Cameron I didn’t know the seats were now blue.  But while the campus is different, the expectations for excellence are the same.”

When asked about the progression of his hiring, Capel said he was fired on a Monday in Norman, flew back Tuesday and Wednesday he decided to go by the Duke campus just to say hello.  During that visit he talked with Coach K briefly where he was asked of his interest in a created special assistant slot.

Capel wanted to check his options and he took a look at some head coaching vacancies and even looked into a chance to become a TV analyst. 

Krzyzewski later contacted Capel again saying the best way to utilize his talents at Duke was to offer him a spot as an assistant coach.  It didn’t take long for Capel to accept the position.  “It was a no brainer,” said Capel.  “I have trusted the man since I was 16 years old and that trust has never changed.”

Capel officially started his duties last Friday and he worked with a returnee individually this morning.  He has already started to get accustomed with the players Duke is recruiting as well and he will be out on the road in July.

“One thing about Coach is he is always willing to change and adapt to help a team become the best they can be.  His objective is what is best for Duke and that will be my mission here to help Duke be the best it can be.”

Duke placed 15 teams in the top 10 percent of the APR - GoDuke.com photo

Football Friday: TWIDF

Does Major League Baseball still produce TWIB? I used to watch This Week In Baseball every weekend when I was a kid. Well, if MLB has TWIB, then BDN has TWIDF. BDN Premium’s Football Friday is your weekly look inside the world of Duke Football. It’s been a busy week in Durham, as the Blue Devils were recognized for their work in the classroom and also added a verbal commitment to the class of 2012.

Duke placed 15 teams in the top 10 percent of the APR - GoDuke.com photo

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Duke named among top 10 percent in APR

The NCAA honored the Duke football program, along with 14 other Duke teams, for placing among the top 10 percent in the multi-year Academic Progress Report. The APR is an attempt to provide a real-time evaluation of each student-athlete’s academic progress (as opposed to graduation rates, which are retrospective). While this kind of recognition has become expected among Duke teams, it’s still a great acommlishment. The Blue Devils were first in the ACC and second overall with 15 teams recognized; Notre Dame had 17 teams honored. As the Duke football program strives for excellence on the field, they also continue to excel in the classroom.

The NCAA has more questions for Butch Davis and the Tar Heels after Quinton Coples' appearance at a post-draft party

NCAA visits UNC, again

UNC defensive end Quinton Coples was spotted at a post-draft party in Washington, DC along with former teammates Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn in pictures posted on Facebook. This is either a complete non-story or a really big deal. Here’s why. If Coples paid his own way for the trip and related expenses, his attendance at the party is allowed by NCAA regulations (though ill-advised given UNC’s recent issues). If, however, Coples did not pay for any part of his trip to DC, Coples will likely be ruled ineligible for at least part of his senior season. Experts have Coples ranked among the top 5 NFL draft picks in 2012, so this could be another high-profile UNC player with eligibility issues. Given the similar infractions last year, the NCAA could have solid ground for strong sanctions against UNC. Stay tuned.

Duke receives third verbal commitment for 2012

The Blue Devils added a hard-hitting safety in Dwayne Norman

 

As you know by now, Dwayne Norman committed to Duke on Wednesday night. The Blue Devils were the first to offer the 6’0” 185 pound strong safety prospect from University Christian in Jacksonville, Florida. Norman joins fellow Jacksonville native TE Erich Schneider and DE Allen Jackson as the first three members of Duke’s class of 2012. Thus far, all three prospects appear to be solid verbal commitments to the Blue Devils.

As for Norman, he’s a hard-hitting safety prospect who totaled over 70 tackles and an interception as a junior, while also lining up at wide receiver. His highlights can be viewed here. Norman finishes tackles very well and does an excellent job getting into the opposing backfield. He will need to improve his coverage skills to play at the college level, but has the speed (4.5 sec 40-yard dash) and athleticism (33 inch vertical) to make the transition.

OG Cody Robinson is among the Blue Devils who arrived on campus this week

New Blue Devils on campus

Several members of the class of 2011 moved on to campus and began their first college courses this week. The first summer semester began on Wednesday, and the Blue Devils will have 8 players enrolled for this term. Several of these players worked hard to finish up their final semester in high school early so that they could arrive on campus as early as possible. The remaining members of the class of 2011 will join them for the second summer term at the beginning of July. Fall training camp will open during the first week of August, at which time all members of the team are required to report to campus.

The players enrolled on campus are:

OG Cody Robinson 6’3” 290 pounds

OG Lucas Patrick 6’3” 305 pounds

CB Tim Burton 5’9” 170 pounds

CB Jared Boyd 5’9” 170 pounds

P Will Monday 6’4” 185 pounds

TE David Reeves 6’6” 245 pounds

WR Nick Hill 6’2” 200 pounds

LB Jon Woodruff 6’3” 205 pounds (January enrollee)

Duke to host Nike camp this weekend

NFTC will host an invite-only camp at Duke this weekend

 

Spring football is in full swing for most high school prospects, and that includes both spring football practices as well as combines and camps. On Sunday, Nike will hold an invitation-only football camp on Duke’s campus for top prospects in the class of 2012 and 2013. Needless to say, this is great exposure for the Duke program, and a testament to the recent improvements in Duke’s football facilities. With the indoor practice facility under construction, Duke’s commitment to football should be clear to prospects. Duke will host their own football camps the 2nd and 3rd week in June, but this camp is another great opportunity to get top prospects on Duke’s campus for unofficial visits.

Here’s the list of Nike Football Training Camps this spring:

March 27         Miami

April 3              USC

April 10            TCU

April 15            Georgia

April 17            Florida State

April 30           Penn State

May 1               Rutgers

May 7              Houston

May 15            Stanford

May 21            Ohio State

May 22            Duke

June 5              Oregon

June 19            Washington

Desmond Scott leads an improved Blue Devil running game

Al Featherston does it again

If you’ve read this far, clearly Hooked on Phonics worked for you. Maybe you’re willing to read a little more. If so, we highly recommend the next installment of preview articles by Al Featherston at GoDuke. This week, Al speaks with Kurt Roper and analyzes what should be an improved running game for the 2011 Blue Devils.

 

That’s what’s happening in the world of Duke Football this week. Until next week, WE ARE DUKE. [/private]