Irving goes #1 in NBA Draft , Smith, Singler selected

NEW JERSEY – Duke’s Kyrie Irving was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Thursday’s NBA Draft, while Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler were taken 21st and 33rd, respectively by the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons. Irving, who entered the draft following his freshman season at Duke, becomes third Blue Devil tabbed with the No. 1 overall selection. “This is what I have worked so hard for and I am excited to start my NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers,” said Irving. “I am thankful for the support of my family, friends and coaches and I am trying to enjoy every moment of this journey.”  Irving, a 6-2 guard from West Orange, N.J., played in just 11 games last season, sitting out 26 contests with a toe injury on his right foot. He averaged 17.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting .529 (55-of-104) from the field, .462 (18-of-39) from behind the three-point line and .901 (64-of-71) from the free throw line. Irving started the first eight games of the year, averaging 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game during that time frame. He returned to action in the NCAA Tournament and averaged 17.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in Duke’s three outings. He scored a game-high 31 points to go with six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals against No. 6 Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was just the fourth time in school history a freshman scored 30 or more in a game. He was also selected the CBE Classic MVP after averaging 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals in the four games.

With three players selected in the 2011 NBA Draft, including two first rounders, head coach Mike Krzyzewski has now mentored 43 draft selections. Duke has now produced 76 NBA draft picks overall. “Being selected in the NBA Draft is a dream come true,” said Smith. “This is a special night for me and for my family. They have sacrificed a lot to help me reach my goals and my dreams. I am excited to have the opportunity to play for the Trail Blazers, set new goals and continue to work.” Smith, the 2011 ACC Player of the Year and a consensus first team All-America, led the ACC in scoring (20.6 ppg.), 20-point games (21) and 30-point games (four) as a senior. He also ranked among the league leaders in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, assists and minutes played. Smith was also named ACC Tournament MVP after averaging 18.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.0 steals per game in Duke’s conference championship run. Smith averaged 13.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 143 career games (including 97 starts). He ranks 17th all-time at Duke with 1,911 points and is the only player in school history to score over 1,500 career points after scoring less than 500 total points in his first two seasons combined. Smith’s father, the late Derek Smith, played nine years in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors (1982-83), San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers (1983-86), Sacramento Kings (1986-1989), Philadelphia 76ers (1989-90) and Boston Celtics (1990). He also spent two seasons (1994-96) as an assistant coach with the Washington Bullets and was a second round pick (No. 35 overall) by the Golden State Warriors in the 1982 draft.

Singler, a second team All-America selection in 2011, ranked among the ACC leaders in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, three-point field goals made and minutes played a year ago. He was also named to the ACC All-Tournament first team after averaging 17.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while helping Duke to its third straight ACC Championship. Singler averaged 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game in his career and owns Duke career records for games played (148-tied), consecutive games played (148), games started (147) and minutes played (4,887). He led Duke to 125 victories to rank second all-time in ACC history and is just the fourth player at Duke and ninth player in ACC history to amass over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Singler ranks fourth at Duke with 2,392 career points and sixth with 1,007 career rebounds. Duke Draft Notes * Irving joins Elton Brand and Art Heyman as the only Blue Devils selected with the No. 1 overall pick. Brand was taken with the top pick in the 1999 draft by the Chicago Bulls, while Heyman was selected No. 1 overall in 1963 by the New York Knicks. *

 Duke has had seven top-3 picks since 1985, four more than any school. * Irving, Smith and Singler become the first trio of Blue Devils taken in the NBA Draft since 2002; Jason Williams (No. 2), Mike Dunleavy (No. 3), Carlos Boozer (No. 35) … Duke has had three or more players selected in the NBA Draft six times overall (2011, 2002, 1999, 1986, 1971 & 1956). * Irving is the 16th Duke player selected in the NBA Draft Lottery, more than any other school in the nation since the system was put into place in 1985. * Irving becomes the third Duke player selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland also selected Carlos Boozer with the 35th pick in the 2002 draft and Trajan Langdon with the 11th pick in the 1999 draft. * Smith is the first Duke player selected with the 21st pick in the NBA Draft. * Smith is the third Duke player selected by the Portland Trail Blazers. Alaa Abdelnaby was taken No. 25 overall by Portland in 1990, while Josh McRoberts was selected with the 37th pick of the 2007 draft. * Irving and Smith become the 22nd and 23rd players under Coach K selected in the first round of the NBA Draft … Duke has now had 15 first round selections in the last 14 years. * With Irving and Smith going in the opening round, Duke has now had 30 players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft. * Duke has had two or more players selected in the first round five times (1986, 1999, 2002, 2006 & 2011). * Singler is the fourth Blue Devil selected by the Detroit Pistons. Detroit took Steve Vandenberg in 1969, Larry Saunders in 1971 and Grant Hill in 1994. * Singler is third Duke player taken with the 33rd pick in the NBA Draft. Steve Vacendak was taken in that spot by San Francisco in 1966 and Garry Melchionni was the 33rd pick by Phoenix in 1973.

Bilal Marshall was the first 2012 QB with a Duke offer and remains a top target

Duke is a finalist for elusive dual-threat QB Bilal Marshall

Bilal Marshall was the first 2012 QB with a Duke offer and remains a top target

Yesterday, BDN featured an interview with new Duke QB target Thomas Sirk, more of a traditional pro-style quarterback prospect with a 6’5” frame. Historically, Head Coach David Cutcliffe has had great success with quarterbacks from this mold, with Peyton and Eli Manning serving as exhibits A and B. Given recent trends in the game of college football and the success Duke had in 2010 with freshman Brandon Connette, the Duke staff would love to add a dual-threat quarterback to the class of 2012. Recent players like Cam Newton at Auburn and Darron Thomas at Oregon have been elite program-changers, and the Blue Devils have targeted a dual-threat prospect from Florida in hopes of similar success. At 6’3” and 170 pounds, Bilal Marshall, has an agile frame and a natural athleticism that makes him the elusive playmaker Duke needs. Duke was among the first to offer Marshall early in 2011, and have remained aggressive in their pursuit of the Dade Christian star throughout the spring and summer. After a dozen scholarship offers, Marshall has landed on four top schools, and the Blue Devils have made the cut. BDN first spoke with Bilal back in February, and recently caught up with the talented athlete after his trip to Durham. [private]

 

BDN: I know your recruitment has really picked up since we last spoke; how many offers are you up to now?

Right now I’m at 12 offers from several schools such as Wake Forest, Duke, Kansas, Purdue, Boston College, Tulane, Northwestern, FIU, Rutgers, and a couple more I can’t think of right now.

BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit this summer?

This past weekend I was just at Wake Forest and Duke.

BDN: How did those visits go for you?

It went great, I got a great feel for the city and the coaches. It was a great thing.

BDN: What other visits do you have planned?

Towards the end of July, I’m going to be taking a trip to Purdue and Kansas to see what I can find out there.

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

I’m pretty much towards the end, I’ve narrowed it down to those four schools right now.

BDN: So you’ve narrowed it down to Wake Forest, Duke, Purdue, and Kansas? And are all four schools recruiting you as a quarterback?

Yes. And yes.

BDN: In addition to your visits in July, what else do you have planned for the summer?

Just footwork, that’s basically it, just getting stronger each day and working on my feet.

BDN: What are your plans for narrowing things down and making your decision?

Yes, I’m going to take my officials in the fall to get a football game aspect of it, to see how the atmosphere is during the game, what it’s like if I were to play football at those schools and then after that I’ll make my decision.

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

Alright, I appreciate it.

[/private]

 

QB Thomas Sirk committed to David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils on Wednesday morning

Baker County (FL) athlete Thomas Sirk earns a coveted Duke QB scholarship offer

Baker County athlete Thomas Sirk is attracting interest from top programs this summer

Though he admittedly dislikes the label, Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe is known in football circles as a quarterback guru. Having mentored both Peyton and Eli Manning (who worked out at Duke on Wednesday), along with several other top collegiate signal-callers, Coach Cut’s reputation is well-deserved. At Duke, he has continued to develop outstanding quarterbacks, starting with two record-setting years for Thaddeus Lewis and an impressive sophomore year for Sean Renfree, along with freshman Brandon Connette. When it comes to quarterback recruiting, Coach Cutcliffe is understandably selective, carefully evaluating hundreds of high school quarterbacks each year, but only offering a scholarship to a select few. Thomas Sirk, a 6’6” 212 pound athlete from Baker County HS in Florida, is one of those select few. Remarkably, Sirk has never played a full year at quarterback in high school, but impressed the Duke coaching staff in person last Saturday in Durham. With interest from schools like Florida, Florida State, and Tennessee, Sirk’s recruitment has officially taken off this summer. His highlight film, which has piqued the interest of several college coaches, can be viewed here. [private]

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

I guess I’d say I’m versatile, I play all over the field, and quarterback. I’m a big guy, I guess, I’m 6’5” 212 right now and I move pretty good for my size.

BDN: You mentioned playing quarterback, is that the position you want to play in college?

That’s what I want to play in college, I’ve been offered by Duke at quarterback.

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

Right now I’m in conditioning. I’ve been working with my receivers on throwing, working on my steps a lot this summer. This is my first year at quarterback really, coming into my senior season, I’m not an original quarterback, last year I played wide receiver, so I just need to work on timing with my receivers and trying to get in touch with them.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year and your first year under center?

I’m looking to take our team to be the first team to be undefeated in our county. I want to pass for over 1500-2000 yards this season, that’s definitely one of my goals to have high passing yards and I want to have a completion percentage above 65% this year, too.

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

Right now I’m looking at what’s the best place for me, where I‘m going to start earlier, going in, looking at their depth chart. I want to be somewhere where I’m going to get a chance to play for the most years.

BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you this summer?

I’ve been offered by Iowa State as well as Duke. I’ve been recruited by Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, University of Miami, Georgia Tech, Troy, and Vanderbilt.

BDN: Have you had a chance to visit any schools, and what schools are you planning to visit this summer?

I’ve visited Florida State, Florida, Duke, Vanderbilt, I visited Vanderbilt last year during the season. I have Tennessee and Vanderbilt coming up the 17th and 18th of July for camps. I’ve got Florida State coming up again, it’ll be my second time visiting Florida State, July 23rd.

BDN: Are you planning to work out at quarterback at those camps?

Yeah, yeah, I’m planning to work out at quarterback at all those schools. I’ve been in contact with Tennessee’s quarterback coach, we talked on the phone last Friday morning, I’ve been recruited by Tennessee but that’s the first time I actually got to talk to their quarterback coach. I recently made a film at quarterback and it’s on YouTube now, and if you get a chance you can look at that, but it’s on YouTube and some of these coaches are starting to see that and that’s where I’m getting contacts from schools at, by seeing that video. I work with a quarterback coach in Alabama named David Morris.

BDN: Sure, he played in college, didn’t he?

Yeah, yeah, he played at Ole Miss, he played behind Eli Manning.

BDN: Well that’s definitely a great mentor to have.

Yeah, definitely.

QB Thomas Sirk says that Duke definitely stands out as a great opportunity for him

BDN: Do any schools stand out to you, that you have a good relationship with and you feel like there’s a good opportunity for you to play early?

Well Tennessee and Duke. I mean definitely Duke, when I went up to Duke and visited them this past weekend, their coaching staff, I came in there and they treated me very good, worked me out at the camp. I got to sit down in person and talk to Coach Cutcliffe and that’s when he offered me. I’ve been in touch with them all week after the camp. And Tennessee, I’m liking Tennessee right now, they’ve got a new facility going up and I like the town of Knoxville, too.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how or when you would like to narrow things down and make your decision?

Well I’m not making any decisions right now, I’m just kind of taking it all in right now. It will probably be the middle of my season before I make my decision. Right now I’m just trying to take it all in, like I said. Not trying to rush into anything, I’m seeing what’s further to come, what offers I get, what opportunities I have.

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

Ok, I appreciate it.

[/private]

 

BDN goes One on One with Devonta Pollard

Duke is showing interest in Davonta Pollard - BDN Photo

Davonta Pollard is a multi sport athlete that stands 6-7 and weighs in at 200 pounds.  Pollard plays AAU ball for the Southern Phenoms and goes to Kemper High School in DeKalb, Mississippi.  Pollard is one of the top rated players in the class of 2012 and he recently sat down with BDN to discuss the latest on the recruiting front.

You were just talking to some guys from an N.C. State site.  They are one of two ACC schools you mentioned.  What do you think about the Wolfpack?

I like their basketball program and staff.  They’re rebuilding and putting in a new weight room and it seems like it will be a good school in the future.

There is a lot of buzz concerning the Blue Devils as well … 

I talked to both Wojo and Coach Kand they were just telling me what they’d [private] heard about me and asked if I were interested in coming to Duke and I told them that yes, I was.  I haven’t taken a visit to Duke yet because that was my first time talking to them.  I plan on going to visit them and looking at their school.  They have a great basketball program.

You are being chased by a lot of SEC schools as well,.  Can you list them, please?

Yes sir.  Kentucky, Georgetown, LSU, Mississippi state, Ole Miss, Alabama.

Who will play big roles in advising you on your collegiate decision?

My mom. She will be the key in helping me with my coach.  And there is also Darrell Carter, a football and basketball coach at our school.  He came into our district three years ago and we’ve had a bond since then.  He’s like a brother or father to me, so I look up to him.

Do you play other varsity sports in high school?

Yes sir.  I play football.

Have some of the coaches recruiting you tried to persuade you to give football up and concentrate on hoops?

Some coaches have and some tell me that I’m young and to enjoy life.  Really, I played football before I played basketball.

Describe your game in your own words for our members.

I’m an all around player that can do a little bit of everything.  I can take a guard and put him on the block.  I need to work on my ball handling skills and jumper and I can always get stronger.

You’ll be going to the Nike Skills Academies, right?

Yes sir.  The Lebron James and Derron Williams camp.

Is their a definitive timetable on your coming decision?

I really don’t know but if things work out I plan on deciding in the spring.

What are you looking for from a coaching staff in college?

Willing to help a kid, accompany his dream and help him be his best and get to the next level.  I like coaches to be straight with me and tell me what I need to work on.  I want to go pro so I will do anything I need to accomplish my goal

Are you hesitant of going to a big time school where you will have tpo battle for playing time?

No sir.  I love competition.

Where did you first learn your basketball skills or who taught you the game?

My mom and my dad.  My mom was a player, she went to Kemper High and then she went to Delta State and got drafted by the WNBA’s Chicago Hustlers.  My mom wants me to go wherever I’m comfortable and she’ll be happy with that.  She wants someone who will work and push me to become my best.

Is it important for you to go to a school where most every game is televised?

That’s not a big deal because she is going to be at the games.

So, she is planning on moving to follow you?

Yes sir.  She will come for the first year and no matter where she might be after that, she will find a way to get to games.

Thanks for your time Davonta and we’ll be keeping tabs on your progress.

Yes sir.  Thank you. [/private]

Rasheed Sulaimon Diary Entry One

Sulaimon and friends

What’s up Blue Devil Nation!  So far the spring and summer has been very busy for me with my travel team the Houston Hoops. Between all my finals and the Nike EYBL sessions it has been tough, but Ifound a way to manage and still produce on basketball court. Within all of this our team has finished the number oneteam in our division with a 12-3 record.

Individually I feel as if Im continuing to progress but as a team we have a done a tremendous job of working together on and off the court. I believe a lot of our success thus far has been credited to our team’s chemistry. I’ve personally been playing with LJ and J-Mychal Reese since 2nd grade, and as far as the rest of my teammates we’ve had a great bond since day one of the season. Coming up next week I will be attending the NBPA top 100 camp in Virginia! I have been working really hard because this is my last summer andiIwant to go out with a bang! Remember to always keep God first! I’ll check back in with yall in a few weeks. Later Duke Nation!

Rasheed Sulaimon will share his thoughts with Duke fans throughout his high school basketball season in this BDN Exclusive.

WR Drae Bowles could become a program-changer for the Blue Devils, on and off the field

Elite WR Drae Bowles is one of Duke’s top recruiting targets

Duke hopes that WR Drae Bowles will become a program-changer, on and off the field

Under Head Coach David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devil offense has featured some of the best receivers in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the country. This fall, Duke fans hope to watch All-ACC candidates Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon help lead the Blue Devils to a bowl game. With the impending graduation of senior Donovan Varner, however, Duke is looking for an elite wide receiver in the class of 2012, and are in the mix for a top prospect from the state of Tennessee. Drae Bowles is a 6’1” 200 pound receiver prospect from Jackson Christian HS. After an impressive junior season that included 14 touchdown catches on offense and an All-State selection at linebacker, Bowles has received countless accolades from coaches and scouts alike. With over 20 scholarship offers, the top wide receiver will have his pick of schools, and the Blue Devils hope he chooses to become an impact player for their program.

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

Definitely my hands, coaches tell me I have great hands as a physical receiver.

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

Just working on getting better at all aspects of the game of football.

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

The most important things is a place that feels like home. A place where I have a good relationship with the coaches and I feel comfortable. And also a place where I feel like I can contribute early. Those are probably the most important things for me.

BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you the hardest, or have you had the most contact with?

Well I don’t have any favorites right now, but probably Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Duke, Ole Miss, and Maryland are recruiting me the hardest right now.

BDN: You mentioned the importance of your relationship with the coaching staff; which coaches do you feel like you have a strong relationship with so far?

Which coaches…probably the schools I mentioned. I have a good relationship with a lot of the coaches right now.

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

I’m planning to take at least three visits in July, but I haven’t been able to visit any schools this month.

BDN: You mentioned Duke as one of the schools that is recruiting you the hardest; can you talk a little bit about what you like about Duke?

Well Duke is definitely a school I am considering. It obviously is a great school academically and that appeals to me, but I also like their coaches. Coach Cutcliffe seems like a real honest, genuine man and I also really like Coach Loebner and Coach Lubick. I really like their coaches.

BDN: Do you think that Duke is a place where you could contribute early in their offense?

Definitely.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how you would like to narrow things down and make your decision?

I really haven’t thought about it yet, I don’t know, I’m just going to take it one at a time.

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

I appreciate it, thank you very much sir.