Duke plays good 2nd half defense to rip UNC-Greensboro – Mason Plumlee interview

Duke came out sluggish against UNC-Greensboro but found their way to a 45-34 lead at the half.  The Blue Devils defense locked down on the Spartans in the second half holding them to 8 points in the first 11 or so minutes and that propelled them to a 90-63 win, pushing their season record to 10-1 going into the Christmas break.  Mason Plumlee had another double-double for the Dukies scoring 15 points to go with 13 rebounds and his brother Miles added another 13 boards himself as Duke controlled the boards in the second half.

Austin Rivers added 14 points as did freshman Quinn Cook who went 6 of 7 from the field earning Coach Krzyzewski's praise during his post game interview.  We'll have more on the game a little later but until then, here is Mason Plumlee talking about his double-double.

BDN Monday Musings – Game time, reflection and BDN Premium Holiday offer

I have mad memories following Duke Basketball but the 2010 Champioship might be the best in that I followed an amazing team from start to finish in an up close and personal way. I took this shot while trying to catch my breath on press row and the meories from Indy are amazing. Being on the court with the team was surreal and then some and a proud moment for all of the Duke Family - Mark Watson

Well, most of the students are at home for the Holidays but a few remain and I will be joining them in about eight hours in Cameron Indoor Stadium when Duke takes on UNC-Greensboro.  Before I go into to this weeks Monday Musings, I sincerely wish all of you the best Holidays ever, be it Merry Christmas or what ever way you celebrate.  Be safe and happy and think about all around you and their hopes and needs as we all say thanks to the many blessings bestowed upon us.

It's Hammer time!

Oh, relax already!  We're not bringing M.C. and his baggy pants back anytime soon but I do feel that tonight's opponent, UNC-Greensboro may feel hammered at times.  Many of the Duke players are fresh off exams and like all of us are preparing to be home for the holidaze, but first things first.  The Blue Devils take to the court this evening to take on the Spartans who hail from an hour down the road.  Duke will either look a little rusty or they'll be ready to inflict mass destruction.  These are the games when the guys on then bench are extra supportive of the starters for they want a big lead where they get plenty of burn.  I expect Duke will go to their bench early and often and they'll cruise in this game which should allow Krzyzewski and his troops to try out a lot of combinations and fine tuning before things pick up in January when the conference schedule starts.

Comical articles and talking head goofs abound

Many of my old school journalism friends cringe at today's media and how loose it has become with concern to fact checking, decorum and pretty much anything else you want to mention.  Duke haters abound and they sure like to try and get hits or attention by saying things like Austin Rivers is overrated or Jon Scheyer was held back at Duke.  My friend Al Feathertson wrote a lengthy retort to some ESPN criticism of Rivers where he simply stated black and white facts to make his case and that article can be found at Duke Basketball Report.  Look!  I too said Rivers would have to adjust his game after being the man throughout his career coming in, but after ten games, I am very happy with where he sits.  And you know what?  You ain't seen nothing yet!  Austin is good, exceptionally good and he is getting better each time he steps on the court.  Folks, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff are pleased with Austin as are any rational Duke or college hoop fans.  He is still learning and that is the scary part.  He will be the ACC Rookie of the Year and it will not be close, nuff said on that.  But the one which shocked me was a pithy piece which said Duke ruined Jon Scheyer and his shot at the pro game.  Yep, the same Jon Scheyer that Coach K played from the word go and the same one he put the ball in his hands with trust which led to a national title.  This article is so off the cuff that I refuse to link it, but no worries, for the haters will always be around.  That said, where had Gregg Doyel been of late?  Greg has so much company these days that he's fell out of the top five and that's no joke.

Records, honers and can you hold on a second while I catch my breath?

Last year at this time a jam packed Greensboro Coliseum saw Duke defeat the Spartans and Coach Krzyzewski pass Dean Smith at UNC on the all time NCAA wins list.  Since that time, Coach has become the man and counting, been named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year and .... well, the list is getting to be too much to handle.   At some point, probably summer, I will sit down in a lounge chair on a beach somewhere and reflect on all that has happened.  All I can say for now is that when you see Coach on the sidelines, you are looking at a living legend and one people will read about long after all of us have moved on.

It's surreal

I sometimes have to pinch myself when I realize all that I have witnessed from Duke Basketball over the years.  Having been here the day Coach K sat foot on campus, I've seen it all up close and personal.  From season tickets on the same row as former AD Tom Butters who hired the aforementioned legend during the late 80's through mid 90's (like I can afford to have kept those, lol) to press row and beyond, I have seen the program in a most personal way.  Let's put it this way, I challenge all comers to a Duke BB trivia contest in that I have seen every game televised or at home and when they were not I listened to Bob Harris and some of those absolute classic match ups with Cremins and Georgia Tech and Valvano and Pack and such.  Heck, one of the greatest games I ever attended was a loss to North Carolina where Dean Smith bashed the scorers clock out of frustration for a young Duke team was serving eternal notice that there is a new sheriff was in town and that Duke Basketball was back.  Michael Jordan and company barely escaped that evening and Duke would exact revenge in the ACC Tournament but the point is, you had to be there to have seen all that happened for this game was inexplicably not televised and it was the last Duke-UNC game that fell upon that fate to this day.  Yep, surreal it has been and I'm glad to have been able to take the ride which is still going and may it go on until I am on my death bed

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Speaking of BDN Premium

While I am at the Duke-UNC G game tonight, we'll be represented at the City of Palms, a stellar high school basketball event in Florida.  There you will get reports and interviews with the likes of Tony Parker, Ricardo Gathers, Shabazz Muhammad and Julius Randle, all major Duke prospects and three holding offers.  And the new year will bring some long awaited changes, so it is a great time to join or give the gift of BDN Premium.

We'll give you 20 bucks back on a yearly membership through Christmas Day

Join for one year at 100.00 and we'll send you 20 bucks back through paypal.  Yep, 80 bucks for a full year of BDN Premium is our lowest ever offered price!  Take advantage of 20% off now and come inside and join the rest of our members talking Duke Athletics.












UNC-Greensboro at Duke Game Notes

• Game 11 •

[7 AP / 5 Coaches] Duke (9-1) vs. UNC Greensboro (2-9)

Monday, December 19, 2011 • 7:06 p.m. (ET) • Raycom (RSN)

The Opening Tip

• Duke (9-1) faces UNC Greensboro (2-9) on Monday, Dec. 19 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (ET).

• The game will be syndicated by Raycom Sports and televised on regional sports networks (RSN) throughout the ACC footprint and beyond. Rich Waltz (play-by-play) and Mike Gminski (analyst) will call the action.

• Duke is ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll and No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. UNC Greensboro is unranked in both polls. The Blue Devils are 74-20 all-time when ranked seventh in the AP Poll.

• Duke is coming off finals week and will be playing its first game in eight days.

• The Blue Devils have won 40 consecutive games at Cameron Indoor Stadium and are one win shy of matching the second-longest home winning streak in school history.

Duke-UNC Greensboro Series

• Duke leads the all-time series, 9-0, with all nine wins coming under Mike Krzyzewski.

• The Blue Devils are 6-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium against UNC Greensboro.

• Duke has a +38.9 margin of victory in the nine wins over the Spartans.

• The Blue Devils have scored 90 or more points in six of the nine meetings with three 100-point games.

Duke vs. the Southern Conference

• Duke is 142-24 all-time against teams currently in the Southern Conference.

• The Blue Devils have won 47 straight games against SoCon opponents.

• Mike Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to a 47-2 record against schools currently in the Southern Conference.

Numbers Game

l Duke has won 90 straight non-conference home games, the longest current streak in the NCAA. The last home loss against a non-conference
opponent for the Blue Devils was on Feb. 26, 2000 against St. John’s, 83-82.

l The Blue Devils have won 84 straight games at Cameron Indoor Stadium against unranked non-conference opponents.

l Duke is 54-1 at home since the start of the 2008-09 season. The Blue Devils went 17-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in each of the past two seasons.

l The Blue Devils have won 40 consecutive games in Cameron Indoor Stadium with 34 of the victories coming by 10 or more points.

l Duke has won 46 consecutive games against teams outside the traditional power conferences (Big Ten, Big East, SEC, ACC, PAC 12, Big 12).

l The Blue Devils have won 32 of their last 35 non-conference contests. Duke is 60-7 in non-league games since the start of the 2008-09 season.

l Duke has won 13 straight games in December with 10 of those wins coming by double digits.

l The Blue Devils are 52-3 in December games since the 2001-02 season and are 169-26 all-time in the month under Mike Krzyzewski.

l Austin Rivers has scored in double-figures in seven straight games, leading the team in scoring in six of those contests. He is averaging a team-high 17.4 points per game in that span, while shooting 46.7 percent (43-of-92) from the field and 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from three-point range.

l Mason Plumlee is averaging 12.2 points per game, while attempting just 7.6 shots per contest. He is shooting 64.5 percent (49-of-76) from the field with 18 dunks on the year.

l Andre Dawkins is averaging 14.5 points in the first half of Duke’s last two games. He is 11-of-17 (.647) from the field, including 5-of-11 (.455) from three-point range, in that span.

l Duke’s post trio of Ryan Kelly, Mason and Miles Plumlee are averaging 36.5 points, 21.0 rebounds, 5.3 blocks and 3.7 steals per game in the last two contests. The group is also shooting 63.6 (28-of-44) from the field in that span.

l Seth Curry is 30-of-32 (.938) from the free throw line and currently leads the ACC in free throw percentage. He enters Monday’s game with a string of 19 consecutive made free throws.

l Duke shot a season-high 44 free throws against Washington and is averaging 28.6 free throw attempts per game on the year. Mason Plumlee and Austin Rivers lead the way at 6.3 and 5.6 free throw attempts per contest, respectively.

l Duke is one of eight teams in the NCAA with five or more players averaging in double-figures this season. Duke has finished the year with five double-figure scorers six times under Coach K.

Duke hires new OL Coach. John Latina

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University head coach David Cutcliffe announced on Thursday the hiring of John Latina as an assistant coach on the Blue Devil football staff. Latina, who served on Cutcliffe’s staff at Ole Miss from 1999-2004, will coach the offensive line.

“We’re excited about the addition of John Latina to our staff,” Cutcliffe said. “John is one of the premier offensive line coaches in the country, and his track record for developing young linemen speaks for itself. He is obviously a veteran coach who has had a great deal of success, and given his ties with our staff, I am confident he will be an immediate fit into our program.”

“I’ve worked with Coach Cut before, and I know his expectations,” Latina said. “I know how he operates the program, and I know all the staff. In that sense, to me, it’s a very seamless transition hopefully for me and for Coach Cut and the staff. I think that’s always good – even though you have a new guy, there’s still continuity because we’re so familiar with one another.”

Latina replaces Matt Luke, who served as a graduate assistant coach under Latina at Ole Miss.

“Matt was my graduate assistant, and I’ve helped him through the business,” Latina noted. “We’ve shared a lot of philosophies and teachings over the years. There are going to be some different things as always because we’re two different people, but the core and the philosophy and the base teachings are going to be very similar.”

Latina will direct a Blue Devil offensive front that returns seven players that started multiple games in 2011 including guard John Coleman (9 starts), tackle Takoby Cofield (2), center/guard Dave Harding (9), center Conor Irwin (2), center Brian Moore (3), tackle Perry Simmons (12) and guard Laken Tomlinson (12). Tomlinson was honored as a first team Freshman All-America pick by Sporting News.

“I feel really good and comfortable, and I know they’ve been coached very well,” Latina said. “So I look forward to coming in and helping them continue to improve and continue to get better as a unit.”

Latina joins the Duke staff following two years (2010-11) as the offensive coordinator at the University of Akron. Prior to that, he mentored the offensive line for four seasons (2005-08) at Notre Dame.

During Latina’s stint in South Bend, the Notre Dame offensive front opened holes for a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons for running back Darius Walker, who became just the fourth Irish running back to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons. In 2006, the line helped protect quarterback Brady Quinn as he surpassed 3,000 passing yards for the second consecutive campaign en route to receiving the Maxwell Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

Latina’s six-year (1999-04) tenure at Ole Miss was headlined by five winning seasons and four bowl game appearances. In 2003, the Rebels went 10-3, shared the SEC Western Division championship with LSU and defeated Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl as the offense established school records for points scored (442) and total offensive yards (5,631). That squad was led by quarterback Eli Manning, who earned SEC Player of the Year and first team All-America honors before being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
No stranger to the ACC, Latina spent five years (1994-98) at Clemson, helping the program to three bowl games. While with the Tigers, he coached six All-ACC offensive linemen. Latina also spent five years (1989-93) at Kansas State where, in 1993, the Wildcats went 9-2-1, defeated Wyoming in the Copper Bowl and finished the year ranked 20th in the Associated Press poll. The bowl win capped Kansas State’s most successful season in over eight decades.

Before his time at Kansas State, Latina served on the football staffs at both Pittsburgh (1982) and Temple (1983-88).

A 1981 graduate of Virginia Tech, Latina lettered four seasons as an offensive lineman with the Hokies. The New Castle, Pa., native spent the 1981 season as a graduate assistant coach, helping the squad to the Peach Bowl.

Latina and his wife, Michele, also from New Castle, have two sons, John and Michael.

BDN Commitment Profile: Michael Westray

The 2011 Duke Football season is behind us. It's time to look forward to the future, and that begins with the class of 2012. Duke has already secured 15 verbal commitments in this class, and BDN will profile each of the newest Blue Devils as we head toward Signing Day 2012.


Westlake ATH Michael Westray committed to Duke in July

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 190 pounds
Position: Safety
Hometown: Waldorf, Maryland
High School: Westlake High School - Class 3A

Senior season recap: We finished 8-3 and made it to second round of playoffs. I thought that we had enough talent to win the championship, but I'm proud that we fought hard. I was voted to 2 All Star games. My coaches stressed State Championship and team first so I never really tracked stats. I played CB, Safety, RB, WR, and Punter. 

Scholarship offers: Duke, N.C. State, and Liberty

Commitment to Duke: I chose Duke for the opportunity to get a great education, play in the ACC against the great competition, the family atmosphere, and a defense that I'm excited to be a part of.

Considering other schools: No

Academic interests: Computer Science

Pro or College Role Models: I’ve heard comparisons to Laron Landry and Antonio Cromartie.

College goals: Obtain my degree, help the team win championships, avoid serious injuries, and leave as a better player and person.

Planned enrollment: No set date yet. I'll coordinate with admissions and the coaches.

Message to Duke fans: I can't wait to get on campus. I look forward to spending my next 4 years at Duke and being a part of the community.  Go Duke!

BDN Scouting Report: Westray will join fellow Westlake alum Jon Woodruff in Durham next year, and both will be looking to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball. A high-end athlete, Westray played all three phases for Westlake, but will likely find a home at safety in Durham. He has an excellent nose for the ball and showed good instincts against the run. He will need to improve his footwork and coverage skills, but possesses good lateral agility and quickness. As a fundamentally-sound tackler and disciplined defender, Westray has the potential to develop into an excellent safety in Jim Knowles' defense.