Bishop Gorman WR Ryan Smith is ready for his Duke official visit

WR Ryan Smith is ready for his official visit to Duke.
WR Ryan Smith is ready for his official visit to Duke.

Since his arrival in Durham, Coach Cutcliffe placed a premium on recruiting playmakers with speed, and that strategy paid dividends in 2012, as the Blue Devils went to their first bowl game since the 1994 season. On National Signing Day last year, the Duke staff added a playmaker to the program from a strong Bishop Gorman program in Las Vegas, Nevada in RB Shaquille Powell. This year, the staff is hoping to add another playmaker to the fold, and will host WR Ryan Smith on an official visit this weekend. Smith, a 5'7" 160 pound prospect, committed to New Mexico back in December. His father has served as running backs coach at New Mexico, but changes with that program have opened new opportunities for Ryan. As a senior, Smith averaged over 20 yards per catch, and caught 14 touchdowns. BDN caught up with Ryan this week.

How did your senior season go?

Senior year went great.  I've actually only lost three games through my whole football career at Gorman.  I'm not the biggest player, and I won't be on the field, but I just have to use my speed in the passing game to overcome the bigger defenders - that's what I've been doing these last couple years.

Where do college coaches see you fitting in at the next level?

All the coaches I've talked to they see me as a slot back and a wild cat person and every college I go to I have opportunities to start as a freshman which is good.  I have had scholarships from Utah State, Colorado State and New Mexico and Duke.  Duke is on the top of my list right now.

Can you talk about your recruiting process and where things stand?

Well, New Mexico, they have been on me the most because my dad, he's there, he's the running backs coach there and I actually committed there a couple weeks ago but he's getting other job offers.  Once he found out that Duke came in he said that's fine, that I could take a trip and look at other schools because he's probably not going to be at New Mexico anymore.  Once he found out that he had other job offers, he told me I could go out and look at other schools and Duke came in so that's why I'm taking a trip Thursday.

Can you talk about your relationship with the Duke staff?

I've been talking to one of the coaches, Coach Lubick for it seems like forever.  We've been talking since August.  He came out to spring ball and he saw me play and I talked to him there.  I've had other coaches come in throughout the year to talk to me, and finally on Tuesday Coach Lubick came again and told me I had a full scholarship and they wanted to get me out to North Carolina on Thursday. So, I was very happy when he said that, so I'm going to be really excited to get out there.

One of your former teammates, Shaquille Powell, is at Duke now. Can you talk about your relationship with him and what you know about the Duke program?

Yes, he's actually going to be my host up there.  We're great friends actually we were best friends when we were in high school. They see me as a slotback too.  They throw the ball a lot.  I think they ranked first in the ACC in passing yards and they said that they threw the one game, I think it was the bowl game, they threw to the slotback at least 30 or 40 times.  They said that the slotback they have now, he's not really what they need.  He's more like the running back type but since they think that I'll be a great fit for the offense and everything that they're doing.

What will you be looking for on your official visit this weekend?

I just want to see the campus and obviously the academics and how they deal with their athletes.  But mostly I just want to see the campus and see how the players are and getting around them and see how I like it.

When do you plan on making your final decision?

Well I know I think signing day is February 6th.  I'm probably looking at making a decision … my dad and I will make the decision probably either next week or the week after that, one of those weeks.


Big weekend for Duke Football as Signing Day approaches

WR Terrence Alls will take his official visit this weekend.
WR Terrence Alls will take his official visit this weekend.

National Signing Day is fast approaching! Head Coach David Cutcliffe and the Duke staff are excited about their 18 verbal commitments in the class of 2013, but are still looking to add a couple more signatures on February 6th.  To that end, the Blue Devils will host 8 official visitors this weekend in Durham. On Friday night, the program also will celebrate the 2012 season, its most successful campaign since 1994, as host the annual Duke Football banquet.

The list of official visitors starts with 4 Blue Devil commitments. Terrence Alls, a 6'0" 180 pound receiver from Dade Christian HS in Miami, is among the top prospects in the class. With well over a dozen scholarship offers, Alls was highly coveted prior to his commitment in August.

Duke continues its pipeline of talented athletes from Monroe, North Carolina, as they will add WR Quay Chambers to their class of 2013. Chambers will join fellow Monroe natives Jamison Crowder and Issac Blakeney on the Blue Devil roster in 2013, and will also make his official visit this weekend.

The Blue Devils will return their entire defensive line from 2012 next year, but will also bring in big Georgia 6'3" 270 pound DT prospect Mike Ramsay. Ramsay will make the trip to Durham this weekend from the Walker School in Marietta, where he helped the program to its first undefeated season.

Duke added their most recent commitment over the New Year, as California safety Phillip Carter switched his commitment from San Jose State to the Blue Devils. Carter and his family will make the trip across the country from Folsom, California. BDN recently caught up with Carter, who says he is 100% committed to the Blue Devils.

Four uncommitted prospects will also be in Durham for their official visits this weekend. Safety Deondre Singleton, a 6'1" 185 pound prospect from Archer High School in Georgia, will check out the Blue Devils. His recruitment has been led by Coach Jones and Knowles, who had an in-home visit last weekend. He holds over a dozen scholarship offers, and has already taken official visits to Appalachian State and Penn State.

Joining Carter on cross-country trips this weekend will be two prospects from the state of Nevada. The Blue Devils were among the first to offer 6'6" 240 pound OL Elijah George and will finally get to host the big prospect on an official visit this weekend. George, from Arbor View High School in Las Vegas, is one of the top remaining uncommitted offensive linemen, and has offers from the likes of Colorado, Colorado State, Oregon State, and SMU, among others. WR Ryan Smith, from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, will also make the trip to Durham. Smith committed to New Mexico in December, where his father has served as running backs coach, and holds offers from Colorado State and Utah State. BDN spoke with Smith on Tuesday, and he confirmed that he has picked up a scholarship offer from Duke and has the Blue Devils at the top of his list heading into his official visit.

Rounding out this weekend's visitors will be 5'6" 165 pound ATH Kylen Towner from Alabama powerhouse St. Paul's in Mobile. Among the school's notable alumni are A.J. McCarron and Mark Barron, and is also home to 2014 Blue Devil LB commit Zavier Carmichael. Towner has offers from UAB and Western Kentucky, and saw time at cornerback, kick return, wide receiver, and running back in his senior year.

In other recruiting news, Virginia and Texas Tech have made late pushes for Duke OL commit Sterling Korona. While he has been in contact with other schools, sources indicate that Korona is loyal to his Duke commitment. He will host Coach Cutcliffe for an in-home visit next week.

Stay tuned to BDN for all the latest on #dukegang2013 as National Signing Day approaches.

Georgia Tech at Duke Game Notes

NCAA BASKETBALL: FEB 09 North Carolina at Duke3/3 Duke (15-1, 2-1) vs. Georgia Tech (10-5, 0-3)

Thursday, January 17, 2013 • 9:05 p.m. • ESPN

Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)



Play-by-Play: Dave O'Brien

Analyst: Doris Burke


Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Play-by-Play: Bob Harris

Analyst: John Roth

Sirius/XM - 91

The Opening Tip

• Duke is 15-1 on the year after suffering its first loss of the season, 84-76, on the road at No. 20

N.C. State. Duke is 15-1 for the 11th time in the last 19 seasons under Mike Krzyzewski.

• The Blue Devils are ranked No. 3 in both the AP Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke has been ranked in the AP Top 10 for 104 consecutive weeks.

• Duke is 9-0 at home this season with home ACC wins over Wake Forest and Clemson. Duke is outscoring opponents by 22.8 points per game in Cameron Indoor Stadium this season while averaging 80.6 points per game. Duke is 793-153 (.838) in Cameron, including a 435-57 (.884) mark under Coach K.

• Duke and Kansas are the only two teams in the country to be ranked in the top five in the AP and Coaches polls, the NCAA RPI and SOS rankings.

• Duke is 14-1 since the 2009-10 season following a loss.

The Last Time Out

• The unbeaten and top-ranked Blue Devils suffered their first loss of the season, 84-76, at the hands of No. 20 N.C. State in PNC Arena.

• Duke trimmed the deficit to four points, 73-69, with 2:07 remaining, but the Wolfpack held off the late really to improve to 3-0 in the ACC.

• Four Blue Devils scored in double figures, led by Seth Curry with 22 points. Curry suffered an ankle injury with just over three minutes remaining in the game and Duke trailing

73-67. He did not return.

• Quinn Cook added 17 points and seven assists, Mason Plumlee recorded his ACC-leading 10th double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds and freshman Amile Jefferson added 10 points.

• Playing without leading three-point shooter Ryan Kelly, Duke shot .300 (6-of-20) from the three-point line, nearly two percentage points lower than the team’s season average (.418).

Numbers Game

• Duke, ranked No. 3 in the latest AP Poll, has been ranked in the top 10 of the poll 104 consecutive weeks. The last time Duke was not ranked in the top 10 was Nov. 19, 2007.

• Duke is playing its 193rd straight game as a top-10 team in the AP poll. Duke is 161-31 in that span.

• Under Coach K, Duke is 400-162 (.712) against teams currently in the ACC.

• Duke landed in the No. 1 spot in the first edition of the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI). Duke is one of only two teams in the country to be ranked in the top five in the AP Poll (No. 3), Coaches Poll (No. 3), NCAA RPI (No. 1) and Strength of Schedule index (No. 2). Duke is the only team in the top three on all four lists.

• Duke is 14-1 since the 2009-10 season following a loss.

• The Blue Devils are averaging just 9.0 made free throws per game and have not made more than 11 free throws in a game in ACC play. In non-conference play, Duke made 17.8 free throws per contest with 20 or more made free throws in seven contests.

• Quinn Cook ranks second in the ACC in assists at 6.2 apg. Bobby Hurley (1990-93), Dick Groat (1952), Jason Williams (2000-01), Chris Duhon (2003-04) and Quin Snyder (1989) are the only other Blue Devils to average over 6.0 assists per game in a season.

• Mason Plumlee has led the Blue Devils in rebounding in 14 straight games and in 15 of Duke’s 16 games this season. He leads the ACC in both double-doubles (10) and double-figure rebounding games (11).

• With Ryan Kelly sidelined with a right foot injury, Josh Hairston and Amile Jefferson combined for 18 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and two blocks from the forward spot in Saturday’s loss to N.C. State.

• Seth Curry along with his older brother, Stephen, have combined to score 4,370 career points. The Currys are eight points from moving past Chuck and Wesley Person (Auburn) and into third place among the top brother scoring tandems in NCAA history. Curry has scored 1,735 career points, including 1,028 points as a member of the Duke program.

Duke-Georgia Tech Series History

• Duke leads the all-time series 65-23, including a 31-5 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

• Duke is 50-18 against Georgia Tech under Coach K.

• Duke has won the last four meetings in the series and 28 of the last 31 contests overall.

• Duke has won five straight games against Georgia Tech in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke’s last home-court loss to Georgia Tech came on March 3, 2004.

• Seth Curry averages 12.0 points per game in his career versus Georgia Tech.

Duke vs. the Atlantic Coast Conference

• Duke is 899-490 all-time in the regular season against teams currently in the ACC (includes games when those teams were not members of the ACC).

• Under Mike Krzyzewski, Duke is 337-141 against the ACC in the regular season and 53-18 in the ACC Tournament. Krzyzewski ranks second in ACC history with 390 career league wins.

• Duke has dominated the ACC regular season since 1997, logging a 206-53 record during that span which is 34 more wins than the next closest school.

BDN’s Duke Basketball Notebook

New polls have Duke #3 in the Nation

The new polls came out this afternoon and while it was inevitable they would fall from the top spot with the loss to N.C. State, the Blue Devils still have a lot of respect amongst voters.  Duke still received 14 first place votes, and is rated #3 in the nation. Louisville, a team Duke beat earlier in the year, climbed to the top spot, while N.C. State vaulted to #14. Duke is 3-1 against teams currently in the top 25.  With the weekend loss, Duke is now 213-32 in games played as the #1 team in the land.

A needed break

Duke will next take to the hardwood on Thursday evening against Georgia Tech in Cameron Indoor Stadium. It is never a bad thing for a team to have several days rest after a loss, especially the first loss, which can shake a team's confidence. Duke will undoubtedly work on their transition defense and study film to see where they can get better as they adjust their line up with Ryan Kelly's absence. Duke will get another six-day break after the Georgia Tech game before having to travel to Miami on January 23rd in what will be another stiff ACC road challenge. Duke will play three of their next five ACC contests on the road, so needless to say this will be an important stretch for the team.

Ryan Kelly injury

Seth Davis stated the other day that Ryan Kelly could be out for the season. Maybe so, but I wouldn't read too much into his comment. Most unsubstantiated rumors have said it'll be 2.5 to 4 weeks, but the reality of the situation is that it will be kept quiet. This is not an uncommon thing because teams do not want to allow their opposition to prepare differently, so sometimes what you are hearing is a form of disinformation. The bottom line is nobody will leak anything on this one, so it is best to just assume Kelly will be out for an extended period of time. While we often deal with what is termed inside information, we stop short of sharng anything we might learn if it could be remotely considered detrimental to the team; additionally, in my opinion they deserve some privacy. We all clearly wish for a return to the court for Ryan Kelly and continue to wish him the best in his recovery.

Silver lining of sorts

While the immediate impact from Ryan Kelly's injury is not positive for a team that had perfect chemistry, the long-term effect could be the development of some additional players. Duke needs players to step up right now and Amile Jefferson did just that against the Wolfpack. While Jefferson may not be physically ready for the ACC grind, he plays smart and has length and he grabbed hold of the opportunity afforded him vs N.C. State, posting 10 points. On the other hand, Duke got three minutes each from Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee, and their box scores read zeros across the board. Trust me when I say this: these brief minutes are looked at for production, and for either player to play more, those minutes, no matter how brief, need to show something positive in the box score. Josh Hairston played a career-high minutes and played well as a starter, his third such opportunity in his Duke career.

Sulaimon slumping on the offensive end

Surely you have heard the phrase "Hitting the freshman wall," and it is real. Adjusting to the speed and frequency of the games at the college level is a difficult thing.  Throw schoolwork into the equation -- and we all know you have to attend class at Duke -- and it can be a lot to handle.  Rasheed Sulaiumon has connected on just 9 of his last 40 shots in his last four games, including 0-10 against the Wolfpack on Saturday. In the four games prior to the last four, Sulaimon went 25 of 50 from he field, which is more of what the Blue Devils need from him. Hopefully, he can find that rhythm to his game again -- and fast -- as Duke needs its scorers to score. Sulaimon likely needs to just re-discover his feel for the speed of the game on the offensive end, where he can be aggressive but not playing as if expecting contact. I fully expect he will find that game flow, and Duke fans will be happy when that happens.

Duke falls short to N.C. State for first loss

SONY DSCRALEIGH, N.C. - The Duke Blue Devils, clearly feeling the effect of having lost senior forward Ryan Kelly to a foot injury, played hard and played well, but ultimately lost their first game of the season, 84-76 to the N.C. State Wolfpack on Saturday afternoon, and in the process fell to 2-1 in the ACC and 15-1 overall. The Wolfpack forged a ten-point lead in the second half and never looked back.  Duke threatened to cut into the lead on a several occasions but their transition defense allowed too many fast break points, 22 off them to be exact.

The Wolfpack were led by Richard Howell, who scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while C.J. Leslie added 25 points of his own. Both took advantage of the absence of Kelly at the defensive end.  Kelly, who is out indefinitely, leads Duke in blocked shots, and alters a lot more with his 6'11" frame and his long arms.

In his post-game press conference, Coach Krzyzewski said essentially the same thing as we had earlier in the week: Duke simply cannot easily replace a seasoned senior's game. If the loss of Kelly wasn't enough, Seth Curry rolled an ankle on a wet spot late in the game; he will be evaluated by team doctors.  Whether it's true or not, two Duke players mentioned that Kelly would not necessarily come back this season, and they would prepare as if he would not. Don't run too far with that, though, as rumors now are claiming Kelly will be out a month max. But only time will tell.

Seth Curry led the way for Duke with 22 points, while fellow senior Mason Plumlee scoring 15 points to go with 11 rebounds to remain the ACC leader in double-doubles on the season. Quinn Cook chipped in 17 points and dished 7 assists. Rasheed Sulaimon's offensive struggles deepened, as he went 0 for 10 from the field. Of course, it is not unusual for freshman to "hit the wall," but hopefully Sulaimon will find his game again, and do so quickly.

Duke also received 12 very productive minutes from Amile Jefferson, who scored 10 points. Josh Hairston started in place of Kelly, and added 8 points and 5 rebounds. Both players brought a ton of energy to the boards as well, and fought hard. "Amile and Josh played well. They combined for 18 points and 9 rebounds. The just don't know the defense and execution of the offense as well as Kelly does," said Coach Krzyzewski.

Duke won the battle for points off turnovers and second chance points, and tied the Pack on the boards today. But they were outscored by a 22-15 margin on fast breaks.

N.C. State has now won ten straight and is 3-0 in the ACC for the first time since 1988-89. Coach Krzyzewski praised the play of point guard Lorenzo Brown, saying he ran the team as well as anyone in the ACC could have. The senior guard ended the game with 13 assists to go with his 12 points.

Today's game in Raleigh did allow Duke to learn about the team it has to work with for the foreseeable future. The Blue Devils hung in the game with a talented N.C. State team that was hell-bent on the upset, if you could even call it one. Naturally, as happens just about every time anybody beats Duke anymore, the Wolfpack fans rushed the court, and the players remained there more than ten minutes after the game in celebration.

The two teams will meet again on February 9th in Durham.

The Blue Devils will have until Thursday of next week to rest, heal, and improve before Georgia Tech comes to town.

Post game player videos from Josh Hairston, Quinn Cook and a bit from Coach Krzyzwwski are below -

An opportunity for Blue Devils to step up

Marshall Plumlee is one of several Blue Devils who have an opportuinity to step their games up while Ryan Kelly is on the mend.
Marshall Plumlee is one of several Blue Devils who have an opportuinity to step their games up while Ryan Kelly is on the mend.

Ryan Kelly is sitting out with ligament damage to his foot.  First of all, there is no replacing Kelly, who has done a little bit of everything of late for the #1 ranked Blue Devils. His ability to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting and his help defense have been major factors in the Blue Devils undefeated start.  But now, with the injury, it will be of the utmost importance for his teammates to step up their games moving forward.

The tests start early when Duke travels to Raleigh to take on ACC pre-season favorite N.C. State on Saturday afternoon.  The Wolfpack will likely go after Mason Plumlee in an attempt to neutralize his game with foul trouble, and to couple that with Kelly's absence to then take advantage of a lack of proven depth. So who will step up for the Blue Devils?

There is no simple answer.

It will be interesting to see what Coach Mike Kyzyzewski comes up with, especially knowing how affected Duke was when Kelly went out a year ago, the team fell out of sync, and was eventually upset by Lehigh in the NCAA Tournament.  If past history means anything, what Coach Kwill likely do is dependent upon matchups. While Josh Hairston has been the sixth man to date off the bench and the first sub down low, you most certainly could see more of freshmen Alex Murphy, Amile Jefferson, and Marshall Plumlee. The three frosh have been brought along slowly this season, but now they will have to find a way to collectively fill the gap in production that usually comes from Ryan Kelly.

Jefferson still has what I will term a freshman body, not quite ready for the grind of the ACC, but he's athletic and long enough to contribute. Murphy has had some trouble getting into the flow of the game in certain situations, but he too is capable of seizing the opportunity. The youngest Plumlee is still working into shape after a foot injury set him back, but his size could be a major need if his brother Mason goes to the bench with foul trouble.

While most of the focus will be on those players, the staff also needs the other starters to step up their games. It will be crucial for point guard Quinn Cook to find players in their areas of strength on the offensive end. Mason Plumlee will need to shake a minor slump by his lofty standards, and it would be nice for Duke if Rasheed Sulaimon picks it up on the offensive end as well. Duke will also need consistency from Seth Curry and Tyler Thornton, especially against an N.C. State team that features solid back court play.

It's a sad situation, the Kelly injury, in that Duke to date has been a team with near perfect chemistry. This is not a team chock full of surefire superstars, but one that plays together as well as any team in the nation.

The Blue Devils have filled the positions of injures players in the past, but those teams had a more seasoned cast to turn to, so it will to some degree be new ground this go round. Duke has been playing good basketball but they have yet to look as dominant as they were early on after the nine-day break and now they lost one of their three talented seniors for a substantial amount of time.

Looking ahead at the schedule, Duke comes back home to face Georgia Tech before travelling to Miami in a game they will surely be tested in. They then face a big Maryland team at home before road games with Wake Forest and Florida State and then N.C. State again at home.

Kelly could miss both games against N.C. State, a team most feel is their biggest competition for their goal of an ACC regular season title.

Suddenly Duke looks a bit vulnerable and that is what happens when you lose a senior leader. Kelly goes out at the half way mark of the season and pretty soon we'll all know what that means for the nation's top rated team,