Quinn Cook named to Bob Cousey Award Watch List

1DURHAM, N.C. – Duke junior Quinn Cook has been named to the 2014 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award Watch List as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame committee Tuesday. The annual honor, named for Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, recognizes the top point guards in men’s college basketball.

Cook earned third team All-ACC (ACSMA) honors last season while averaging 11.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. The Washington, D.C., native finished second in the ACC in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4:1), fifth in steals (1.4 spg.) and ninth in minutes (33.6 mpg.), while starting 34 of Duke’s 36 contests. Cook scored in double-figures 21 times a year ago with three games with 20-or-more points and also added three double-digit assist contests. He also developed into a reliable perimeter weapon, knocking down 55 three-point field goals while shooting 39.3 percent from behind the arc.

“The Hall of Fame is proud to work with Mr. Cousy and honor the best point guards playing in college basketball right now,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “This list represents some of the top student athletes from across the country. We are truly honored to be a part of this award.”

“The Bob Cousy Award promotes the values of leadership, determination, and teamwork, all skills needed not only on the hardwood but also in life,” said Ken Kaufman, Chair of the Bob Cousy Award and former president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). “Mr. Cousy exemplified all of these traits, and continues to be an inspiration to basketball players on and off the court.”

This watch list of candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 in early February, then final five by early March. A premier selection committee has been appointed by the Hall of Fame to review the candidates in contention for the nation’s top collegiate point guard award. This committee is made up of top college basketball personnel including members of the media, head coaches, media relations contacts and Hall of Famers. The Cousy Award winner will be presented the award on Championship Monday in Dallas at the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014 Announcement and Press Conference.

Previous winners of the Bob Cousy Award have included Jameer Nelson (St. Joseph’s), Raymond Felton (North Carolina), Dee Brown (Illinois), Acie Law (Texas A&M), DJ Augustin (Texas), Ty Lawson (North Carolina), Greivis Vasquez (Maryland), Kemba Walker (Connecticut), Kendall Marshall (North Carolina) and last year’s recipient Trey Burke (Michigan).

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Friday Night Lights: Nico Pierre Interview

Nico Pierre 8-30-13This week’s edition of Friday Night Lights features an interview with 4-Star quarterback Nico Pierre who attends Coral Reef High School in Miami, Florida. Coral Reef is coming off a 12-10 upset loss to Southridge in a game that saw Pierre complete an 89 yard touchdown pass in the 1st half followed by two interceptions in the 2nd half. Coral Reef hurt their cause with multiple penalties.

Blue Devil Nation: South Florida is a talent filled area for high school football. Could you discuss the level of competition you face on a weekly basis playing in Miami?

Nico Pierre
: Well me and many other Miami football players would think this is where the best football is played. Week to week you have to come with your A because no one going to give the win.

BDN: What individual strengths or skill sets do you possess, which give you an advantage on the football field?

NP: My size is one of the biggest advantages I have on the field. I am bigger than most d-line and linebackers which gives me the edge to break away from an arm tackle. But my arm strength is what really helps me the most because I am able to make throws that other high school QB cannot make at this level.

BDN: Thaddeus Lewis, a Duke quarterback from Miami, who played under Coach Cutcliffe for two seasons, is currently starting for the Buffalo Bills, and both Peyton and Eli Manning are Coach Cutcliffe protege. What are your thoughts on going to play for a coach who has three previous quarterbacks currently starting in the NFL?

NP: I am very excited to be coached by him and Coach Roper because of their background it shows that they really know what they are doing at the quarterback position.

BDN: Returning to the quarterback skill sets topic, do you have a preference on working out of the shotgun versus operating from under the center? Why?

NP: I am comfortable at both, but I like being in gun more because I get to see the field more and also use my legs as a threat to keep the defense on its toes.

BDN: Are you equally comfortable passing out of the pocket and rolling out, or do you prefer one over the other? Why?

NP: I’m equally comfortable at both where in the pocket I can rip the defense apart. As for rolling out I can do the same but it would limit me to one side of the field.

BDN: Have you always been a quarterback or do you have previous experience playing receiver or running back? Coach Cutcliffe likes to occasionally run formations that include two quarterbacks on the field simultaneously. What are your thoughts on that strategy?

NP: I never thought of playing another position but being a dual threat QB causes me to use my legs like a running back at times.

BDN: Looking at the transition from high school to the college game, what individual skills do you think you need to work on most? Which area will be the toughest adjustment: speed of the game? level of competition? complexity of the play book?

NP: The speed of the game but most importantly reading defense and watching film to understand what they are trying to do.

BDN: Talking specifics on your senior season of high school, what are your personal and team goals for the season?

NP: Becoming district camps and then moving on to state camps.

BDN: Final question, outside of football, what are your interests and hobbies. Can you tell Blue Devil Nation readers a little bit about Nico Pierre the person?

NP: Outside of football, I’m mainly working on my game, in the film room and on my footwork, but other than that I am making sure my grades are where they need to be. But most of the time I am working out.

BDN: Thank you very much for taking the time for this interview.

On to the rest of the action:

Undefeated Dudley was dominant in the 2nd half of their game at Southern Alamance rolling to a 44-20 win. Johnathan Lloyd threw for 279 yards and a touchdown completing 24 of 36 attempts in a losing effort.

Shaun Wilson rushed for 265 yards and three touchdowns as West Mecklenburg defeated Olympic 41-8. Wilson scored on runs of 30, 8 and 78 yards. West Mecklenburg improves to 7-1 on the season and squares off against Charlotte Catholic next Friday night.

Alonzo Saxton returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown as Bishop Hartley routed Ironton 54-0. Hartley improves to 7-1 on the season.

University (Chris Taylor) improved to 7-0 with a 48-13 win over Glades Central.

West Forsyth defeated Davie County (Trip McNeill) 15-10. Davie falls to 2-6 on the season.

Hart (Davis Koppenhaver) defeated Golden Valley 61-13 to improve to 7-0 on the season.

Sycamore (Tinashe Bere) defeated Fairfield 50-14 to improve to 5-3 on the season.

St. Paul’s (Zavier Carmichael)defeated Vigor 28-12 to improve to 6-2 on the season.

Easley, with Duke’s most recent verbal commit DT Quaven Ferguson, defeated Woodmont 17-7 to even their record at 4-4 on the season.

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Five Key Defensive Plays in Duke’s Comeback Victory

SONY DSCDuke shutout Virginia for the last 35 minutes and 49 seconds of their 35-22 victory after spotting the Cavaliers a 22 point lead. The defense dug in and shutdown Virginia allowing the offense the opportunity to methodically chip away at the lead. Along the way there were some significant accomplishments with the following five standing out:

1. After Duke scored their first touchdown to cut the lead to 22-7, Virginia took possession with 46 seconds left in the 1st half looking to respond rather than run out the clock. Quarterback David Watford threw incompletions on 1st and 2nd down, setting up a 3rd and 10 at the Virginia 35 yard line. Watford dropped back to pass once again, but defensive end Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo sacked him for a seven yard loss to ensure Duke went into the half with the momentum achieved by Duke’s touchdown drive still intact.

2. On Virginia’s second possession of the 2nd half, with the Cavaliers facing a 3rd and nine at the Virginia 31 yard line, Corbin McCarthy sacked David Watford, for an 11 yard loss, on a safety blitz forcing the Cavaliers to once again punt the ball back to Duke. McCarthy’s sack was instrumental in Duke starting their next possession with great field position at the Duke 47 yard line. The Blue Devils executed a three play 53 yard touchdown drive culminated by Brandon Connette’s six yard run to reduce the deficit to 22-17.

3. The interior defensive line shutdown Virginia’s running game. The Cavaliers rushed for 93 yards in the 1st half, but only seven yards in the second half. There are multiple plays which could be selected to illustrate this point with the following one standing out. With Duke leading 25-22, Virginia facing a 2nd down and 10 at their own 35 yard line called Kevin Parks number on a running play but Justin Foxx and Kenny Anunike teamed up for a 3 yard Tackle For Loss. Virginia’s run game was completely ineffective in the 2nd half due to multiple plays like this one.

4. With Duke leading 32-22, Virginia started a drive with 4:17 left in the game desperate to score. On 3rd and 12, at the Virginia 24 yard line, Kenny Anunike sacked David Watford for a five yard loss, which forced the Cavaliers to go for it on 4th down deep in their own territory. After an incomplete pass, Duke took over on downs, ran the ball three times, before Ross Martin kicked his second field goal of the afternoon for the final points of the ball game.

5. Virginia started moving the ball attempting to score and set-up an onsides kick situation. QB David Watford completed a pass for nine yards, rushed for 11 yards and six yards on consecutive plays, completed another pass for five yards and suddenly Virginia had a 1st and 10 at the Duke 44 yard line. Watford dropped back to pass once again but this time he was picked off by Breon Borders who returned the ball 16 yards securing the victory for the Blue Devils.

There are solid indications this defense is maturing into a solid unit able to exert their will upon the opponent. In the early going, Virginia successfully ran the ball plus they really took it to the Blue Devils with the short passing game. Adjustments were made and Duke ramped up the pressure on quarterback David Watford resulting in a complete shift in the tone of the game.

This Duke team is a team that might get down, but an opponent can never count them out! For the last 35 minutes yesterday, Duke dominated Virginia on both sides of the ball.

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Duke Surges Past Virginia 35-22

SONY DSCThe Blue Devils reeled off 35 unanswered points after falling behind 22-0 to secure their fifth win of the season in dramatic fashion in Charlottesville on a cool, cloudy afternoon.

Virginia took the opening kick off and promptly marched 78 yards for a touchdown to go up 7-0. The drive was culminated by Kevin Parks’ one yard run and included Virginia successfully executing a fake punt.

The Cavaliers went on to jump all over Duke to the tune of a 22-0 lead by scoring on a 56 yard drive and a 77 yard drive. Kevin Parks scored his second touchdown on another one yard run while his third touchdown was via a pass over the middle. Duke had no answer for Virginia’s short passing game.

Meanwhile, Duke’s first six drives ended with a punt. Quarterback Anthony Boone was consistenly missing receivers short and the Blue Devils offense was off to a frustratingly slow start.

On Duke’s seventh possession, the offense started to click with Boone hitting Brandon Braxton for 14 yards, then a 25 yard completion to Braxton Deaver and ultimately a six yard touchdown pass to Jamison Crowder on a rollout to cut the deficit to 22-7.

The Blue Devils defense held forcing Virginia to punt so the offense was afforded one more possession, but the half ended when Anthony Boone was sacked.

Virginia racked up 280 first half yards to Duke’s 185. Boone completed only nine of 22 pass attempts for 91 yards.

But this game was a tale of two halves with Duke dominating the 2nd half.

Duke’s first possession of the 2nd half ended when Boone threw an interception and it appeared the offense would continue to struggle.

After forcing Virginia to punt once again, Duke reeled off a 13 plays, 62 yard drive that cut the deficit to 22-10 via a 25 yard field goal by Ross Martin.

Next possession Duke cut it to 22-17 on a three play 53 yards drive featuring a 42 yard pass reception by Crowder. Brandon Connette scored the touchdown on a six yard keeper.

Suddenly Duke was dominating Virginia on both sides of the ball.

Tight End Braxton Deaver scored two 4th Quarter touchdowns on a 47 yard pass from Brandon Connette and a 24 yard pass from Anthony Boone and the Blue Devils held a 32-22 lead. Ross Martin would add three more points on a 32 yard field goal for the final score of 35-22.

Duke racked up 472 yards of total offense, was 4-4 on 4th down conversions and did not punt in the 2nd half.