Category Archives: Duke Basketball

trent

Gary Trent is a Solid Prospect

trentThe last time out on he AAU Circuit, Duke prospect Gary Trent cemented himself at the top of his class with stellar scoring performances.  The Howard Pulley wing guard is one of the main reasons his team remains undefeated against Nike's very best in this seasons EYBL.  A prolific and confident scorer, Trent shows that he is never afraid to score the ball as his defense continues to improve to help make him a rounded player.  Down point guard Tre Jones, Trent fought through a deep thighbruise to team with an upstart player to keep the hopes alive for the rarest of things, an undefeated EYBL season.

''I got hit in the quad and the face,'' said Trent the game after going for 47 points.  As he was doing so, it was clear that he had friends at the Hampton session at the packed out Boo Williams facilities.  During that time many of the top players stopped to give him props on his scoring performance news that seemingly travels quickly through the eight basketball courts.

Among those to talk with him were Mohamed Bamba and Wendell Carter just to name a few.  Drama is seemingly nothing new for Trent and his Pulley teammates in that they had to come from way behind in one game to win in overtime while riding two of his scoring outbursts for victories.

All of this added up to me seeing a much improved player on the court since a season ago, where Trent remains cool under pressure while allowing his teammates to take some of the load.

Trent was quick to prop his teammates as well, including Brad Davison who had just concluded a stellar break out performance. ''We've known he's had potential for greatness, so for me I am really not surprised by his performance.''  Davison was the talk of the tournament after a game where he filled in for Tre Jones and logged in 37 points.

Trent also plays with the aforementioned Jones who suffered a hand injury late in the tournament.  Jones is his Apple Valley teammate and the brother of Tyus Jones who helped lead Duke to their last National Championship.

Here are some more comments from Trent when I caught up to him for a quick one on one interview -

On his 47 point outburst and what was going on in his mind during the performance -

''We were really just trying to stay undefeated.  Coming off a game like that everybody is going to look at you to shoot the ball first.  So, today, in the next game, I saw the double team, traps and stuff, so I tried to find my teammates and get everybody involved. It's great.  We had another tough game like this early this morning and our team had our back against the wall and we won.  We keep winning in these situations, so we want to keep it going. We know if we play together, great things can happen and if everybody plays hard, we should be successful no matter what.

Where are you in he recruiting process, who has been staying the most active of late?

It would be Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State, Arizona, UCLA, Kansas ..

Blue bloods ...

Yes, it's still an open process right now. He then stated that he would be going for sure to a high major school in college.

Who are some of the last coaches you've heard from?

UCLA called, Coach Jeff Capel from Duke texted me.  That was the most recent.

What did they have to say ... what did Capel have to say?

Just to keep it going, keep it turned up and play hard.

I mostly cover Duke.  I saw you down in Durham on a visit sitting with the Cameron Crazies.

Ahem, yeah.

What was that visit like?

It was fun, it was crazy.  Every time you see them on TV with people putting their hands up or out on the out-of-bounds happens.  You kind of get a feeling of what it is like to be in a game there in person and they are crazy and loud.  I like the little Harry Potter feel the campus has to it with the old buildings.  It was nice.  I got to see their facilities too and they're top-notch. Everything is great their and the standards they have, it's just good.

Who are some of the guys you would not mind playing with at the college level?

There has been some talk of me and Wendell Carter being a part of a package deal and we've been talking about that for a year now, so that could happen.  We are trying to get one more player to come with us but I don't know how that is going to work out just yet.

You can't say those names of the possibilities just yet, huh?

No, not yet.

Back to Wendell and yourself, the two schools on your list are Kentucky and Duke, right?

Yeah, right now we both have Kentucky and Duke on our lists and Kansas offered us, UCLA and I think Michigan State as well.  We have a handful of offers together.

Who do you guys have in the morning game?

Man, I am not even sure, I just show up and play.

I notice you warming up in a pretty serious manner before game son the sideline.  Are you a but of a workout warrior?

Oh yeah, every day.  I work out every day of the week and only take Monday off.  I got that work ethic from my father who instilled that into me at a young age.

What's wrong with your man Tre Jones there?

I don't know yet.  He then yelled, Hey, Tre come here.  He;s got some ice cubes on his hand.

In closing - It is obvious that Howard Pulley is a close knot bunch and that they have each others backs.  I then discussed a few more things with Jones and Trent as other players continued to show their respect off them remaining undefeated.  Jones who is a year behind Trent was to see a doctor on Monday and he injury did not seem serious but did keep him out of the two games.  Meanwhile,  Trent was clearly one of the best wings available for the power teams he lists.  We will also have a chat with the younger Jones coming up shortly, so stay tuned.

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It’s Duke Blue for Marques Bolden

Ce0G6tFWEAAnwBEGood things come to those who wait.  Patience is a virtue.  Both of these sayings apply today with concern to Duke fans who had to wait a long time for Marques Boldens' decision.

After cancelling his announcements on a few occasions, Marques Bolden  to the microphone today and announced he would wear the four letters spelling out Duke on his jersey next season.  The announcement took place at DeSoto High School in Texas before his classmates, media and on lookers.

His announcement clearly gives Duke he top recruiting class in the nation.  Bolden joins a cast of Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Frank Jackson, Javin DeLaurier and Jack White next season at Duke.

“We’re thrilled to add Marques to an outstanding incoming class,” Krzyzewski said. “In addition to his elite length and athleticism, he is a highly-skilled big man who can really score the ball. He runs the floor well, rebounds on both ends and blocks shots. Marques has tremendous potential and a bright future, and we’re excited to coach him at Duke.”

The Blue Devils also return Amile Jefferson from an early season injury, Matt Jones, Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard as key components added to the stellar class.

Bolden is a true post player with plenty of talent.  He can play with his back to the basket or stretch the floor by going outside.  He finishes well around he rim and is getting better and better as he grows into his body.

A team can never have too many talented post players and Bolden will be a part of a solid rotation down low for Duke, likely to be the pre season number one team in all the land next year.

Standing at 6-11 with solid weight, Bolden put up impressive numbers of 24.3 points per game and averaged 10.2 rebounds to go with 2.6 clip of blocks per contest for DeSoto.  It is worth noting as well that he will join another alumnus from his school in Matt Jones for one season at Duke.

Bolden was named a McDonald's All American and played in the Jordan Brand All Star game as well as the Nike Hoop Summit.  His best accomplishment to date came this past season where he led DeSoto to a coveted state title.

The Texas native visited Duke on September the 18th of this past year.  He had been offered by Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski since June the 4th of last year.

In the end, Bolden chose to play in Cameron where Duke Blue will be the color of his college career.  He is a big time, solid prospect that will contribute right away.

knox

Kevin Knox Talks Recruiting

knoxKevin Knox continued to impress this past weekend during the Nike EYBL event in Hampton, Virginia.  Knox is a can't miss prospect from Florida who is being recruited by the nations heavyweights,  I actually ran into a few scouts who said they were not that impressed with him, some even calling him skinny.  But I am telling you now that the youngster has the perfect body type to put on muscle to his frame and that it will happen.  People often want to see a finished product at the high school level, but that usually means a kid has topped out. Knox knocked down nine consecutive three pointers before missing on in warm ups.  He has been working on his outside shot making him a player with size who can stretch the court.  What makes Knox even more dangerous is that he can mix it up inside as well. I caught up to the budding star for the following interview at the third session of the EYBL in Hampton, Virginia this past weekend.

You are arguably one of the most popular players in the EYBL with microphones always around you, how are you adjusting to that?

I am just learning how to do it all with media, my Dad helps to teach me different things to say and I am prepared to answer the questions I'm asked.

Your Dad was a football player -- how does that help you?

He knows what it takes to get to the next level.  He got there, so he is teaching me all the things to do, how to work out and a work ethic. He had a great work ethic, so that helps.

I am sure a prospect like you is hearing from coaches all the time. Who are some of the coaches you have been hearing from of late?

Coach K thanked me yesterday after my game and before I got up here and Coach Cal texted me and I talked with Coach Wright from Villanova.

What does it mean to you when those guys contact you.  Is it important that they stay in touch?

Yeah.   Yeah, that's one thing I am  looking at in how they stay in touch with me throughout my sessions and throughout my games and if they are keeping up with me and seeing how I am doing.

Duke and Kentucky, could you break those two schools down?

Kentucky came in late but I am really interested in them and I liked what Coach Cal said when he came in home.  I was really impressed with what he had to say.  Coach K, they've been up to see me two times which is great and they have good coaches and everything.  I am looking forward to getting to know the schools better later on.

Is it the plan for you to be a one and done in college?

I mean I am going to a school to be a one and done, so if I go in and play well, I am hoping to leave but nothing is guaranteed when you are in college so I am focussing on going to the next level to better my career and be a one and done.

Will a school have to show you their history with one and dones to get you?

No, that has nothing to do with it. Some of the things which go into committing to a school will be family, how I fit into their team and if they are coming out to watch me play and keeping up with me.

What kind of role are you looking for on a team?

I am trying to win games .  I am trying to win national championships. so I will do whatever the team or coach wants me to do.  Most coaches want me to come in and play on the wing, so that is the stuff I am working on with my game right now.

So will you be dropping some schools or new ones from coming in. Have you established your list?

Oh no.  I am open to any one.  So if they text me right now, I will text them back.  I just picked up an offer from California, so I mean so it might seem like it is pretty late but I am still open.

What about USA Basketball?  Obviously, you are real involved with that. Are their any players on the USA squad or on the circuit you talk with about playing together?

We talk about it some in the motel rooms and when we are hanging out and stuff like that, so I mean I have heard a lot of people say my name where people say they want to play with me, but it really doesn't matter who I play with at the next level.  I am just trying to win games,

What is your number one goal this summer?

I am trying to win Peach Jam.  So, I am trying to make it to Peach Jam first and win it all.

You will obviously be at the USA camp instead of the NBA Top 100 Camp, right?

Oh, yes sir.  I think we'll be going up there soon and I am looking forward to going and trying to make the team, so I mean, that is m goal.

Has Duke told you how you would fit into their system?

Yes, they've told me and I have watched Brandon Ingram a lot and how he gets rebounds and is able to run the point and being able to push the ball.  So  just having that freedom is what Coach K and Coach Capel have talked about to me a lot.

What about Kentucky?

Just how to play 1 though 5, rebound the ball and run the floor.  If I got a little dude on me to take him.. Coach Cal  has shown me those things.

bamba

Mohamed Bamba Talks Recruiting

bambaI have got to admit that it was disappointing to see that Mohamed Bamba was in a cast for this weekends Hampton EYBL session.  The talented Duke prospect will miss the entire session, but the good news is that the injury is minor in nature. Bamba hurt his left ankle this past week which is considered a sprain and he will have his injury looked at this coming Monday.

Bamba said he had most recently spoke to Duke Coach Mike Kryzyzewski, Villlanova head man Jay Wright and John Calipari of Kentucky.  One of the things Bamba stays up on is who the teams chasing him are recruiting.  ''I want to go to a team where it is not just me, I want to play with other talented players,'' said Bamba after his PSA team had finished playing.

One thing you quickly learn when speaking to the double-double machine to be is that he is very analytical.  He thinks about his answers and like many these days, doesn't give away too much with a quick response.  The budding big man is also very much a player who like to play in a team concept.

I asked Bamba who he liked playing with and he immediately spoke to his current teammates while stating he gets along with pretty much everybody on the circuit.  ''I have been playing with Hasahn French since we were in the seventh or eight grade and I love playing with him.  Knox continued, One other guy who I really like playing with and it's the first time is Deng Gak.  He is pretty much just like me defensively, which is great''  For the record, Duke has offered both Bamba and more recently Gak.

Bamba also spoke to the coaches that were recruiting him, stating that Jay Wright of Villanova had been taking a different approach. As for Calipari. his message was about player development and the 2017 players Kentucky was targeting.

Bamba also spoke of Duke, saying, ''When I spoke to Coach K, he just pretty much talked about life.  I am big on recruiting classes, so he talked about that as well.''

He went on to mention that there was a lot of talk about point guards and who is going to stay on teams.  He also spoke about the new rule.  ''I am looking into every aspect, I am not going to jump into something.  I surround myself with people who want the same thing and part of the process is research,'' said Bamba,

Bamba also mentioned that some coaches talked about him playing with another current teammate in Quade Green with some coaches. He stated twice that all of his conversations with the coaches recruiting him the hardest were good,

I asked Bamba what were the three most important things to him with concern to recruiting.  He responded, ''There are a lot of things which are important but as I have mentioned before, a strong alumni base.  That goes beyond basketball.  Another thing which has been recurring or that is popping up more for me of late is who will be coming to school with me.  The third thing, is probably the balance of academics.  That and how good the team is,''

When pressed on more with concern to the alumni base, Bamba mentioned Harvard and Duke first and then added Kentucky.  Bamba hinted that the first two schools mentioned were strong in academics and basketball and then mentioned that Calipari was strong at networking with his former players as well.  As for Krzyzewski he just said, ''Coach K is just Coach K and has made a name for himself,''

He also stated that he hadn't learned anything new from his conversations with coaches past who they were looking at in his most recent conversations coming into the latest EYBL session.

In closing, Bamba continues to be calculating with his answers and there seems to be a set of leaders developing with him.  While he failed to give a concise list of schools, it was clear that Duke and Kentucky are major players for his services.

More to come on Bamba and discussed on our message board.

Brandon Ingram (14) of the Duke Blue Devils dunks against the Oregon Ducks during the West Regional Semifinal of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, CA. (Lance King/WRAL contributor)

Bright Lights Shine on Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram (14) of the Duke Blue Devils dunks against the Oregon Ducks during the West Regional Semifinal of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, CA. (Lance King/WRAL contributor)
Brandon Ingram (14) is set to be one of the first two names chose n in the NBA Draft.  Photo - Lance King for Blue Devil Nation.

On April 4th of this year, Brandon Ingram declared for the NBA Draft, one step closer to fulfilling a life long dream.   After one season at Duke University where he was mentored by Mike Krzyzewski, the lithe Kinstonian is projected to be a sure fire top two pick in he upcoming lottery.

During his one season at Duke Ingram often facilitated the offense on isolation plays designed by the staff.  He put up numbers of 17 points and 7 rebounds per contest but he also developed into a disruptive force on the defensive end with his crazy length.

While in high school in Kinston, North Carolina, the word you most often heard was potential.  This was due to a very slender frame and the truth is he could sometimes be bumped off plays.  Ingram would adjust at the college level, realizing how to use his frame to his advantage and get to the free throw stripe. While in Durham. Ingram would adjust to the many mental aspects that come with moving forward.

The term up side still applies to this incredibly gifted pro to be in that he is just scratching the surface of his potential.  In fact, it is scary to think of just how good young Brandon can be in a few years time.

Brandon will benefit from his decision to attend Duke and his solid family structure.   His parents Donald and Joanne played a role in their sons cool maturity.  Ingram always seems grounded and never arrogant or at least he did with the many interactions I had while covering his career. Perhaps an introvert is  good word to use when describing Ingram, but what may not be seen up front is his drive and determination.

During this past season, Ingram out in the extra work. He could be seen pre game working with Duke Assistant Coaches like Nate James on the court two hours before tip-off while others were in the locker room.  In short, Duke pushed Ingram, but he also pushes himself and that is something that comes from within.

Ingram is just one player in a long line of stellar young men, Mike Krzyzewski has worked with.  Like most of them, he possess outstanding character and in his case, a quiet yet intense focus.  These attributes will help him as he interviews with teams at the upcoming NBA Combine.

Unlike Ben Simmons, the much hyped player from LSU considered to be one of two players to be picked first, Ingram will face the battery of questions and scrutiny.  The advantage of being at the event which starts today, is that he is showing there is nothing to hide.

His measurements alone will likely spur some chatter in that he last time out showed a 7-3 inch wingspan and a 9-1 standing reach.  With his ability to handle the ball and create has teams drooling.  Ingram is a match up nightmare at the next level where some compare him to USA Basketball and Thunder star, Kevin Durrant.

“Stay hungry and stay humble,”quote from his Instagram account.  That statement impressed Mike Krzyzewski so much so, that it was a part of his recruiting pitch during the in home visit. Many times young prospect will say words in social media forums which turn out to be hollow, but not Ingram.

''On one hand, one year at Duke isn’t a very long time. I know that. But I’ve done a lot of growing, and growing up, in that time,'' proclaimed Ingram in a heart-felt letter to Duke and their fan base. Ingram had known for a long time that he would be a part of the Duke Family and the fan base can expect to see him around.  This letter also cemented the fact that he was never a North Carolina lean as mythology would have you believe.

In looking back on his short time in basketball, it is clear that Ingram made the right choice for himself.  He is in position to be set for life where Duke and his family have helped in what is just the beginning of his career.

Instead of being called too skinny for most of his life, people are now starting to see a young player who can do some rare things on the court.  He once received a Nolan Smith jersey from his older brother who mentored him through pick up games in the eastern part of the state.  Ingram had to grow into the jersey and now he is growing out of it, thus his name will be called on June 23rd of this year in Barclay's Arena in New Jersey.

It's hard to fathom that Ingram is just 18 years old having been born on September the 2nd in 1997.  So, let's see here.  A low maintenance player with tremendous upside who happens to be the youngest collegiate player in the NBA Draft.  Yeah, I heard you say wow.  And the scouts are doing the same.

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Krzyzewski Okay After Surgery

ee26f9bc-f7bc-4fcc-bc48-22a6aa09e464DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University and United States National Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski underwent successful inguinal hernia repair surgery Mondayat Duke University Hospital.

 

The surgery was performed by Dr. Theodore N. Pappas, gastrointestinal surgeon at Duke University Medical Center. Typical recovery time for the procedure is four weeks.

 

“I’d like to thank everyone at Duke University Hospital who made this procedure as smooth as possible,” Krzyzewski said. “With this surgery behind me, I’ll be in great physical condition heading into the Olympics and I’m excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.”

 

Krzyzewski has won a Division I men’s basketball record 1,043 games in 41 seasons as a college head coach, owning a 1,043-320 overall record and a 970-262 mark in 36 seasons at Duke. He has led Duke to five NCAA championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015), the second-most national titles by a coach in NCAA history.

 

Krzyzewski has guided the United States National Team to a 75-1 record, including an active 63-game winning streak, and six total medals (five gold) since assuming the position of head coach in 2006. He is a seven-time USA Basketball National Coach of the Year and will lead the team into a third Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro.