Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Zion Williamson Sweeps ACC Honors

Zion Williamson Sweeps ACC Weekly Honors

November 12, 2018 | Complete Release

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke freshman Zion Williamson swept the ACC basketball weekly awards, earning both Player and Rookie of the Week following his standout performances against Kentucky and Army West Point in the Blue Devils’ opening week of the regular season.

Williamson led No. 1 Duke (2-0) to a pair of season-opening wins, averaging 27.5 points and 11.5 rebounds, while shooting an impressive .815 (22-of-27) from the field. His 55 points are the second-most by a Duke player—regardless of class—through the first two games under head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Only the 56 by teammate RJ Barrett are more. 

In his collegiate debut versus No. 2 Kentucky, Williamson was 11-of-13 from the field, finishing with 28 points, seven boards and two assists in just 23 minutes. His 28 points rank second in school history for most points in a collegiate debut, behind Barrett’s 33.

In Sunday’s win, Williamson poured in a game-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, adding 16 rebounds, six blocks and four assists to notch Duke’s first double-double this season. The Spartanburg, S.C., native opened the game nine-for-nine shooting on his way to leading the team in scoring.

He became just the second player at Duke, and first under Coach K, to go for 25+ points, 15+ rebounds and 5+ blocks in a game. Mike Gminski did it twice.

The top-ranked Blue Devils return to action this Wednesday, welcoming Eastern Michigan to Cameron Indoor Stadium at 7 p.m. ET.

Boogie Ellis Picks Duke – Updated Video

Boogie Ellis picked the Duke Blue Devils over  UNC and other schools in San Diego, CA. this evening.  Ellis is considered a combo guard who

"Coach K had the best vision for me. He really put out a plan to help me succeed." can score the ball, said the new addition to the brotherhood..

Ellis joins Wendell Moore Jr. in the Class of 2019.

The Blue Devils are also actively pursuing frontcourt talent in Isaiah Stewart, Vernon Carey, and Matthew Hurt to round out the class.

Ellis trimmed his list to five schools on October 30th and the Blue Devils had his last official visit.

He is listed as a 6-2 PG on his Mission Bay, CA. team and he played his AAU ball for the notoriously tough Oakland Soldiers EYBL program.

Ellis averaged 17 ppg to go with pulling down 4 rebounds a contest for the Soldiers.

 

The Duke Basketball Season is Upon Us

Well, the Duke Basketball season is upon us and what a way to open things up.  The Blue Devils will face off with the Kentucky Wildcats tomorrow evening in Indianapolis, IN in a matchup of college hoops heavyweights.  So, what are my thoughts going into the game?

Win or lose, it will be a learning experience

Mike Krzyzewski has one of the youngest teams he's ever coached.  While this group is immensely talented, they still start four new freshmen,  This game will be a measuring stick for the program for Krzyzewski has in no way implemented his full hand yet with concern to how this team will look in March.  This is by no means a must-win game for either team.  It is instead, a game for college basketball fans around the world to celebrate the tip-off to another season.  And, yes, the winner will stay atop the polls for sure, but the loser will not fall too far in the rankings.

What are the potential weaknesses for Duke this season?

If you watched the ESPN special eight-part series on Duke Basketball, you will see Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressing his team.  One of the things thee things he mentioned was that players needed to be better three-point shooters via their approach.  Duke does not have a lot of known three-point artists on this years team, so many of the players are getting accustomed to adding the shot to their resume,  This, in turn, will reflect on two other areas of play in rebounding the ball and knocking down free throws.  Duke is not as big up front and could go small, so that means all players will need to hit the boards and they could struggle against teams like Kentucky which have big, fully grown men in their frontcourt.  As for free throw shooting, Duke should get to the line often, so struggling in any of the three aforementioned areas could haunt them at some point of the season,

What are the potential strengths

The defense will be improved where Krzyzewski has shown he will go man to man much more often.  Duke is long and athletic and can get in passing lanes while pressuring the ball.   This team will run.  When the breaks are there, Duke will be off and running.  Duke will also benefit from knowing their roles and or chemistry this season.   asked veteran players in the locker room about this and they said this team is together on and off the court.  I suppose we have to mention how ridiculously good the freshman class is as well.  R.J. Barrett is an alpha dogs, alpha dog.  Zion Williamson is a pleasure to watch skywalk, Cam Reddish knocking down threes is nice too.  And all three can pass the ball as can true PG Tre Jones.  Duke will benefit greatly from having a more traditional point this season in their positionless scheme.

How can Duke beat Kentucky

It will not be easy for Duke to beat Kentucky in that the Wildcats are a solid nine players deep and they have some grown men in their lineup.  You just cannot concentrate on any one player for there is a danger at each position on the court.   One thing which Duke needs to do is stay out of foul trouble early and the whole game for that matter.  Duke loses a lot of talent when they go to their bench, but there are players capable of quality minutes there and they need to step up against the Cats.  If those two things happen, Duke will be tight their in what should be a tense and close game before the final buzzer sounds.

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Early season test will prepare Duke for the ACC and March

Duke has a very challenging early season schedule which includes tomorrow evenings opener against Kentucky.  The Blue Devils will face stiff competition in Hawaii for the Maui Invitational where they can run into highly ranked Auburn and Gonzaga, not to mention Arizona.  Even the opener against San Diego State is tough.  Duke will take on one of the most underrated teams in the nation when they face Indiana in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge and mark my words, the Hoosiers will have move up the polls by then.  These games along with a brutal ACC schedule and a late-season contest with St. Johns, where Mike Cragg now resides as the AD will have them a seasoned bunch before March Madness.

Who do I think will be good in the ACC this season?

The league is loaded.  I voted for Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and Syracuse in no particular order in the top four and have Virginia Tech, Florida State close behind.  N.C. State will be better than some think, never sleep on Miami.  Clemson will be solid and Notre Dame has an interesting roster.    I went a little outside the box and voted Tyus Battle preseason ACC POY and R.J. Barrett as the top freshman.  I also place both Barrett and Zion Williamson on the first team.  It is a safe bet that Duke will have no less than three newcomers on the ACC All-Freshman team at seasons end.

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What is Al Featherstons take?

Al thinks this years team can reach the Final Four but that a lot has to go right.  He felt Marques Bolden contributing solid minutes is a major key to success as is bench development of the seventh man in crunch time.  I watched all of the games in Canada with Al before he passed on this morning and he was excited to see what the team would look like with Cam Reddish and Tre Jones in the lineup.  He scanned over the last exhibitions games box score fervently before saying, they're going to be pretty damn good.  I will miss talking Duke history with Al and was honored he valued my opinion.  I had hoped he'd make it through what may be a special season.

BDN Premium Special Still Available

We are still offering a special rate for new or former Blue Devil Nation premium subscribers of 60 bucks for one year.  I will be talking recruiting happenings later this week while offering up behind the scenes tidbits.

 

Remembering My Pal, Al Featherston

Al Featherston passed on today, Monday, 11-5-2018.

My longtime friend, Al Featherston died Monday, Nov. 5th, 2018 at Duke Hospital after a long illness.  Many of you know that Al has been a sportswriter for more than five decades and has authored books on both history and ACC sports.

Al attended Duke University and contributed to the ACC Sports Journal, Basketball Times, Blue Ribbon Yearbooks, Duke Basketball Report, GoDuke.com and many other outlets over the years.  He spent a great portion of his career writing for the Durham Morning Herald and the Durham Herald Sun as well.

He battled his illness until the end, but never recovered well from elective heart surgery.  He was also diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.  Being a long time New York Yankees fanatic, Al was able to go out like one of his favorites.

I had a lot of history with Al, which included seeing Duke win a National Championship together.  Having seen a lot of Duke athletics in my time, he enjoyed someone to talk history with,

Towards the end, another good friend of Al's named Ed McIntyre was able to help get our pal into a retirement home.  I would take Al to appointments and run errands while going over on Saturdays to watch college football games.

Make no mistake, Al loved his sports and we watched the Duke away football games together right up until his passing.  Al was staying on a strict diet and got down to 212 pounds, but he liked that I would bring something special for him for football Saturday,

We thought we'd lost Al about two weeks ago,  On a Monday, following the win over Georgia Tech, Al went back into the hospital never to come out,  He would also lose conscience for about five days.

Thankfully, Al came out of that and just in time to inform his sister Libby who was up from Southport on his final wishes.  He was able to get some closure and I can tell you after conversing with him that he was still very sharp minded and at peace with what was to come.

So, as soon as I get to his room, Al spots the box score to the Duke Basketball exhibition game in my hand.  Before he can say hello, he is reaching for it while asking me about Marques Bolden.

Yep, his faculties were intact and he wasted little time in wanting to talk about that game and the Duke loss to Pitt in football which he had just watched.

I spent the better part of three hours with Al the last time I saw him.  I filled him in on what he missed while being out and he sponged it all in while wanting to continue to talk about this years basketball team.

Al was very excited about tomorrows Duke matchup with Kentucky and the Duke-UNC football game coming up this weekend.  He mentioned that he was sad that he would miss this basketball season with this year's talented team, but we had all hoped he could bounce out of his issues and at least make it through this week.

I was saddened to hear the news of his moving on from his sister this morning whom I have been able to get to know through the process.  I contracted a virus and could not make it back to see Al beyond that last conversation.

But in the end, I realized I had a great conversation with him that day and it was a normal exchange which I think he liked.  I will miss my friend greatly and talking Duke Athletics, ACC sports in general and appreciate the many memories with him by my side.

Al wanted his sportswriter friends and acquaintances to know he was thinking about them.  He was in his favorite spot in the world on press row where he enjoyed socializing.  Towards the end, the plan was for him to dictate some messages to me but time would not allow for that.  But, again, he was thinking of many of you.

Whether you are a sportswriter, work at Duke Athletics or in the ACC offices in Greensboro, just know Al was appreciative of the relationships.

Al was the son of Louis Alywn Featherston Sr. and Mary Norfleet Vick Featherston.  He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth "Libby" Featherston if Southport, N.C.; and brothers, Mark Featherston of Caddilac, MI and Richard Featherston of Seymour, Conn.

The family plans a private cremation.  A celebration of Al's life will be announced at a future time. I will let you know of any further details and please pass this information on.

I appreciate your friendship Al, who last told me he was looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Duke Basketball Documentary is Live


DURHAM, N.C --
 The behind-the-scenes documentary on Duke Basketball, Earn Everything, is now available on ESPN+.

The eight-episode series follows the Blue Devils from the first time together in July to the much-anticipated season-opener against Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic. Available now are the first six episodes, with the two final released after Duke’s season opener.

Narrated by famed actor Ron PearlmanEarn Everything provides a rarely-seen look into the Duke Basketball program as Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski prepared his team for the 2018-19 season. The show takes you inside practices, film sessions and meetings, and introduces you to the talented Blue Devils, which features the No. 1-ranked freshman class.

In addition to the shows on ESPN+, a 30-minute “Best Of” show hosted by Rece Davis will air Friday, Nov. 2 on ESPN at 7 p.m.

Earn Everything, produced by Intersport, is among the first of a new crop of original series on ESPN+.

Episodes now available:
Episode 1: The Brotherhood

Episode 2: New Heights

Episode 3: Be as Tough as your Mothers

Episode 4: Viral Sensation

Episode 5: The Road is Home
Episode 6: Countdown to Craziness

About ESPN+
ESPN+, which surpassed one million paying subscribers in just five months, is the premium multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks, along with premium editorial content.

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB and NHL, thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and multiple other sports), domestic and international soccer (Serie A, MLS, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredivisie and more), exclusive Top Rank boxing, UFC (beginning in 2019), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby and cricket, new and exclusive documentary films and series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time.