The Duke Blue Devils men's basketball staff will make the journey to neighboring state Tennessee this evening. The reason for that will be an in home visit with one of the nations best guard prospects, Darius Garland.
A sleek competitor on the court, Garland, has long been a target for Mike Krzyzewski. That interest has been returned as that Duke is clearly on the big time prospects final list of schools.
Duke will be the second in home visit for Team Garland in that his family most recently entertained Indiana. Garland is also being hotly pursued by his hometown team in Vanderbilt and Kentucky.
Darius Garland is currently slated to take his official visit to Duke on October 27th. He will have already made upcoming official visits to Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Indiana before said journey.
Duke will be taking on Northwest Missouri State the Friday of Garland's visit in their first exhibition game of the season. He will see a team that is earning plenty of hype due to their stellar recruiting class.
Garland plays for Brentwood Academy in Tennessee. He also played for the Bradley Beal AAU team on the Nike EYBL circuit. Like many Duke recruits, Garland has been a mainstay on the USA Basketball circuit as well.
When watching Garland you will notice he is a left point guard who has a good understanding of the game. He is quick off ball and has few weak points to what most consider a complete game. Garland sees the floor well and has a solid offensive game. The best thing about Garland and what he is known for is his versatility.
Duke is fortunate to have Cameron Reddish and Tre Jones already committed to play for the Blue Devils. While each has made their collegiate decision known already, neither has made their official visit.
The two future teammates are already friends and they will get to come in and play with this years team while checking out campus life this weekend. This will also be a great time for them to talk with the Duke staff before their high school season begins while gaining knowledge on how to improve their game.
Both Reddish and Jones are the top rated prospects at their positions per ESPN. Duke also hosted R.J. Barrett this weekend and are fully immersed in having him become part of what would be a dynamic trio.
Duke will need to sign several players in this class in that they expect to lose a bevy of talent to the NBA and graduation. The Blue Devils are still recruiting several prospects and the staff is currently on the road checking them out as I type. Duke is checking out Bryan Antoine and Scottie Lewis, two big time prospects today.
Duke fans will see Reddish and Jones during the season as well. The 2017-18 Duke team will likely bee the favorite in the ACC and possibly the nation going into the season.
There is a new kid on the block or should I say the roster for Duke Basketball. Mike Buckmire joined the team. He is a 6-foot-2 guard from Blue Bell, Pa., who will join junior Brennan Besser as the only walk-ons on the 2017-18 team roster.
The addition of Buckmire helps especially in practice where the Blue Devils were a little depth shy at the guard position, Buckmire averaged 22.1 points per game and scored 1,144 career points during his senior season at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia.
There is a Duke connection at play in that his father Michael Buckmire played for the Blue Devils' 1986 national champion men's soccer team.
The nation's top prospect in the class of 2018 will venture to Duke this weekend for his official visit. R.J. Barrett is the real deal! The young man is making a name for himself and his nation of Canada proud along the way.
R.J. Barrett led his Canadian National Team to a win over Team USA and in the process earned a gold medal this summer. He is a can't miss NBA talent who plays his high school basketball for Montverde Academy in Florida.
The big time prospect will be seeing the Duke campus and facilities for the first time this weekend. During his visit, he will likely get to see this years team as well and perhaps play some pick up with them.
The Blue Devils have zeroed in on Barrett as have other schools. He has already visited Kentucky and will take three other schools in Arizona, Michigan and Oregon after his time in Durham.
There will be plenty of playing time a year from now for the Blue Devils in that a mass exodus of players are expected to declare for the NBA Draft. Duke could conceivably lose their entire starting line up and more after this coming season.
But the Blue Devils reload quickly these days. They've already gained the services of point guard Tre Jones and the multi talented Cameron Reddish. And it is no secret that those guys are trying to get others to play beside them for another run at a title.
Barrett is all the rage in that he is the latest Canadian star to gain big time hype. In fact, most feel he will be the best player from the country which is producing more and more top-tier players yet.
If you are wondering about how this young man would fit into the Duke system, let us count the ways. Barrett knocked down 38 points in his Canadian National Teams win over a loaded Team USA. He was playing against a talented and older team when he did so.
Quite simply, R.J. Barrett is a scoring machine. He blows by defenders or can go over them for his perimeter shot. Barrett also finishes well on the offensive end which is a tribute to his athletic ability. His length should allow him to be a solid defender at the next two levels of play. He is capable of guarding multiple positions already and moves well on the court when off ball.
The addition of R.J. Barrett would give Duke one of the most versatile teams in the nation. He would also benefit from playing with a stellar point guard on Tre Jones, who is a proven winner and unselfish as was his brother who won a national title at Duke.
It will likely come down to a Fall decision for Barrett and his family who are methodically analyzing their options. We will likely know by November or possibly sooner, where this talented young man will play his collegiate career.
Duke has been on a roll in recruiting where they individually structure plans for players to get to the pro game or expand their education. The Blue Devils put another four players into the NBA this past season and next year there could be more than that.
With that kind of pedigree and to play for a coach who led the USA men's national team to three gold medals, it is a small wonder that Duke is having great success. Barrett would be a nice fit for the program and Blue Devil fans would certainly enjoy seeing him bring fans to their feet in Cameron.
DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men’s basketball program has added human performance company WHOOP to the cutting-edge sports science approach it has personalized for each of its student-athletes heading into the 2017-18 season.
The Blue Devils are currently training with the help of the WHOOP Performance Optimization System. Duke players are wearing the WHOOP Strap 2.0, a lightweight, waterproof and screenless device worn on the wrist, forearm or upper arm. The device automatically measures and analyzes an individual’s strain, recovery and sleep metrics.
“The Duke men’s basketball program has set the standard of excellence in college basketball and is one of the most recognizable and admired athletic programs in the world,” WHOOP founder and CEO Will Ahmed said. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to share with Coach Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils our commitment to empowering athletes and educating them to unlock their peak performance and enable healthier careers.”
When paired with the WHOOP strap, the WHOOP mobile and web apps provide physiological data, analysis and actionable recommendations that help coaches and athletes tailor their training, improve their sleep and maximize performance. WHOOP has also developed a Team Dashboard, a 27-level privacy measure that ensures data is completely secure.
“Smart training used to be qualitative, relying on questions such as, ‘How are you feeling?’ or, ‘How’s your workout going?’” Duke men’s basketball athletic trainer Jose Fonseca said. “WHOOP is equipping our program with quantitative data on how our athletes are recovering after practice and training, instilling a culture of performance-maximizing data that will give us a distinct advantage.”
For more information on WHOOP’s mission, products and team, visit whoop.com.
A season ago, Duke Basketball was besieged with early season injuries to Marcus Bolden, Jayson Tatum and a setback to Harry Giles. Then there was the incident with Grayson Allen and a hobbled Frank Jackson later in the year. Add to that, Coach Mike Krzyzewski went to the sidelines. Everybody was missing games for Duke.
Duke never recovered completely and would eventually lose to South Carolina in their second game of the NCAA Tournament. The bad luck seemingly continued as Frank Jackson made an unanticipated departure in the off season.. Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum declared early for the NBA Draft as expected but then Luke Kennard, who blew up last year cast his lot into the league as well.
The cupboard was bare for the Blue Devils. If the aforementioned leaving was not enough, consider Duke lost Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones to graduation as well as Chase Jeter who transferred to Arizona. The only returning scholarship players would be Grayson Allen, Antonio Vrankovic, Marques Bolden, Javin DeLaurier and Jack White.
For the longest time, Alex O'Connell was the only committed Blue Devil coming in. But Duke would later get big time prospects Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Trent Jr. into the fold. It would take some time before they got what they desperately needed in point guard, Trevon Duval.
But then the Blue Devils missed out on Kevin Knox who surprised many by picking Kentucky. It had been a while since the Blue Devils lost a recruiting battle and this one really stung at the time as Duke was struggling by their lofty standards to fill their roster.
Duke would go on to sign Jordan Tucker and Jordan Goldwire and it seemed as if they were finished recruiting. Fast forward to the Nike Peach Jam EYBL Finals in North Augusta, South Carolina.
Standing in the lobby surrounded by reporters galore was Marvin Bagley III. As always, he was flanked by the watchful eye of his father as his talented son fielded questions. It was obvious that nobody knew what was really going on in his recruitment that day when listening to the questions.
Bagley was being recruited by Duke and Mike Krzyzewski and his staff attended every game he played. Duke had never put a high pressure push on Bagley. Instead, it was a slow and methodical recruitment where honesty and knowledge played a key role.
The honesty was telling Bagley, a superstar to be how they would make him a better man and player. The knowledge would be that Duke knew he had what it takes to come out early and that he had been angling at doing this by taking his education seriously.
By the end of the EYBL tournament it became known that Bagley might consider coming out a year early. This was a surprise to most in the media but the truth of the matter is that there had been an orchestrated effort by the Duke staff in the works.
Not long after this news, Mike Krzyzewski announced that he would have yet another off-season surgery. This time he was to have his hip replaced. Duke would then announce that they had cancelled a trip to the Caribbean where they were to play three exhibition games.
Once again, the fan base and nation could not help but think that the storied program still had a little bit of a dark cloud hovering around. But few college basketball experts knew Bagley would be committing to Duke a short time later.
Many thought that everything was just talk with concern Bagley and that he was still open to all opportunities. Actually, he was to an extent. Duke encouraged him to go ahead and visit USC and other schools if need be. They simply remained confident in their position and what they had to offer and it worked out.
In the coming weeks, Bagley officially announced he would seek to come out of school early and before you could blink he had chosen to attend Duke University. After visiting one last time, Team Bagley knew exactly where their son would attend college. They may have known or had an idea all along or at least a good while.
Duke was suddenly the center of the college basketball universe again. The bad luck seemed to be wearing off. I mean, Mike Krzyzewski not only got Bagley into the fold, but Tre Jones and Cameron Reddish for the following season. And all that happened while he was literally on his back.
Marvin Bagley was cleared to play by the NCAA today. If you had ever talked to the young star to be, you would realize this was never in doubt for he is a smart young man.
Add to that news, the photos coming out on Duke social media which shows Mike Krzyzewski on the practice court and there is reason for joy in the Blue Devil Nation.
So, yeah. Duke lost some players to the NBA Draft in a season when they had an incredible run in the ACC Tournament only to go out early in March Madness.
The injuries and set backs stung a bit, but that is all in the rear view mirror now. Duke has once again reloaded like only they can do and will be the favorite to win the ACC this season while being a title contender.
Yes, it was a bit of a roller coaster ride to get here. Now, Duke fans have to pinch themselves when realizing their good fortune. It has been a good month of so for the program and they are far from finished.