Category Archives: Duke Basketball Recruiting News

Behind the scenes practice update and John Wall tidbits

K-ments - During some recent practices, Coach K shared some thoughts about his team.  He stated that Marty Pocius was one of the teams better three point shooters and that they would try to get him the ball in good position when he entered the game.  Marty has been playing surprisingly well, especially on the offensive end of the court.  He's still not the best defensive player, but he should provide some good depth in the back court.  The biggest plus is that Pocius has learned the system and knows where to be on the court.  [private] Now, if he can only drop Olek some hints.

He said that he hoped Elliot Williams could fill some of the roles that DeMarcus Nelson did this past season.  He likes Williams versatility and his ability to play good on ball defense on the perimeter.  He also mentioned that Williams was a good spot up shooter.  Williams played very well against Virginia Union and we'll see how he does this evening against Lenoir Rhyne.  However, in my views, he has a ways to go to get use to the size and speed of the college game.  When I talk of speed, in Williams case he needs to slow down a bit and let the game come to him.  This will come in time as will his strength, but expect K to bring him along at well, K's pace.

Coach also said that Duke would get out and run.  With their depth, he plans on pushing the ball and he seems as if he will go to the bench early and often.  He once again mentioned how important it was to keep Kyle Singler fresh and how having a deeper front line wold help.

He also said his team was healthy overall and that he hoped that would carry through the season.  "We have 14 healthy guys ready to go," said Krzyzewski.

"Do it, hear it, see it!"  K barked that out as he stopped practice on several occasions.  He meant for his team to talk a play through, see it later on film or at a half speed walk through and to then "do it."

K worked his team very hard with ACC Officials last week.  He then carried that over into more work, knowing and saying his team was tired.  He had a no contact practice after that, wanting to see how his team responded the next day when they went through two full practices in one day.   He was pleased with the results.

The Big Three- "Gerald, Kyle and Jon are the guys we will build around.  They are our best players.  That doesn't mean a Nolan Smith or Greg Paulus couldn't lead the team in scoring.  It simply means that these are the guys we feel comfortable building around, much like what we did in the Olympic.  We feel if the rest of the team can fit in around them, then we'll have a chance to be really good.  Don't get me wrong, we have some good players, but these three are our best." - Coach K

Jon Scheyer has played wonderfully in practice and worked his butt off all summer.  When prospects came to visit, they all mentioned Scheyer.  When teams are picked by individuals, he goes first or to the next guy with the second and third picks.  He has shown more leadership and his defense on the ball has vastly improved.

Kyle Singler is the smartest player on the court when he's out there and that is often.  Expect a fresh Singler to really blossom as the season progresses.  He has worked with Miles Plumlee to make him a better player and the two get along on and off the court.

Gerald Henderson is becoming a man among boys.  He is physically better than he's ever been and he looks like a future NBA player with his ability to go inside and out.  He is capable of making the jump to All American.

No secret anymore- Miles Plumlee has proved that he has a very well rounded game.  He plays smart, runs the floor well, has good hands and nice ball handling to go with a mid range offense game.  He also finishes nicley and has good hops.  His Dad told me he was under appreciated and you know what?  That won't last much longer.  I do expect he will struggle at times with veteran big men, but this kid has earned the starting nod as a freshman and that's a heck of an accomplishment.

The latest on John Wall- Wall will get together sometime soon with Coach K and the Duke staff.  At that time both will figure out how they will proceed.  Wall canceled his weekend visit with Memphis and I expect we will know whether Duke has offered no later than Monday.

Sorry for the delays in reporting of late due to computer attack.  It happens.  I lost two informative articles, but some of the info is a bit old now.  I will still go back over some practice notes and dig up the pertinent information in the coming week.  It looks like the Josh Smith interview will come next week, due to and overload in covering Duke vs NCSU in football, tonight's game, preparing player profiles and Monday and Tuesday's opener.  Thanks for your patience during this time.[/private]

Boynton, Knight, Smith updates up on Blue Devil Nation Premium (updated)

The Kenny Boynton watch was in effect this past weekend.  Boynton visited the Gators on his official visit and despite some [private] pressure by Donovan to get him to commit, Boynton came away saying he would take his other visits.  In short, this means he will be in Durham.  I suppose a little excitement may ensue when he comes to town on November 8th.  ***Breaking - Despite the rumors, I have not confirmed any of them with those who really count.  While it looks as if he is a bit of a UF lean, I will wait for confirmation from legitimate sources.

ADDENDUM - Kenny has made a decision to forgo his visit to Texas this weekend and will choose his school live on ESPNU at 6:30 EST.  As of last evening, he had told the Duke staff, he'd be making the visit to Durham.  As of noon today, he had not told the coaches it was Florida for sure.  However, the prevailing feeling among those who count is that Florida is the choice.  The Duke coaches felt very good about Kenny up until last night.  So, they are allowing him to have his day in the sun whether it's good for them or not.

A lot of you are wondering about Brandon Knight.  Well, he's a huge priority, but is somewhat on hold until the Blue Devils finish up with Boynton.  If KB chooses elsewhere, Duke puts on the full court press.

Harrison Barnes had a nice visit and left with a good idea of what Duke was about.  He will certainly consider the Blue Devils who are a lock to make his final five or less.  Duke will stay in close contact with Barnes until the time he decides.

I talked to Josh Smith Sr. the Father of Josh Smith Jr. while setting up an interview.   Coach James just so happened to have talked with him earlier that evening.  When asked which teams were the most active Duke, Georgetown and UNC came up with of course UCLA.  He said his son would make a decision by the end of this summers AAU season.  He also mentioned that he could decide early, but that he expected they would visit the Triangle before a decision.  He grew up watching Michael Jordan at UNC, but also mentioned he loves Coach K. [/private]

Harrison Barnes talks to BDN about his visit to Duke in an in depth interview

So, you just got back from a visit to Duke.  Can you tell me a little bit about the visit?

I thought it was great to down there and get a full feel of just what Duke University is all about and what the basketball team was like and how the players were treated.

What was the atmosphere like?

I would say that they act in a very professional manner.  Academically?  It rates really high for them and that the players there are treated with a lot of respect from Coach K and the staff as a whole.  I thought the practice facility was very impressive.  They had two gyms in there and that was nice.  They also had a very large weight room.

I understand you sat with 2010 commitment Andre Dawkins during the game ...

[private] Yes, I met Andre during the LeBron James Camp.  So, we've had a chance to become friends for awhile now.

He told me during a recent interview that he gave you a call after Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton became future Blue Devils ...

(laughing) Yes, it is.  He wanted me to join in with them as well.  I told him that I was going to take my time.

Do you know Tyler and Josh?

Yes, I got a at the chance to meet Tyler at the Nike Hoop Jamboree and I met Josh there as well and the NBA Players Association Camp this year.

I understand it was parents weekend and that the Cameron atmosphere was far from what it normally is during your visit.  Did that bother you that the Crazies were a bit scattered and not up to their usual standards?

Andre actually explained most of that to me.  I have not seen the Duke Atmosphere in a full game.  But it was nice with the community repore and the little sections that were there to see how excited they were.  So, it gave me a good idea of what a game would be like.

Man, he's quite the recruiter, isn't he?

Yes, he is. (laughing)

Did you talk with any other prospects or commitments?

Ryan Kelly and I talked a bit.

Your family payed out of pocket to come on an unofficial visit which was probably pretty expensive.  What was your reasoning for visiting Duke as one of just two unofficial visits? 

Duke has been very consistent in their recruiting of me.  I felt that it came to a point in our recruitment that they deserved a visit, so I went down there.  I just wanted to get a feel for what the university was about and to see Duke University up close.  What they had been telling me on the phone was what the university was actually like.

What are your thoughts on Coach K?

I think he is very humorous as well as very personable.  I think he's easy to talk to (it was his first face to face discussion with K) and that overall he's just a really good guy with very good morals.   I felt that it was very team oriented both on the basketball court and off.  I felt that Duke had a very good family environment where they all watched out for each other.

Who has been the primary contact person from Duke?

Coach K has been the primary recruiter.

Did your Mom and sister enjoy the visit to Duke?

Yes, they thoroughly enjoyed it as well.  We all felt it was a great time to meet the team and coaches and get to know one another.  We're just getting to know each other now and then we'll see where this all goes.

Is there a timeline on your decision?

I'm not in any rush.  After the high school season I will get back into the process.  Right now, I'm in no hurry to make a decision.

What stood out on your Kansas visit?

It was just a great experience to see a sold out arena and the support they get in general. 

How far is Aimes, Iowa from KU?

I live about three and a half hours away.

Will proximity come into play?

Right now, distance is no factor.

Let me make sure I have this right.  When are you likely to make a decision?

After my official visits

... and will you take all five allotted officials?

I have not determined how many I will take yet

Which schools have been the most proactive in your recruitment?

Duke, Kansas, Iowa State, Florida, Oklahoma are the ones that come to mind right now.

What impressed you the most about Duke?

Mostly the academics

How important is academics to Harrison Barnes?

It's a key for me because I want to go to a university that will set me up after my career.

I appreciate your time and wish you the best of luck in the process.

Thank you.

According to sources close to the team, Harrison Barnes spent two full days at Duke.  The visit went very well from the staffs standpoint and the feeling is that he enjoyed himself enough to make Duke one of the favorites in the race for his services.  He was able to attend class rooms, talked with K extensively and play a litlle pick up among other activities.  Members - talk about this on the BDN Premium (members only) message board.  If you are not registered, you need to do so in order to get the full effect of BDN Premium. [/private]

General Recruiting Update – Commitments and prospects news

Harrison Barnes is still on scheduled to visit next weekend.  This is one of two trips in which his family is taking before his junior season.  That means [private] they have paid for this visit (and Kansas) out of pocket.  I take that as meaning Duke is in good "early" shape for this talented young man's services.

The Duke staff awaits their shot at Kenny Boynton when he is scheduled to take his visit in November.

Look for Duke to turn up their efforts for Brandon Knight after the Boynton sweepstakes come to an end.  Duke wants more backcourt help and it will become a priority should they miss on Boynton.

It's pretty much status quo with Josh Smith.  Michael Parker may be in for a game soon.  The North Carolina native is being evaluated, but there is no room with the offers currently at hand.  Duke is also keeping an eye on Morris and will evaluate more players as time goes on.

Current commitments Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton will attend the Blue-White game.  They will be joined by Mason Plumlee and he may be joined by younger brother, Marshall.

Ryan Kelly will be taking his official visit this weekend as well.  Kelly joins Mason Plumlee in the 2009 class and Boynton is the only other offer.  While another prospect could come to light if they miss Boynton, at this time it is unlikely.

The Football team will take the Blue Devil Walk through Cameron Indoor Stadium during the Men's Blue-White game.  Coaches Colllins and Wojo will lead thier inter-squad teams.

Duke Football has eight players they are looking at for the final few spots in the class of 2009.  We will be covering each of those guys in the next several weeks. [/private]

BDNP talks to Ryan Kelly and gets his thoughts on his commitment to Duke

I had an extensive interview with Ryan Kelly in A.E. Finley gym this morning about the recruiting process -

What was it about Duke you liked?

Duke academically and sports wise for basketball can't be beat.  The two of them together ... I felt very comfortable when I was at Duke with all the players which made it easier and I went with my gut feeling.

You have taken several visits to Duke of late ...

[private] Really, I haven't visited Duke that much.  I wanted to make the visits as equal as possible.  Going into this past weekend when I sat down and put it all out, all of the schools were even.  My parents and Coach Billerman told me to take my time and to let them know when I was ready to make a decision.

When did Duke get back involved with you?

It got a little sporadic.  Coach K was there to see my 1000th point at Durham Academy and then they came on pretty heavy this summer.  Especially with me being involved with Team USA in Vegas.

You have gone up against a future teammate several time in Mason Plumlee.  Are you looking forward to the match up this season?

Well he's a great player and it's going to be really fun playing with him.  We are different players and we do different things.  It will be neat going up against each other.  Hopefully, we will see each other in the state championships and then at Duke.  It'll be something we can look back on.  I had a great time with him in Argentina - he's a really great guy.

When did you actually make the call to Coach K telling him you wanted to be a Blue Devil?

It was Wednesday night.  He was excited for me and glad I made the decision.  He said he thought I made the best decision.  I told him I was certain and had no remorse and he was really proud I felt that way - feeling very comfortable with it, he was happy and looking forward to being my coach.  Coach K had basically told me to hold off and not make any decisions before he left for China, just so he could have the chance to sit down with me.  I was going to wait anyway.  It wasn't time to make a decision for me and once he came back we had a chance to sit down.

Has Coach already talked you about what he would like for you to work on?

Oh certainly.  The main thing is strength and just getting stronger.  He doesn't want me to build up too much.  He doesn't want me to be 250 pounds, just to be lean and strong.  Hips are very important  when it comes to talking defense - staying in a defensive stance, exploding, rebounding, exploding up for dunks.

Did your family help with the decison making process?

It was my decision.  I'm sure if he hadn't sold my parents it would have been different, but they're happy.

Now that you are part of the Duke family, will you hang on campus, play in the practice facility, etc.?

Oh yeah.  I'm sure I will go over there to play in an open gym - to talk to the guys and get more comfortable.

Have you heard from any players since last night?

Elliot called to congratulate me ... Gerald Henderson.  I'm sure I will hear from more of them.

I know you have played with Kenny Boynton and he's at the top of Duke's list.  What are your thoughts on him?

I would love to play with him.  He's a great kid and a great player.  We played twice out in Vegas and we split.  I would love to play with him and see him come on out to Duke?

How did the games pick up games go?

They were really intense ... just more intense than anyone else to be honest.  They wanted to win more than anything and I saw that.  When guys are trying that hard in a pick up game you are going to get better quicker than anywhere else.  I can see myself becoming the best player I can be over there.

Do you have a go to move?

When I really want to score a basket, I go inside and go with a baby hook.  When I go outside, the move that I use the most is a pull up jump shot or a spin move.  I have a decent array of moves ... I work on different shots in different spots, like with the gun (passing machine) I do a lot of off the dribble, go to moves ...

Is there a sense of relief?

You know, it's relief, but it is also excitement.  I have laid a pretty good path out for myself and it's exciting.

So, your family is okay with the decision?

I did and my family was excited.  They would have been happy wherever I went.  My friends are excited that they will be able to watch me.  I'm sure there are some fans out there who won't like me ...

Carolina fans?

Well, they will stick to Ryan two games of the year. (laughing)

What three words would best describe Ryan Kelly as a person?

Nouns or adjectives, here? (laughing)  What I said to ESPN, was my integrity, my drive to excel and my faith.  I bring those to the table and they won't go away.

Tell me a little about what faith means to you?

For me it's a belief in God.  He's going to put me in the right place.  When I come into the gym or into a game, I pick out two seats.  One for where Jesus is watching me and one for where my Grandpa is watching me.  No matter how good or how bad I will do they will always be there.  I prayed for it was the most important decision I have made in my life so far.  The next is my wife ... (laughing).  It was important for me to pray and people prayed with me about my decision and I was led to the right place.

Did this translate at Duke?

Um, I know there will be some different beliefs or religions.  But moral character is important as well and Coach K certainly had that.

Why make the decision on ESPNU?

It just kind of worked out.  Amazingly it was good timing.  They had wanted to get the notice for it was their first show.

What three words or phrases describe you on the basketball court?

Hard working, a good teammate and I hope I can say a good player.

There was a lot of surprise when you announced Duke as the sixth team on the list when they haven't been there for awhile ...

They had been talking to me for a long time.  There was a renewed interest.  They saw I had developed quite a bit and my ability to play the 4-3 spot like Mike Dunleavy.  When they got to see me in an open gym, Coach K just saw a different player and it moved from there.

What are your team's prospects for the coming season?

I am looking forward to this season.  We're going to be really good.  We have Matt Wilson, a 6-11 center who just committed to UNC-W.  We have some more guys including Billerman's son, a shooter.  We also have a Broughton transfer Luke Davis who will play the point and anchor us a little bit.  We are trying to win a state championship.

Describe Coach K for me?

For me I'm still getting to know him.  I think he is very truthful and honest and very Father like.  He runs around and does a lot of stuff, but he still takes the time to show you everything.  I've dealt with some really great coaches, but he's the best coach.  It was hard to tell the other coaches but they all handled it really well.  Once the decision was made, it was a real relief.

Did getting to know the Duke players play a big role?

It was very big, but I thought it was going to be a lot bigger.  I learned a lot about myself in that I can get along with a lot of different people.  When you go on visits, they all act like they like you.  In the end it comes down to getting that feeling of being comfortable and I felt that with Duke.

You were able to attend some classes.  Were you comfortable in that environment?

It's very similar to Ravenscroft.  I knew how great everybodies academics were in the final six, so it really came down to feeling comfortable. [/private]

Ryan Kelly will play his collegiate basketball for Duke

[private]Ryan Kelly has decided that he wants to play his college basketball for Coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils.  Kelly is a 6-9, 210 forward who plays his high school basketball for Raleigh Ravenscroft, under former Duke player, Kevin Billerman.

Kelly took his time with the process, making visits with all of the teams on his final list while analyzing his ability to fit in and be comfortable.  Kelly chose Duke over  Georgetown, rival North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia and Wake Forest.

"From the beginning, my family made it clear to me that this was going to be my decision. To that end, after gathering a great deal of information, thinking through things clearly, I am ready to announce with confidence that I will look forward to attending Duke University," said Kelly.

Kelly went to the ESPNU Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina today to announce his decision on the Recruiting Insider.

“Although I have enjoyed meeting so many terrific coaches and players at each of the schools I have considered, I am ready to move forward and focus all my efforts on finishing out my senior year at Ravenscroft,” said Kelly.

During his junior campaign at Ravenscroft, Kelly averaged 23.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG to go with 4.0 blocks.  He played for Team USA U-18 team which won the silver medal this past summer and he started most of the games.  Kelly also played his AAU basketball for D-One Sports where he was teammates with one of the nations top uncommitted prospects, John Wall.  Kelly was also invited to the NBA Top 100 Camp last July.

Kelly fits the mold of past Duke big men like Danny Ferry in that he has the ability to go inside and out.  The Blue Devil Nation saw several of Kelly's games over the past two summers and he consistently improved his game during that time.  Kelly is the 12th rated  player in his class according to ESPN Scouts Inc.

The strength of his game is his face up offense, where he is a very capable perimeter shooter.  His ability to draw his man out will likely loosen traffic in the paint in college.  Kelly has a cool demeanor on the court, never getting too high or low during contests.  He has a drop back fade in close making it difficult for opponents to defend him.  Kelly is also a very good ball handler for a big man and if described on one word, "versatile" would fit.

Kelly will have to work on his strength and his ability to be a force in the paint, but that should come with natural maturity.  Kelly joins Mason Plumlee as the second player in the Blue Devils class of 2009.  You can look forward to the match ups between their opposing schools Ravenscroft and Christ School of Arden the defending state champions.

Kelly has some basketball lineage in the family, where his Dad, Chris played his career at Yale.  His family is big on education as well.  In fact, Kellys Mom, Doreen is the head of his high school.  Kelly is slated to attend next weekends Blue-White game where other Duke commitments will join him. 

Coach Krzyzewski continues to reap the benefits of leading Team USA to the Gold Medal in Beijeng, China.  Duke will now  focus on Kenny Boynton, a scoring machine from South Florida.

To read more about Ryan's commitment and Duke recruiting efforts, subscribe to BDN Premium.  You can then discuss this great news with other members in a private forum.

There is also an amazing thread at Duke Basketball Report with 28,000 plus hits and counting.

Ravenscroft Accomplishments:
·         -4.1 grade point average
·         -2,150 score on the SAT
·         -Starter for the USA Men’s U18 National Team which won a silver medal in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Formosa, Argentina in July
·         -Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference Player of the Year (2007)
·         -North Carolina Association of Independent Schools 3-A All-State Selection (2007)
·        - Led team to second-straight TISAC Conference Championship
·         -Averaged 23.7 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks per game as a junior
·         -2007 GlaxoSmithKline All-Tournament team selection (led the tournament scoring with 78 points in three games)

 Records at Ravenscroft:
-  Fourth all-time in scoring with 1,183 points (on pace to become school’s all-time leading scorer)
-   Career blocks (267)
-   Made field goals, season (239)
-   Field-goal percentage, season (297-479, 62%)
-   Points, season (712)
-   Scoring average, season (23.7 ppg

All photos are property of BDN Premium.  They were taken at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp this past Summer.  In the first picture, Ryan was originally on the baseline, but made a move and used the rim to his advantage as three defenders looked on.

BDN Premium is a subscription service which covers Duke Athletics and recruiting, offering behind the scenes tips and information on current and future players.  Our members can get an idea of today's daily recruiting news before it happens.[/private]