Category Archives: Duke Basketball Recruiting News

BDNP Duke Hoops Recruiting Update

The Duke Men's Basketball Staff will take advantage of the exam break by visiting [private]commitments and prospects.  The Assistants will go to various places this week, meaning yet to be

Copyright BDNP
Copyright BDNP

determined.  Coach K on the other hand will go see Tyler Thornton tomorrow where he goes head to head with Kendall Marshall.  Then he will head to Ames, Iowa on Friday, weather permitting to see Harrison Barnes.  Stay tuned to the Blue Devil Nation for continuous reports in the month of December.

The BDN plans to be on hand for the Ravenscroft vs Greensboro Day game on Friday.  We'll see if Kelly's team can redeem themselves against the team that kept them out of the state championship game for private schools. [/private]

High School Hoops Edition No. 3

[private]Harrison Barnes and the Ames High School Little Cyclones have their sights set on the State Tournament this year. They took the first step in their journey with a 66 - 34 defeat of Urbandale. Barnes scored 16 points in the game including nine in the first quarter as the Little Cyclones opened up the game with an 18 - 2 run. The Des Moines Register has very nice Harrison Barnes overview and picture gallery posted.

Barnes scored a game high 19 points on Friday night as Ames improved to 2 – 0 with a 61 - 31 victory over Roosevelt.

Brandon Knight is filling up the box score for Pine Crest on a routine basis. This past week he scored 29 and 43 points in two Panther victories. His 43 points in a 70 – 67 win over Choice Academy included seven three point shots, while he sank four three pointers and dished out seven assists in his 29 point performance in the 66 – 29 win over Coral Springs Charter.

Andre Dawkins scored 28 points as Atlantic Shores defeated Cox 93 – 68 in the opening round of the ASCS Tip-off on Thursday evening. He followed up with a 23 point performance on Friday as Atlantic Shores defeated Tallwood 69 - 66.

Ryan Kelly continues to put up extraordinary numbers. On Wednesday, he had a triple-double of 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 blocked shots in a 76 – 64 defeat of Riverside. On Friday night, Kelly scored 19 points in a 59 – 42 win at Providence Day. Ravenscroft is now 5 – 0 for the season.

Mason Plumlee scored 21 points to pace Christ School to an easy 77-45 victory over Spartanburg Day School. Plumlee made two three point shots in the contest. Mason’s younger brother, Marshall, contributed 10 points and three blocked shots. On Friday night, Plumlee scored 12 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and blocked eight shots in a 79 – 54 road win at Forsyth Country Day. The Greenies desire to go 38 – 0 and win a state championship this season. Christ School will match up against Ravenscroft on December 20, 2008, in Columbia, S.C.

The Washington Post has an enjoyable Tyler Thornton video posted. Gonzaga College High School has opened their season with a pair of wins. On Thursday night, Thornton scored 11 points in a 79 – 44 win over St. Albans. In their season opener, Thornton scored six points in a 69 – 40 decision over Sidwell Friends. Unfortunately, the box scores do not include assists as Thornton is a pass first point guard and his assists to turnover ratio is the key statistic for Duke Basketball fans.

Finally, Josh Smith and Kentwood High School played their first game of the season on Friday night.  Smith scored 32 points in the 68 - 47 victory over Kent-Meridian.  The Seattle Times ranks Kentwood as the number five team in the state.[/private]

General Basketball Recruiting Update is up

John Wall played in Cameron during the Gibbons TOC
John Wall played in Cameron during the Gibbons TOC

The undercurrent of information has been a little quiet of late, mainly due to the flurry of November and early December games.  But some tidbits are starting to trickle back in and December will allow us to cover the likes of John Wall and current commitments in person as their seasons are now in full swing.  Here is an update on Duke targets -



[private] Harrison Barnes is set to begin his high school basketball season.  You can follow his team by going to this LINK.  Duke is in weekly touch with Barnes and they feel as if there is a solid relationship foundation which they will build upon.

There are a lot of questions concerning John Wall, but one must first understand that his camp is in no hurry to amp up his recruitment.  Much like Boynton's recruitment, this one will go on for awhile, so you may as well relax until Spring.  Duke is in constant touch with his camp and the two have been trying to work out an on campus visit.  With the Blue Devils playing in season, they must keep their concentration on the business at hand while continuing their get to know Wall efforts.  Coach K is the lead in this one, but he will be assisted by his entire staff.  Most recently, Coach K and Nate James visited a Church of God game to check out Wall.  They will cover his games when they can throughout his entire season.  Wall has a handler named Brian Clifton.  Handlers are always under scrutiny in recruiting circles for many of them have been known to sink their claws in for eventual favors.  There is no reason to believe that this is the case with concerns to John in that they stepped in when he needed some guidance.  In short, one never knows for sure.  Wall is likely a one and done player and he could go many ways with his eventual choice.  He would be in a really high profile situation at Duke, which works to both parties advantage.  He could go to other schools and coast through while being the man.  The Blue Devil Nation will keep close tabs on this situation which is in it's infancy at this time.

Our most recent interview was with Josh Smith who has the Devils on his list.  Duke will not back out, but they are looking for and or paying attention to how his family handles the recruitment.   The Smith's have not ruled out an early commitment and if that happens you can bet it's going to be on the West Coast.  This one will not get real serious until March or April.  It remains to be seen if Smith pays his own way for a Triangle visit.  If this happens, he will likely visit Duke and UNC.  

Duke talks to Brandon Knight in one way or another weekly.  A lot of rumors have said he is Florida bound, but he hasn't told the Devils this.  As you can see rumors are a dime a dozen in that he got out of a recent UF visit while not committing.  While Boynton is at UF, this duo has to breakup at some point and time and college may be that time.  Knight was a confessed UConn fan growing up and certainly has ties in his home state.  UF has been managing to keep their own in state of late and common sense tells you that it can sometimes be a better "family" choice than an individual one.  Knight knows Duke wants him, but Wall is at the forefront until he makes his selection.

Duke will not settle on other 2010 prospects until the picture clears with current prospects.  You can bet that they will be out and about as soon as the AAU season opens looking for kids that fit.

While it has been a slow period for recruiting news, it's on the verge of picking up.  We'll be covering John Wall and others at the upcoming Glaxo Invitational just after Christmas.  We are also preparing for the use of video come AAU season and some almost real time ways of reporting.

As many long time members know, there are slow periods and then it opens up like a severe storm without warning.  We are carrying most of our in season current player interviews to premium starting at the end of this week.  This is coverage that cannot be found at Scout or some other sites.

We've been stretched a little thin of late, but I expect to finally make some long awaited additions in the coming days.  We will hopefully have photo galleries back soon.  As usual, thanks for being a part of the Blue Devil Nation. [/private]

High School Hoops Edition No. 2

The Virginia-Pilot says anything short of a state title will be a disappointment for Shores this season. The Seahawks are led by junior guard Andre Dawkins. The 6'5" Dawkins was second team All-Tidewater last year and has given a verbal commitment to play basketball at Duke. Senior Steven Pledger, who has signed a Letter of Intent to attend Oklahoma, is Dawkin's back court mate. Atlantic Shores plays in the private schools league but the Virginia-Pilot ranks them as the third best team overall in South Hampton Roads.

Andre Dawkins scored 25 points as the Seahawks opened their season with a 66 - 32 victory over Wilson. Pledger chipped in 20 points. Atlantic Shores is back in action on Monday December 1st as they open up conference play at Stonebridge.

Ryan Kelly has scored 32, 31, and 28 points in three Ravenscroft victories to open the season. They defeated Northern Durham 76 - 57, Greenfield 75 - 68, and St. David's 82 - 48. Kelly has also had double digit rebounds in each game including 14 in the St. David’s game.  A couple of key dates to look toward are January 7, and February 4, 2009, when Ravenscroft travels to Word of God, the school which features John Wall the nation’s number one rated high school prospect according to Rivals.

Ravenscroft, Word of God, and Christ School will all participate in the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational starting December 26 and running through December 30. This is an opportunity for fans to see Duke Commitments Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly plus recruiting target John Wall in action against each other. Tournament games will be played at Broughton High School’s Holliday Gymnasium.

Brandon Knight and Pine Crest High School played their first game of the season on Wednesday November 26 and Brandon Knight made five three pointers and scored 36 points as the Panthers defeated Northeast 76 - 62. Knight is a true point guard and a coveted member of the Class of 2010. Duke is one of many colleges recruiting the talented player.

This excellent article from the Miami Herald discusses Brandon Knight and Kenny Boynton and is a must read for anyone interested in high school basketball. Knight and Boynton are two of the best players in the nation and AAU teammates, but during the high school season they go against each other head-to-head multiple times. Brandon Knight led Pine Crest to victory in three of four meetings against Kenny Boynton and American Heritage last season.[/private]

Big Josh Smith talks recruiting with BDN-Premium

Josh Smith (6-9, 280, Kentwood HS, Seattle Rotary AAU) is one of the nation's most coveted players in the class of 2010.  Duke is but one of many schools in the chase for the talented front court prospects services.   We caught up with Josh and got his thoughts on the recruiting process, timeline of his decision and the schools that are in the race.  Blue Devil Members can continue to read about the latest with one of Duke's ... [private]

Josh dunked for the first time as a 6-4 seventh grader and he hasn't stopped since that time.  In fact, he had so many blocked shots, that his league changed the rules to keep him from eating up the paint.  His Dad, Josh Senior prefers to be called  "Big Josh," but he stands at just 6-3 as his son equaled his height by 12 years old.

I approached this interview as Sports Nation Network which I own, seeking honest answers instead of one slanted for the home team. 

The List - Arizona, Duke, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA,  USC, Washington and a couple of others.

Has your high school season started yet?

Yes, it started Monday.  Our first game will be December 5th.  We have one starter back other than myself.

Can you tell me which schools have been the most aggressive in their recruitment of you?

I'd say Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA and Ohio State.

There has been a lot of talk in the past that UCLA was in the drivers seat for your services or that they might lead.  Is there any truth to that?

I would say no.

Suppose somebody had never seen your game - how would you describe it to them?

Over powering, tough in the low post and aggressive.

What are some of the key factors when you think about your pending collegiate choice?

Location won't be a factor for me.  Style of play could be a factor.

Who do you pattern your game after?

Shaq!  I grew up pulling fo him.  Some have called me "Baby Shaq."

If you could meet any NBA player, who would you most like to meet?

Dwight Howard.  I like his powerful dunks and that he tries to make his team better.

What style of basketball do you like to play ... up and down ... structured half court, four out and one in ... ?

Four out and one in.

So you like the idea of being the go to guy in that type of offense.


So, there is no leader at this time ...


Is there a school you are more curious about than others?

I would say there is no leader at this time nor one that I have any stronger interest in more than others.

Are you likely to take all of your allotted official visits which the NCAA allows?

Yeah, I'd probably say I would.  I could make an earlier decision if the situation feels right.

What about the NBA ...

Yeah, I want to play in the NBA, but I also have a big desire to play ... play in the league.

You've mentioned a lot of really good schools, some of which have more success putting guys in the league than others.  Will that kind of thing have a bearing?

Yes, a little bit.  When I get into school my first goal is to be successful there and if I'm lucky or good enough to go to the league, I will start to think about that.

With the exception of Washington and WSU, most of the schools on your list are a good ways off.  So, it's no problem to go as far east as Kentucky, Duke or UNC?

I wouldn't have a problem going to the east or anything like that.  It's like, well in Texas I have family in Dallas and Mississippi down south, so I wouldn't have a problem to go down there and play, but I don't have a problem going anywhere.  UCLA is like a ten and a half hour drive or two and a half hour flight.

Who will play a big role in your decision?

Probably my Dad, my Mom, my family and older brother.

How do you like the recruiting process?  Is it tiring, a lot of calls ...

I do, but my Dad really handles most of the calls.  It's not really tiresome though.

Who are the last coaches to have called you?

Coach Matta at Ohio State, Coach Pitino at Louisville ... that's all I know of this past week.  I'm in a get to know process with all the schools.

What are you like off the court?

 I just like to chill with friends, go see movies and do stuff with a lot of other people, whatever is fun.

Josh Smith in three words as a person?

As a person I would say nice, smart and funny.

... three words as a player?

solid, powerful and understanding. [/private]

High School Hoops Edition No. 1

[private]Blue Devil Nation is the place for updated information on high school games involving Duke Commitments and recruiting targets. This season we will track the progress of, and post weekly updates on, future Blue Devils: Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, Josh Hairston, and Tyler Thornton; plus targets Harrison Barnes, Josh Smith, Brandon Knight, and John Wall.

Mason Plumlee and Christ School have opened their season with four victories. The Greenies defeated Veritas Sports Academy 87 – 58, Asheville High School 89 – 46, Blue Ridge School 76 – 61, and Porter-Gaud 73 - 50.

In the season opener, on November 15, Plumlee’s stat line against Veritas was seven points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks. On November 18, he exploded for 28 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over Asheville.

Christ School played back-to-back games on Friday, November 21, and Saturday, November 22. Against Blue Ridge School, Plumlee scored 13 points and blocked four shots. He put up a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds against Porter-Gaud Saturday afternoon.

Christ School will return to action on December 2, against Spartanburg Day School.[/private]