Category Archives: Duke Basketball Recruiting News

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]

Ryan Kelly set to announce his college choice

[private]Ryan Kelly is set to announce where he will attend college in a 6:00 Press Conference on Thursday.   Kelly has been methodical in seeking out the best situation for himself.  Some services have Kelly ranked as high as tenth in the class of 2009.  Kelly has advanced offensive skills when facing the basket and has steadily improved his stock over the past two years.

The list for Kelly's services consist of Duke, Georgetown, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.  Kelly is coached by former Duke player Kevin Billerman at Raleigh Ravenscroft.

Kelly has visited all of the schools on his list with North Carolina being the last one this past weekend.

ESPNU will be on hand for his press conference  Blue Devil Nation Premium will keep you informed.[/private]

Boynton official set for November 7-9

[private]The Boynton family have set their official visit date to Duke University.  Kenny and company will be in town on November the 7th through the 9th.  Boynton has been recruited heavily by the Blue Devils.  His list consists of Duke, Florida, Georgia Tech, Texas and USC but many feel it is between the Blue Devils and Gators. 

Boynton is a 6-2 combo guard expected to play the point in the pros.    He plays his high school ball for Americn Heritage and his AAU ball for Team Breakdown.

Boynton plays hard at both ends of the court.  He's especially strong with the ball in his hands.  There will be several old articles up soon, once we add the archives from the old site.

For more information join Blue Devil Nation Premium where we have followed the process from the very start and always tip you in first.  BDN is often copied, but never duplicated.  We will continue to bring you quality coverage of Duke Basketball and Duke Football in both our free and premium section.[/private]

Andre Dawkins – the recruitee and the recruiter

BDN has another informative interview with the always interesting Andre Dawkins -

Well, let's just get right down to it!  How did your visit to Duke go?

It went great!  We got what we wanted.  You couldn't really ask for more because we wanted them both. (Hairston and Thornton) They both committed and we were really excited about it.

You've become quite the recruiter!  [private] You've got it going on.  Is this something they've (staff) talked to you about or did you just take the role upon yourself?

I definitely took it upon myself because I want to have the best team that I can.  I I ever see that I can help in any way, I'm all for it.  They told me before I can that they wanted me to be the leader in the class, so I've taken that role trying to get everybody to come.  I'm just trying to help my team out, that's all.

Well I'd say you're doing a good job!  So who might be next?  Are you game for Harrison Barnes?

Oh yeah.  I've been after Harrison for awhile now.  He's probably mad he gave me his phone number (semi serious, yet laughing).

Is it that bad? (joking)

I text him all the time.  I did the night they (Hairston, Thornton) committed.  I was joking with him saying he was next.

How did he respond to that?

He just laughs it off.  So, we'll see.  I don't think he is ready to make a decision anytime soon.

Do you think he likes Duke?

I think so.  I really think he does.  He has a couple of other schools there who've been on him for awhile.

What was it like seeing Tyler for the first time in awhile?

That's always cool.  Just knowing I will be going to school with him in two years is just kind of surreal.  I can tell it's going to be a lot of fun because we get along so well.  We actually got to hang out that whole night and the next morning.

Did you grimace when it was time to leave?

You always want to stay, but we got to leave but we'll be back.  We'll all be back down for the Blue-White game, I think.   And we'll probably all take our officials together.  We're going to be a pretty close group.

At this point, for any of us - I don't think it has really sunk in that we're going to be playing basketball at Duke University.  We were talking with Elliot (Williams) about it and he said it hadn't really sunk in with him yet being a part of such a great basketball program.

Who did you guys hit it off with?

We were basically with Elliot the whole night.  Elliot, Miles and Mason, but all the guys are really cool.  You really can't ... you really couldn't tell it was our first time being there because the team treats us like we had been there, like we are already a part of the family.  Elliott showed us around the campus and you could tell it wasn't just a chore for him.  He genuinely like wanted to do it.

You guys played some pick up games!  (kidding) So, who did you dog and who dogged you?

Jon Scheyer got me pretty good, but I got him back a couple of times, but Tyler's team ... Tyler, Jon and Josh won most of the games.

What is it like to have access to a practice facility where Elton Brand may walk in one day in the off season and Trajan Langdon the next?  Has it sunk in yet that you are going to always be a part of the Duke family?

It's pretty awesome.  You can;t say too much about the practice facility.  I mean, I just love that place.  Jsoh and I were talking about how great it will be to have access to it 24/7 and that's amazing.  It's got a great film room and weight area.  You really couldn;t ask much more of a facility than that.

When you guys first went down did you like say, okay guys, this is it ...

I knew that Josh was going to commit a while ago, but Tyler was thinking of waiting until November.  I didn't really have to tell them - Coach K did a great job with that.

How did the commitments transpire?

Josh and his family were the first to go in and talk to Coach K.   When they came out they were all really happy about the decision.  He told me he had officially committed and I told him congratulations.   The assistants were all really happy.  Then Tyler went and talked to Coach K and he committed and he was really excited about it.  He was smiling ear to ear.

It seems like there were a lot of grins going around ...

Yeah, right after that we went out to the mall and his parents just bought a whole bunch of Duke stuff.  It was funny.

Speaking of funny, I understand there is someone else who surprised you ...

Yeah, Coach K!  He's actually pretty funny.  I didn't know that about him, but he is a funny guy.  We went to the second half of the football game and then he showed us some tapes of Team USA.  He talked about how there are different roles on the team and things like that. [/private]

Future Dukie Josh Hairston opens up about his visit in an in depth interview with BDN

Congrats on your decision to become a Blue Devil!  What did Coach K have to say to you on your recent visit?

The main thing was that Coach K said was that Duke was the place for me.  I kind of felt that way before.  When i went down on my first visit it felt like home.  Coach said he would take care of me down there and that's really what made it happen.

Did you have a feeling you were going to sign with Duke all along?

At first I really didn't, but after talking to Tyler and Andre and seeing how everything was playing out, I realized that was the place I would probably end up.  I kind of kept it to myself, but for the past two weeks I have known where I was going to go. [private]

Did it bother you that word was circulating on the Internet that you were destined to Duke a month or so ago?

It didn't bother me.  I had never had a leader out there ... it's over now, so it doesn't matter what was said.

What did you do on the Duke visit?

We arrived a round 9:30 on Saturday morning.  My parents, sister and myself went to eat with Coach K and his staff.  They talked to us for about an hour.  Then we caught up with everybody else.  Tyler arrived around 11:00 and we had a little bit of a tailgate.  We then went down and played five or six pick up games with the guys on the team.  Then Andre, Tyler, Mason and myself went out to the football game for the second half.  After that we went back over to the practice facility and shot around a little bit.  We then met with Coach K individually.  I went in first - that's when I committed then Tyler talked to him and he committed.

When you came out did you tell the guys you had committed?

I was actually last to come out.  Coach Wojo and my parents got there first and they were all smiling, so I think everybody kind of figured out what happened.  Andre kind of knew it all along and he was happy about it and Tyler was too.

What was the reaction of fellow students and faculty at your school this past week?

You know, it was crazy.  It was spread all over the school and around town real fast.  Everywhere I go there is somebody saying congratulations.  My school has been my biggest supporters.  They were like on top of me when I got back to school on Monday. 

Did you hear from a lot of relatives?

I did.  I'm  close with my family so a lot of my aunts and uncles.  My grand parents call to congratulate me, my cousins - everybody.

Andre told me that you guys actually called Harrison Barnes.  Andre is obviously trying to recruit a lot.  Are you going to take on a similar role?

I am.  In fact, I talked to him a couple of days ago,  Harrison is a tremendous player and a great kid.  Basically he's not in any rush and I wasn't trying to put Duke on him too hard.  But he let it be known that Duke is in his top schools, but he's not in any rush and taking it day by day, so we'll see what happens.

What did Andre and yourself actually talk to him about when you were in EWills room?

We were just messing with him.  We told him he needed to quit playing around with these other schools because he's coming to Duke.  He was laughing about that and it was kind of a joke.  We were really just telling him that he if joined me, Tyler and Andre and we get Brandon Knight that we could be one heck of a lineup.  We weren't trying to put things on him too hard, but just let him know what could be.

Duke has offered Josh Smith as well, any talk of him?

I met Josh a couple of years ago in some of the teen conferences I went to.  Josh is a tremendous player, but he is on the west coast.  We're still going to try and pull him over here to the east coast.

I think you played against Harrison Barnes in the NBA Developmental Camp ...

I did!  Our teams played each other.  We were actually together at the Nike Jamboree the week before that.  So we had two consecutive weeks together.  He's a great athlete and playing against him was fun.

Tell me how much knowing Andre and Tyler helped with your decision to become a Blue Devil ..

It played a big role.  I played with Andre my freshman year with Boo Williams.  We know everything that each other can do.  He's a player who knows where I am going to be.  Playing with Tyler now, you know he's my point guard on my AAU team DC Assault.  We have a great relationship and playing with him will be fun.

What did Tyler say when he came out after his decision?

He didn't really say anything.  He walked out and was finishing his talk with Coach K and he was just smiling ... just smiling real hard and we knew he had done it.  I mean, he couldn't wait to get down here.

What was the atmosphere on the ride home like?

Excitement!  Everybody was excited ... me, my mom and dad, my sister ... everybody's phone was ringing off the hook.  People were calling and congratulating us.  It was just good, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I felt like I could relax now and when I went back to school, I felt like a different kid.  I felt like I could finally relax and be myself now and not have to worry about anything.

You know guys are going to come at you now.  They'll envision those four letters on your chest ...

It'll make me a better player.  I know I can't have nights where I slack off now.  I am in the weight room everyday.  I am shooting everyday.  I have had people coming at me since my freshman year.  I'm not new to it, but I definitely know thay will be comong at me harder.  I told my teammates I was going to do whatever I have to for them to take us to where we want to go which is the state championship.  So, I know I have to be on the top of my game every night.

Did Coach K tell you what to work on?

He actually told me to work on getting stronger.  He just said to work on every part of my game and that I could be a tremendous rebounder.  He just said to keep working that I can always improve my game and become a versatile player.

What was Coach K like during the visit?

You know, I was telling all my friends that to look on him on TV, he looks like the meanest guy in the world.  But if you get around him or sit around him at the table, he's probably the funniest guy in the room.  He's got a great sense of humor ... he's a great guy, he lightens the mood.  Coach K ... he's a tremendous guy and I can't wait to get down there.

If you had a message for Duke fans, what would that be?

Fasten your seat belts and get ready, because when we get down there, you'll have a ball.  I really can't wait to get down there.  I don't want to really rush my last two years of high school, but I can't wait to get down there.