Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Tre Jones Decision Coming Sunday

Nike EYBL Tre Jones

Duke Basketball hopes to get some good news this Sunday when standout point guard Tre Jones will make his college choice.  Jones has blown up on the Nike circuit this season to become the top rated player at his position.

His brother, Tyus, played at Duke and helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2015 National Championship.  Duke fans hope to see another Jones do the same thing.  Stay tuned for more news on the front and until then read our interview with his brother at bluedevilnation.net.

Coach K to Undergo Knee Replacement Surgery

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski will undergo total knee replacement surgery on his right knee this weekend at Duke University Hospital. To ensure Krzyzewski’s complete and thorough recovery from the procedure, Duke has canceled its scheduled exhibition trip to the Dominican Republic.

Krzyzewski’s surgery will be performed by Michael P. Bolognesi, M.D., joint replacement orthopaedic surgeon at Duke University Medical Center. Coach K could be released from the hospital within three days of the surgery and will begin a rehabilitation program at Duke.

“While it’s disappointing that we aren’t able to make the Dominican Republic trip, this is a positive development for both our team and myself because it will allow us to be at full strength for the start of practice this fall,” Krzyzewski said. “After three consecutive days of working with the team, it became clear that the condition of my knee wouldn’t be sustainable through next season. The best course of action is to correct the problem now rather than later, when our team would be more profoundly impacted.”

“Unequivocally, this is the absolute right thing Mike should do, and at precisely the right time,” Duke Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White said. “Certainly, we know Mike will receive unparalleled medical care here at Duke, and that his recovery will lead him into his 38th season here at full strength. Once again, that is exactly what Mike, and our team, should do as we head into the 2017-18 season, wherein we are extremely excited to see what the upcoming year brings.”

Krzyzewski has won a Division I men’s basketball record 1,071 games in 42 seasons as a college head coach, owning a 1,071-330 overall record and a 998-271 mark in 37 seasons at Duke. He has led Duke to five NCAA championships (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015), the second-most national titles by a coach in NCAA history.

Coach K was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.

One on One with Tyus Jones – Duke Memories, Tre

Tyus Jones is a Duke legend. His "Stone cold" three pointer helped  seal the national championship in 2015 is remembered.

If you have ever wondered if Tyus Jones thinks back to  making that three-point shot against Wisconsin which helped Duke seal the deal for the last National Championship banner, the answer is yes.

The former Duke standout has been following his brother, Tre, another Blue Devil recruit around this summer.  Much like his recruitment, their mom, Debbie, is in tow with other family members cheering him every step of the way.

If one attends any of the Nike events or those in Las Vegas this past week, they will see Tyus Jones mingling with Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.  The reason, again, is that he is there to watch Tre as is the Blue Devils head honcho at every opportunity,

Tyus Jones most recently granted Blue Devil Nation an interview. And who better to speak of his brother and his ascent to the top of the rankings in the past several months?

You can be seen chatting with Coach K and his staff at many events while watching your brother.  Your mom, Debbie is in the stands and so much reminds me of your recruitment.  What is it like following your brother, Tre, now?

It's a lot of fun for me because as an older brother I know of all the work he puts in and the hours he spends in the gym dedicating himself to improve as a player.  So, for me, it is fun to see it pay off and the you can see the success follows.

Tre has visited Duke in the past and many hope he follows his brother to Durham.

Tre blew up in the rankings.  I mean, he flew under the radar a bit as a junior playing with  current Duke player Gary Trent.  How did it make you feel when everybody started talking about his game this year?  Did you see it coming?

Anytime you see anyone you are close to, be it family, friends, loved ones you are always happy for him.  But I knew it was coming from how hard he works to improve as a player.  But to see it happen is always fun to be a part of.

It is always a family affair,  Your mom is there and it says a lot that you come to see him play in the summer and that you are willing to do so in the NBA off-season.

That is what our family is about.  Being there and supporting one another.  All my tournaments had my mother, older brother and uncle.  We roll deep so for me if I have the opportunity to come out and watch him play, I definitely want to make sure I am there supporting him just like he did for me.

You guys have obviously gone against each other on the court at times growing up.  When is the last time you actually faced off?

Played against each other?  We played against each other last in the Minnesota Pro Am last season.  That was always fun.  It is always fun to go against each other.  We play one on one all the time and worked out together almost everyday.  So we do a lot of one on one, game like situations but that was probably the last time we played against each other.

I doubt there is anyone who could give a better scouting report on Tre than yourself.  So what is your take on his game?

Tremendous leader, tremendous floor general who is a do it all point guard on the floor and one of the best I have seen or played against and he is only in high school right now.  On offense, he is an unbelievable finisher in the lane and can get in the lane whenever he wants to.  Unbelievable range on his shot and just has great equipment.

One thing I have noticed is that you guys hate to lose.

Yes.

I was in Hampton earlier this season and Howard Pulley lost their first game.  He was distraught and obviously hated that feeling. Where does that come from in the Jones family?

It is just our competitive nature.  It is how we've always been and how our family has been.  We have a very competitive family who are always in competition trying to win.  So that is something we both pride ourselves on, especially as point guards.

Of course, his team went on a tear after that loss and he played lights out while stuffing the stat sheet.

Yeah, they didn't lose much this year and every time they do lose, he takes it personal.  It's something he doesn't want to experience or feel that often.

That 2015 National Championship...you carry that ring with you now.  How does that make you feel in this day and time when you think back on it?

Amazing.  Just playing with Jah (Jahlil Okafor), one of my best friends.  Playing for the best coach of all time in Coach K and being a part of that Duke family is something I will never forget and will cherish,. And winning a championship is something they can never take away from me.  They can never take that ring and they can never take that banner away from us.  We worked so hard for it and put so much time and effort in for that one moment of standing up on the stage together and celebrating being the best team in the country.

That was awesome...

Amazing.

Your team, the Minnesota Timberwolves have made a lot of moves in of late.  Are you looking forward to the season and do you think the team will take that next step?

I am extremely excited and yeah I do.  I just think everybody is ready to take that next step.  Everyone is ready tor turn things around and make the playoff.  The whole organization is all about that.

You mentioned Jah earlier.  Do you guys still stay in touch?

Yes sir.  All the time, all the time.  We talk regularly a couple of times a week even if it is something small, we text or get face time no matter what it is.  We are in constant communication and that will be forever.

Tyus Jones in his playing days for Howard Pulley,

I know God and faith means a lot to you.   Talk a little about that.

Faith means a lot to me.  It is something I believe heavy in and couldn't be where I am today. So, I am very thankful for the position I am in and very thankful for my family and everything God has blessed me with in life.  I know without Him I am nothing.

Do you ever pinch yourself thinking wow, I have had a lot of success at such a young age.

I do.  I do for sure.  It is very humbling  when I take a step back and look at where I am as a 21-year-old and the experiences I have had in 21 years of life.  It helps keep me in such a great mood everyday of my life in that I could have experienced things a lot different.  That is why you will never hear me complain.

I have seen you stop and talk to Jeff Capel and Coach K during the AAU events.  What is it like to see those guys again?

It's just family.  Coach K is like a father figure to me.  When he started recruiting me it was never like I am coach and you're player. It was always a family feel and that was the same with Coach Capel and everyone there.  Everyone involved in Duke Basketball is all about family.

You have said you would stay out of the recruiting situation, but part of you has to be glad Duke is all in on your brother.

Yes sir.  Obviously, it is the school I went to and I am definitely glad they are involved.  I have said from day one I will not get involved with his recruitment because I went through the exact same thing.  I know how stressful it can be and what it means to have your family members there to support you.  So, I always said I will never pressure him to go to where I went.  And that is just how that is going to go.

I can help but see how your recruitment and your brothers does seem to be following a similar path.  You were a guy who took all of his visits.

Yeah, yeah.  I think he is trying tot make his decision in a similar way after seeing what I did.  At this point in his career it is a big decision for his life and very critical.  So if he takes his time or whatever we will be supportive of him.  And when he decides he is ready to make that decision, whatever it is, we'll be there backing him and very happy for him.

I know your mom Debbie is close by.  Are there anymore Jones on the way?

(Smiling)  Naw, this is it.  I have three nephews now.  My older brother has three boys, so that is the direction things are moving in now.

So, this is the last go round for Debbie.  This has been a big part of her life...

Yeah it is and it has.  I couldn't have asked for a better mother and role model.  She goes to every single game we've plays and has been unbelievable in her support.  Not a lot of kids can say that there mom is always there and he dedication is appreciated.  Even in my college games, she was going to as many as she could and it is just really special.

Tyus Jones has remained humble.  You have an NBA contract, a national championship and a highly recruited brother yet you seem to be on such stable ground.  What is the secret to that?

Just be thankful for what is in front of you and what is given you because it can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

If you could shout out a message to all the Duke fans that follow you, what would it be?

That they're the best fans in the world and I will never take that for granted.  I will never forget the many memories that we share.

 

Duke Staff Balances Practice and Recruiting

The Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball staff has five days left to be on on the recruiting trail and that time will be spent in Las Vegas.  While there may be some visits beyond that, the last of the Shoe Camp circuit camps wrap up after this coming weekend.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski recently held their first of ten practices for their upcoming trip to South America.  Duke will face Dominican Republic to face that country’s National Team between Aug. 17 and 24.   In between #DriveByDunk sessions, the players are bonding at a purposeful faster pace than normal.

 

Marvin Bagley III Is Set For Duke Visit (Edited)

Marvin Bagley takes aim

There will always be some buzz around Marvin Bagley III and for good reason. Bagley is a sure fire NBA player to be who will spend one year in college preparing for what should be a long career.  The star prospect most recently concluded his AAU season at the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina. During this seasons sessions he scored more total points than any other player for a 25.8 ppg average.

Most consider Marvin Bagley the top player in his class and that is plain  to see when watching how easily he handles high level competition.   Bagley works hard around the glass and collects rebounds as if the ball was his to take home and he is an efficient scorer.

Bagley always  has a target on his  back and every team he faces a player wanting to make a name for himself in the match up. "Oh yeah, I mean, I expect it. With all this attention and everybody talking about you in the media I expect people to come hard at me and I have to be ready.  I just have to work harder with that happening and stay with my game," Bagley said.

The schools who call the most per Bagley are the ones that recruit him the hardest and his list is made up of Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, UCLA and USC.  He claims to still be taking the process one day at a time while enjoying the ride, yet he will start to take some unofficial visits and soon,  In fact, he will be on the campus of Duke University this week after visiting family in the area.

Bagley told Blue Devil Nation during a Q & A session, "After the Peach Jam is over my family is going to take a visit to Duke to see a little more of the school.  I have been on a visit there but didn't get to see a lot, so this time I hope to see way more.  I am excited about it and can't wait.''

Also soon to get unofficial visits are USC and Arizona.  While the recruiting process is closing down for Bagley, neither him or his family have yet to give any firm timetables which would involve a decision.  Bagley also clearly stated that he would be visiting Kentucky as well and that he planned to see all the schools on his list.

During events, Bagley gets asked all kinds of questions including answering rumors.  Some have speculated he would not go to college, but Bagley denies those accusations, stating, I am really excited about playing in college so wherever I go, I will be excited."  And which ever school he chooses will be equally excited in getting a player with his skill set.

When asked what he is looking for in a school, Bagely said "I want to go somewhere where I can get better.  I want to grow as a person and be around great people and in an environment that I feel like is helping me grow.''  That statement would appear to say he wants to be challenged and go to a school that has success at getting players to the next level.

There is much talk of package deals where prospects want to play together in college, but Bagley says that his focus is on what is best for him and his family more so than it is playing with certain players. During the process, Bagley has been the center of attention for a few years now even as an underclassman. Until this year, he was always buffered by his parents in interviews but that too was a learning process.  Now, he rolls off answers as if that tutelage helped him.

When asked if he was enjoying the process, Bagley stated, "Not a lot of kids have this many colleges calling upon them, so I am just blessed and I thank God everyday for the opportunity."  While some may see his statement designed to be humble, there is a sincerity in his eyes which makes one know it is true.  The fact of the matter is that Bagley has been able to remain both grounded and humble during the process to date.

During one of his games at the Nile Peach Jam, Kevin Durant of the world champion Golden State Warriors entered the gym.  As he strolled to his chair trying not to be hounded for autographs, he stopped to greet and hug Mike Krzyzewski who coached him for USA Basketball.  After the two exchanged some words, he went to his seat where he obviously wanted to see what they hype was about with Marvin Bagley III.

When asked of the VIP guest watching his game, Bagely answered, "It was weird at first because I watch KD all the time and I was actually at one of his games when they played Cleveland this year.  So yeah, I was sitting there watching him and now he is there watching me, so it was a weird feeling but we came out and played hard tonight."

The truth of the matter is that Bagley is a Nike star as is Kevin Durant.  He will one day get a shoe deal just like some that have come before him if he makes the right choices. And lets not forget that some who are recruiting him are among of the biggest Nike schools which include Duke, Kentucky and UCLA. Arizona also signed with the swoosh king in 2015.

Duke is in a pretty good place with concern to recruiting Bagley but they are in a heated competition for his services.  His Dad, Marvin Bagley II is originally from Durham and has family here to this day.  In fact, in a conversation with him it turns out we played junior high basketball at the same school.  But while while his local roots are interesting it is worth noting that he has been gone 20 years and entrenched in the Arizona area of late.  "We won't be going to college for family," stated the father but he also said it certainly doesn't hurt.

Then there is the recent talk of Bagley possibly reclassifying.  The truth is that he has the talent to do so but it is also factual that there would be some hoops to jump through in short time.  Bagley is a solid student but his Dad more or less squelched the talk as rumor via his twitter account, but that does not mean it is off the table.

What is currently factual is that Duke is recruiting Marvin Bagley III hard.  Coach Mike Krzyzewski is at every game he plays,  He is clearly a coveted prospect for the Blue Devils where Mike Krzyzewski has spent an enormous amount of time from the Hampton EYBL session until the Peach Jam finale making sure he was front and center for Bagley.

Nike Peach Jam Day One

Nike EYBL Peach Jam
Nike EYBL Peach Jam

Day one of the Nike EYBL Peach Jam Finals are complete and there were some stellar performances  by Duke prospects.

In the opening play-in game, Nike Team Florida pulled away for an 82-77 win over Team Final.  One of the Blue Devils top prospects in Cameron Reddish scored 44 points, with 7 made three pointers, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in his teams loss.  Considering the fact that he just finished up play with USA Basketball, this was an impressive performance.

E1T1 United held on for one basket win over Nike Phamily.  Blue Devil prospect Marvin Barnes III scored 25 points while grabbing 15 rebounds to go with 2 steals and 2 blocked shots in front of Mike Krzyzewski.  Another Duke prospect Emmitt Williams had 13 points and 8 rebounds in his teams win.

The Bradley Beal All Stars crushed the PSA Cardinals behind four double-figure scorers.  Duke PG prospect  Darius Garland went for 15 points and 2 assists.  On the losing team, 2019's Cole Anthony who also has the Blue Devils future interest scored a game high 34 points and had 6 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals in a stat stuffing outing.

A late bucket from Tre Jones helped Howard Pulley hold off Mokan Elite for a single point win.  Jones, who is the brother of former Duke star Tyus Jones ended the game with 13 points,  7 rebounds and 5 assists.

Duke was also represented by Jeff Capel and Nate James while Jon Scheyer was checking out Zion Williamson a couple of hours north in the Adidas Gauntlet event in Spartanburg, South Carolina.