Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Harry Giles will play for Duke this season.  Krzyzewski expands on his recent medical procedure with Blue Devil Nation.

Here Comes Harry Giles…

It was not that long ago that Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski found himself in a similar position as a season ago.  Due to injuries, this years team has only recently been able to hold the kind of practices the staff desires.giles

Jayson Tatum, Marques Bolden and Harry Giles have all missed significant time due to injuries.  Of course, Tatum and Bolden have recently returned, while Giles has been out since a major procedure to repair a torn ACL, the second of his young career.

The last time anyone saw Giles play was in November of 2015. Those who followed him during his high school career know what he can potentially bring to a team.  Giles is a force inside and out where he stretches the floor and makes his presence known.

It was during an early Nike EYBL event when I ventured to one of the far gyms at the  Boo Williams facility in Hampton, Virginia.  Giles was playing with the 16 year olds coming back from his first ACL surgery.  The only coach on that court as I watched was Mike Krzyzewski.

It is worth noting that Krzyzewski has had an already long relationship with Giles.  He put in the work early and often. Everywhere you go Duke fans want to see Giles playing, but nobody anymore so than the Duke coach.

giles-3Giles knew when Krzyzewski was in the gym.  He recognized how much the Blue Devils head man wanted to coach him.  He entered the gym during a game at the Nike Peach Jam in a packed out house, but he quickly pointed out Krzyzewski to his friend.

The last time I saw Harry Gile splay was during the Peach Jam, a prestigious Nike event in North Augusta, South Carolina.  He was a beast on the court at that time leading his CP3 team to a win.

The gym was standing room only, where security was turning people away and they were all there to see the nation's top prospect.  Giles did not disappoint and after the game varying degrees of media sought his attention for interviews.

While Giles was always gracious with his answers, on this day he stopped to sign every autograph request from adoring fans.  It took Giles a good twenty minutes to make his way to an exit, finally aided by security.

teamOnce outside the facility, it was clear that Giles had enjoyed the moment.  He assembled with family that I dubbed Team Giles in the crowed corridor.  It was as if he knew this was his swan song moment on the AAU circuit and he was sponging every second of it.  Little did he know that another set back was to come.

Giles elected to play his final season at famed Oak Hill Academy under Steve Smith,  Before his season even got started, Giles went down to his second ACL injury.

It was shortly after that time when he would announce his collegiate decision.  He chose Duke University on national television to the joy of Blue Devil fans, but that pick was no surprise to some who had followed his story.

Now, the work began, again.  Giles would move to Durham to be close to the universities rehab facilities.  It was a bonus that Duke offered a perfect situation for his recovery.

As the season began, many would speculate on his return.  Some said he would not play at all, others said it would help his stock in the draft to compete.

One thing Duke has proven to its recruits is that it will be careful with injuries.  This happened with current NBA standout Kyrie Irving.  I suppose in that sense, you cannot blame Duke fans for wanting to see the fruits of the teams recruiting efforts in that Irving would play in just ten or so games.

Take a moment to think how Giles must feel about all this.  In his young career, he has dealt with two major injuries.  It has been more than a year since he has played in an organized game.

Trust me when I say, Giles has the itch.  Watching him warm up in recent Duke games shows a player that wants to compete.  There is a look in Giles eyes, a knowing if you will of a player who is ready for the limelight he has been in before.

It is unknown if Giles will return for sure against Tennessee State or perhaps later in the week versus Elon.  But make no mistake, his time is coming and sooner rather than later.

Expect a huge sigh of relief when Giles comes into a game with the royal blue Duke letters across his chest.  It will be a relief to his Krzzyewski and his staff, his family, the fans, NBA scouts, media and more.  But most of all, it will be  relief for the talented young man himself, Harry Giles.

 

 

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Jayson Tatum National Freshman of the Week

dsc_0131DURHAM, N.C. – Duke forward Jayson Tatum earned another accolade for his breakthrough performances in last week’s wins over Florida and UNLV on Tuesday, garnering National Freshman of the Week honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

CBS Sports has once again teamed up with the USBWA and the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year Award to name a National Freshman of the Week each week this season. The winner of the Tisdale Award will be announced in March.

In his first full week of competition this season after recovering from a foot injury, Tatum averaged 17.5 points on .522 (12-of-23) shooting from the floor while chipping in 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per game in Duke’s two wins. He was a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line on the week.

Tatum’s coming out party took place on a national stage against No. 21 Florida on Tuesdaynight at the Jimmy V Classic as he reeled off 22 points on 7-of-12 (.583) shooting, including 16 points in the second half. He also added eight rebounds and a pair of steals. The effort marked the first 20-point game of his career.

On Saturday, Tatum came off the bench for 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks as Duke dismantled UNLV.

The St. Louis native has scored in double figures in each of the three games he’s played since returning from injury.

 

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Jefferson, Tatum Earn ACC Honors

Gary Trent Jr. may be the next big time Duke verbal commitment.
Jefferson greets future Duke players in a game at Cameron.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Duke Basketball program swept the ACC weekly awards announced Monday with Amile Jefferson earning Player of the Week honors and Jayson Tatum garnering Freshman of the Week recognition.

Jefferson sparked Duke to victories on two coasts last week, averaging 17.0 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists as Duke downed No. 21 Florida in New York on Tuesday and defeated UNLV in Las Vegas on Saturday. For the week, the ACC field goal percentage leader was 15-of-20 (.750) from the floor.

The Philadelphia native played a career-high 39 minutes against Florida in the Jimmy V Classic as part of a career night that saw him score a personal-best 24 points and match his career best with 15 rebounds. He was 11-of-14 (.786) from the floor against the Gators and also blocked a team-high four shots.

On Saturday, he ran his season double-double total to six with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in a rout of UNLV in the first college basketball game at T-Mobile Arena. Jefferson also led all players with five assists in the contest. His rebound total against UNLV moved him into the top 20 Duke’s career rebounds chart.

In his first full week of competition this season after recovering from a foot injury, Tatum averaged 17.5 points on .522 (12-of-23) shooting from the floor while chipping in 6.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks per game in Duke’s two wins. He was a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line on the week.

Tatum’s coming out party took place on a national stage against No. 21 Florida on Tuesdaynight at the Jimmy V Classic as he reeled off 22 points on 7-of-12 (.583) shooting, including 16 points in the second half. He also added eight rebounds and a pair of steals. The effort marked the first 20-point game of his career.

On Saturday, Tatum came off the bench for 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks as Duke dismantled UNLV.

The St. Louis native has scored in double figures in each of the three games he’s played since returning from injury.

Duke is idle until Dec. 19 when it hosts at 7 p.m. ET Tennessee State in its non-conference home finale. ESPN2 will televise the game and the radio call will be available on the Blue Devil IMG Sports Network.

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3 Double Figure Scorers Lead Duke over UF

54The Duke Blue Devils  used 15 to 3 run to close the first half where they took a 10 point lead into the longer room.  Duke would hanf on to whip the Florida Gators 84-74 in the Jimmy V Classic.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said, ''It was a huge win for us.''  Duke goes to 9-1 on the season and they avenged an earlier close loss to Kansas in Madison Square Garden.

Duke was aided by three double figure scorers paced by Luke Kennard who ended the game with 29 points.  Kennard was coming off a career high scoring game of 35 points in his last outing and was 7th in the ACC in scoring coming into the contest.

Amile Jefferson added 24 points to go with his game high 15 rebounds which translated into his fifth double-double performance of the season.  Jefferson also had 2 blocked shots in the game showing that he is one of the more consistent performers on this years team with his overall stat line.

Jefferson did not practice the day before in that he went home to attend his grandmothers funeral.  And for the record, the Divinity School graduate student was very close to her where she helped raise him while he was growing up.

It was clear that Jefferson wanted to have a big game and he did as his Father watched from the stands.  Jefferson drew a tough defensive assignment where he guarded Florida big man John Agbubu, the nations leading shot blocker who went just 2 of 9 from the field.

Duke freshmen, Jayson Tatum would come off the bench to add 22 points to go with 8 rebounds.  It was quite impressive that Tatum was able to blend in with the team in just his second game of the season which is a reflection on how good he can be.

'''We sat him a couple of minutes but when he came back in wow, he really played well,'' said Krzyzewski.  He added, ''Welcome back.''

The Duke coach also had high praise for Jefferson where he was clearly happy with his players efforts and what they had been through.  Tatum had actually attended a funeral in his home town as well, so both players came to New York after that business was handled.

Kennard, Jefferson and Tatum scored 75 of the Blue Devils 84 points.  In fact, the three held a 75-74 edge over the entire Gator roster.

Duke hit 13 of 14 free throws which was there best performance from the stripe this season.  The Blue Devils had 8 steals as well with 7 of those coming in the first half and they won the battle of the boards by margin.

Pre season ACC Player of the Year selection, Grayson Allen struggled shooting the ball but came away with a career high 8 assists.  If Duke is to be successful as the season progresses, there will be times when players have to find ways to contribute when they are otherwise struggling a bit with their game.

Duke will now return to Durham where the players will be involved with first semester exams.  They will return to the court on Saturday where they travel to Las Vegas to take on the UNLV Running Rebels in a late afternoon game.  Duke will then go on a nine-day break before returning to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Tennesee State.

Duke gets Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden back but Kennard and Jefferson hold Dule together.

Kennard, Jefferson Career Highs Lead Duke

Duke gets Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden back but Kennard and Jefferson hold Dule together.
Duke gets Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden back but Kennard and Jefferson hold Duke together.

Duke walloped out-manned Maine 94-55 to push their season record to 8-1.  The Blue Devils were aided by career high scoring numbers from Luke Kennard who talked 35 points and Amile Jefferson who finished with 20.

Krzyzewski rests Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson

The Blue Devils decided to rest Grayson Allen and Frank Jackson both who've been hobbled by injuries.   The good news is that Mike Krzzyzewski said both players would likely return versus Florida, the Blue Devils next opponent in the Jimmy V Classic in New York on Tuesday,  Allen has been battling  jammed toe and practice little per the head coach.

Luke Kennard continues his torrid scoring

There was a career high 35 points from Luke Kennard who still leads a talented Blue Devil team in scoring.  Kennard has been very steady for the Blue Devils where he grabbed 8 rebounds.  That's impressive in that Duke got longer and bigger which you will see below...

Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden make their Duke debut

Well, it took until the ninth game of the season but we finally got to see Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden play for Duke.  Tatum got the start ''I really didn't expect to start but I did and I just being out there with the guys is all I cared about,'' said Tatum.  He continued, ''it will take some time but we'll adjust really quick.  We are just adding new guys,''  Tatum finished the game with 10 points and 8 rebounds in a mere 20 minutes of play.  Tatum said he learned earlier this week that he would play and that he was just happy to be back.  Tatum finished the game with 2 blocked shots but was credited with one for whatever reason.  Krzyzewski said Tatum had cramps when he went out onto the court and that he decided not to play him further out of precaution.  Tatum told Blue Devil Nation that he had to get his timing back and that it was a work in progress.

As for Bolden, he scored 7 points and grabbed 5 rebounds to go with an emphatic blocked shot in 12 minutes of play.  ''it was great, I mean I have just been waiting on playing all year-long so it was very fulfilling to be back there with the guys,'' per Bolden who was smiling while making the comment.  Krzyzewski said Bolden got tired but that he was coming long.  Bolden was told just yesterday that team doctors cleared him to play.  Bolden said he did not want to disrupt the team by coming back in that they've played so well.  ''I feel pretty good but I am not myself just yet but that will come along during the season and we're going to be pretty good this year,'' said Bolden.  It is worth noting that Krzyzewski said Bolden has not done anything for five weeks before getting cleared to play.

Amile Jefferson is as steady as they come

There is no player more consistent on a talented roster than Amile Jefferson.  The graduate senior scored a career high 20 points to go with 9 rebounds.   Before he would talk about his effort, he spoke of the freshman, ''Aw man, I am so glad to have these guys back and be playing beside Jayson and Quese.  We spent so much time off the court so to be back on the court with them elevates our team.  Our team has a new happiness, a new verve.''  Jefferson said he was trying to rebound but that he played on the wing with Allen and Kennard out. Jefferson actually called out a few plays t the point tonight.

Return of inured players having an effect

Duke has not been able to practice, so it is no wonder Krzyzewski seemed light on his feet with the return of some injured freshman.  Amile Jefferson and Luke Kennard both seemed to be in a better place in the post game locker room as well.

Harry Giles is practicing well

According to Duke coach Mike Krzyzweski we could see Harry Giles Jr. after coming exams.  He started contact in practice per the Duke coach.  ''He's close to doing stuff and it might be after exams.  He's been away from over a year, so I just want him to do more five on five, when we can do five on five, in practice,'' said Krzyzewski.

K comments

''We just have to put this thing together while we are playing games.''

''Luke, Amile and Matt held us together.''

'' Frank has had a little bit of a sore foot and he's played a lot of minutes for us.''

Sidebar

Duke has won an NCAA best 130 straight games versus non conference opponents in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Jefferson was one rebound shy of a double-double and had four on the season.

Duke has just one more non conference game in Cameron this season versus Tennessee State.

After their road game at UNLV on December 10th, Duke will have a nine-day break between games which should bode well for injured players.  That game is against Tennessee State.

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Mike Krzyzewski Honored by USA Basketball

ht1COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Duke University and former United States National Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski was named a co-recipient of the 2016 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year Award on Thursday in recognition of USA Basketball’s third consecutive Olympic gold medal.

Krzyzewski shared the honor with Geno Auriemma, who led the U.S. Women’s National Team to Olympic gold in Rio.

This honor marks the record seventh time Coach K has earned at least a share of the USA Basketball National Coach of the Year Award. He was similarly honored in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

“Certainly, I am honored to share the 2016 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year award with Geno Auriemma, a terrific leader whose accomplishments in women’s basketball stand alone,” Krzyzewski said. “Any award that a coach or individual receives is the product of having a great team. Starting with the leadership of Jerry Colangelo, we’ve had that in USA Basketball. Our staff was together every step of this journey, and our players were, too. It was another magical run to gold in Rio, and I was thrilled and honored to be a part of it.”

Coach K, who produced an 88-1 record as head coach of the USA Men’s National Team, is the first head basketball coach to win three Olympic gold medals, and he and Henry Iba (1964, 1968 and 1972) are the only coaches to lead three straight U.S. Olympic teams.

“He motivated all of us every single day, and the standard that he held us to was a championship-level standard,” Kevin Durant, the leading scorer on the 2016 USA Olympic Team, said. “We followed that blueprint from day one. We all believed in him, he believed in us and we were able to go out there and accomplish something special.”

Krzyzewski is also the first coach in the history of international basketball to win back-to-back Olympic and FIBA World Cup titles.