Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Grayson Allen & Marques Bolden Talk Duke-UNC

Duke senior guard Grayson Allen (February 7, 2018):

On the playing his last game in the Smith Center
“It’s almost bittersweet. It’s that I won’t have to go back there again and get booed, but it’s also an amazing place to play. It’s always
fun to go there and guys love to play in those type of crowds. It’s such a big game and there’s a great atmosphere around the game
and the rivalry that it’s really something that we look forward to because it’s exciting. You can have adrenaline going the whole game
from the crowd, atmosphere around and the high level basketball that’s going on the court.”

On relationship with Joel Berry II
“A lot of people assume there’s a lot of hate going on and off the court while Joel and I know each other, we’re friends. I’m not
texting him good luck this week, I don’t think he wants to hear that from me. But our parents talk to each other, we check in during
the offseason. There’s definitely a mutual respect from coming up in the same state, playing against each other, playing with each
other and winning in the Nike EYBL and now playing each other.”

On preparing the freshmen for North Carolina:
“We’ve had intense practices and trying to get these guys emotionally ready to be in that type of game. Because when you’re in that game, playing UNC on their home court, if they start off the game with two big plays, they’re going to be extremely excited and so is the crowd. That can be defeating for guys’ first time being in that environment. That’s what we have to avoid, bring our own energy. It doesn’t matter if they go on a run, we have to be together.”

On similarities between Carolina’s style this year and Duke’s in years past:
“They’re very dangerous offensively because they spread it out so well because they have five guys who can play like guards. On
film, you see Luke Maye grabbing defensive rebounds and pushing the ball up the court at times. Four guys shoot the ball really well
and then Theo (Pinson), in his own right, can shoot when he’s open but he’s a great facilitator so that makes him very dangerous
because of how athletic and how he can attack and then he’s a great passer so he can find these guys. They can spread the floor
really well and because they run so well in transition, it’s important that we find our guys and you might not be guarding the same
guy every time down the court. That’s where talk is going to be so important. It’s very different from Carolina teams in years past
because they’ve always had such a great inside presence that they rely on and go to, but now there’s a lot of perimeter scoring.”

Duke sophomore forward Marques Bolden (February 7, 2018):

On the status of his knee:
“It’s feeling great. I’ve gotten back into the rhythm of things now with me practicing now than I did before so it’s good.”
On what caused the delay in his return:
“We didn’t really have a set time table when I got injured. Being longer than expected, we didn’t really know how long I was going to
be out. Being an injury in practice, we tried to take it day-by-day. With it being a knee, it was hard to judge when I could come back.”

On his rhythm:
“My bond with these guys on and off the court is really strong so my rhythm is back where it used to be. This is a new group that I’m
playing with than before I got hurt. They’ve progressed offensively and defensively in major ways. My rhythm is up there with the
team.”

On role in the team:
“It’s to always bring that energy off the bench. The starters do a great job of bringing that energy to start but my job is to come in
and bring that presence that I have on the inside and rebounding and scoring on the inside when I get the ball. Being that spark off
the bench.”

On preparing the freshmen to play against North Carolina:
“One of these games, it’s not something you can really prepare someone for. We just try to tell them to play their game and not play
to the crowd or their environment because we know it’ll be an away game and a hostile environment. We just tell them to do what
you’ve been doing

Coach K Talks Duke-UNC

Coach K tutors Marques Bolden  as  the Duke-UNC  game part I is upon us.

The Duke Blue Devils take on the North Carolina Tar Heels tomorrow evening in Chapel Hill.  Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed the media today in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The Duke coach holds a 45-40 edge all time in the rivalry.

The one thing Coach K is emphasizing with his players is to get better.  "We want them to absorb things quicker, but the key is they want to learn and get batter," said Krzyzewski.

The Blue Devils coach said that people think you can just throw a talented group in water and that they will automatically bloom.  But he also stated that young teams always struggle no matter how good they may be.

He mentioned that Marques Bolden was healthy and that the team was as well.  He will now begin the process of mixing Bolden in with Javin DeLaurier, Jack White and Alex O'Connell, (all of whom he mentioned) down the stretch.

Krzyzewski refused to get into comparisons or speak much of the history past the year when Carlos Boozer went down and Reggie Love and Casey Sanders replaced him during a championship season.

There were a lot of questions on "brotherhood," from media types which some of the Duke players have coined themselves of late.  Duke Assistant Coach Jeff Capel came up with the hashtag #brotherhood and it has stuck with recent Duke recruits.  But for many years Duke has had the same thing in a sense with what is called the Duke Family.

Coach Krzyzewski made one point which stood out to me.   All of his former players and assistants helped with the brotherhood label coming about.    He also put forth a neat fact in that all of his former player assistants were team captains and know the Duke way of doing things.

He did have high praise for Roy Williams, Dean Smith and the Carolina program.  He was especially impressed with the way their team has rebounded the ball and finds ways to score this season.  He also had high praise for their players like Joel Berry and Theo Pinson saying they'd played in championship games and that is what makes their team good.

When one writer asked about his defense on Joel Berry that had been pretty good in the past, Krzyzewski would not fall into the trap and said, "maybe we can get Matt Jones back from Reno."

"In the end everybody cares about how we finish.  We have won two national championships since 2010 and that is as good as anybody," said Krzyzewski who is sending out the message that the last game was a bad loss but one game in a season.

As for the last game against St. Johns, Krzyzewski said that he drew up six plays and that the team then went out and did not execute a single thing he had shared.  "It was our worst loss, said the Duke coach who still seems miffed at where his teams attention level was on that day.

Krzyzewski said he knows that the last eight games will come at breakneck speed and move fast.  He is likely preparing his team for short turnarounds while staying fresh which is a difficult thing.

What I picked up today was that his team was looking forward the the challenge and that the experience of a game versus its rival will be valued as the season progresses.

Additional Notes 

Marvin Bagley III still leads the ACC in scoring and rebounding 21.4/11.2. He would be the first Duke player in ACC history to lead in both categories if his stats hold up.

Gary Trent Jr. leads the nation in 3 point FG percentage among freshman players. He is 2nd in the ACC in overall 3 point field goal percentage.

Wendell Carter Jr. is on a roll in his last 11 outings. He is averaging 16.5 and 10.5 during that time.

Duke is seeking its 22nd 20 win season against UNC.

Grayson Allen has led Duke is scoring against UNC in 3 games during his Duke career.

Duke and UNC have met while both are nationally ranked in the last 9 games.

The Duke freshman are scoring 85% of the team's total points in the last six games.

Coach K Tidbits

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski briefly addressed the media today.  Here are  some tidbits from that Q & A.

-If there is one thing that bothered the Duke coach in not only the loss to St. Johns but in the games of late; that would be turnovers.  Krzyzewski said that many of the turnovers against St. Johns were unforced.  "A really good team doesn't need to beat itself and when you commit that many turnovers we beat ourselves."

-Krzyzewski would like to see a more aggressive Grayson Allen.  he wants him to shoot hunt his shot and to play aggressive. "He has done that for the most part but not all the time. He is trying to help his teammates but you have to be careful not to lose some of you."

-Krzyzewski said it is easy to see what his team has to do better and while he is not minimizing issues as a simple fix -- he feels hard work will get the team to where it needs to be,

-Krzyzewski praised UNC for still being a good rebounding team despite playing a smaller lineup.  "Thursdays game is not an end all.  It is a huge game but there will be another after that.  Their program and out program is built on more than one game."

-When asked of struggles of late, Krzyzewski said, "Nobody wants to be at their peak in February."

For more thoughts on the team, join Blue Devil Nation Premium during our current special rate.

E.J. Mongomery is Set to Visit Duke

E.J. Montgomery is one of the top prospects left on the board. He will visit Duke for the Virginia Tech game.

Despite a class which is destined to be the best in the nation, the Duke Blue Devils are not done with recruiting.  Enter the hopes of landing E.J. Montgomery.

The top player on the Blue Devils wish list is E.J. Montgomery, a power forward who plays for Wheeler High School in Marietta (Ga.).

The five-star prospect had committed early to Auburn but reopened his recruitment.

Standing 6-10 and weighing in at 200 pounds, Montgomery could make up for the size Duke will lose in NBA bound stars Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr.

Montgomery has a long list of suitors which includes Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA.  He has been selected to the McDonald's All American game which features the nations elite players.

Montgomery is long and athletic with a goo understanding of the game.  He can play the high post or mix it up inside.  He can take the ball to the rack with authority and continues to develop his outside shot.

He can feel the stretch role at Duke or be a mainstay in the front court.  His ability to score with his back to the basket or facing it would bode well for the rising star.

Here is E.J. Montgomery's profile from ESPN.com.

His family will be in to visit Duke for the home game against Virginia Tech which is scheduled for February 14th.

Duke Uses 2nd Half Surge to Scorch Notre Dame

Jack White and Grayson Allen

The No. 4 rated  Duke Blue Devils bounced back from their third defeat of the season  for a 88-66 win over Notre Dame.  The Blue Devils push their ACC record to 7-3 and stand 9-3 overall.

Duke was coming off an emotional loss to conference leader Virginia and scored their 23rd win against the Fighting Irish against 7 losses. in the series.

Duke was paced by Gary Trent Jr. who tallied a double-double 22 points and 10 rebounds.  Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised his game as efficient.

Grayson Allen also drew his coaches praise, where Krzyzewski said he played his best game in his last several outings.  Allen finished the game with a team high 8 assists to go with 18 points.

Wendell Carter Jr. added 17 points and 7 rebounds as he continued his consistent play.  Trevon Duval knocked down the games most critical three-point shot when Duke needed it most.  The freshman PG struggled in the 1st half but ended the game with 12 points and 4 assists.

Marvin Bagley III coming off his sixth ACC Rookie of the Week honor had an off night by his standards with 12 points and 8 rebounds.

The story of the game for Duke was the spark Jack White gave the team off the bench.  "It's great when you get that kind of performance from a player you are not expecting it from," said Krzyzewski.

White finished the game with 7 points and 5 rebounds as the Cameron Crazies chanted his name on several occasions.

Duke also gained he services of Marques Bolden back after missing several games due to injury.

The Blue Devils dominated the boards with a 43-27 edge. The Irish struggled from the three-point stripe in the second half as Duke led by 30 points at one point.

A battered Notre Dame team hung tight for much of the game but with three key players out, they were no match for Duke on their home floor.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski notched his 1090th win which is the most of any coach in NCAA history.

The Blue Devils will now enjoy a few days off before taking on St. Johns in their last non conference game of the season this coming Saturday.  That game will be played New York and tips off at noon on the Fox Network.

Zion Williamson Visits Duke

Zion Williamson with his mom in Cameron Indoor Stadium

Team Williamson was in the stands for the Duke vs Virginia game this past weekend.  Zion Williamson was able to see more of the Duke campus and the facilities with members of his family.  Flanked by his  mom Sharonda Sampson, they sat behind the Duke bench.  Be sure to check out the documentary below which is sure to get  you excited while allowing you to the the character of the Blue Devil to  be.