Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Chase Jeter
Long Beach, CA
August 4, 2014

New Blue Devil Chase Jeter Sits Down With BDN

Chase Jeter, the 6’11” five-star forward out of Las Vegas, committed to the Duke Blue Devils tonight. Jeter had just completed his play at the AdidasNations event in Southern California, where he earned MVP honors for his play in the third place game, where he scored 14 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and blocked four shots. He actually blocked about seven, but only got credit for four. In any event, after his postgame announcement at Long Beach City College, Blue Devil Nation was the only media outlet granted a private one-on-one interview with the newest Duke star-in-waiting. Here’s what he had to say.

BDN: First of all, I just wanted to congratulate you on your choice and your announcement.

CJ: Thank you.

BDN: How does it feel to have the decision and the announcement behind you now?

CJ: Definitely good. It feels great going into my senior year. I feel really, really comfortable with my decision and I’m just excited to be a Blue Devil.

BDN: Was it a burden for you to have to wait to make the announcement for a little longer than you originally had thought it was going to be, or not really?

CJ: Not at all. It was a personal thing and a familial thing as far as evaluating my decision and making sure that I took the time to make the right choice and give myself time to enjoy the recruiting process.

BDN: That was my next question. Did you enjoy the recruitment process? Some guys do, some guys don’t.

CJ: It definitely has its ups and downs. I was one of the earlier guys to commit, but I was just really comfortable with my decision.

Chase and Chris Jeter Long Beach, CA August 4, 2014
Chase and Chris Jeter
Long Beach, CA
August 4, 2014

BDN: You’re going to a terrific program, one full of history and which has had a tremendous amount of success over a period of decades, led by the winningest coach in college basketball history. How does it feel to be part of Duke Basketball, officially?

CJ: It’s definitely something special. The Duke guys, they play with such pride and energy, so that’s something you definitely want to go out there and represent with all your heart.

BDN: If you had to put your finger on it, what was it about Duke that ultimately made you choose that program?

CJ: The opportunity to play for Coach K and be able to play right away and have a strong presence.

BDN: Did that stand out for you as opposed to other schools?

CJ: Definitely. I feel like each school was a great choice for me. My final schools were, they were a great list, my final list of schools, but I just feel like Duke is just where I felt most comfortable and I felt it was the best place for me.

BDN: It seemed like you and your family had a terrific visit to campus in the spring and I know you bonded with Luke Kennard. I know your parents really like the Kennards, too. And you bonded with some of the other players on the team also. Was that an important aspect of your decision-making process, that weekend that you had in Durham?

CJ: Definitely, but every single visit I took was a chance for me to see who was there, what the campus environment was like, and it was a great opportunity for me.

Chase Jeter Long Beach, CA August 4, 2014
Chase Jeter
Long Beach, CA
August 4, 2014

BDN: It’s going to be a great recruiting class with you, Luke, and the transfer Sean Obi coming in, and who knows maybe they’ll add another player too. Anyone you would like to see join you and Luke in Durham out of your class?

CJ: Looking to get Brandon Ingram on board, you know he’s taking an official to UCLA this week –

BDN: And he’s going to Duke later in the week too.

CJ: Yeah, I know. So it’s gonna be interesting to see how everything works out for Brandon and we’re gonna try to get him on board.

BDN: You’re gonna work him?

CJ: Oh, definitely.

BDN: Was it tough to decide to go as far from home as you are going, or not really a big factor for you?

CJ: It was. I mean, I’ve been out on the west coast my whole life. I feel like I have a great relationship with my parents but at the end of the day, I felt like Duke was the best choice.

BDN: Last thing: Do you anticipate any kind of negative backlash or talk from the people at home, because I know there were a lot of people who wanted you to stay home and go to UNLV? Do you anticipate anything like that and if so, how are you going to deal with that?

CJ: Just ignore it, honestly. Like they say, haters aren’t my motivator. I just have to continue to do me. That’s what’s gotten me this far with the support of my family and my trainers and coaches so I just feel like I should just continue to do me. That’s all I can do.

BDN: I just wanted to congratulate you on making the decision. I hope you have a great senior season and I look forward to seeing you on the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

CJ: Thanks, Tom.

SONY DSC

Checking in with Duke PG Quinn Cook

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSCA few Duke Basketball players will remain on campus this summer and work on their game, while others will take a brief trip home in June before returning in July.  Cook was present at the recent Coach K Academy where he answered some brief questions for Blue Devil Nation, sharing that Semi Ojeleye would take Rodney Hood’s old and what he had learned from players who have moved on since his time in Durham.

What have you been up to since the season ended and what are your plans for this summer?

I’ll be here all summer. You get an option to go home in June, but right now I’m taking classes with Semi. So, I’ve just been here working out since the season ended.

And Semi lives with you now?

Yes.  Semi lives in our house now. Rodney was living with us but he left, so he’s in his room and we’re having a good time.

So, are you getting AARP mail yet? You’re the old man on this team now. Is it hard to believe this will be your senior season?

Naw, I can’t. I can’t. I’m the senior on this team and it’s for real so I’m ready to grab hold of the challenge and opportunity.. I see guys around during the K Academy who’ve played here ahead of me, like Austin and the older players, but now it’s my turn, so it’s for real. I mean, great teams, especially here at Duke always have great seniors. You don’t want your last year to be something you are going to regret. I’ve been fortunate enough to play with a lot of great seniors like Miles, Mason, Ryan … and those guys have helped show me the way and I think I’m ready to help my team in the same way.

What is the plan from the staff for you this season? What do they expect from you?

To be the leader, the big brother on the team and help the young guys out and just be there everyday because you don’t get the practices, workouts and eventually the games back.

Duke Guard Matt Jones Talks Off Season Work

 

SONY DSCLike most freshman, Matt Jones had both good and trying moments during his freshman season at Duke.  The Texan native showed flashes of a bright future a season ago, playing good defense, but also hit that so-called freshman wall as the year wore on.  Jones has been working out ever since the Blue Devils unexpected early NCAA exit and he hopes that work and added maturity advances his game to where he is a key contributor on a team which should have a deep and strong backcourt.  Blue Devil nation recently caught up to Jones for a brief chat –

What have you been doing since the season ended?

I was able to go home and spend some time with family and get some familiar faces around me and get my mind right for the upcoming season.

What will you be doing this summer? Any camps or things planned?

I am actually going to go back home and be around my family where I will be working out with my trainer Jerome and get my body right.

Who is Jerome and how does he come into play here?

He’s my shooting coach. He talks to me about basketball related stuff and off the court things as well.

Coach Krzyzewski recently addressed the media. One of the things he mentioned was the fact that you and Semi Ojeleye are older players now and that you could both contribute.

Last year my maturity definitely got to me. I was, like he said a problem of the freshman wall but overall, I’m at a good place now with basketball and my mentality to the game. I’ve been doing it now for a year and I’ and more aware m now a sophomore of what goes on and things like that, so as for going into next year, I am prepared.

You came into school early a season ago and it seemed as if you really concentrated on your defense in order to play early. I know Coach K has said in the past that you had a good defensive coach who taught the fundamentals. Anyhow, am I right in that?

I always felt I could play defense. And yes, going back to high school my coach relayed the message to play “D.” So coming in, it wasn’t so much something I worked on, it’s just something I’ve always done.

Talk about what you feel you role could be on this years team. I know the coaches are still going over that and evaluating the roster, but have they shared anything with you there?

I feel like I can be a leader, but role wise I just want to be a good player and do what they ask of me.

You were a friend  and teammate of Julius Randle who will be in the upcoming NBA draft. Have to him since his decision?

Yeah, I hung out with him a little bit at home before I got back here, so we are definitely close and I am just happy for him that he can pursue his dreams.

So, you sort of needed a fresh break?  Was that the reason you went home?

Yes sir, to see familiar faces. I will head back home this coming Monday after the Academy and I will return on the 27th and when I come back it will be time to go to work.

What do you think about new assistant Jon Scheyer and Capel who K said would take on a huge role this year?

Well, Capel recruited me so there is a bond there. And Scheyer? He was somebody I could go to and talk to last year with my immaturity issue and he’s ben through it, so he was able to help me keep my spirit up

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Duke Basketball Recruiting Update – AAU season begins

This past weekend officially kicked off the all important AAU Basketball season where the top prospects play for the various power shoe companies.  While Duke is indeed a Nike school, other show companies have plenty of targets making this a summer where more than one circuit is important to their wish list.  Blue Devil Nation takes a look at the current state of recruiting while giving you a look at names firmly on the radar along with a few that could be soon.  We’ll add more information as we learn it on the premium message board for paying members this week.  But for now, here is a breakdown and some thoughts from week one.

The Duke coaches were out in force in the opening week of the AAU season and for good reason.  This was their only opportunity to get first hand views until July of this year.  Several prospects impressed, while others firmly fitted their name on the short list and we take a look at the results, laced with some thoughts on where some kids might stand in the pecking order.

Brandon Ingram made an impression on the staff with his versatility. IMO, Ingram[private]  has the potential to fill a role in time and to be a complement player on a teams roster. While he is still quite slender, his strength is a bit deceptive in that he is quite lean. Ingram is playing on the Adidas circuit with Stackhouse Elite (yes, Jerry Stackhouse AAU team). He showed better on the board than many though possible over the weekend where he saved his best game for last tallying a stat line of 10 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals. Ingram holds a Duke offer and the school is definitely in my opinion, at the top of his list.

Many wanted to see Chase Jeter play as well this past weekend, but the Duke offer has a nagging injury and was held out for precautionary reasons. Jeter continues to speak highly of Duke and in my opinion, he’s the Blue Devils to lose but he, like the aforementioned Ingram is an Adidas kid and with him being highly ranked and sought after there is pressure from the shoe company to hold off on a decision. Despite that, Jeter maintains it will be a July decision at the latest and he could commit sooner rather than later in that many feel he will be in Durham. An active big man with a great attitude has many suitors, but Duke was in early on this one and they’re in solid shape.

Rounding out prospects on the Adidas circuit who have interest in Duke, is Josh Sharma, a 2015 power forward from Northfield, MA. Somewhat new to the radar, Duke is evaluating his game at this time and only time will tell if they turn the heat up. Sharma is not a flashy player but more of one who feels a role and he had a good but not great weekend in the Adidas Gauntlet event held in Dallas, Texas where Mike Krzyzewski and Jeff Capel watched his game.

Adidas also features some top rated underclassman, namely, the uber talented Thon Maker. Maker, a seven foot player with an outside touch and a good handle for a big man, was his usual self and he drew the attention of Calipari, Coach K and Bill Self. This one will be a tough get in that both Kansas and Kentucky are set to go all in.

Josh Langford who is balling for the Atlanta Celtics was quite impressive. The Duke target put up superior numbers of 16.6 ppg, 4 plus boards ad 3 assists over the weekend. Many will remember the Celtics AAU team from the Bob Gibbons Days where their team was always stacked with the likes of many a pro future player. Langford did nothing to hurt his high ranking. Langford visited Duke in an unofficial capacity in March.

A player who blew up with gaudy numbers was Junior Smith, a North Carolina native playing in the Adidas circuit. He had high games of 24 and 37 and showed the anility to really find the open man while scoring. Yes, that’s attractive. He’s from Fayetteville, N.C. and is a point guard. I can hear those saying, finally another PG on the radar. Anyhow, after this weekends performance he blows up and the hype heightens. To early to tell of his interest in schools per sources, but we should be hearing a lot more here soon.

A note of interest is that I cannot remember this many Duke prospects on the Adidas circuit in some time. So, this circuit is one to watch along with the Nike EYBL this year. Another not is the Duke use to be an Adidas school before switching to Nike. I took a picture with Coach K during an Adidas local event way back in 1983 that I covet. And yes, I was holding a box of the former Adidas Superstar shoe, perhaps the first premium shoe on the sneaker market way back in the 70’s.

Anyhow, on the the Nike EYBL circuit. It didn’t take long for new Duke Assistant Jon Scheyer to get his feet wet as he was the first on the scene for Duke in Sacramento. He of course, took in Luke Kennard, a recent verbal to Duke. Kennard started slowly but warmed up as the weekend went by and played better in front of Krzyzewski, once he arrived. Kennard likes to battle. He’s competitive and that showed with his work on the glass. Yes, the boards. He showed the ability and hustle to average 5.5 rpg including a 7.5 average when Krzyzewski was on him.

Face it. The Nike circuit known as the EYBL will always be the main fruit tree for the staff and they had three coaches there by Saturday. For those wondering three of the four coaches can be out at one time on the circuit. Anyhow, enter Ivan Rabb, a talented power forward who plays for the traditionally talented Oakland Soldiers AAU team. Rabb was quite impressive but supposedly had an injury. His numbers and board work were impressive.

A lot of people, including myself to some degree were surprised by Duke’s offer to Henry Ellenson of Wisconsin Playground Elite. Well, this weekend, he proved why Krzyzewski was high on him by putting up solid numbers across the board. Try 11.8 ppg and just under 10 boards on average and you can see why teams want to plug this guy into their system. Ellenson plays within his game structure which is attractive. On e thing I have learned in ten plus years of covering the AAU circuit is that Coach K can spot talent and that it often rises to the top after he gives them a stamp of approval.

But when it comes to the Nike circuit this year, all eyes from Duke fans should focus on the Class of 2016 which holds some ridiculous talent.

Let’s start with Harry Giles. This kid has been to many a Duke game and Coach K has formed a phenominal relationship with the talented prospect. Giles still has not returned to the court and this is not unusual for a player of his skill set. He blew me away during last seasons Peach Jam and I hope he plays with the older kids this year to get a better gauge for his immense talent. Anyhow, any time you see K and Giles the in the same building, you soon see them nod and smile at one another. It took Giles a nano second to recognize Coach K when he enters and AAU event. I’ll let you read between the lines on the value of that. Anyhow, we’ll see Giles in action soon as he makes his return to the court.

And then there is Jayson Tatum. This young prospect likes Duke and Duke likes him and they are firmly on what will be his final cut in my opinion from reading the tea leaves. I have taken a hiatus from Twitter for a bit, a self imposed break. But I returned yesterday to find he re-tweeted one of my tweets speaking if Duke and their interest in him. Anyhow, four sold games from Tatum who I like more and more as I see his talent and demeanor. Kentucky, Kansas, Florida and Duke have offered and he is big on Team USA duties. Slender but talented 6-8ish wing is but a mere 16 years young.

Once Scheyer went home, James was out and he took in Diamond Stone who gave quite the impressive effort. Some have asked if Duke will continue to recruit Stone if they get Jeter and the answer is a resounding yes. Stone is just so talented and he’ll very much remain on the Duke radar. Malik Newman was also Jayhawk Invitational.

I will update with with more information as it becomes available on the members message board. [/private]