Category Archives: Duke Basketball


Kevin Knox Talks Recruiting

knoxKevin Knox continued to impress this past weekend during the Nike EYBL event in Hampton, Virginia.  Knox is a can't miss prospect from Florida who is being recruited by the nations heavyweights,  I actually ran into a few scouts who said they were not that impressed with him, some even calling him skinny.  But I am telling you now that the youngster has the perfect body type to put on muscle to his frame and that it will happen.  People often want to see a finished product at the high school level, but that usually means a kid has topped out. Knox knocked down nine consecutive three pointers before missing on in warm ups.  He has been working on his outside shot making him a player with size who can stretch the court.  What makes Knox even more dangerous is that he can mix it up inside as well. I caught up to the budding star for the following interview at the third session of the EYBL in Hampton, Virginia this past weekend.

You are arguably one of the most popular players in the EYBL with microphones always around you, how are you adjusting to that?

I am just learning how to do it all with media, my Dad helps to teach me different things to say and I am prepared to answer the questions I'm asked.

Your Dad was a football player -- how does that help you?

He knows what it takes to get to the next level.  He got there, so he is teaching me all the things to do, how to work out and a work ethic. He had a great work ethic, so that helps.

I am sure a prospect like you is hearing from coaches all the time. Who are some of the coaches you have been hearing from of late?

Coach K thanked me yesterday after my game and before I got up here and Coach Cal texted me and I talked with Coach Wright from Villanova.

What does it mean to you when those guys contact you.  Is it important that they stay in touch?

Yeah.   Yeah, that's one thing I am  looking at in how they stay in touch with me throughout my sessions and throughout my games and if they are keeping up with me and seeing how I am doing.

Duke and Kentucky, could you break those two schools down?

Kentucky came in late but I am really interested in them and I liked what Coach Cal said when he came in home.  I was really impressed with what he had to say.  Coach K, they've been up to see me two times which is great and they have good coaches and everything.  I am looking forward to getting to know the schools better later on.

Is it the plan for you to be a one and done in college?

I mean I am going to a school to be a one and done, so if I go in and play well, I am hoping to leave but nothing is guaranteed when you are in college so I am focussing on going to the next level to better my career and be a one and done.

Will a school have to show you their history with one and dones to get you?

No, that has nothing to do with it. Some of the things which go into committing to a school will be family, how I fit into their team and if they are coming out to watch me play and keeping up with me.

What kind of role are you looking for on a team?

I am trying to win games .  I am trying to win national championships. so I will do whatever the team or coach wants me to do.  Most coaches want me to come in and play on the wing, so that is the stuff I am working on with my game right now.

So will you be dropping some schools or new ones from coming in. Have you established your list?

Oh no.  I am open to any one.  So if they text me right now, I will text them back.  I just picked up an offer from California, so I mean so it might seem like it is pretty late but I am still open.

What about USA Basketball?  Obviously, you are real involved with that. Are their any players on the USA squad or on the circuit you talk with about playing together?

We talk about it some in the motel rooms and when we are hanging out and stuff like that, so I mean I have heard a lot of people say my name where people say they want to play with me, but it really doesn't matter who I play with at the next level.  I am just trying to win games,

What is your number one goal this summer?

I am trying to win Peach Jam.  So, I am trying to make it to Peach Jam first and win it all.

You will obviously be at the USA camp instead of the NBA Top 100 Camp, right?

Oh, yes sir.  I think we'll be going up there soon and I am looking forward to going and trying to make the team, so I mean, that is m goal.

Has Duke told you how you would fit into their system?

Yes, they've told me and I have watched Brandon Ingram a lot and how he gets rebounds and is able to run the point and being able to push the ball.  So  just having that freedom is what Coach K and Coach Capel have talked about to me a lot.

What about Kentucky?

Just how to play 1 though 5, rebound the ball and run the floor.  If I got a little dude on me to take him.. Coach Cal  has shown me those things.


Mohamed Bamba Talks Recruiting

bambaI have got to admit that it was disappointing to see that Mohamed Bamba was in a cast for this weekends Hampton EYBL session.  The talented Duke prospect will miss the entire session, but the good news is that the injury is minor in nature. Bamba hurt his left ankle this past week which is considered a sprain and he will have his injury looked at this coming Monday.

Bamba said he had most recently spoke to Duke Coach Mike Kryzyzewski, Villlanova head man Jay Wright and John Calipari of Kentucky.  One of the things Bamba stays up on is who the teams chasing him are recruiting.  ''I want to go to a team where it is not just me, I want to play with other talented players,'' said Bamba after his PSA team had finished playing.

One thing you quickly learn when speaking to the double-double machine to be is that he is very analytical.  He thinks about his answers and like many these days, doesn't give away too much with a quick response.  The budding big man is also very much a player who like to play in a team concept.

I asked Bamba who he liked playing with and he immediately spoke to his current teammates while stating he gets along with pretty much everybody on the circuit.  ''I have been playing with Hasahn French since we were in the seventh or eight grade and I love playing with him.  Knox continued, One other guy who I really like playing with and it's the first time is Deng Gak.  He is pretty much just like me defensively, which is great''  For the record, Duke has offered both Bamba and more recently Gak.

Bamba also spoke to the coaches that were recruiting him, stating that Jay Wright of Villanova had been taking a different approach. As for Calipari. his message was about player development and the 2017 players Kentucky was targeting.

Bamba also spoke of Duke, saying, ''When I spoke to Coach K, he just pretty much talked about life.  I am big on recruiting classes, so he talked about that as well.''

He went on to mention that there was a lot of talk about point guards and who is going to stay on teams.  He also spoke about the new rule.  ''I am looking into every aspect, I am not going to jump into something.  I surround myself with people who want the same thing and part of the process is research,'' said Bamba,

Bamba also mentioned that some coaches talked about him playing with another current teammate in Quade Green with some coaches. He stated twice that all of his conversations with the coaches recruiting him the hardest were good,

I asked Bamba what were the three most important things to him with concern to recruiting.  He responded, ''There are a lot of things which are important but as I have mentioned before, a strong alumni base.  That goes beyond basketball.  Another thing which has been recurring or that is popping up more for me of late is who will be coming to school with me.  The third thing, is probably the balance of academics.  That and how good the team is,''

When pressed on more with concern to the alumni base, Bamba mentioned Harvard and Duke first and then added Kentucky.  Bamba hinted that the first two schools mentioned were strong in academics and basketball and then mentioned that Calipari was strong at networking with his former players as well.  As for Krzyzewski he just said, ''Coach K is just Coach K and has made a name for himself,''

He also stated that he hadn't learned anything new from his conversations with coaches past who they were looking at in his most recent conversations coming into the latest EYBL session.

In closing, Bamba continues to be calculating with his answers and there seems to be a set of leaders developing with him.  While he failed to give a concise list of schools, it was clear that Duke and Kentucky are major players for his services.

More to come on Bamba and discussed on our message board.

Brandon Ingram (14) of the Duke Blue Devils dunks against the Oregon Ducks during the West Regional Semifinal of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, CA. (Lance King/WRAL contributor)

Bright Lights Shine on Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram (14) of the Duke Blue Devils dunks against the Oregon Ducks during the West Regional Semifinal of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Honda Center on March 24, 2016 in Anaheim, CA. (Lance King/WRAL contributor)
Brandon Ingram (14) is set to be one of the first two names chose n in the NBA Draft.  Photo - Lance King for Blue Devil Nation.

On April 4th of this year, Brandon Ingram declared for the NBA Draft, one step closer to fulfilling a life long dream.   After one season at Duke University where he was mentored by Mike Krzyzewski, the lithe Kinstonian is projected to be a sure fire top two pick in he upcoming lottery.

During his one season at Duke Ingram often facilitated the offense on isolation plays designed by the staff.  He put up numbers of 17 points and 7 rebounds per contest but he also developed into a disruptive force on the defensive end with his crazy length.

While in high school in Kinston, North Carolina, the word you most often heard was potential.  This was due to a very slender frame and the truth is he could sometimes be bumped off plays.  Ingram would adjust at the college level, realizing how to use his frame to his advantage and get to the free throw stripe. While in Durham. Ingram would adjust to the many mental aspects that come with moving forward.

The term up side still applies to this incredibly gifted pro to be in that he is just scratching the surface of his potential.  In fact, it is scary to think of just how good young Brandon can be in a few years time.

Brandon will benefit from his decision to attend Duke and his solid family structure.   His parents Donald and Joanne played a role in their sons cool maturity.  Ingram always seems grounded and never arrogant or at least he did with the many interactions I had while covering his career. Perhaps an introvert is  good word to use when describing Ingram, but what may not be seen up front is his drive and determination.

During this past season, Ingram out in the extra work. He could be seen pre game working with Duke Assistant Coaches like Nate James on the court two hours before tip-off while others were in the locker room.  In short, Duke pushed Ingram, but he also pushes himself and that is something that comes from within.

Ingram is just one player in a long line of stellar young men, Mike Krzyzewski has worked with.  Like most of them, he possess outstanding character and in his case, a quiet yet intense focus.  These attributes will help him as he interviews with teams at the upcoming NBA Combine.

Unlike Ben Simmons, the much hyped player from LSU considered to be one of two players to be picked first, Ingram will face the battery of questions and scrutiny.  The advantage of being at the event which starts today, is that he is showing there is nothing to hide.

His measurements alone will likely spur some chatter in that he last time out showed a 7-3 inch wingspan and a 9-1 standing reach.  With his ability to handle the ball and create has teams drooling.  Ingram is a match up nightmare at the next level where some compare him to USA Basketball and Thunder star, Kevin Durrant.

“Stay hungry and stay humble,”quote from his Instagram account.  That statement impressed Mike Krzyzewski so much so, that it was a part of his recruiting pitch during the in home visit. Many times young prospect will say words in social media forums which turn out to be hollow, but not Ingram.

''On one hand, one year at Duke isn’t a very long time. I know that. But I’ve done a lot of growing, and growing up, in that time,'' proclaimed Ingram in a heart-felt letter to Duke and their fan base. Ingram had known for a long time that he would be a part of the Duke Family and the fan base can expect to see him around.  This letter also cemented the fact that he was never a North Carolina lean as mythology would have you believe.

In looking back on his short time in basketball, it is clear that Ingram made the right choice for himself.  He is in position to be set for life where Duke and his family have helped in what is just the beginning of his career.

Instead of being called too skinny for most of his life, people are now starting to see a young player who can do some rare things on the court.  He once received a Nolan Smith jersey from his older brother who mentored him through pick up games in the eastern part of the state.  Ingram had to grow into the jersey and now he is growing out of it, thus his name will be called on June 23rd of this year in Barclay's Arena in New Jersey.

It's hard to fathom that Ingram is just 18 years old having been born on September the 2nd in 1997.  So, let's see here.  A low maintenance player with tremendous upside who happens to be the youngest collegiate player in the NBA Draft.  Yeah, I heard you say wow.  And the scouts are doing the same.


Krzyzewski Okay After Surgery

ee26f9bc-f7bc-4fcc-bc48-22a6aa09e464DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University and United States National Team head coach Mike Krzyzewski underwent successful inguinal hernia repair surgery Mondayat Duke University Hospital.


The surgery was performed by Dr. Theodore N. Pappas, gastrointestinal surgeon at Duke University Medical Center. Typical recovery time for the procedure is four weeks.


“I’d like to thank everyone at Duke University Hospital who made this procedure as smooth as possible,” Krzyzewski said. “With this surgery behind me, I’ll be in great physical condition heading into the Olympics and I’m excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.”


Krzyzewski has won a Division I men’s basketball record 1,043 games in 41 seasons as a college head coach, owning a 1,043-320 overall record and a 970-262 mark in 36 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.


Krzyzewski has guided the United States National Team to a 75-1 record, including an active 63-game winning streak, and six total medals (five gold) since assuming the position of head coach in 2006. He is a seven-time USA Basketball National Coach of the Year and will lead the team into a third Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro.


Amile Jefferson Eligible to Return

10644586_10205578347492091_4093529158834014343_nDURHAM, N.C. – The Atlantic Coast Conference has approved a medical hardship waiver for Duke senior Amile Jefferson, making him eligible to compete for the Blue Devils in 2016-17.

Duke sought the waiver on Jefferson’s behalf after he missed all but nine games in 2015-16 due to a right foot fracture sustained in December. In those nine games, he averaged 11.4 points and 10.3 rebounds.

In 115 games in a Duke uniform, including 68 starts, Jefferson has averaged 6.1 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting .624 from the field. His 277 career offensive rebounds are sixth-most in program history.


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Duke offers PG Tremont Waters

images (22)Duke Assistant Coach Jon Scheyer visited PG Tremon Waters this afternoon where the prospect learned that Coach K was offering him.  Waters is a 5-11 PG from South Kent, Connecticut who plays for South Kent High School.  He currently holds offers from UConn and Seton Hall.  Duke is in pursuit of a multi year PG in this class.