The wheels came off for the third ranked team in the country and Clemson showed no mercy in route to an easy 74-47 victory in Little John Coliseum. The Blue Devils
struggled so badly that Coach K tried every combination possible but chemistry was nowhere to be found.
The Duke guards struggled mightily with Paulus, Scheyer and Smith going for 8 total points. Singler was saddled with early foul trouble and ... Look! There is no reason to continue for Duke just played their worst game in recent memory.
Fans can throw a beat down on the team, but Duke is still tied atop the ACC with UNC and 19-3 overall. But there is not much more one can say which is positive for this loss was inexplicably bad.
Duke had two players in double figures, committed 16 turnovers giving Clemson 20 plus points and dished a paltry 7 assists.
The Blue Devils have clearly struggled on the road of late and the offense is becoming a concern. Then there is Scheyer's shooting slump, the lack of production at the point and well, Duke has a lot to work on before they take on a hungry Miami team.
I'm not one to throw the team under the bus and I feel certain they'll be back, but a loss like they suffered tonight is, well K said it best -
Coach K said they didn't fight, didn't compete and that he was not sure if a Duke team had ever played that bad. He said the team plays like it prepares and that they have had two bad practices in a row.
"We didn't want the game for some reason. Nobody is hurt. I don't think we played hard enough to get hurt. We went for one handed rebounds and not one Duke player dived for the ball. It was a really embarrassing performance," stated a bewildered Krzyzewski. He went on to say it was his fault, but that this wasn't the Duke way. "A Duke team can't play that way. That's the bottom line."
Hippolyle Tsafack? That's what was in my mind's eye as I watched this young man dominate the paint in his Miller School team's easy win. Tsafack (6-8) went 9 of
11 from the field to score 18 points on dunks and put backs. He also swept up a game high 11 rebounds, yet had no blocked shots.
Those are pretty impressive numbers, especially when you consider he plays alongside Mychal Parker and Marshawn Powell, two of the top prospects in the class of 2009.
Tsafack said he was 18 years old and English was obviously a fairly new language for him. He has been in the country for less than two years and is originally from Cameroon. You can be sure that you'll be hearing more on this unsigned newcomer with the chiseled body as the year progresses.
One of the reasons he may not have made an earlier impact is that he hurt his knee over the summer. "I have been working hard and just try to do my best," said Tsafack.
When asked if he was being recruited, he responded- "Yes, Virginia Tech, Maryland, VCU, Kansas, Notre Dame and Clemson, I don't know anybody else."
He said he liked to watch Kevin Garnett and the NBA and that he also loved college basketball. I've watched Notre Dame, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest.
Tsafack is new to the game haven played just two years in Cameroon. "My mom said to play basketball, because my family is poor. Once I've started playing I've never stopped," said Tsafack.
His coach in Camaroon sent him to Miller School and he hasn't seen his family in two years. He got his start at a basketball camp in Camaroon and has been playing ever since.
It's obvious that Tsafack hopes basketball is the answer to his families problems and after this past weekend's MVP performance, don't be surprised if other schools make an effort to get involved with his recruitment.
Blue Devil Nation Premium caught up with Andre Dawkins this past weekend and as always he had a lot of interesting comments. He talked of which other 2010 prospects he'd like to play with. Then there was a resounding dunk where he turned and gazed with a "did you see that" look at Duke Assistant Coach Nate James. There is much more -
It's good to see you play again. After watching your team (Atlantic Shores) play, I now understand what you were trying to tell me.
That being you have to play big or the 3 or 4 position at times due to a lack of height.
Yeah. We basically play four out and one in with our perimeter guys.
So, you got to play in front of Nate James. You threw that one tomahawk dunk down and then turned to Nate with a scowl on your face as if to say, did you see that? The crowd liked it and one of the refs even smiled at James.
(Laughing) Yeah, it [private] was just a big play for us and I knew Nate was there so I decided to give him a little
So, it was just like emotion?
Yeah, yeah (smiling)
Man, you've got a mean scratch on your face. Is that from your girlfriend (kidding) or from the game?
(laughing) Naw, naw, it was in the game (continued to laughing while shaking his head), it was in the game. Things like that happen.
So, now your girlfriend has got to see it ...
(laughing) Uh ..
Oh! We don't want to go there?
Naw. We don't need to go there (still smiling)
Whats your teams record right now?
20 and 1 I think.
And how many regular season games do you have left?
Six or seven - something like that.
Will you be playing for Boo Williams again on the AAU circuit?
Yeah, I will play for Boo.
So, you've made that decision.
Yeah, I think McAdoo will be up with us and Travis (McKie) will move up.
You're good friends with Kendall Marshall who will also play with you for Boo. Are things getting a little more tense with him going to UNC now that it's getting closer?
Ummm. I think we'll still be close.
Well, it's like Ty Lawson and Nolan Smith, they played together and are still good friends. Describe how your season has gone so far ...
I think I started off a little slow but I'm starting to pick it up. The team is a lot better than we were at the beginning. You want to peak at the right time and do so the last few games of the season.
Some of your outside shots were not falling like they usually do tonight, but you are obviously athletic and you used that hitting the boards for 9 rebounds and 4 blocks to go with your 15 points.
Yeah. This summer my role was a shooter, but on my high school it's different and more than just a shooter. So in the summer I couldn't always show my athleticism as much but in high school I can, especially when my shot is not falling. That's when you have to lean on other aspects of your game.
Last season you played on a loaded Boo Williams team and was the sixh man. Has Boo discussed how he'll use you? Do you think you'll be the go to man this year?
Not the go to man. We'll have a balanced team and my role will increase. You always want to be a part of the offense, but last year you just had to deal with your role. (All five Boo starters are going to major schools and Andre was playing with the older guys)
Is it pretty cool to come up here and see Josh and all the guys?
It's definitely cool to come and support your future teammates and things like that.
You've been quite the recruiter since signing. Is that still the case? Do you get to talk to other guys Duke is recruiting?
Yeah, I actually talked to Harrison (Barnes) a week or so ago to see how he was doing. The coaches want me to do things like that. So, I am trying to do that to get the best guys we can possibly get.
Does that come easy for you? Do you feel you have a knack for that?
Yeah I think so. I think I'm an outgoing person. I meet people and just hit it off like that and I don;t know, I just feel like that's what I am supposed to do.
I can see a little bit of a clown under that seriousness. You like to have a good time?
Definitely. I think that's what makes it easier to talk to guys about different things. It's easy to communicate when somebody is not up tight.
Do you think about kids you want to come in with the class with Thornton and Hairston?
Yeah sometimes. I know we want Harrison and right now he's probably the top guy. Him and Josh Smith.
Okay! Good luck to you the rest of the way and I'll see you this summer on the AAU circuit.
Josh Hairston is always fun to talk to and this interview was no different. His answers are always upbeat and you can count on a professional demeanor beyond his years. Hairston score 25 points to go with 12 rebounds during his teams second loss of the season during Slamfest VIII which was held in Richmond,
Virginia this past Saturday. Courtland played to home standing Benedictiine High School and as always, there were hecklers galore trying to get under the skin of the future Blue Devil. Members are sure to enjoy the following interview which is the first of many Blue Devil Nation Premium will run this week. The best time to join is right now to get some of the best coverage you can find on recruiting and more.
So are you happy to be at this tournament here in Richmond? Your family has come down, you've got your man Dre (Andre Dawkins) here, the Thorntons have come down to see you ...
I am! I'm very excited. I love playing in front of crowds. We've got to come out strong and play the best basketball we can play. Hopefully if we do that, we'll come out of here with a win.
Is this a game where you almost feel like you have to put the team on your back? That's a pretty good team you are going up against.
Yes it is. I'm going to do whatever my team needs for me to do. If that's putting them on my back and carrying the load, I'll do that. Big time players step up in big time moments, so I am really looking forward to it.
You have Nate James sitting in the crowd over there. What is it like to have one of your future coahes in the house? Is it always cool to see them?
It's [private] always cool. It shows that he's very supportive. He's been to one of my games earlier this season. So having him here actually relaxes me and calms me down. I know that after the game positive or negative, he's going to let me know how he feels and I can just work from there.
Tell me a little bit about your season so far. Your team has lost one game I think?
15-1, our fist loss came last Saturday to a very good team out of Virginia Beach. It was really the first time a lot of our guys have played in a big time environment. So there was a lot of noise and nervousness going around. We all learned from that and had some good practices and had a great game last night.
You played last night?
We played and ended up winning by thirty or forty points.
Do you know what your numbers were?
I know I had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
What are you averaging this season?
24 points and 11 rebounds
Your parents are here, so that's obviously cool. They're big supporters, right?
Right! I don' t think there is a place they haven't been even this summer. They've made a lot of sacrifices, even my little sister. So, I'm always appreciative there.
In the earlier game, Andre flushed one down (dunk) and kinda gave Nate the stare down and expression of did you see that. (snickering) Did he tell you about that?
He did. (laughing) We're playing for points right now. He's in the lead for now. He said if I don't do it, I'm going to have to owe him something. I'm going to try and do what I can.
Are you brazen enough to do that -- scowl at Nate for show?
I don't know if I'm going to do it to Coach Nate, but I'm going to do it to Andre if I see him. (smiling)
When is the last time you talked to the coaches?
I actually called Wojo this morning but didn't talk to him. I know that my Mother talked to him yesterday, cause we're going down to the Virginia game tomorrow. I talked to Coach K , I think a couple of weeks ago. I try to stay in contact with them as much as I can.
Anybody else going down that you know of?
Uh, no ... Tyler (Thornton) has practice tomorrow and Andre still doesn;t know if he's going or not.
Are there any other games on the calendar you have circled? I know the Carolina game is on a Wednesday night which is a school night at 9:00 ...
I think we are going to go to that one. My parents said that if my grades turned out good we could go down there. So, I think we are going to go down there if everything goes the ways it's suppose to go.
Now (jokingly) have you got your Dad in the right place? I think he may be about 89.7% Duke now, but I know he's got a little heart left for UNC (grew up pulling for them).
Yes he does, but he's at the point now to where if we find anything Duke that fits him, he wears it, so ... At the Wake Forest game the other night he was heartbroken. Me and him were looking at the TV and could not believe it ... (shaking his head)
Duke came back and had a chance to steal that one ...
Yeah. I think he is 98% now. (smiling)
98%? (smiling) Only 2 to go ... now your Mom how does she feel about that?
Aw man! She loves it. If she is not wearing something that says Courtland on it, she always has on Duke stuff. I think she eats it up the most out of anybody. Anything Duke she finds ... I think she bought me four Duke pens to write with in school, I've got sticker for my car and everything.
The last time we talked you said that people at school were like - whoa Duke, he's going to Duke. Is it still like that?
It is. My classmates know about it and they've kind of calmed down a bit, but when we go to other schools, a lot of people are coming to see me and see if I'm worth it. The hecklers have gotten worse at the games, but I tell myself not to pay any attention to it. I just try to let my game speak for itself. They may be talking the first half, but they'll be quiet by the second.
Your Dad's a pretty brawny and tough looking guy ... does he ever get a little bit upset?
Yeah he is. We were playing down in Orange County last month and there was a guy down there ... we were beating the team by forty some points and he was still yakking. That's the closest my Dad ever wanted to say something, but he didn't. That guy has a right to feel as he does in his mind. My Dad said he payed his 5.00 to come see us play and he can say whatever he wants. So, I felt the same way. I don't let that stuff get to me. I use to! I use to jaw back a little at people in the stands but it's a maturity thing and I don't really pay attention to it anymore.
So, what else is going on in your life? (smiling) Do you have a girlfriend yet?
(laughing) Naw, I'm still playing it cool. I think I'm going to wait until I get down to Duke.
There you go, you'll find plenty of prospects in the Triangle. So is there anything else going on that I may have missed?
I was announced to the Adidas Nation team. So, that's the only other big thing going on.
And when is that?
I'm not sure. My Mother and the coach have been in close contact and he said he'd let us know when we started practicing and stuff. Other than that, out season has been going great. We started 14-0 which was a school record. I think I told you earlier, we've been together for three years and it's a maturity thing. We were young and we still made a run, but now that we are older, I think this is going to be our year.
I appreciate your time and good luck tonight and the rest of the season.
Duke used an early 27-7 run to build a 22 point halftime lead and coast to a 79-54 win over the Virginia Cavaliers. Gerald Henderson and Nolan Smith led the Blue Devils with 18 and 15 points respectively. Jon Scheyer contributed 11 points and was the team's leading rebounder with seven.
Duke utilized tough defense to fuel its offense turning Virginia over 23 times including 17 turnovers in the first half. Duke scored 29 points off of turnovers, while Virginia only managed two points off of nine turnovers. Throughout the game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski urged the Blue Devils to stay in passing lanes and push the ball off turnovers and rebounds.
Gerald Henderson made a 3-point bucket to start the game and Duke never relinquished the lead. Sylven Landesberg led Virginia with 20 points.
This was an important win for Duke as they were coming off a disappointing loss to Wake Forest on Wednesday. Next up for Duke is a trip to Littlejohn Coliseum to face the Clemson Tigers.
Here are some general comments and news on prospects that participated at this past Saturday's Slamfest VIII in Richmond, Virginia.
Marshawn Powell(6-7) Powell is an active workman like player who is sure to make Arkansas fans happy. Powell has a really nice inside/outside game and
made use of the baseline this past Saturday. Powell showed off his three point touch going 2 for 4 and ended the game with 18 points, 8 rebounds.
Hippolyle Tsafack (6-8) - It didn't take long for those in attendance to take notice of the little known young man from Cameroon. He showed off a chisled body and worked the boards with authority grabbing 11 rebounds to go with 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting. BDN Premium has more on this fairly unknown prospect where we interviewed the biggest surprise at Slamfest VIII.
Mychael Parker (6-5)The Miller School packed quite a one-two-three punch in Powell, Tsafack and Parker. Parker had 16 points and 8 rebounds in his schools 68-49 win over Christ Church. He is an active tweener which drew Gininije for much of the game. Parker is being heavily recruited by Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Michael Gbinijie (6-6)I thought he took a lot of shots where his body and or feet weren't squared up. He didn't finish strong in my opinion, but he was going up against the aforementioned three amigos from Miller School. He likes to float outside a lot, yet he has more size than anyone else on his roster. He shot 5 of 14 from the field for 14 points to go with 4 rebounds.
Steven Pledger- The future Oklahoma guard scored 28 points to go with 7 rebounds and 4 steals for his guard heavy Atlantic Shores team. Pledger is a strong guard that forces the issue and drains his free throws when he is fouled. He had a breakout season for Boo Williams during last years AAU play.
Josh Hairston - One of the most consistent kids I've seen. He continues to get better and always hovers around 24 points and double figure boards. BDNP will have an interview with the Duke commitment coming this week from the event.
Andre Dawkins - The future Dukie showed off his athleticism more-so than I have ever seen him do. While he struggled a bit by his standards on his way to 15 points, he found other ways to help his team, with 4 blocked shots. Did we mention his team high 9 rebounds? BDN Premium will have an interview up shortly and Dre is always entertaining. We will also discuss his game more on the members message board.
Brandon Britt (6-0) This guard unexpectedly stole the show, winning the player of the game for Atlantic Shores in their 85-62 blowout over Deep Run. Britt was unconcious hitting 12 of 19 from the field which included and amazing 10 of 14 three pointers. He's a kid people will now keep an eye on.
James McAdoo (6-8) BDN Premium will have an interview with this talented youngster up this week. He's long, quick with the ball or without it and has enormous potential. McAdoo dropped in 21 points to go with 10 boards, but his Norfolk Christian team lost a 53-29 decision to Henrico. This guy is the real deal.
Travis McKie- He helped his team stay close with powerful DeMatha and showed off his athleticism. The problem is that he waited to showcase that talent until the second half.
There were several other good players, one or two which BDNP will cover. Coaches from Clemson, Virginia and Duke were there to watch the games. Our premium section will have in depth analysis and interviews with the kids who may interest Duke, including Hairston and Dawkins.