Category Archives: Duke Basketball

High School Hoops Edition No. 10

kelly-150x150High School basketball seasons across the nation are starting to come to a close and teams are looking toward upcoming conference and state play-offs.  Ryan Kelly scored 33 points and secured 17 rebounds in his last regular season game at Ravenscroft.  The Ravens defeated Cary Academy 88-65 to finish the season at 24-6 and 6-0 in conference play.

Christ School defeated Greensboro Day 50-33 and locked up a #1 seed in their upcoming tournament.  Mason Plumlee had a bit of an embarrassing moment on a dunk attempt in the game.  The Greenies are now 29-2 and 11-0.

Gonzaga knocked off Bishop McNamara 61-55 on Friday night to retain 1st Place in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.  Tyler Thornton scored 13 points as the Eagles improved to 22-3  and 13-2.

Andre Dawkins scored 20 points as Atlantic Shores routed Alliance 98-35 on Friday night.  Dawkins made two 3-pointers in the game.  On Thursday, Dawkins made five 3-pointers and scored 27 points as Atlantic Shores rolled over Broadwater 99-43.

Harrison Barnes squeezed in a trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium between two Ames Little Cyclones victories.  On Thursday, Barnes scored 25 points and made seven 3-pointers as Ames defeated Fort Dodge 92-43.  On Tuesday, Barnes scored 15 points as the Little Cyclones rolled to a 80-43 victory over Indianola.  Nine of Barnes points came via the deep ball.

Be sure and stay tuned to Blue Devil Nation to keep track of Duke commitments and recruiting targets throughout the upcoming conference and state play-offs.  BDN will continue to bring you recaps with links to articles from newspapers across the country.

Josh Hairston talks of his first Duke-UNC game in Cameron

Class of 2010 commitment, Josh Hairston took time to talk with Blue Devil Nation Premium about experiencing his first Duke-Carolina game in Cameron.  He dsc05640touched on the play, his chats with other Duke commitments and Harrison Barnes.  Talk about it on our Blue Devil Nation Premium message board.

What did you think of the game and Cameron itself?

I thought it was a very good game and that Duke played very hard.  You've got to give to Carolina, they're  every good team, but Duke gave them a run for their money.  Just walking in the gym with my Mom and seeing all the players and the fans, they were yelling and screaming and I just turned to my Mom and smiled.  It was just crazy, unlike anything I ever experienced anything like that before.

We spent the night so I was able to stay a little longer and wait for the coaches to get down with the press conference.  I got to talk to all the guys  and they just said they had it and they lost to a very good team.  They gave credit to their guys.  I really enjoyed myself.

So, are you looking forward to playing in an environment like that?

I am.  I was talking to Ryan Kelly [private] about it and told he was lucky because he will be a part of it next year.  Me and Tyler have a couple of more years left.  He was there with me.

Harrison Barnes was at the game with you.  Did he enjoy himself? 

Aw man, he really enjoyed himself.  A lot of people were making a big deal because he had on a Duke shirt ... him and his sister.  Tyler and I were talking to him and introduced him to everybody.  He had a great time

Did you get a positive feeling about Harrison?

I did!  I got a real positive feeling.  Harrison is one of those kids who keeps his feelings to himself.  What I took from the visit was it was very positive.  I think if Duke stays on him, they'll get him.

It gets pretty hot when Carolina comes in ...

We walked in and it was cool outside, but as soon as you stepped into the gym, even where we picked up our tickets was cool, but then we got into the gym and it was like the heat was turned all the way up.  As soon as I sat down, I started sweating and it was so hot from all the people inside.  You could see it was hot because all the players were slipping on the court, so it was just crazy.

Were you able to talk with Coach K?

I didn't talk with him one on one, but Coach talked to Tyler, Harrison and me about how the team fought and overall he was happy with how his guys played.  But it was a little disappointing to lose.  We were in the locker room before the game.

So, you were able to check out the locker room atmosphere?

I went back there for the UVA game and they get hyped up but with the UNC game it was unlike anything I'd ever seen.  You could hear yelling and screaming from outside the locker room and everybody was  getting hyped.  I kind of got hyped and I wanted to go out there and play!  Harrison was joking with me because he wanted to find an extra jersey and play.

I appreciate your time and good luck the rest of your high school season.

Yes sir, anytime, thanks. [/private]

Duke Basketball Team Report, looking back and looking ahead

Coach K's Birthday -Let's start off by wishing Coach Mike Krzyzewski a happy birthday.  I remember when Coach first came to Durham and I'm glad we have both seen birthdays since that time.  We are truly lucky that he came to Duke and I am in awe of the job he has done.

Looking back on UNC, the positives - Duke found it's offense in that game and the staff wants that to carry over.  The Blue Devils competed until the end. 

Singlers elbow was hardly intentional
Singlers elbow was hardly intentional

To simply play in a game like this helps prepare teams for the wars ahead.  For the most part Duke neutralized the perceived player of the year Tyler Hansbrough.

Why UNC won -They were the better team - you have to give them that.  Ty Lawson has really turned it on after a sluggish start to the season.  UNC spread the floor well in the second half which allowed Lawson to operate and find the open man.  The Heels would have been in a big hole in the first half if it weren't for the Fraser three point shots, his play was vital and timely.  UNC was 27 of 31 from the free throw stripe and got there a lot more than the Devils.  UNC shot the ball very well.

The AC - There is no getting around talking about this.  Fans were miserable from the heat and a look back at the film shows the Duke players slipping much

Most of Hansbroughs points came on free throws and a desperation three point shot
Most of Hansbroughs points came on free throws and a desperation three point shot

more often than their opponent.  Many of those slips came in the second half and unforced turnovers allowed UNC to spurt ahead for good.

Singlers elbow -  How anyone can see that Single intentionally tried to elbow Hansbrough is beyond me.  If you look at his hand, it's going for the ball.  Tyler is a tough kid, yet he went down to the floor like it was a left hook.  Is there a such thing as a "rabbit elbow?"

Harrison Barnes visit -Well, at this point it's no secret tha Harrison Barnes visited for the game.  In short he enjoyed his visit and this was the second time he payed out of pocket for the journey.  We go into more detail in our subscription section - Blue Devil Nation Premium.  If you want to be in the know on recruiting, it's the place to be.  Discuss the latest happenings in our premium members only message board.

Next play, Boston College - This is indeed a trap game.  Duke is coming off an emotional and draining game and yet they travel to Chestnut Hill to take on a dangerous Eagles team.  This is the same team that went into the Dean Dome and came away with a victory.

Tyrese Rice - You can bet that Al Skinner watched the film and that the Eagles

Paulus will play a key role if Duke is to get a road win at BC
Paulus will play a key role if Duke is to get a road win at BC

will turn this guy loose.  For the second straight game Duke will face an elite PG.  How Duke defends Rice will be a key to the game.

The game is pretty darn important - Duke now has three losses and they have entered a log jam of teams in the conference.  True, all conference games are important, but responding well after defeat is almost a must for confidence.  This is the only time Duke plays BC this (regular) season. 

Brutal stretch -Duke has five road games at Boston College, St, Johns, Maryland, Virginia Tech remaining and just two home games against Wake Forest and Florida State.  Duke wants to carry some momentum into the tournaments and it will not be an easy task.  At this time, teams are jockeying for NCAA seeding.  Duke just happened to get saddled with a brutal conference schedule, another testament how unfair the unbalanced schedules can be.  In short, there is not a single game left where Duke doesn't have to give maximum effort.

Recruiting Update – Harrison Barnes pays a visit and more

While the game didn't end the way the Blue Devils wanted it to, they were able to entertain one of the nations top prospects.  Harrison Barnes (6-6,205) sat behind the bench sporting his Duke T-Shirt which was an encouraging sign.

Barnes came in just before noon yesterday and was able to meet with Coach Krzyzewski before taking in some of the gameday campus atmosphere.  He was

Barnes in his Duke T-Shirt walks off the court with Josh Hairston to enter the Duke locker room after the game
Barnes in his Duke T-Shirt walks off the court with Josh Hairston to enter the Duke locker room after the game

also accompanied by his Mom and sister who have now seen the "Gothic Wonderland," twice.

The key prospect was able to [private]spend time in the locker room with the team at half time and after the game.  He sat beside Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston during the game.

Harrison Barnes (Class of 2010) Aimes, Iowa (6-6, 204) Aimes High School
Barnes is a very versatile and athletic player who will cause match up problems on the offensive end.  He has a good inside/outside game and quick leaping ability.  Barnes plays with a cool demeanor, one which belies his age.  Barnes has the ability to slash through defenders and rebounds well for his height.  He plays his AAU ball for Iowa Air Attack. 

Ryan Kelly was also at the game, but the Marshall and Mason Plumlee left the day before for school after a long weekend break which allowed both of them to spend time on campus.  Mason was able to work out with the team and lifted weights.  According to his Father, Mason is lifting at school quite a bit and his team is preparing for a shot at a third straight state title.

Hairston and Barnes seem to hit it off, but Andre Dawkins wasn't able to make it down.  I would have liked to have seen the gregarious Dawkins there to entertain Barnes, but there were game conflicts.

Speaking of game conflicts, that's what kept Wall away.  There were no surprise recruits behind the bench.

Back to Barnes - he did not commit on the visit, but Duke is in very good shape with him and they plan on simply letting the process play out.  According to those close to the program, Duke didn't really expect a commitment.  That same source said that Duke was in as good a shape as possible with Barnes and this his relationship with Coach K was very strong.  

We'll have more as it comes in and we of course will talk to Barnes.  However, I will allow him to get home and settled and keep in mind, his team plays tonight.  So, I will not be rude and pound his phone lines.  You guys know what kind of coverage you'll get.

Also, any members not on the message board you should be for lots of information is there.  This visit was no surprise for members there who knew before any other site. [/private]

Duke Basketball Team Report going into the UNC game

The offensive woes of late - While Duke has struggled in conference games offensively, averaging 70.6 ppg, they still remain third in the conference overall at 78.2.  During yesterday's press conference, Krzyzewski openly joked about his offense in the last couple of games before taking on a serious tone saying, "We're still trying to find our identity offensively.  But we are trying to find ways of incorporate more people, not just the three point shot.  We need to put ourselves in a position to get fouled a little bit more and get it into the post.  Not just the post for big men, but Gerald.  We're still very much developing there.  The offense has got to get better."  Duke is clearly waiting for the offense to come into its own but with eight regular season games left it has become a concern.  "Our offense takes on the identity of our key players," said Krzyzewski who will adjust his offense to roster personnel.

The defense is solid -"Our defense and rebounding is up a notch or two  from last year and that's why we've won," said Krzyzewski.  The Blue Devils are letting

Henderson hopes to continue his play of late vs UNC
Henderson hopes to continue his play of late vs UNC

up just 61.0 ppg, but they will be tested like no other game versus UNC who averages 92.3 ppg. 

Rebounding is solid - Duke is third in the conference in rebounding despite their lack of depth inside.  The team has bought into how important this is.  UNC will surely try to dominate the glass in Cameron and it'll take one of Dukes better efforts to offset this.

Dave McClure -A huge plus of late has been the outstanding play of Dave McClure who is showing senior leadership.  "David has always been a solid player in our program and a part time starter.  What he's done this year is be an outstanding defender and the ultimate role player.  He's done a lot of little things that end up being big things.  In the game Saturday, he's probably good for gaining 18 possessions for us - thirteen on rebounds and five  keeping the ball alive.  That's a lot of points and there is no stats for that," said Krzyzewski of his play.  He went on to say his role was similar to what Dennis Rodman use to do for the Bulls which is high praise. 

Greg Paulus will start- Kryzewski announced that Greg Paulus would start on Wednesday.  "Greg didn't so much re-earn his spot, he will start obviously 

Dave McClure has been to consumate role player this season
Dave McClure has been to consumate role player this season

against, or maybe not so obviously against Carolina.  Greg played a great game on Saturday.  He did that while we as a group were going through a very adverse time.  When somebody steps up when we are going through adversity, that's the best.  He played a great game, he was all over the place," said Krzyzewski.  He went on to say that Paulus has dealt with a lot of frustration not being able to prepare in the off season for his senior year due to injury.

Nolan Smith is okay and ready as well -"This is a good thing for Nolan.  Nolan is a much developing player.  He's played really good basketball for us.  All of a sudden you are in intense conference play and we are not functioning well offensively puts even more pressure on him," said Krzyzewski.  Expect to see both Smith and Paulus play together some versus UNC and Smith is still considered to be a starter.  Smith later stated that he was okay with the decision, but it was clear it may have motivated him a bit to for now, lose his spot at the "1" position.

Gerald Henderson- "For over a month now, he's been pretty good," said Krzyzewski, calling him their most established player offensively.  Henderson keyed a second half run versus Miami but had only two points in the first half.  "In the first half, he was more of a shooter and in the second half he attacked.  He has to remember that's who he is." said Coach.

Kyle Singler -"Physically, he's okay.  He's just playing like a warrior.  Maybe he needs to be a little bit more precise on his technique when shooting.  He's missed some lay ups that have been in and out.  He just needs to keep doing it.  We need f

Paulus will get the start against Carolina
Paulus will get the start against Carolina

or him to stay aggressive, but physically he's okay," said Krzyzewski.  Singler had been sick but is better now.  In short Duke wants him to shoot through his many drought.

How to slow the UNC offense- Krzyzewski said it would be a huge challenge and that it would take a team effort to slow them down.  He also made reference to how important bench play would be in this game.  "To win big games you try to play well for forty minutes and that's what we are going to try to do and they are going to try an not let us play well," stated Krzyzewski.

Interesting K quote- "None of my players are where I want them to be because I always want them to be better."

Closing K quote - "You know, we get a chance to play a game of this level.  Not many programs in the United States would ever play this level of game and we get to play it twice.  Historically, this game has helped both programs win or lose because you've been tested.  I think that's the most important ... over the years Duke and Carolina have made each other better.  It's a good game to be at and a heck of a game to be in."  He went on to say that the most relevant thing in this game is that both teams were 7-2 in the conference and atop the conference coming into the game.

Getting to know Kyrie Irving – in depth interview with the rising star

Andrew Slater is at it again, this time bringing BDN Premium members an in depth interview with hot prospect Kyrie Irving.  Join now to see what you are missing! 

Kyrie Irving is a 6'2" guard for St. Patrick's of Elizabeth, New Jersey, having transferred in from the more gentrified Montclair Kimberley Academy after his sophomore season. Kyrie's father, Drederick, played for the Boston University

Big time prospect, Kyrie Irving
Big time prospect, Kyrie Irving

Terriers in the mid-1980s. Mr. Irving, a Bronx native, left BU as its all-time leading scorer after losing to the Duke Blue Devils in the 1988 NCAA Tournament by a final score of 85-69.  He has since been inducted into the Boston University Hall of Fame and is currently the second highest scorer in Terrier history.

Over the past week, Kyrie has led his Celtics to impressive wins over previously undefeated and nationally second-ranked St. Benedict's of Newark, NJ, 88-62 and the USA Today's tenth best "East" squad, Pennsbury of Fairless Hills, PA, 39-35.  He spoke with Blue Devil Nation after both wins.  The first portion of the interview was done in the hallway to the Rutgers locker room following the Celtics biggest win of the season, while the second half took place at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ after a win in which Kyrie Irving was named Most Outstanding Player for the victors.

Blue Devil Nation: What schools are recruiting you? [private]

Kyrie Irving: I can't give you specific names, but it's like UConn, West Virginia, St. John's, Rutgers, Seton Hall. It's the majority of the Big East and most of the ACC and Memphis.

BDN: Do you have any sort of timeline for when you'd like to decide by?

KI: I think I'm going to decide probably after this AAU season...Probably around August, you know.  The main thing I'm looking for in college is just "a home away from home."

BDN: Have you been on or do you plan on doing any unofficial visits?

KI: I'm going to Notre Dame in the spring and I'm not sure past then, but I'm not taking any...I went to Memphis in October and Indiana in November.  They were both great schools.  When I went to Memphis, I went around with Jeff Robinson (who has since transferred to Seton Hall University).  He took me around and it was just great.  Then, I went to Indiana.  I stayed around with Devan Dumes (suspended indefinitely on Saturday by Coach Crean).  I met with the academic dean. I met with the coaches. It was just great at both colleges.

BDN: What position are most colleges recruiting you for?

KI: Most of the colleges are recruiting me for a combo guard.

Blue Devil Nation: Can you talk about the transition from Montclair Kimberley Academy to St. Patrick's?

Kyrie Irving: Well, just the pace and our defense leads to our offense. The way we play defense is's just totally different from the league that I played in at Montclair Kimberley.  This was my first big game

BDN: Sure, sure

KI: ...playing against St. Benedict's at the RAC (Rutgers Athletic Center). It was just a great experience. It's just totally different.  All of these people were here to watch a high school game. It's just very rare.  Let alone to be playing in a college gym and for all of these people to show up. It was just a great experience tonight.

BDN: How about the competition in practice?

KI: The competition has been great.  Me and Dexter go at it every day...trying to make each other better everyday.  You know we practice really hard. That's the main thing.

BDN: What are some things that you've learned from Dexter Strickland (UNC-Chapel Hill) and Paris Bennett (George Mason)?

KI: They've tried to teach me how to be a leader and how to be a leader by example vocally.

BDN: How about the transition in school, socially, etc.?

KI: It's been great. I came by here last year. Everybody's friendly. We have a lot of different cultures at St. Patrick's.  It's been good to meet a lot of different people.

Blue Devil Nation: Your father, Drederick (pronounced "Dedrick"), was a very successful player at Boston University.  That's obviously a different experience than the average kid in America.  How do you think that differentiates you in any way or has influenced your playing?

Kyrie Irving: My dad just taught me to be unique.  You know be my own player and, you know, just be a good leader on and off of the court and to just be a good citizen...but, you know, on the basketball court, it's war out there.  Just have heart and play the game.

BDN: What AAU team will you be playing for this year?

KI: The New Jersey Roadrunners.

BDN: What's your current height and weight?

KI: 6'2," 175

Blue Devil Nation: What players do you try to emulate your game after?

Kyrie Irving: Probably...I like Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant.

BDN: Who's the toughest player you've ever gone against?

KI: Probably Dexter (laughs).

Blue Devil Nation: What would you like the audience to know about you as a person?

Kyrie Irving: That I'm not just an offensive player.  You know I play defense also.

BDN: I'm sorry I actually meant about you as a person away from the court. Outside of basketball...I mean that's fine too, but..

KI: Oh, okay.  Well, a lot of people don't know, but I take writing seriously.  In college, I'm going to major in journalism.  I made my mind up about that.  That's certainly something most people don't know.

BDN: That's interesting. So you're gonna take away Kevin's job. (Kevin Armstrong, a writer for Sports Illustrated, was standing next to us.)

KI: (Laughs) Yep, yep

Blue Devil Nation: What's your feeling about Duke, both as a program and as a university as well?

Kyrie Irving: Duke? It's doesn't get better than Duke. Duke, it's just way up there.  Even the title itself is just a household name.  I've talked to Coach Collins a lot and they've talked to my Dad too.  You know they just want me to come in and make a contribution.

Blue Devil Nation: What's your opinion, from afar, of Coach Krzyzewski?

Kyrie Irving: Oh, he's a great coach. He's probably like the number...well, I mean I was watching him on the USA team over the summer.  Personally, I think he's just the best coach.

Blue Devil Nation: Whenever you do decide on a college, what are the most important factors that will go into your decision?

Kyrie Irving: Oh, well, a "home away from home" and, you know, socially and academically I want to be set for life.  My dad always talks to the coaches and he tells them that, you know, when I sign with a college, I'm not singing with them for four years, but over sixty years.

Blue Devil Nation: I like that perspective. Lou Holtz allegedly said something very similar, but said forty years.

Kyrie Irving: Yeah, yeah. That's what I'm basically signing with a college for...a place that can put me ahead in basketball and also academically.

BDN: Who will be the people that you turn to when you ultimately decide on a college?

KI: My father definitely. My father and my uncle are going to help me with my decision.

Blue Devil Nation: What was your reaction when you saw that Coach Boyle said, "Kyrie Irving, when it's all said and done, he will arguably be as good as any guard who's played in New Jersey," Boyle said. "Any guard.  Ever.  Ever.  DaJuan Wagner, Bobby Hurley.  You're talking about a guy who's a great shooter, a great finisher, he's going to be as good as anybody who's played in New Jersey."?  It must've felt good, but were you surprised?

Kyrie Irving: It felt good, but, yeah, I was surprised definitely.  At the same time, I've got to remain humble.  That's a statement I want to live up to, but also I still want to maintain the progress I'm making right now as a student, as a person, and as an athlete.

BDN: What style of play appeals to you?

KI: I definitely like fast-paced...just up-and-down

BDN: As opposed to today (combined score was fourteen points less than St. Patrick's scored in their win over previously undefeated St. Benedict's)

KI: Yeah, it was just a half-court game today, but I can play both styles.  I'm comfortable either way.

Blue Devil Nation: What do you think is your greatest strength right now?

Kyrie Irving: Probably just leading by example and pushing the ball every time I get it.

Blue Devil Nation: How about your shooting?

Kyrie Irving: Oh, yeah.  That's the part of my game that, when I was younger, I was known as a shooter, but I wanted to expand my game.

BDN: What would you like to improve upon most before arriving on your college campus?

KI: Developing as a leader.  Paris, Dean, and Dexter will be gone next year so.  I am in development right now in order to take over as captain.

Blue Devil Nation: You mentioned before that schools were recruiting you as a combo guard.  What position will you be playing next year and what do you feel is your natural position?

Kyrie Irving: Schools are recruiting me mostly as a combo guard.  My natural position is as a one. I played that all my life, but, you know, as I got older, I grew and then some people moved me over to the two and I became a scorer and it just went from there.

BDN: Speaking of growth spurts, how tall are you projected to grow to?

KI: 6'4 ½." My dad is 6'4." My mom was like 5'11" so..


(Another person interjects)

Other Person: Do you want to play at BU?

KI: Me and my dad joke about it, but, no, really I don't think I'm going to Boston University.  I want to follow in his footsteps, but just not there. I want to make my own path.

OP: Do you have a favorite school?

KI: No, not really

OP: You just want to go to a major school.

KI: No, not necessarily a major school.  Just a place where the coaches are great. The family relationship with the coaches is great.  Everything is just about, you know, timing.

OP: Are you looking to go to a school with a good basketball tradition like North Carolina or Indiana...a school that's known for, you know, producing great basketball players?  Is that all your thinking about or what's the deal with that?

KI: Just a school that's right for me. It doesn't have to the North Carolinas or one of those major schools.  Just a school that I can go in and make a quick contribution and hopefully produce me to the next level.

BDN: How are your grades?

KI: I've got a 3.5.

 Blue Devil Nation:  You mentioned quite a few schools the other day.  Which ones have offered you?

KI:  Yeah, all of them have.

Blue Devil Nation: Is there any one or two that are currently more aggressive?

KI: Well, they're really all mostly aggressive right now.  I can't think of any one or two off of the top of my head right now.

Blue Devil Nation: What camps will you be going to?

Kyrie Irving: I probably won't know until right after the season or towards the end of the season.

Blue Devil Nation: How would assess your handle and your defense right now?

Kyrie Irving: Sometimes, I'll have one or two turnovers, but that doesn't usually occur. I just have to tighten that up a little bit. On defense, I think I'm doing fine right now.  You know KB (Coach Kevin Boyle) keeps saying I'm playing very good, intense defense right now so I'm just trying to contribute on the offensive and defensive side.

Blue Devil Nation: Lastly, someone wanted to know about the NJ Roadrunners. Who are they sponsored by?  Are they independent?

Kyrie Irving: They're actually sponsored by Protégé by Al Harrington (a former St. Patrick's player and Roadrunner as well as current NY Knick), but I don't wear them. [/private]