Category Archives: Duke Basketball

John Wall still wide open

Before I get into this interview, let me make this clear.  Kenny Boynton is the man for Duke.  If something goes south they might look at John Wall and he is still open to Duke coming in.  He is a very talented true speedy PG who slashes about the court and makes his teammates better with his abilty to get them the ball.  During this interview, I had two cameras on me for they were filming for a documentary on the process surrounding Wall.  You never know what might happen in recruiting.

[private]The last time I talked to you was in Durham during the TOC, has anything changed since then?

Not really.  I am still wide open and trying to get schools to come in.  The schools that are coming at me the hardest are Memphis and Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky and NC State so far.  Those are the ones coming the hardest but I think other schools are going to come around.

The last time I talked with your coach he said you were not near the point where you would shut down the process.  Does that still hold true?

Yes, that’s still true, but after Vegas I’m going to narrow my list down going into my senior year.  You’ve got to get your five … get your business set up.

So, is their anyone that would make the top five for sure … right now … anyone guaranteed a visit?

No, not yet.  There’s a couple of schools getting close to it.

You just scored thirty points in your last game, but your team came up short.  Did you miss Ryan Kelly?

Yeah, Kelly’s a big part.  He gives us a presence in the paint and as you could see we lacked that.  We weren’t playing defense and getting back.  We just didn’t make our shots but we played hard.

Is the AAU season taking a toll on you?

Yeah, it gets kind of tough, but you go back home.  In between you just ice your knees and relax.  We’ll go to Vegas (Reebok) next and then I can rest for a little while before preparing for my senior year.

(I then turned my attention to his coach Dwon Clifton who is always by his side)  He said -

“I think he has an idea of what he wants.  I want him to be comfortable with what he does.  He has a lot of talent and I encourage him to get better and stronger.  I mean, now that people knows who he is some of the flaws he could once get away with he will now have to develop.  Now, everyone is going to start to push him and pull him and try to get him to go against his people and get him to feel like no one can tell him anything.  This world can eat him up.  I’ve seen it happen to too many players, myself included. (played at Clemson).  I don’t want that to be the case with him.”

So, will your coach be a big part of the process?

He’s like a bigger brother to me.  I don’t have one like that so he fills in.  With DC … we can go out and stuff and just have a good time.  He’s trying to develop me through this process because he went through it at Clemson.  So, when I make my decision, I am going to ask him or talk to him about it.

Who are some of the toughest guys you’ve gone against on the circuit?

Tommy Mason here.  He’s really tough.

What does John Wall need to work on for his game to get better?

I’ve got to get stronger, work on my jump shot, defense, lateral movement … there’s a lot of stuff I can work on.  You just can’t stop when you get on top.  I have some God given ability but I need to keep working because everybody else will.

What keeps you motivated?

Playing for my Dad.  He died when I was ten years old.  My Mom, my sister .. just want to get them to a better place.

How long have you know your Coach?

I knew him from the AAU circuit when I was about 14, but he really started coming in in the last two years talking to me.  Now he’s my AAU coach and gives me advice.

Of the ACC schools, you mentioned NC State.  With you playing highs school ball down the road, do they push hard?

They come visit every game they can.  Duke came to a couple of my games this year.  Carolina came to a couple.

You’ve been to some of there games too, right?

Yes, I have been to a couple of Duke games and a Carolina game.

How did you like the atmosphere at those schools?

It’s a good atmosphere.. crazy, people are going crazy everywhere at Duke and UNC … all those fans.

Did Duke contact you at one time or are they in touch?

Coach Dawkins and Coach K came to a couple of my games.  They said they wanted to start recruiting me and stuff like that.  I took their advice and came to the TOC and was able to play a game in Cameron.

Have they been in touch since that time?

Uhhh .. I haven’t talked to them since Coach Dawkins got the job at Stanford.

UNC?

No, haven’t heard from them.

Thanks for your time and I wish you luck in choosing the right school.
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Scrappy Dave McClure has a nose for the ball

The signature moment to date in Dave McClure’s tenure as a Duke Blue Devil is his game winning basket against Clemson on January 25, 2007.  McClure caught a pass from Jon Scheyer and sank a basket over K.C. Rivers as time expired giving Duke a 68-66 victory.  It was vintage McClure – hustling to the right place at the right time.  In describing McClure, Coach Krzyzewski stated, “He makes simple, terrific plays.”  Three nights later, against Boston College, Dave McClure hyper extended his left knee.

 

His career at Duke has been hampered by injuries.  He has had surgery on both knees while a Blue Devil.  McClure missed the entire 2005-2006 season after having left knee surgery on February 1, 2005.  Surgery on his right knee was performed on August 21, 2007.  McClure has played in 88 games for the Blue Devils and averaged 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game.  McClure was most productive as a sophomore, in the 2006-2007 season, when he averaged 4.2 points and 4.9 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game.  He started 11 games in his sophomore season.

 

The 6-6 205 pound redshirt senior was ranked as the # 57 player in the high school Class of 2004 by Scout.com and arrived at Duke with a reputation as not being the most athletic player, but a guy with high basketball IQ.  Dave attended high school at Trinity Catholic in Ridgefield, CT and helped the Crusaders win three state championships.  At Duke, McClure has demonstrated he has a nose for the ball and is willing to do whatever it takes – dive on the floor – jump into the stands – battle bigger opponents – to gain possession.

 

What will McClure’s role be in his senior season?  It is a given that Coach Krzyzewski will look to McClure for leadership, but it is less clear how much of that leadership will actually take place on the court.  With the arrival of two freshman front court players, Olek Czyz and Miles Plumlee, and the possibility of a healthy Brian Zoubek, McClure will face tough competition for playing time.  His new teammates are bigger and have two healthy knees each, but Dave McClure has the advantage of experience in the Duke system and understanding Coach Krzyzewski’s desires in given situations.  That is a big advantage but in and of itself will not be enough to secure playing time.  Dave McClure is going to have to out perform his teammates in practice to see the court come game time.  The jury is out and only time will tell the results, but scrappy Dave McClure will surely be hustling for every rebound and diving for every loose ball once practice starts.

USA U18 Team comes up short against Argentina

Team USA fell to host Argentina, 77-64, in the championship game at the FIBA Americas U18 tournament in Formoso, Argentina.  UConn incoming freshman Kemba Walker scored 21 points in the defeat and was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.

Argentina used two big runs to secure the victory: 14-2 in the first quarter and 11-0 in the third.  USA Coach Bob McKillop described the environment as hostile and credited the Argentina team with being very talented and deserving champions.  He said the experience will assist the players in their upcoming college careers.

In July 2009, the U19 World Championship will be held in New Zealand and the USA will have the opportunity for redemption against Argentina and other top international teams.

Singler, Williams, Czyz and Johnson shine at SJG NC Pro Am

The SJG Greater North Carolina Pro Am is in its first year of existence and is holding the event at McDougald Gym on the campus of North Carolina Central University.  The event features players past and present from the likes of Duke, UNC and pretty much every area school you can name.

Former UNC player Jerry Stackhouse came up with the event with the help of two childhood friends.  In fact the “SJC” initials stands for the names of their Fathers.  The friends have know each other since elementary school in Kinston, N.C., thus the local flavor.  “We have four hours each Tuesday and Thursday where we are keeping some kids off the streets … adults too for that matter,” said Donyell Bryant.

Bryant acts as the commissioner, overseeing the event and making sure all runs smoothly.  “We don’t charge people a thing to come in and watch the games, thanks to our sponsors.”  He continued, “It’s a great opportunity to get kids involved.  Parents can come here at a time when their is a tough economy and spend some quality time with their children for free.”

The plans are for the event to grow and it surely will.  There was a fan friendly atmosphere during Tuesday evenings games.  If you are anywhere near the Triangle area, be sure to stop in on Thursday.  The games begin at 6:00 and last through early August every Tuesday and Thursday evening.  Groups, churches and even entire neighborhoods are invited by the promoters, so get some folks together and come see some good ballin.

Now, I am sure you want to hear about future and current Blue Devils, so here we go.  The first game of the evening pitted against.  Freshman to be, Elliot Williams and Steve Johnson played for E-Net.

Elliot was late to arrive, but it didn’t take long for his coach to get him into the game.  Williams wasted little time making his presence felt, scoring on dunks, three point shots and getting to the line.  Williams has put on a bit more size since I last saw him.  The strength of his game is the ability to beat his man off the dribble and create plays.

Williams drained a couple of threes, showed knack to make some tantalizing passes and when left free for even a second, he easily dunked the ball on slashing drives.  In fact, he was doubled as the game got into the final minutes.  Williams showed a lot of confidence and no player on the other team had an answer for him.  Williams ended the game with 22 points.

Williams teammate, Duke walk on Steve Johnson added 4 points.  Their team lost the game 65-59 to Black Magic.

The next game featured last season’s ACC Rookie of the Year, Kyle Singler and incoming freshman Olek Czyz.  Neither of these players disappointed the fans. In fact, Olek Czyz was referred to as O.C. in that there was a lot of trouble pronouncing his name.  As you may have read, his ability to get off the floor and dunk anything near the rim is a crowd pleaser.  In fact, the opposing players often cleared out in fear that they would be posterized by a photographer who might catch them on the receiving end of a dunk.

Czyz (pronounced “Chiz”) threw down five crowd pleasing dunks, many from unusual angles.  On this night, he showed a consistent outside shot from around the free throw line and drained a three.  While he certainly needs work in some areas of the game, Czyz proved that he can electrify the crowd in that he has plenty of athleticism.  More importantly, he plays hard all the time and seems to be in excellent shape.  Czyz ended the game with 22 points.

Teammate Kyle Singler like many have said has put on some size.  Some of that size is from his off season workouts, but most may be from natural maturity of his body.  In the first half, there was no doubt Kyle was the best player on the court.  He does so many things that goes unnoticed, be it playing the passing lanes, getting out on a man his teammates missed or making the pass or big play during critical moments.

Singler put the ball on the floor with ease, shot well from the outside, grabbed 11 rebounds and had 4 blocks to go with 16 points.  Not being a homer here, but the refs took him out of the game late in the second half, making three calls which drew disapproval from the 1000 plus fans in attendance.  But that was after his teams amazing comeback.

I looked up and the Barnstormers were trailing Team Noel by 11 points, just minutes later the tide turned and both Singler and Czyz played big roles in making plays, be it altering shots, grabbing boards, dunking, making a steal … you name it, they helped spark a comeback.

Kyle Singler drained a key three point dagger at the end of a 12-0 run to put his team ahead for good 58-57 at the 4:03 mark.  How good was his team’s defense?  Well, they held the opponent to just two points the rest of the way, winning 66-59 on an amazing 18-2 run to close the game.

Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Gerald Henderson were in the crowd to watch their teammates as was Chris Carrawell.  There is more coverage and details of the event on the BDN Premium Message Board.  Here is the link official link for scores, schedules and results.

Plumlee shines, Coach K readying for China, Peach Jam and more

Duke commitment Mason Plumlee struggled a bit in his most recent game, but had 14 points and 14 rebounds in the previous game versus the Bahama’s as Team USA U-18 team continues to win.  The semi-finals start today with Team USA taking on Canada.

The time has been set for 9:00 est for the Duke at Purdue game which is part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.  This link lists the time for all games.  An aside, Mason and Miles Plumlee’s Mom played for the Purdue Women’s Basketball team and his Dad grew up rooting for the school.  His parents will have the opportunity to see their eldest son Miles in action just up the road.

Speaking of scheduling, Montana is looking forward to their jaunt to Cameron which highlights the Grizzlies schedule.

Team USA wants to re-establish itself to the world.  This link tells of how they plan to do it.

Dwight Howard is looking forward to July 21st which will be the start of practice in the quest for the Gold Medal.  Coach K is currently busy ironing out the final plans.  This is surely a busy time of year for Duke fans.

Boo Williams won the boy’s 17-U championship at the Peach Jam.  Blue Devil Nation Premium members have access to several interviews with the likes of Andre Dawkins, Jamil Wilson, John Wall and many more.  BDNP is a subscription service which takes you behind the scenes and allows access to discuss those issues on a premium members only message board.  Go to one of the paypal logos in the right side of the menu in this link which is our old site.

Andre Dawkins talks of his dream coming true and more

One of the highlights for Duke fans during the Peach Jam was a chance to view Andre Dawkins, the first commitment in the class of 2010.  DeMarcus Nelson still holds the distinction of being the youngest player Duke has signed, but Dawkins is not far behind.

[private]Dawkins is one of three 2010 kids that plays for Boo Williams U-17 team.  IOW, he is playing with the older guys.  Boo Williams is loaded as well with the likes of Deshawn Painter, Steve Pledger, Kendall Marshall,  Marshawn Powell, Ricardo Ratliffe and Tristan Spurlock.  This means, Dawkins comes off then bench and is depended on for his scoring ability.

In this past weeks games, Dawkins wasted little time showing why he is such a component off the pine.  Immediately upon enetering the game, he dribbled to the right of the key and drained a three.  Just seconds later he hit another.  Yes, outside shooting is his strength and he’s clearly the best at this on a talented team.

There are games which his minutes are cut, but next year, he’ll be one of if not the go to guy on a team that will still have Marshall at the PG and Travis McKie and James MacAdoo among others.  When he gets more minutes, he will be scoring around 18 ppg during the AAU season and will still have another year left.

Dawkins is still very much a youngster.  He has a baby face and his body is still developing.  Development will be the key for Dawkins and he knows it.  “I think I need to work on getting to the basket more and not being known as a one trick pony.  To be just a shooter … eventually you can be stopped, so I have to add more than just one dimension.  The Duke coaches have told me to be more aggressive,” said Dawkins.

During the high school season, Dawkins takes to the court with teammate Oklahoma bound Steve Pledger from the class of 2009.  Having played together on Boo Williams helps.  Dawkins had this to say about Pledger, “He can see the floor very well.  He’s definitely a pass first guy.  To be that good of a scorer and passer makes him easy to play with.”

I then asked him what it was like to be a Duke Blue Devil and he stated, “It’s cool.  I can say I’m a Blue Devil and that I’ve accomplished a goal.”  He went on, “Once you commit, you get a little ribbing.  Kendall Marshall and I go into our Duke-UNC mode, but we’re still alright.”  He went on to say that he looked forward to carrying the new found rivalry to the college court in the future.

Dawkins attended a couple of games this past season and plans on getting down for more.  I asked if he envisioned himself dropping a three as the Cameron Crazies erupting … “Oh yeah!  That’s the stuff you dream about.”  Dream was the keyword throughout the conversation.  There were four instances where he said being offered by Duke was a dream come true.

Finally, the world wants to know about his fiend Josh Hairston, so I asked about him and Dawkins responded, “I like playing with Josh.  He’s a good guy and we stay in touch.  I would love to play with him.  I thought he would have already committed,  It’s a big decision for him, so you don’t want to rush it.”

Blue Devil Nation will have a complete scouting report on his game later this week.  I have now seen him play in seven times and have a pretty good feel for his game.  We will also have an extended, in depth interview with Andre coming next week.[/private]