Category Archives: Duke Basketball

#5 Duke crushes Georgia Southern 97-54

[private]The Duke Men's Basketball team (2-0) trounced Georgia Southern (1-1) 97-54 to advance to the semifinals of the Coaches versus Cancer 2K Classic.  The Blue Devils used a suffocating defense which held the Eagles to 28.1% shooting from the field.  Duke held the visitors to just two field goals in nine plus minutes of the first half which enabled them to go on a tear.

Kyle Singler once again led the Dukies with 19 points and 8 rebounds in just 22 minutes.  No Blue Devil played more minutes as Coach Krzyzewski went deep into his bench.  Nolan Smith, Greg Paulus and Gerald Henderson all scored in double digits.

Jon Scheyer led the team in assists with 7 and freshman Elliot Williams got an amazing 11 rebounds in as many minutes.  In short, Duke bounced back with a much better effort than the previous evening, save their free throw shooting which was less than 50% - 24 of 49.

The Duke defense also turned 17 turnovers into 24 points.  Like I said in yesterday's game recap, I expected this game to make many forget the opener which was ugly on the eyes.

Coach Krzyzewski used several combinations and Brian Zoubek started for the first time this season.  Duke got contributions from several players, including David McClure who scored 4 points and grabbed 5 boards.

Duke will play the winner of the UMass - Southern Illinois game on November 20th with the time to be determined.  Duke stretched its non conference winning streak in Cameron Indoor Stadium to 61 straight games.  Coach K now has 805 career wins.  Duke will take on Rhode Island in Cameron on Sunday at 4:30 pm.  This will be the third straight game televised by ESPNU in the young season.  Duke is now 2-0 all time versus the Eagles.

Official Box Score Link

BDN Player of the Game - Kyle Singler[/private]

Basketball Recruiting Update

Blue Devil Nation Premium has the latest hoops recruiting update up for members.  Give the gift of information this Christmas to a Blue Devil fan dear to you.  [private] Not too much to report on John Wall until after he meets with Coach K in person which will take place at the earliest convenience.  My sources are saying that Duke feels that they will become seriously

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Copyright BDN

involved with Wall and an offer is a mere formality at this point.   The Wall camp has been receptive to Duke getting in late and will not hold that against them.

So far, scheduling has been the culprit.  Also, there is a dead period in recruiting at this time.  Many feel Wall wants to stay near home, but there are a few things which need to play out before I'd be willing to guarantee that possibility.  In short, Duke is very serious about getting John Wall to wear the royal blue.  I will talk to Josh Smith sometime this week.  He is still on the radar and Coach Nate James has been in touch with the prospect recently.

Harrison Barnes has become a serious priority and Duke will stay on the hot prospect as much as the NCAA allows.  There is a good feeling that Duke is right there with Kansas as the leaders early on.  Barnes has become a bit tight lipped of late and will not talk of his meeting with K other than the basics.

Duke has been and still is going after Brandon Knight, possibly the best player in his class.  I have heard from his parents that he will likely take a different path than Kenny Boynton.  You know what they say though, anything can happen in recruiting.  Anything can change too.  For instance, Duke has explained to Wall that once they offer a kid they are faithful to him.  When Boynton selected Florida, Wall got the attenation and he will soon know if he doesn't already that Duke is committed to him and him alone for the final spot in the class of 2009.

Finally, Boynton was pushed to stay in state by almost everyone close to him.  I can't go into specifics, but things got a little greasy if you will.  In the long run, teams can point to Nick Calathes he would be a Gator midnight before his "We shocked the world," signing party.  Sometimes, kids will waste a colleges recruiting budget for their own game.

I went into the archives for this July interview with John Wall -

Locked  Wall is 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.

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 a 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 there 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 known 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 and 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.


No, haven't heard from them.

Thanks for your time and I wish you luck in choosing the right school. [/private]

Duke vs Georgia Southern Preview and Predictions

[private]The Blue Devils take on Georgia Southern at 9:00 in Cameron Indoor Stadium to see who advances to New York in the 2K Sports Classic semi finals.  Duke looked a bit sluggish in last evenings 80-49 victory over Presbyterian and they face a Georgia Southern squad that defeated Houston 65-63.

One of the key players for the Eagles will be Sandy Perry (6-7), a junior front court player who scored 12

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points to go with 4 rebounds.  But the main man is Trumaine Pearson (6-8) who is an experienced senior.  Pearson scored 19 points and grabbed 11 boards, anchoring the post for Georgia Southern.

Willie Powers (6-0 sophomore) runs the show with Antoine Johnson (6-0 Junior).  Powers had 14 points and four rebounds in the opener, while Johnson struggled from the field, but led his team in assists.    Julian Allen is a (6-4 Senior) swing-man which plays a key role as well.

Georgia Southern connected on 80% of their free throws and 37% from beyond the three point stripe in their opener.  Georgia Southern is 0-1 against Duke, losing 87-75 in Cameron in 19-86.

What to expect - Duke should play a bit better in tonight's contest, but the Eagles have enough talent to contend throughout the game.  This is clearly the best team the Devils have played to date.  Duke will need to hit the boards and keep Pearson from going off inside. 

My pick is Duke 92 Georgia Southern 64

Bob Green's Pick - Duke 84 Georgia Southern 56[/private]

Duke wins opener – advances to face Georgia Southern

[private]Anytime there are 48 turnovers and 46 fouls in a game, it's going to be ugly on the eyes.  Duke opened -

courtesy Associated Press
courtesy Associated Press

the new season with a sloppy 80-49 win over Presbyterian in the Coaches vs Cancer 2K Sports Classic.  The Blue Devils were out of sync on the offensive end of the floor, missing open players and committing an bevy of turnovers. 

"We committed 21 turnovers.  That's a lot of turnovers for a team that's not pressing us.  A lot of our turnovers were self inflicted wounds.  We just gotta get better," said Kyzyzewski shortly after the opener concluded.

While a 32 point victory is good from an average teams standards, it is not from Duke standards.  One must consider that this is the second earliest start in history for the Devils and Coach K is still experimenting with various combinations.   In short, they are working out the kinks.

Kyle Singler was the clear choice for the player of the game.  Singler tallied a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to go with 2 blocks and two steals.  Nolan Smith, who was the starting point guard, added 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field to go with 3 assists.

Duke started slowly, the game being tied at 2-2 with just over fifteen minutes left in the half.  They rode a solid defensive effort to close out the half with a bang.  The aforementioned defense accounted for 27 Blue Hose turnovers and several steals.  Duke held their opponent to 30% shooting as well.

A bright spot was the play off the bench for Lance Thomas, who hustled his way to 12 points and 5 rebounds.   Miles Plumlee, getting his first start as a freshman went scoreless.  Jon Scheyer added 12 key points, almost all of them in the first half when Duke couldn't find their mark.

Gerald Henderson struggled to get into the flow as well, scoring just 6 points.  Brian Zoubek foulded out with just two points.  Paulus added 4 points and 3 assists, Czyz also had 4 points to lead the freshman in scoring.   Williams and McClure had 2 points apiece.

While many fans might fret and dissect the team after a lack luster performance, you can bet that they will be ready to play tomorrow evening when they take on Georgia Southern, a winner over Houston.

It seemed as if the team didn't allow the game to come to them on offense and more passes could have been made.  Several shots went halfway down and popped out and it's been awhile since Duke hit just 3 three point shots.

All of the mistakes are correctable and most of them will take care of themselves as the team moves along this season.  By tomorrow evening, I expect fans will remember this game as simply a win.  The reason is that it will be quickly forgotten if Duke takes care of the ball and works as a team to advance to New York.


Official Box Score link from

K-ments -

- “You hope [the defense] is always ahead of the offense, because it can produce offense. You have a chance to win if you play good defense. It was almost as if we were trying a little too hard on the offensive end at times. It comes. It’s our first game.”

- “I thought we played really hard, but it’s like when you watch any game that has good defense and the offense isn’t that good, you don’t think it’s that good of a game. But if the defense stinks and the offense is good, you think you went to a hell of a game. It’s like 9-8 in baseball, 33-30 in football – and that 10-7 game just stunk. And so I think that’s part of it. I thought we did have spark. We played really hard, or else we wouldn’t force 28 turnovers, but that didn’t translate to being fluid on the offensive end. We had 35 points off turnovers, and that’s when we had a numerical advantage. When their defense was set, I still thought we were trying to force things.”

- “I’d like to see some made lay-ups and the extra pass and to take better care of the ball. I don’t fault any kid. They’re playing hard. But in order to get better, you have to take responsibility and be accountable – we can play better offensively and that’s the only way you get to be really good. We want to be really good.”

- “I’m a big basketball-gods guy. I think sometimes you get punished – you miss layups and when you don’t see that open guy. We had that run in the first half, we were up 32-11, and four of the next five plays we had a guy wide open. We didn’t make a bad play, but it wasn’t the right play, and that just comes from playing. Hopefully we’ll make those plays.”

Kyle Singler -

- “This team is very competitive.  I think that’s one of our strengths – we just love to play and compete.  But tonight it just wasn’t there.  That’s on us.  Our standards weren’t met tonight and we’ve just got to come back tomorrow with a different mindset and attitude.”

 - “I did miss a lot of opportunities, but I’m not going to dwell on it.  It’s a team game, and we just have to move on.”[/private]

Three questions for Jon Scheyer

[private]How will the three point line being moved back play into this season?

The guys who really shoot the three can hit them, so it won't bother us that much.  It could become a little bit more of a specialty because teams will not have as many players who can shoot the three.  So, that can change how our game plan works.  Knowing the three is a little further will have us scouting team and looking for the changes.

As a team, how will you deal with the last two seasons early outs in the NCAA's?

You are going to be judged on what you do in March and we haven't done much.  All of us were anxious last year to get back after the loss in our freshman year.  This past year we learned you have to take the games one step at a time and when it comes March we'll worry about that.

How does it feel to be a captain for the Duke Basketball team?

It's something I dreamed about, wanting to be a captain and it's an honor to be named one at Duke University.  I'll do whatever it takes to lead the team.  I'm glad Coach and my teammates have confidence in me and I don't want to let them down.[/private]

Duke vs Presbyterian College preview and prediction

[private]The 2008 - 09 basketball season gets underway for real on Monday when Duke hosts Presbyterian College in the first round of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches versus Cancer. Presbyterian is led by Coach Gregg Nibert who is entering his 20th season as coach of the Blue Hose.

Presbyterian returns six players who saw significant minutes on last season's 5 - 25 squad. Center Al'Lonzo Coleman (6'7" 230) provides the Blue Hose inside presence. He averaged 11.2 points and five rebounds a game last season. Forward Bryan Bostic (6'3" 200) chipped in 10 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Josh Johnson (6'3" 185), Pierre Miller (5'10" 160), Travis Sligh (6'4" 210), and Walt Allen (6'4" 220) are the other significant returnees.

Turnovers and free throw shooting will be key points in the game. With Duke being the bigger and more athletic team, Presbyterian cannot afford to give Duke extra offensive possessions, and the Blue Hose must take advantage of scoring opportunities, from the charity stripe, that result from the Blue Devils' aggressiveness.

Taking care of the basketball is not Presbyterian's strong suit as last season they averaged more turnovers per game (14.9) than assists (12.5). Exploiting this weakness will be a primary objective for a Duke team traditionally known for its high intensity defense. In a 70 - 60 exhibition game loss to Division II Augusta State, on November 6th, the Blue Hose turned the ball over eight times, while recording seven assists.

Presbyterian also struggled from the free throw line last season as they made 65.4 percent of their free throw attempts. However, against Augusta State they knocked down 11 of 15 attempts (73.3%). Duke only knocked down 69.7 percent of their free throw attempts last season, but has converted a very respectful 78.3 percent of opportunities so far this season in two exhibition games.

Look for Duke to press relentlessly on defense creating easy scoring opportunities in transition, while taking advantage of their size by pounding the ball inside when in their half-court set. Duke is deep with 12 scholarship players healthy and ready to earn a spot in the rotation, so Coach Krzyzewski will have fresh players available at all times. The Blue Hose do not have the talent, size, or depth to give the Blue Devils a challenge so this game should be well in hand by half-time.

My prediction: Duke 93 - Presbyterian 50.

Watzone's pick:  Duke 97 Presbyterian 46[/private]