Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Coach K talks Southern Illinois, Paulus and Henderson

[private]The four participating coaches in the 2K Coaches for Cancer Classic had their teleconference at noon today.  Here are the majority of Coach K's comments -

On Team USA Basketball program -

A goal of ours is to bring USA Basketball throughout the age groups, like the seniors - the elite players.  This should filter down sand have the same level for the kids who are developing and those who will be an integral part.

On Coach Lowrey and Southern Illinois -

He is a really good player and we had an outstanding game.  Chris Collins played really well in that game and bobby Hurley.  We had a very good team.  We had Grant and Cherokee ... and they were really good.  Coach Lowrey is like an old school coach.  You know fundamentals.  His kids play really well together and each year they not only grow individually, they grow together.  The kid Mullins is really good - he's such a good leader for them.  He epitomizes the type of player that their program has had over the last ten or so years.  They've had some outstanding coaches and outstanding teams.  We have ultimate respect for them.  It's going to be a great game for us.

On Greg Paulus -

We were off yesterday for the mandatory day off, but he was in for treatment.  He's doing better.  You could tell he wasn't close to being 100% on Sunday.  If he doesn't get injured more in today's practice or tomorrow, we'll see how he can keep coming.  We need him.  Greg is an integral part of who we are as a basketball team.  In fact, we feel that he will be much better on Thursday.

Do you separate the Olympic and Duke experience?

You can't separate those things.  The experience you have as a coach, just accumulative ... the experience I've had coaching the Olympic team the last four years has helped me, immensely.  It's furthered me as a coach and the program here at Duke.  It's like getting a PHD in your sport.  It's helped me and I would never separate it because the lessons you learn just X'S and O's wise - the lessons you learn from other coaches and people you complete with.  They're all relevant as you go forward and now with my Duke job.

On Gerald Henderson -

"G" is can be that explosive player for us - the guy that can get his own shot.  I think up to now, he's putting a little too much pressure on himself.  He's putting too much pressure on every play trying to be that for us and I think once he gets into a good rhythm. He has a chance to be a better player, one of the best in the country.  He hasn't played like he wants to or like we wanted him to.  Hopefully, Madison Square Garden will bring out the best in him.

Link to Duke vs Southern Illinois Game Facts and Figures[/private]

John Wall talks of his Memphis visit and scheduling a trip to Duke

John Wall returned from his visit to Memphis on Sunday afternoon and he may pay a visit to Duke possibly on [private] Tuesday of this week, the day before the team leaves for the Coaches versus Cancer 2K Classic in New York.

"Probably some time next week or this week," said Wall on when that visit might take place.  I then

BDN Photography
BDN Photography

asked if Duke was a serious player at this time and Wall said, "I haven't been offered yet.  Coach K wants me to sit down and talk to him in person and we'll take it from there."

He seemed to have liked his visit to Memphis, bit didn't elaborate too much on how it went saying, "It went good.  I think it's a great school with a great environment.  The fans show support and it was a great visit over all."

When asked who would play the biggest role in his recruitment he stated, "Probably my Mom and my high school and AAU Coach, Brian Clifton."

Wall also has a criteria which has pretty much remained the same saying, "I'm looking at the style of play, how my relationship might go with the coach.  I like a style that lets you get up and down the court."

"The thing I most need to work on is my jump shot," said Wall.  That's about the only thing which needs polish for Wall is a cat quick point guard who plays good on ball defense and finds his teammates with his unselfish play and terrific passing ability.

"All the teams on my list have been aggressive," said Wall.  He continued to name his list and Duke was still in it.  "They had showed some interest before and explained to me how they recruit players and once they offer they stick with that player."

He was of course talking about Kenny Boynton, who recently selected Florida.  That opened the door for Wall.  He also stated that Coach K had handled the majority of the process.

I asked the young prospect to describe his game in his own words.  "I'd say clutch and I can lead my team to victory and get other people involved and he can lead his team to victory," said Wall.  As a person, he said, "I'm cool, like to have fun and try to be a good person."

For those of you think there might be an early verbal to a school, think again.  Wall stated, "I will wait until spring before I make a decision, that hasn't changed.  I'm still wide open."

Walls list of schools - Duke, NCSU, Baylor, Memphis, Kansas, Oregon, Clemson

His team's first game - November 28th [/private]

Duke wins a thriller over Rhode Island, 82-79

[private]The Duke Blue Devils survived Rhode Island's best shot on Sunday, and came away with a 82-79 win.  Of course it took quite the effort from the Dukies as well, namely Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler.  Singler twice hit two critical free throws to put Duke ahead at 78-77 and 80-79 on his way to 21 points, 5 boards and 5 assists.

“I tried clearing my head. You can’t let anything get to you. I knew we were down on all four them. I needed to sink them for the team to win. I stepped up with confidence and knocked them down,” Said Singler.

Scheyer drained 13 of 13 free throws including 6 of 6 with 3:18 remaining in a game that was on the line.  His biggest two came with three seconds left giving Duke the lead for good at 82-79.  Scheyer was also the Blue Devils leading scorer with 23 total points.

In a game that had a tournament atmosphere, Duke had to claw their way back time and time again.  While the lead changed hand just 9 mes, the game was intense from the opening tip.  In fact, Duke found itself trailing most of the contest. 

“As good as the players were for both teams, the crowd was right there. This was a big time crowd today. Our crowd helped us so much today. They were fantastic. It was one of those February games in November. It’s a big-time game today. I don’t know how you get prepared for a game like this until you get in it. I thought in those last five minutes we did everything right, which you can’t practice, you’ve just got to be there," said Kryzewski just minutes after the game.

Krzyzewski continued,  “We’re lucky to have Dave [McClure] and Lance [Thomas]. They just played so hard. Greg was in a tough position today because two days ago he really hurt his arm. He took a charge, and his arm swelled so much he couldn’t move his hand. This was Friday, and he kept ice on it all night and some of the swelling came down and yesterday he was able to somewhat close his hand and then he spent all night and today icing to where in our shoot-around he shot it a little bit. That kid played with a lot of guts today."

 For a while it seemed as if the Rams would pull the shocker as they took a punch and countered time and time again.  Jimmy Baron, the coaches son, put on a dazzling display of ways to get off three point shots, going over the Duke defense for 24 points. "He’s a great player. We wanted to win so bad and we’d get it down to a two-point game and then he’d hit a three and it’d go to five.  We would come back down and score and then they would score.  It was a game where it was hard to stop people," said Scheyer. 

Barons teammate, Delroy James added 21 on 9 of 12 shooting, many on pull ups which barely moved the net.

In the end, it was Duke's patented man to man defense that finally made Barron moveoff the dribble.  As he drove the lane, he was forced to alter his shot, missing badly with 10 seconds left in the game.  Kyle Singler, then made the games biggest block and Duke grabbed a team rebound and held on after Scheyers aforementioned clutch free throws.  "

Ultimately, we knew we were getting good shots and opportunities.  We just needed to get stops," stated Scheyer.

The game had a tournament atmosphere and the Cameron Crazies were on top of their game, giving the team a huge lift.  In short, the game is an early season instant classic in that an inspired Rhode Island  squad had the crowd sitting on pins and needles until the final buzzer.

Duke went with just eight players for the most part in that Coach K obviously felt comfortable with his veterans against a team filled with junior and seniors at the key positions.  Duke had just two points on the fast break because the Rams game plan was to get back on defense and run when they could.

Duke made a living at the free throw stripe going 28 of 32, a sizzling 87.5%.  The Blue Devils were out rebounded by 2 boards, but out scored the Rams in the paint 38 to 26.  The Devils struggled from the three

Scheyer hits the second FT which puts Duke up for good at 82-79
Scheyer hits the second FT which puts Duke up for good at 82-79

point stripe going just 4 of 17 for 23%.  On the other hand, the red hot visitors were 10 of 14 for 71.4%, a stat any coach would love.

Duke valued the ball down the stretch and ended the game with just 10 turnovers as Coach K's mentor, Bobby Knight looked on from the sidelines.  Knight and his wife are visiting with Krzyzewski before he works the Kentucky at UNC game on Tuesday evening.

While some fans on the various message boards are complaining a bit, thinking it is Duke's birthright to win blowout after blowout, they are failing to see is how much a game like this can help a team grow.  Duke took an inspired teams best shot, yet dug deep to win with a ton of adversity.

This game taught the team many lessons and Coach K will use this contest to his advantage in preparing his team for Southern Illinois, another tough team, in New York on Thursday.   More importantly, Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer stepped up and showed they are true leaders on this team.[/private]

#8 Duke Women Throttle Maine, 98-31

[private]Abby Waner hit a three point shot in the opening  minute of the game and Duke never looked back, in route to a 96-31 blowout.  The Blue Devils went on an early 15-1 run and rode that to a 47-12 halftime lead. 

The stats at the break said it all.  Duke out rebounded the Bears 28-14 and made a living at the free throw stripe hitting 16 of 20.  The Blue Devils stifling defense put a vice grip on the visitors who struggled to 4 made field goals in just 20 shots.

The second half was similar to the first with Duke outscoring Maine 10-0 in the first minutes.  The game gave Coach McCallie the opportunity to to play all twelve players.  This allowed freshman Kathleen Scheer, Chelsea Hopkins and Shay Selby to get significant minutes.

Scheer had 9 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists in her college debut.  Shay Selby had 7 points and 2 assists.  Perhaps the most productive freshman was Chelsea Hopkins who tallied 9 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

"It's always great when you can go deep into your bench and give everyone some positive experience.  It's one thing to get positive experience, it's another thing for people to take advantage of it.  It's one thing to get some playing time, but another to be extremely productive and very intense during your time on the floor.  I thought this group really did a super job attacking and going to strengths," said McCallie.

It was also a milestone for senior Chante Black in that her opening basket was her 1000th career point.  That basket came via assist from fellow senior Abby Waner.  Black also moved in to the top ten All Time Leading Shot Blockers in the ACC with a total of 4. 

Black was the teams high scorer with 16, fellow senior Waner had 9 points and 5 assists.  Thomas had 13 points. Cheek 10, Jasmine Thomas and Gay 7 apiece and 6 for Mitchell and 5 for Jackson. 

The Duke defense caused 38 Bear turnovers and held them to 23% shooting for the game.  They out rebounded Maine 56-17 and had 23 assists to just 5 for the opponent.  Duke had 27 second chance points and 19 more from the fast break.    The Dukies outscored Maine 50-14 in the paint.  McCallie won her 343rd game as a coach.

Black has a total of 1015 points in her career.  Abby Waner tied Vickie Kraphol in all time thee pointers for Duke and is 25th in the ACC.  Careem Gay hit her first career three pointer.  Joanne McCallie coached the Bears head coach, Cindy Blodgett in her stint at Maine.  The Blue Devils move to 2-0 for the season and will now head to Chicago, Illinois for the DePaul Invitational where they open with Hartford on 11-21 at 6:30 PM CST.[/private]

Duke Women cripple Oklahoma State with second half comeback

[private]The Duke Women won their opener over a pesky Oklahoma State team, led by All American candidate Andre Riley.   To say it was a tale of two half's would be appropriate in that Duke went into the locker room trailing 44-35, their heads still spinning from Rileys speed to the bucket where she tallied 20 points.

Duke was shooting but 33.3% at the break and a paltry 1 of 11 from the three point stripe didn't help.  The Cowgirls had also stayed even with the Blue Devils on the boards, not to mention just two successful perimeter shots.  In short, it looked as if the 14th rated team from the Big Twelve was poised to spoil the evening for the 6000 fans in the stands. 

Those fans made their way to Cameron thorough a downpour of rain and it seemed to continue early on.  But the rains stopped at the start of the second half and Duke's fortunes did as well.  Once the weather cleared from the first half storm, Coach McCallie righted the ship.

The main move she made was to go to the zone and back off the press which Riley had moved through with ease.  The Dukies also made it a point to get the ball to their star front court player, senior Chante Black who would score 18 second half points on her way to a career high 28 points to go with 10 boards.

It was essential that Duke got the ball on the blocks, in that their starting guards of Waner and Thomas struggled on the evening with 5 of 29 from the field.  Despite the off night, each of the them hit huge three pointers in an amazing second half run.

Cheek started the rally with a three, but Shuante Smith made a quick lay up and it looked as if the game would go much like the first half did.  At the 18:32 mark, a royal blue storm took over as the Devils erupted to the delight of Cameron fans.  When the dust started to clear, Duke had gone on a 20 to 1 run to take a 58-46 lead.

It was the kind of comeback that made one realize how fortunate they were to have witnessed the thrilling turnabout.  The Duke zone stifled the Cowgirls and Riley scored just nine second half points, but to their credit, they never gave up.

The Blue Devils outscored their opponent 42-24 in part due to stellar defense where they eliminated the backdoor lay ups.  But the real culprit is that the Devils dominated the boards 34-20 after the break.   Careem Gay led the way with11 rebounds and it's worth noting that her first half offense kept the Devils close going into the half.

The win was the 18th straight home opener.  Duke will host Maine on Sunday at 12:00 in Cameron and tickets are available.  Check back later this evening for more coverage from this game.[/private]

Preview: Rhode Island Rams

[private]Leading scorer Kyle Singler will lead the Duke Blue Devils against the Rhode Island Rams on Sunday at 4:30 pm in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Rhode Island has size and athleticism, and will arrive at Cameron Indoor Stadium as the best team on Duke's schedule to date. It remains to be seen whether the Rams have the talent to seriously challenge the Blue Devils, but this game will not be a pushover so the Blue Devils need to be focused on the task at hand - beating Rhode Island - not looking ahead to New York City and Madison Square Garden.

Last year, Rhode Island jumped out to a 14-1 start before fading over the second half of the season and finishing 21-12 in the tough Atlantic 10 conference earning a bid to the NIT. Leading scorer Will Daniels (18.6 ppg/6.5 rpg) has graduated along with Parfait Bitee (11.8 ppg/4.7 apg), but Rhode Island returns six players who significantly contributed, and welcome three freshman and a transfer from Connecticut who sat out last season in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.

Seniors Jimmy Baron (6'3" 195) and Kahiem Seawright (6'8" 235) averaged 14.2 points/1.9 assists and 9.2 points/8.4 rebounds per game respectively. Jason Francis (6'9" 280) is the team's third Senior. Juniors Lamonte Ulmer (6'6" 215) and Keith Cothran (6'4" 195) both averaged double digit minutes, while Junior Delroy James (6'8" 220) averaged 9 minutes per game. The three Juniors combined for 17.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season. Sophomore Marquis Jones (6'1" 200) is projected to be the starting point guard.

Rhode Island strengths: Jimmy Baron is a very good shooter and has range. He made over 40% of his 3-point attempts last season and will be the Rams' Go-to-Guy. Baron made 91% of his free throw attempts so, like Jon Scheyer, he will have the ball in his hands a lot even though he isn't the point guard. Rebounding is another strength as Rhode Island was second in the Atlantic 10 and averaged 13.4 offensive rebounds a game. Kahiem Seawright was the leading rebounder in the Atlantic 10 conference. Seawright is the core of the Ram's inside game but he will receive support from small forward Lamonte Ulmer who is active on the glass. Ulmer averaged 7.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game off the bench last year.

Rhode Island vulnerabilities: The Ram's point guard is untested and against a high intensity defensive team such as Duke that could be a big problem. Perimeter defense is also a suspect area for Rhode Island. They were burned in Atlantic 10 conference play last season as teams exploited the Rams from behind the 3-point arc. Finally, Rhode Island likes to get out in transition but they can struggle in their half-court offense. When matched against teams that are able to match their speed and athleticism, the Rams are prone to being erratic on offense.

Keys to the game: Foul trouble will be the first indicator one team is in trouble. While both teams have sufficient depth, there are key players that must stay on the court. For Duke, the player is Kyle Singler. It is important that the combination of Lance Thomas, Miles Plumlee, and Brian Zoubek execute against Rhode Island's big interior players. If Kyle Singler is forced to do the dirty work inside, picks up fouls, and is forced to the bench, Rhode Island will gain an advantage. For Rhode Island, Seawright and Baron must stay on the court for the Rams to be competitive.

Second, turnovers will be critical. Both teams like to get out in transition and force game tempo. Which team will be successful? The team that successfully executes their running game by forcing turnovers and scoring in transition will gain a significant advantage toward ultimate success. Look for Duke point guards Nolan Smith and Greg Paulus to pressure Marquis Jones relentlessly in an attempt to deny Rhode Island the opportunity to establish fast paced offensive flow.  Lance Thomas and Dave McClure are very strong defensive players in a fast paced environment so look for these two to see plenty of playing time against the Rams.

Finally, long rebounds off of missed 3-point shots will be important. Rhode Island and Duke like to shoot from behind the arc so it will be important for perimeter players to secure rebounds. Long offensive rebounds equate to extra opportunities to score the ball. Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, and Elliot Williams are all strong rebounding guards who will need to out hustle the Rams.

Last season, Rhode Island averaged 80.5 points per game and shot 47 percent from the field including 38 percent from behind the 3-point arc. They were the 82nd best team in the nation according to Pomeroy Basketball Ratings. Duke's first two opponents this season were ranked 294 (Presbyterian) and 141 (Georgia Southern).[/private]