Our latest interview is with hot 2010 prospect Harrison Barnes. Brandon Knight is on deck and we will have camp updates. For information on how to join Blue Devil Nation Premium and preview our latest offerings, go here
Barnes is the real deal. He has a great overall package on the court. He slashes to the rim, can take his man inside or out and is a capable rebounder. His defense is really good for a young kid and he spaces and moves about the court well. Plays within himself and is selfless. He's bright, well mannered and attentive. As a soph, he averaged 16.8 PPG. He is in nearly everybodies 2010 Top Ten Prospects list. He is being evaluated by Duke this week.
If someone had never seen you play, how would you describe your game?
I would just say that I can do anything I need for the team to win. I can post up, go out to the perimeter, take the ball in, play defense. I would sacrifice my time and stay on the bench or do whatever to help my team win.
Where are you in the recruiting process at this time?
Iowa State and Iowa have been on me for a long time being that I play in state. Indiana, VCU, Maryland, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, USC have all offered.
Wow! That's quite a list. Are you open for anybody else to come in?
Are you hearing from other schools? Who have you heard from of late?
LSU, Georgetown and Duke
What about Georgetown?
They just say that they want to talk to me. They've called and expressed that they have interest in me.
What about Duke?
One of the coaches called recently.
Being from the Midwest, are you opposed to possibly going east?
Right now, I'm just waiting it out. I haven't ruled out going far yet. I am open to anyone.
What about your family, how would they feel about you leaving the area?
My Mom is okay with it. She has always said it was my decision to make, so she will support me anywhere I go.
Do you come from a big family?
Just me and my Mom and my sister.
Where does education come into play?
It's top of the list. It's ahead of basketball. You can only play basketball for so long.
Have you thought about what you might want to take in college?
Give me three words that best describes you as a person?
I'd say I'm personable, I'm a talker, I can talk ... communicate and I'm humble.
So, is there a timeline? Will you take all five officials or will you make a choice when it feels right?
I'm just taking my time right now. I am in no rush.
Who do you pattern your game after?
The skills? Somebody like Durrant.
How tall are you right now?
I'm 6-6 ... 6-7
And you are how old?
I just turned 16.
So, you have a long ways to go ... a lot of big schools are coming at you now. How do you stay grounded?
(At this time Travis McKie walked up and messed with Barnes) I said, "Hey, you got your time," as he walked off. Barnes stayed focused)
You just take it all in stride, one level at a time.
Do you go to a public school or a private school?
I go to a public school.
Do you have a preference in college?
As long as I get a good education ... that's all that matters.
Have you thought about being in classrooms that had like 130 as opposed to say 40?
I'd kind of like a small classroom.
Can you see yourself in the future and how you might use a business degree?
I just want to learn some managing skills and how money works in certain settings. I'd just like to start my own business. I would be willing to work in a larger firm until I figured out what I wanted.
What do you need to work on?
My dribbling so that I can play the 2 or 3 better in college.
Tell me one thing about Travis McKie that nobody knows?
(Looking at McKie who appeared again, laughing) Travis McKie, he's a punk. Seriously, I have had a chance to meet a lot of people at the camps and it has been enlightening.
Thanks for your time!
After a highly successful freshman season that saw Kyle Singler earn ACC Rookie of the Year and 3rd Team All-ACC honors, what will he do for an encore? Duke fans are anxious to find out. Singler averaged 13.3 points and 5.8 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game last season but he appeared to lose his legs during March as a result of being worn out from guarding bigger, stronger players all season as Duke was thin in the front court due to injuries. Basketball pundits love to throw around the term "potential" when discussing players. Therefore, here goes: Kyle Singler has unlimited potential in terms of skills. At 6-8 220 pounds Singler is the size of a prototypical Duke power forward such as Shane Battier or Danny Ferry. He is an excellent shooter with 3-point range, can drive with the basketball or deliver a precision pass to a cutting teammate, post up a defender, rebound with aggression, and is a solid defender. The numbers from last season validate his skill level. Singler has the potential to develop into as good of a player as former National Players of the Year Shane Battier and Danny Ferry. This coming season he will not only be more experienced but he will be stronger. Undoubtedly, the Duke coaching staff has pinpointed areas for Singler to focus upon over the summer. Kyle Singler has the potential to be downright scary good!
Thoughts of an improved Kyle Singler is an elixir to Duke fans upset with early departures from the NCAA tournament the past two seasons. The arrival of freshmen Miles Plumlee (6-10 230) and Olek Czyz (6-8 235) should shore up Duke's thin front line. Plumlee and Czyz will be able to assist Brian Zoubek, Lance Thomas, and Dave McClure in sharing duties guarding opponent's primary big man freeing Singler up to defend the opponents second inside player. The defensive end of the court is key in regard to Singler's sophomore season. The objective is to prevent the scenario where Singler is constantly guarding bigger, stronger players. With a deeper front court available, Coach Krzyzewski should be able to orchestrate the line-up and create interior match up advantages for Duke.
In commenting on the recognition he received as a freshman, "It means a lot - I put in a lot of hard work throughout the season," Singler said. "I feel very honored, but like any individual award, you kind of want to match it with a team award." With an improved Kyle Singler and seven other scholarship players back from last season, plus the return of Marty Pocius, and the arrival of three freshman including McDonald's All-American Elliot Williams, the team award Kyle desires may arrive at the end of his sophomore season.
Someone who desires to comprehend Lance Thomas’ impact on the basketball court should not look in the box score. Thomas brings intangibles onto the court that are not reflected in the after action statistics. Statistics tracking can be misleading and this observation is coming from a box score junkie. Throughout the course of a game, there is much action taking place on the court that is not reflected in the box score.
First, Thomas is a tenacious defender when Duke presses full court. His energy and aggressiveness disrupts the opponent’s offensive flow even if it doesn’t result in a turnover. An effective full court press will create turnovers and easy baskets, but not on every possession. The press is effective when backcourt pressure results in the opponent faltering in their half court offense. An effective full court press can drive an opponent’s offense into disarray and Lance Thomas is one of the Blue Devils dishing out that back court harassment.
Second, Thomas brings emotion onto the court. I’ve rechecked the box score categories and sure enough “emotion” isn’t tracked. However, Thomas’ enthusiasm for the game uplifts his teammates and motivates everyone on the court to excel and produce in the categories that are tracked in the box score. This emotion and enthusiasm is palpable to anyone sitting in front of a television watching a Duke Basketball game.
Lance Thomas has played in 63 games over the course of his first two years as a Blue Devil, starting 46 of those games. There is room for improvement in his game. For starters, he needs to shoot free throws better as he has made only 55.1 percent of his attempts. Grabbing rebounds on the defensive end of the court is another example. Thomas has secured only 87 defensive rebounds over 63 games. That averages out to less than 1.4 per contest. Thomas needs to be more active in limiting opponent’s second chance points, but I digress into statistics…
I’m not sure how to measure the intangibles that Lance Thomas brings onto the court but I am sure of two things. His teammates need his passion on the court and his effectiveness cannot be measured via the box score. Lance Thomas is another Blue Devil who is ready to breakout.
As a freshman, Zoubek struggled with turnovers. He turned the ball over 37 times in 235 minutes of action. At times, it seemed as if the refs blew the whistle and indicated traveling before Zoubek even caught the ball. Injuries derailed his sophomore season as he incurred a fifth metatarsal fracture in his left foot, during a pick-up game, on July 9, 2007, and then re-injured it in early January 2008. Zoubek underwent surgery on the foot twice and is currently finishing rehabilitation.
Being outrebounded 45 - 19 in the season ending loss to West Virginia lends credibility to the "lack of a serious post presence" rap. The single most important skill Zoubek needs to develop is the ability to control the boards. He grabbed 13 rebounds against St. John's on February 23, 2008, and nine rebounds against NCCU on November 9, 2007. As a junior, Duke needs him to consistently pull down rebounds, especially offensive rebounds that can be converted into points. Zoubek's career high for offensive rebounds is five, which is a respectable number. A couple of stick backs a game could be vital.
Another required skill development is knocking down free throws. Zoubek must improve on his career FT average of 58.4 percent. As a big guy, battling inside, he is going to get fouled and it is imperative that Zoubek develop the ability to go to the line and knock down the free ones. Two or three extra points a game can make a big difference. Zoubek's best game from the free throw line was against Columbia on November 12, 2006, when he went 10 - 13 from the charity stripe.
Duke does not need Brian Zoubek to develop into a dominating post player, but of course that would be nice. The Blue Devils need Zoubek to develop into a consistent player who can average 20 minutes a game and produce eight points and eight rebounds per contest. Maintaining a clean bill of health is the first and most important step for Brian Zoubek to develop into the anchor in the middle.
Coach K addressed the media today and mentioned that he would hit the road with his staff in early July. The exact date is July the 6th, which is Sunday. Former Coach Johnny Dawkins will serve with Team USA. Coach also mentioned that they try to recruit certain one and done type of kids and that he favored allowing talented kids go straight to the pros. He mentioned he preferred a two and one or two year commitment as well.
[private]Duke kicks it off at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio where Coach K and Wojo will cover Jamil Wilson who we interviewed just days ago, Harrison Barnes whose interview will be up tomorrow and Jason Morris, our latest premium offering. They will of course check out Andre Dawkins our first commitment in the class of 2010.
Coach Collins will be solo at the Adidas Tournament in Cincy. There he will see Josh Hairston who BDN has made it clear we think will be a Dukie and Nate Lubick who we interviewed last week. He will also see Josh Smith, 2010 PG Tyler Thornton who visited Duke unofficially just a short time ago and Ray McCallum.
Before Adidas, Collins will be solo at the Adidas event in Cincy. There he will watch Josh Hairston, who I have told you will commit to Duke unless something goes really wrong. Add Nate Lubick who I interviewed recently for BDN Premium, Tyler Thornton who visited Duke last week unofficially, Josh Smith and Ray McCallam.
Nate James will make his first splash at the Peach Jam (we will be at this event) where Wojo will show him the ropes. Jamil Wilson, Andre Dawkins who we are waiting to talk to in person and several youngsters will be at this event as well.
Meanwhile, Chris Collins will head to Miami with Coach K where they will take in Team Breakdown's Annual Tournament. He will of course be watching Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight. Oh, and don't pay too much attention to how Kenny responded to the Duke question in the link I provided. I want it out there that Duke is not the leader from his mouth. The reason being, the media can pick at Duke by asking him this question. That's the same thing that happened in the Monroe recruitment. He may well have gotten tired of the Duke leads questions. If the media gets wind of this statement, then this constant question will be defused. I mean Kendall Marshall's unscrupulous Father used this to annoy Kenny during the NBAPA Camp.
Then Duke will be represented at the Triple S Harley Jamfest- in West Virginia. Hairston and Thornton will participate in this event. The open period for coaches ends on this weekend and then they return to duties in Vegas with Team USA.
Duke will install their new scoreboard in Cameron Indoor Stadium in August. All of the men's team is currently on campus and playing pick up together with the exception of Henderson and Zoubs. Their injuries are healing as expected and they are on schedule. Our next interview is with the hot prospect, Harrison Barnes. Keep the names here, folks! No hints out there please.[/private]