Category Archives: Duke Basketball

One on One with future Dukie Mason Plumlee

The following is a question and answer session with Duke commitment Mason Plumlee which took place after his teams victory.  Plumlee discusses his match up with Ryan Kelly, his brother Miles and

Plumlee slams one of two consecutive dunks down - copyright BDN Premium Photos
Plumlee slams one of two consecutive dunks down - copyright BDN Premium Photos

Marshall, his teams play, his spectacular dunks in his first Glaxo game, what the Duke coaches have him working on, his love for the Triangle area and much more in this exclusive one on one interview.

Let's back up to the Chic-Fil-A tournament where your team faced Ravenscroft.  A lot of people wanted to make that game out to be Mason Plumlee vs Ryan Kelly, both of you Duke commitments.  Were you more pumped up for that game than normal?

I was more-so because Ravenscroft was a team ... they were undefeated, we were undefeated and we just wanted to make our mark as a team.  Of course people try to hype up individual stuff.  We talked about it as a team ad decided we are going into every game as a team.  It's not us against them.  We had a game where one team had a kid that was going to a school that didn't offer Reggie, but we still attacked them as a team and not individual match ups. [private]

What's it like to have Duke Assistant Coaches Wojo and Collins watching you?

It feels good just to see them at the game.  It makes you want to play well, that for sure (smiling).  It's good to have them here.

I see that your parents are here and your younger brother plays along with you.  Are you finding a little time to relax with them during this time?

Yeah.  I've been with Miles the last couple of days.  We're getting to know Durham a little bit.  I like it down here.

What has Miles told you about his freshman season at Duke?

He just said it was a lot of work.  He's glad he went to Christ School because it's prepared him for college as best it could be.  But he said college is a whole other animal in terms of his studies.  He's in Engineering

That's biting off a lot as a freshman ...

Yeah, he just says it's tough to balance school and basketball.  He loves it at Duke.  That's never been questioned.

You seem to have added more to your game.  What was going through your head when you threw down that reverse dunk?

(laughing)  Maybe not in this game but when you play against so many athletes and stuff where people try to block your dunk from behind, if you go under the rim you still get the dunk in.  I probably didn't need to do it, but whats wrong with something different?

The crowd loved it ...

Yeah (smiling)

Has the staff told you to work on anything in particular?  What have they said to you?

Coach K saw me in my final game of the Chic-Fil-A and he wants me to play with my back to the basket and get a better feel down there.  "Get my behind on the block," he says, so (smiling)

Are you having a good time in high school or are you anxious to get to the next level ...

I'm loving every second of it in high school.  I love my team, I love my coaches and I want to enjoy every second.  I'm looking forward to Duke, but I just want to live in the moment.

Tell me a little bit about Marshall.  Whats going on with him these days?

He's trying to live the day, but he's been working hard.  He hasn't come into his own completely which is obvious.  But he always plays hard getting rebounds and blocking some shots.  He'll just keep getting better.

Do you guys ever work out together?  What routines are you going through to build yourself up?

There are a couple of people on the team who are always working on their game.  It's obvious who wants to get better and we work hard in high school.  We go hard in practice, but outside of that we are always in the weight room or doing skills stuff.

Coach Gaines admitted to me that you guys were looking ahead to that Oak Hill game a little bit.  What are your thoughts on that?

I was upset after the game last year because we lost by three.  If I remember right I missed three free throws in the second half.  So, it's just one of those games ... we only had two losses last year and that's one of those games we shouldn't have lost.

So, how are your parents liking the area?

They like it.  They moved down for the week.  Where we are from ... it's kind of boring.  I'm trying to talk them into moving down here, but only if they can.  I love it here.  We did some last minute Christmas shopping ... it's a nice area.

Are you looking forward to the challenge against Kinston and UNC commitment Reggie Bullock?

It's going to be a good challenge and we are looking forwad to competing and hopefully winning this tournament.  That's our goal.

Thanks for your time.

Thank you! [/private]

Plumlee helps Christ School advance, going 9 of 11 from the field

[private]The Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational has afforded Duke fans their first opportunity to see 2009 commitment Mason Plumlee play in the Triangle since last seasons State Championships.  Plumlee didn't disappoint, prompting one recruiting guru to exclaim, "Mason is the real deal, Duke has got a good one in him.  He can do it all."

Plumlee is the younger brother of current Duke player Miles Plumlee, yet he was the first to cast his lot to wear the royal blue.  He plays for Christ School of Arden, the defending state champion and a team that is now a traditional North Carolina power.

Plumlee pretty much had his way in his teams 70-45 win over Apex Middle Creek during their tournament opener.  Plumlee tallied 18 points going 9 of 11 from the field.  He added 7 rebounds and 2 blocks to his total as well.

"He continues to do what he should.  He plays like a high school All American should play," said Christ School Coach David Gaines.

Plumlee showed off his ball handling ability and was a force on the boards while altering shots.  He threw down a reverse slam dunk as the first half ended and had two consecutive dunks prior to that. 

"We just did what we needed to do.  I think it all starts with our rebounding.  We have great defenders and when they can put that much pressure on the perimeter and we get some easy baskets offensively, it makes things come together much quicker," said Plumlee when talking of his teams win.

Plumlees numbers may seem a bit low to some, but one must consider that his team features seven Division I prospects or commitments and they can go very deep.  How deep?  Well, they played ten players in the first half against Middle Creek.

"He is a little too unselfish for me.  I would like to see him dominate more, but I think Mason has a feel for the game and wants to get others involved maybe a little bit too much," said Gaines.  He then touched on the aforementioned depth. "Mason Lakeems' (Jackson, South Carolina commitment)statistics are misleading.  They are averaging about 16 points a game, but both would rather pass it than shoot it."

Plumlees team will face Rocky Mount led by UNC commitment Reggie Bullock on Monday evening as the Glaxo Invitational continues in Raleigh.  "Kinston is going to be the most disciplined well coached team that we've played.  "Reggie Bullock is a tremendous player and they do things the way we do things.  That's (game) is going to be more of a chess match," said Gaines when asked of Rocky Mount.

Blue Devil Nation Premium subscribers can get a more detailed scouting analysis and a one on one question and answer session with Mason Plumlee  Members also have access to the premium only message boards, where we blog live from the event.  Next up is a Ryan Kelly game story in our free section and a Ryan Kelly interview for members.[/private]

Glaxo Premium Report – Wall talks recruiting and Kelly his teams victory

The Blue Devil Nation was on the scene for the 37th Annual Tournament where we caught all of the action in a sold out venue.  We talked with John Wall about the recruiting process and where he stands.  BDNP talked to Duke commitment Ryan Kelly as well.  The following is an in depth report laced with plenty of details and full of scouting reports, interviews, pictures and behind the scenes chatter.  We will continue our live blog of the event on the Premium Message Board this afternoon.  It's a great time to join Blue Devil Nation Premium.  Details for membership are in the menu just under our name. [private]

Word of God - When Word of God players arrived in the media room, John Wall, CJ Leslie and Bishop Daniels joked about with each other about missed finger rolls or dunks.  While the three got along well together off the court, there were time when some of the Word of God players seemed to take their shots when they got them for fear of not getting enough shots.

John Wall - Word of God  is very athletic and the crowd really got into their game.  But all of their players seemed to want to make the showboat play.  Wall would show off his ball skills in an almost taunting manner when guarded one on one.  There was one short, stocky kid which got a five second call on Wall after his showboating.  That's a call he'll talk about to his family about one day when Wall is in the NBA.

In reality, his team is giving the crowd what they want and they run the court non stop, but did play a zone this evening which is uncharacteristic of their team.  Quite simply, WOG plays on emotion and their talent allows them to try and do things other teams wish they could.

Wall showed the ability to make amazing dunks from any and every angle.  His leaping ability is something to behold, especially considering he gets up so quickly.  He can make up ground like no other guard in the country and came floating through the air effortlessly for two blocks and a third which was called a foul.

Wall is a streaky outside shooter.  He would nail a couple and then miss one badly.  His strength is going to the hole and he actually needed the ball in his hands more in order to create on the break.  His half court PG skills need work, but he is a motor guy who will be a star on any level.

ESPN is doing a documentary on Wall and a piece for an upcoming ESPNU show.  The camera seems to follow Wall everywhere in an almost comical fashion, be it in the

Not even the Fire Marshall could get in to see Wall on Friday night
Not even the Fire Marshall could get in to see Wall on Friday night

stands before the game or close enough to see sweat glands at work in the team huddle.

Much has been made of past attitudes and problems with Wall.  His coach had this to say, "One of the things that people don't see is the strides that these guys has made as young men.  If you were to interview people that knew these guys years ago, they would tell you what they have developed most is not their game, but their character.

My Q & A with John Wall -  (Keep in mind there is limited time during this event and I fired off as many questions as I could which was pretty much half the questions asked total)

Somebody is going to bring up recruiting and where you are in the process, can you speak of that?  There was a TV camera on you quite a bit.  Is this the continuation of the documentary they were filming since the last time I talked to you in person at the Peach Jam.

"I'm not sure, really.  I think that's ESPN," said Wall who then turned to his coach asking, "Is that ESPN 360 ... I think?"

When will you trim your list?

"I think I will do it when I take two or three more visits.  When I take my last couple of visits that's when I will try to trim my list down and make a decision in April."

Are any of those visits set or in the near future?

"I've got to take one to Miami and Baylor and then I've got to take one more after that."

... and your list consists of?

"Kansas, Memphis, Baylor, Miami, N.C. State, Duke and Oregon."

Rising Star Bishop Daniels- Daniels was a sharp witted youngster witha big smile and seemed mature beyond his years.  When asked about playing with Leslie and Wall.  "Man they treat me like a little kid. They treat me like the baby. (room laughing) It's fun playing with them.  I go at them hard because they go at me hard.  They try to hurt me in practice (Jokingly), but it's different with two superstars on the court.  I'm trying to show what I can do on the courts too."  I then asked him to tell me something nobody knows about John Wall and CJ Leslie as both players put their faces in their hands.  "CJ is a clown and Johns a clown too.  They like to have fun, more fun than anybody I know."  Once in the hallway, I asked Bishop where he thought Wall might be leaning.  "It depends on which day it is.  He changes back and forth all the time."

Ryan Kelly -Kelly continued his perimeter play often handling the ball out front in his teams opening night win.  Kelly scored 21 points grabbed 4 boards and had 3 blocks. Ravenscroft defeated Apex 71-56 and the opponent had nothing to combat the size of the Ravens.

Kelly flushed three dunks and handled the ball well.  When he did take the ball in low, it allowed him to kick back out to teammates for open shots.  Kelly still needs a little work on his three point stroke, but his movement is smooth.  Again, I am impressed by his length when challenged defensively.  He easily mad up ground against shorter players.  He will be in action again this evening.

Ravenscroft teammate Matt Wilson who is heading to UNC-Wilmington had a solid game where he tallied 18 points.  FWIW, the official stats seem to need an extra stat person for they indeed differ from what many of us are keeping.

Former Duke player and Ravenscroft coach  Kevin Billermans comments -

Opening statement - "Our guards made some threes early which opened the game up for us and our defensive pressure allowed us to open it up to twenty points."

He wanted folks to know his team has not been healthy- "One of the things that people don't understand is that Madison is coming off a sprained ankle and has not been able to practice for an extended period of time.  Luke Davis our PG had streped throat down in South Carolina and did not have the energy he normally had.  When those two guys are healthy they created plays where Matt and Ryan can finish."

I asked about how he was using Ryan and that it seemed different from last year -We wanted to feature Matt (Wilson) more in the post this year.  Most teams don't have two big men.  With Ryan, he's so skilled and can create shots for himself Matt and our perimeter players.

Q and A with Kelly-

Did this game help your team get back on track after dropping one of three games in the Chic-Fil-A tournament?

"Yeah, definitely!  We began to get into a little bit of rhythm once now that this tournament has begun.  Obviously we didn't do as well as we would have like down at the Chic-Fil-A tournament.  But we finished with a win there and started off with one here and hopefully that can translate as we continue into the tournament."

I asked Kelly if having Chris Collins and his Father Doug in the stands got him more pumped up -

"I go out in every game prepared to play as hard as I can.  It's great to see that the coaches are supporting me, but I play the same with every game - the same emotion.

Chris Collins and Doug Collins - It's always great to see these two basketball

Kelly, Collins and Collins/copyright BDN Premium
Kelly, Collins and Collins/copyright BDN Premium

purists together.  They were going over X's and O's during the game and ESPN was sure to get a shot of them.  Kelly stopped over to talk with them after I talked with him.  Once a player is committed coaches are allowed to talk with their kids.

I will be covering the event today and will have a live blog going on the message board for members.  Mason Plumlee plays this evening followed by Ryan Kelly. [/private]

Glaxo Invitational Day One – Kelly, Wall lead teams to win

[private]The ghost of former Raleigh Broughton player, "Pistol" Pete Maravich would have loved to play in his former gym on Friday night.  The reason was there was a standing room only crowd so big that a horde of people were turned away outside.

The reason for the huge gathering of basketball fans was the 37th Glaxo Smith-Kline Holiday

Duke commitment Ryan Kelly and former Duke player Kevin Billerman pose after last nights victory
Duke commitment Ryan Kelly and former Duke player Kevin Billerman pose after last nights victory

Invitational.  Day One saw Duke commitment Ryan Kelly lead Ravenscroft to a 71-56 victory over Apex.

Kelly tallied 21 points and added 4 rebounds and 3 blocked shots according to the official stat sheet.  Kelly displayed a wide variety of moves.

"We definitely began to get in a little bit of rhythm as we get into this tournament in Glaxo and didn't do as well as we had liked to down at Chic-Fil-A (Invitational).  But we finished with a win there and started out with a win here," said Kelly after the game.

In the nightcap, John Wall displayed his incredible athleticism as his Word of God team advanced with a 67-41 blowout against Rocky Mount.  Wall finished the game with 16 points, 3 blocks and 2 assists.  He had three resounding dunks in the contest which brought the crowd to its feet.

Word of God will not play again until Monday evening and Ravenscroft takes to the court again tonight at 9:15.  Preceding that game, Mason Plumlee and Christ School open with their first contest in the tournament.

Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins and his Father Doug were there to take in the event.  Raleigh Police were called in to help handle the crowd outside where a line stretched for more than 100 yards two and three deep.

For complete and unmatched coverage, consider joining Blue Devil Nation Premium.  There you will find quotes from Kelly and Wall and analysis of the event that few fans were able to see.  You can also read our live blog from the event on the members only message board.  BDN will continue to report the results of the games in our free section as well, so check back in this evening.[/private]

Cutcliffe, Tyree Glover, Brian Zoubek and Gerald Henderson


Cutcliffe is popular on the recruiting trail 

Coach  Cutcliffe  and  the Duke staff landed a jewel in Tyree Glover a 230 pound physical linebacker.  "I like giving the punishment rather than taking it. And just the thrill of the chase," Glover said.  Be sure to read the article and you will see how hard Duke is working on the recruiting trail. Click this link

Here is an excellent article in the Philadelphia Enquirer which talks of the injuires that have slowed Brian Zoubek and Gerald Henderson and how both are reviving their games.  Many fans forget that both of these kids had off season surgery.[/private]

Holiday Thank You’s and Wishes to Duke Athletics, members, fans and more

[private]First of all, the BDN Team of Bob, Susan and myself would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  While I know many of you are traveling and or are enjoying time with your family, Istill want to bring you a few Holiday thanks and well wishes.  I hope you take the time to read our Christmas and Holiday well wishes to everyone from the Duke Band to Coach K!

I would like to thank our premium members and daily readers who make up the Blue Devil Nation.  We, at BDN, feel that all of us make up the Nation and we continue to expand that community.  Our members allow us to keep the BDN going and in return we try to give them the best inside coverage available.  Without subscribers, we couldn't bring our coverage to the rest of the Duke Community and make no mistake, we need that support.

Let's put a special emphasis on Coach K, who continues his success with his juggernaut program.  He helped give the whole country a Gold Medal and continues to be a steward for the game itself.  You have given us so many wonderful memories and thanks for letting us share the ride.  We are very fortunate to have Mike Krzyzewski at the helm.   We wish his entire clan, dogs and all the best!

I would like to also think the fine staff under him.  Our best to Chris Collins,Steve Wojciechowski, Nate James, Chris Carawell and their families!.  Collins and Wojo are some of the hardest working and most dedicated coaches in the game and we need to enjoy them while they're here for programs will soon come knocking.  It's comforting to see you guys on the sidelines.

Nobody was happier than me when Nate and Chris joined the program.  Nate is an articulate young man who will suceed at this level and Chris has a desire to succeed that will serve him as well.  The BDN will soon have an article up on their Basketball Clinic where our members and supporters allowed us to send kids to their camp from lesser fortunate backgrounds.  Welcome to the program guys!

Then there are the Duke Men's Basketball players.  Thanks a lot for building new memories for us fans and representing the program with the utmost dignity and spirit.  As fans, we look forward to the rest of the season and we back you all thick and thin. Thanks to Paulus for his amazing leadership and Singler for is amazing knowledge of the game, Henderson for his athleticism and help defense, Scheyer for his hard work in the off season, Zoubs for his resilient play, McClure for his fighting through injuries to become a key contributor, Smith for him taking on the role of a leader, Thomas for his tenacity, Pocius, Johnson, DavidsonWilliams, Plumlee and Czyz for being on the best team in America.

Let's not forget Coach P and her group of fine young women.  The Duke Women's Basketball team has had a run of recent victories and the best is yet to come!  The BDN enjoys covering their games and looks forward to the senior season ahead for Abby, Chante and Careem.  Go out there and make some memories girls!  We'd also like to thank SID Lindy Brown for making our coverage possible.  He's one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.

That brings us to Duke Football Coach David Cutcliffe!  We at the BDN hope you take a much needed break from your hard work on and off the field to enjoy time with your family.  It's been a pleasure getting to know you and your staff this season and as a football fan, I would like to thank you for letting Duke fans and myself know you'll get the job done.   You have assembled a great staff and I want to give them all a Holiday shout out, from OC Kurt Roper to Ethan Johnson, you all make up a heck of a family.  Oh, and those in the office too, led by my pal Peggy.

I would like to also wish happy holidays to all the players who worked so hard with a special emphasis to three outstanding seniors who led both side of the ball in Michael Tauiliili and Cameron Goldberg and Eron Riley.

Warm "Holiday Wishes," to new Athletic Director and Vice President Kevin White as well.  You have been a wonderful addition for Duke University and your leadership skills and vision will serve us all well.  Seeing how you are so hands on during our coverage is more than just a little encouraging.

I wish Mike Cragg a continued and speedy recovery from his recent surgery.  Cragg is a good guy and he serves Duke well which includes a lot more than his work with the Legacy Fund.

Another shout out for a safe holiday to our spirited and lovely Duke Cheerleaders.  While you may seem under appreciated, I'd like you to know that you gals have been BDN's most popular photo gallery.  And we'll have that gallery back up soon.  You will always be recognized by the Blue Devil Nation as will the ...

Duke Band!  Thanks for all of your hard work and spirit!  Having met some of you, I can tell the Nation that you are some fine young men and women.  The teams and fans need you!  GTHC!

And lest we forget the best mascot in America - the Blue Devil!

The Cameron Crazies and Wade Wacko's!  Thanks for you current past and continued support.  Your importance cannot be understated.  That said, go home, rest up and celebrate with friends and family.  Then come back and cheer hard.

The best of the Holidays to my friends and Knights of the Round Table during media events, Jim Sumner, Bill Brill, Bob Harris and Al Featherston.  It's always nice to rub elbows with you guys.  A special thanks to John Roth as well for his hard work for Duke and the opportunities he's allowed me.

And warm wishes to my network of sources who if I mentioned you all, everybody would use you;)  Thanks for the information and working together.

Hope the Duke Sports Information Department Team has a nice break themselves.  And let's not forget Frank Dascenzo who keeps me entertained with his memories.  There are many others, [/private]