Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Peach State Summer Showcase Day 1, Lubick, Morris

Well, I arrived in Aiken, S.C. just before tipoff of the Playaz versus Baltimore Stars.  As it turns out the Peach State Summer Showcase has 30 teams that could not get into the Peach Jam.

[private]In another twist, Jason Morris is playing for Playaz and not at the Peach Jam.  His teammate is Nate Lubick.  There team won going away as Baltimore had just seven players, but three more came in late.

Lubick was money from the field, going 6 of 7 from the field for 14 points.  He added a block and 2 boards.  He had 2 turnovers.

Morris scored 10 points, going 2 of 3 from the three point stripe.  He showed the ability to hit from the line which will move back in college this coming season.

Head Coaches watching were, Jim Beilein of Michigan, Billy Gillespie of Kentucky, Mike Anderson of Missouri and Sean Miller of  Xavier.  Assistants from UCLA, Boston College, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Providence, Vandy, Oklahoma, Syracuse and West Virginia.

Lubick hustles and is smart.  He needs to add strength, but he is young.  He ran the court well and gets to his position on defense.  He can pass (1 assist) and position well.  Hit 2 of 2 free throws.

Morris is athletic, spaces well, dribbles through traffic well.  Has a good handle, but not great.  Capable of getting to his man defensively.  Needs to block out better.  Nice range on his shot tonight with good rotation.

Isiah Armwood is not with the Baltimore Stars due to injury.  He was said to be out for none months.  Terrell Vinson was not there and I don't know if he will be.[/private]

Getting to know prospect Nate Lubick Class of 2010

This seasons NBAPA Camp provided me my second opportunity to see class of 2010 prospect Nate Lubick.  He showed a solid knowledge for the game and got up and down the court with ease.  He likes to float out, but is capable of banging when necessary.  His head is always in the game.

"I like to workout.  That's pretty much my life right now," said Lubick when asked what he liked to do.  He went on to say that he took advantage of the summer months and AAU ball.  Lubick plays for the New England Playaz, which of course has Florida commitment Erik Murphy.  They are also teammates at Southbrough High.

He will be going to Cincinnati for the Take Five Adidas event, and Augusta, South Carolina for the Peach State Classic.  Lubick will also attend the Joe Brown Memorial in New Jersey and then head to Vegas and Los Angeles to wrap it all up.

I asked him about playing with Murphy and he said it was a good experience and that the two were friends.  "My Dad is our high school coach.  It's a little different growing up with the program and seeing guys go to D-1 school," said Lubick.

He still has a lot of schools he is considering and stated, "I want to get a really good feel for the schools recruiting me.  I haven't cut my list down as of yet and everybody has been really good to me."

One of the important things for Lubick is his comfort level with people and getting to know the coach.  "It's just got to be a good overall fit.  Education is probably the biggest thing," said the 2010 prospect.  He continued saying Wake Forest was the only small school looking at him and that they had just gotten involved recently.

Virginia, UCLA, Michigan and Georgetown were named as being in contact the most by Lubick.  These teams appeared to be among the leaders, he then told me that he would take his five allotted official visits.

I asked him to describe his game to those who haven't seen him play and he said, "I'm versatile.  I play the wing more in AAU, but they have me playing down low here which is fine."  I can do a little bit of everything and try to play harder than anybody.  I try to use a high basketball IQ and try to make the play when I can."

I then turned his attention to the fact that his Dad was the coach and asked him if it was at times difficult.  "It was a little bit the first season, but this past year was much better.  It's a little weird to have him screaming in my face at practice and then go home and eat dinner with him," said Lubick.

He will try out for the USA team (2009) which travels to Europe.  He said Favors, who will go out for the 2008 Team USA was the toughest player he had played against and that named  Xavier Henry as far as the NBAPA Camp was concerned.

I then asked him of his Triangle visits and whether the Dukes and UNC's of the world had been in contact.  "Duke is definitely in it.  They are really high up there for me," said Nate.  While Duke has not been in constant touch of late, it didn't bother Lubick.  "Coach K is really busy with the Olympics, but I do talk to Coach Collins a lot."  He continued, "I talked to Wojo at first and then Coach Collins took over.  He's a real good guy, one of the best I have dealt with.  He told me that they didn't really look at guys until they were juniors."

He then said, "They have said that I will be a priority in their future recruiting and that they had seen a lot of me.  Coach K came to my high school to see us play.  I did talk to him and he said I needed to solidify what position I like to play.  He sees me as a wing, but likes the stuff I do inside."

Finally, I asked him a BDN staple question, which was to give me three words to best describe him as a person.  He said, "Smart, loyal and humble,"  I said, speaking of smart, how are your grades.  "They're very good.  St, Mark's is one of the hardest schools there is.  I have an A and four B's."

Lubick showed a baby hook during the tournament and a lot of hustle.  It was clear that he has a basketball IQ and he will only get better.  There is no doubt that the big kid with a bushel of offers might be seeking on from Duke.  Time will tell on this one and he is certainly a prospect worth keeping an eye on.

Note - BDN Premium will be covering. the Peach Jam and Peach State Classic this weekend.  There will be live reports.  You can count on interviews and solid, firsthand scouting reports on Josh Smith, Andre Dawkins, Jason Morris, Jamil Wilson and of course Lubick.

BDN Premium Members have full access to our archives, a premium only messge board to talk over the latest happenings with other Duke fans and more.  We have several interviews up with prospects right now.  To become a member, go to the paypal links at the old site, located in this link.  The paypal links are in the left in the menu.  We will then send you access codes or a member ID and password.  Those who join today, will be ready for the weekends action and the best reporting you will see.

Also, we just put up our informative General Recruiting Update which gives you the most accurate look available on the true Duke prospects.

General Recruiting Update #18 is up for premium members

I will be heading down to Augusta for the Nike Peach Jam Festival tomorrow.  The players I will watch starting Saturday are Jamil Wilson, Andre Dawkins, Jason Morris, Nate Lubick (in Aiken, SC) and Josh Smith.

[private]

Kenny Boynton remains Duke's number one priority.  They are looking at John Wall, but are awaiting KB to make his choice.  Duke is in good shape with Boynton.

Duke is still looking at Jamil Wilson, but he needs to step his game up to earn an offer.  He can do so this weekend as Wojo and Nate James watch.  The player who caught the Devils eye this week was 2009 athlete Duke will evaluate him further.  He plays for Squash

Josh Hairston still has an offer and Duke wants to get him in the fold.  With Golden leaving Ohio State to reopen his recruitment, many feel the move hurt their chances with Hairston.  IMO, Josh just wants to announce on his own time.  I feel certain he will choose the royal blue.

Duke loves Brandon Knight (2010)!  Brandon has mentioned just three schools, those being Miami, Georgia Tech and Duke.  He is a Duke type kid in a big way.

Duke will extend an offer to Harold Barnes (2010) from Aimes, Iowa.  This do it all kid also fits the Duke mold.  He is the wing we will need and is versatile.  Coach K was enamored with his play.

Big Josh Smith (2010) is firmly on the radar.  Coach K liked his game and he should get an offer in the near future.  I will check him out this weekend.

Anoher (2010) kid is Tyler Thornton, Hairstons AAU teammate.  Duke wants a PG and expects Boynton to go pro within one or two years.  Of course Knight may make him second tier.  Then Lubick would move in.  Of course, you can't get them all.

Other players very much on the radar are Nate Lubick, Jason Morris and Ray McCallum. All are in the class of 2010 and are being actively recruited by Duke.

A lot of 2010 talk you say?  Duke loves this class and feels there are players who fit the Duke mold.  Duke will sign at least five prospects in this class if all goes as planned.  Heck, there may be six kids offered.

As for 2009, they may throw out an third offer.  There is a new kid who caught the staffs eye.  That being, Thomas Robinson (Brewster Academy), a 6-7 versatile, athletic type.  Add this name to the evaluation list.

So, there you have it.  That gives you an idea of who Coach K was impressed with.[/private]

Is Nolan Smith Duke’s next defensive stopper?

Nolan Smith struggled to achieve consistent play as a freshman.  He was brilliant at times particularly in games at Maryland and Wake Forest, scoring 14 and 21 points respectively, but ineffective at times, such as the seven games where he did not score a point.  Additionally, Smith did not have back-to-back double digit scoring games.  But that is the life of a freshman in the tough ACC, especially a combo guard who is expected to score, handle the ball, play pressure defense, and make very few mistakes along the way.  Smith's freshman season statistics were a respectable 5.9 points in 14.7 minutes per game, and those numbers were hampered by Smith nursing a sore knee over the last month of the season.

 

In his sophomore season, Smith will be competing for an open spot in the starting line-up due to the graduation of DeMarcus Nelson.  Jon Scheyer and in-coming McDonald's All-American Elliot Williams will be his main competition with redshirt junior Marty Pocius also in the mix.  Smith's main advantage should be his on-the-ball defense.  With a year of experience under his belt, Smith will be more comfortable with Duke's defensive schemes and should be competitive to step into the role of shutdown perimeter defender previously occupied by ACC Defensive Player of the Year DeMarcus Nelson.  Whether he earns the starting spot or comes off the bench Smith will need to play aggressive defense to earn significant playing time.

 

On offense, Smith demonstrated the ability to knock down the 3-point shot, making 38.6 percent during his freshman season, or explode to the rim with athleticism.  Improving his assists to turnover ratio of .92 will need to be a focus area this coming season.  This is paramount if Smith aspires to make the transition from combo guard to legitimate point guard the position many analysts see as his ultimate destiny at Duke and beyond.  He has the explosiveness and court vision to play the point and making better decisions should come with experience.  If Smith demonstrates the ability to distribute the basketball, he should challenge for a slot in the starting line-up.

 

Comparing Nolan Smith to previous Duke guards results in the name Daniel Ewing.  Ewing was a combo guard who successfully quarterbacked the offense in his senior season.  As a freshman, Ewing’s numbers of 6.5 points in 18.2 minutes per game are comparable to Smith’s 5.9 points in 14.7 minutes.  Ewing’s numbers increased to 12 points in 27.9 minutes as a sophomore and while it is unlikely Smith will see 27 minutes a game due to Duke’s deep roster it is not unrealistic to expect his points per game to approach double digits.  Moreover, Ewing was a consistently strong defender who drew the assignment of guarding the opponent’s top perimeter player.  That is the role many expect Nolan Smith to fulfill in his second season as a Blue Devil.

New Duke AD meets with the media

New Athletic Director Kevin White met with the media on Monday and came off as a breath of much needed fresh air for Duke Athletics.  If he were a politician, one might say he said all the right things, not only addressing many long standing issues, but going into detail about fund raising and college athletics in general.

He left no doubt that he will bring new ideas to the table and that he already loves Duke University and what it stands for.  White admitted to not having all the answers to the media questions, stating that he was still familiarizing himself more with many of the programs faculty and coaching.

It's safe to say that he is familiarizing himself with the community as well and that he would also be acclimating his family to the area.  In fact, his wife and daughter are driving down today and they along with their two Labs, will settle in to an apartment near campus until they can shop for a home.

Yes, Kevin White was very personable even sharing his concerns about his daughter, a rising senior adjusting to a new school and having to leave her long time friends in Indiana.  He took the time to introduce himself to all of the media and showed a genuine interest in the questions with quick and solid answers all while occasionally nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie from the prior buffet.

While down to earth,  White certainly showed the ability to see the big picture and seems to be man of action.  The  media wasted no time asking about the dormant football program that new Coach David Cutcliffe will try to resurrect.  "Everybody has got to get behind the program, especially when it's down, said White.  He continued, "David can't do it by himself.  He's hired an outstanding staff and he was a tremendous hire.  It will take the whole university to rally around David to make this happen."

Naturally the conversation then segued into Wallace Wade Stadium.  In terms of Wallace Wade ... we need to do a lot in Wallace Wade.  White quipped, "This facility is antiquated at best and we have got to come in here and do a pretty significant makeover.  Not a face lift, but a make over."

When asked if Duke Football had already outgrown the Yoh Center, he paused and then responded, "I think our needs are out here in Wallace Wade."  FWIW, the media was seated at a table in the Yoh Center in which Wade was the backdrop. "I think we need to get some experts in here, so that they could kind of give us a sense of what it could be."  White even talked of price point breaks and expressed the need to look at a lot of "what ifs".  "We need to make it fan friendly.  The whole environment needs to be reshaped and re cultured."

White did mention that a new Field House was first on the horizon and talked of elongating the practice field.  He also expressed the need for a great game day experience.  Some of those close to him at his former school Notre Dame, say that he is a hands on guy with concern to game day atmosphere.

He then stated that Duke need an athletic master facility plan which would address the next seven to ten years.  "It's really important that we show people exactly what we are trying to do," said White in reference to benefactors.  White was then asked about a capital investment plan and responded, "When institutions get to the point where they feel that they need to make a significant investment, they typically go about the business of creating one and I think we are just at that point."

Oddly, White wasn't asked of Coach K until five minutes left in the thirty minute session.  ""What Mike K has created here is  unparalleled at this point and has a mystique.  As a department we need to leverage that and I know Mike is very interested in helping the other programs."  He also mentioned the basketball facilities, saying, "We will find ways to maintain the mystique of Cameron Indoor Stadium, the cathedral of college basketball, but at the same time move forward into the 21st century."

The keyword for me during his interview was "Excellence," which was used in reference to a common theme among those he has already met in his short time at Duke.   "There is a real strong theme of excellence.  Everybody wants to excel and compete at the highest level."

Synopsis - White seemed well versed in the need for change in football and mentioned the baseball team and Coombs Field as well.  There is little doubt he will put emphasis on these two sports and maintain the behemoth men's basketball program.  White seems to have a lot of contacts in college athletics and hands on experience in many important areas which will certainly help him on the job.  In a nutshell,  White was again, very personable, articulate and more importantly approachable.

s2Member®