Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Future Dukie Josh Hairston opens up about his visit in an in depth interview with BDN

Congrats on your decision to become a Blue Devil!  What did Coach K have to say to you on your recent visit?

The main thing was that Coach K said was that Duke was the place for me.  I kind of felt that way before.  When i went down on my first visit it felt like home.  Coach said he would take care of me down there and that's really what made it happen.

Did you have a feeling you were going to sign with Duke all along?

At first I really didn't, but after talking to Tyler and Andre and seeing how everything was playing out, I realized that was the place I would probably end up.  I kind of kept it to myself, but for the past two weeks I have known where I was going to go. [private]

Did it bother you that word was circulating on the Internet that you were destined to Duke a month or so ago?

It didn't bother me.  I had never had a leader out there ... it's over now, so it doesn't matter what was said.

What did you do on the Duke visit?

We arrived a round 9:30 on Saturday morning.  My parents, sister and myself went to eat with Coach K and his staff.  They talked to us for about an hour.  Then we caught up with everybody else.  Tyler arrived around 11:00 and we had a little bit of a tailgate.  We then went down and played five or six pick up games with the guys on the team.  Then Andre, Tyler, Mason and myself went out to the football game for the second half.  After that we went back over to the practice facility and shot around a little bit.  We then met with Coach K individually.  I went in first - that's when I committed then Tyler talked to him and he committed.

When you came out did you tell the guys you had committed?

I was actually last to come out.  Coach Wojo and my parents got there first and they were all smiling, so I think everybody kind of figured out what happened.  Andre kind of knew it all along and he was happy about it and Tyler was too.

What was the reaction of fellow students and faculty at your school this past week?

You know, it was crazy.  It was spread all over the school and around town real fast.  Everywhere I go there is somebody saying congratulations.  My school has been my biggest supporters.  They were like on top of me when I got back to school on Monday. 

Did you hear from a lot of relatives?

I did.  I'm  close with my family so a lot of my aunts and uncles.  My grand parents call to congratulate me, my cousins - everybody.

Andre told me that you guys actually called Harrison Barnes.  Andre is obviously trying to recruit a lot.  Are you going to take on a similar role?

I am.  In fact, I talked to him a couple of days ago,  Harrison is a tremendous player and a great kid.  Basically he's not in any rush and I wasn't trying to put Duke on him too hard.  But he let it be known that Duke is in his top schools, but he's not in any rush and taking it day by day, so we'll see what happens.

What did Andre and yourself actually talk to him about when you were in EWills room?

We were just messing with him.  We told him he needed to quit playing around with these other schools because he's coming to Duke.  He was laughing about that and it was kind of a joke.  We were really just telling him that he if joined me, Tyler and Andre and we get Brandon Knight that we could be one heck of a lineup.  We weren't trying to put things on him too hard, but just let him know what could be.

Duke has offered Josh Smith as well, any talk of him?

I met Josh a couple of years ago in some of the teen conferences I went to.  Josh is a tremendous player, but he is on the west coast.  We're still going to try and pull him over here to the east coast.

I think you played against Harrison Barnes in the NBA Developmental Camp ...

I did!  Our teams played each other.  We were actually together at the Nike Jamboree the week before that.  So we had two consecutive weeks together.  He's a great athlete and playing against him was fun.

Tell me how much knowing Andre and Tyler helped with your decision to become a Blue Devil ..

It played a big role.  I played with Andre my freshman year with Boo Williams.  We know everything that each other can do.  He's a player who knows where I am going to be.  Playing with Tyler now, you know he's my point guard on my AAU team DC Assault.  We have a great relationship and playing with him will be fun.

What did Tyler say when he came out after his decision?

He didn't really say anything.  He walked out and was finishing his talk with Coach K and he was just smiling ... just smiling real hard and we knew he had done it.  I mean, he couldn't wait to get down here.

What was the atmosphere on the ride home like?

Excitement!  Everybody was excited ... me, my mom and dad, my sister ... everybody's phone was ringing off the hook.  People were calling and congratulating us.  It was just good, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I felt like I could relax now and when I went back to school, I felt like a different kid.  I felt like I could finally relax and be myself now and not have to worry about anything.

You know guys are going to come at you now.  They'll envision those four letters on your chest ...

It'll make me a better player.  I know I can't have nights where I slack off now.  I am in the weight room everyday.  I am shooting everyday.  I have had people coming at me since my freshman year.  I'm not new to it, but I definitely know thay will be comong at me harder.  I told my teammates I was going to do whatever I have to for them to take us to where we want to go which is the state championship.  So, I know I have to be on the top of my game every night.

Did Coach K tell you what to work on?

He actually told me to work on getting stronger.  He just said to work on every part of my game and that I could be a tremendous rebounder.  He just said to keep working that I can always improve my game and become a versatile player.

What was Coach K like during the visit?

You know, I was telling all my friends that to look on him on TV, he looks like the meanest guy in the world.  But if you get around him or sit around him at the table, he's probably the funniest guy in the room.  He's got a great sense of humor ... he's a great guy, he lightens the mood.  Coach K ... he's a tremendous guy and I can't wait to get down there.

If you had a message for Duke fans, what would that be?

Fasten your seat belts and get ready, because when we get down there, you'll have a ball.  I really can't wait to get down there.  I don't want to really rush my last two years of high school, but I can't wait to get down there.

Plumlee talks of his official visit, brother Miles and the future

Blue Devil Nation Premium had a chat with Mason Plumlee about his official visit to Duke this past weekend.  He speaks of his brother Miles, his play over the summer with Team USA, his chat with Coach K and his upcoming high school season.

As a member, you have full access and much more awaits you inside.  You will read the very latest from Josh Hairston, Andre Dawkins, and Tyler Thornton.  Be one of the first to read Thornton's thoughts on his commitment.  Get vital updates on Boynton, Kelly, Smith and Knight and find out who else the Devils are looking at.

You can count on accurate information and and timely tips that are ahead of the curve.  Our member retention rate is the best in the business in that we stay a couple of steps ahead of the corporates.  So, why not join in on the fun and discuss the latest happenings with other members on our premium only message board. On to the article -

One could certainly make the argument that when Mason Plumlee committed to Duke, it was like a shot in the arm to the program.  Before his verbal, two top rated prospects never made it on campus, choosing to play elsewhere.   While some fans worried with the usual message board doom and gloom, Plumlee became a cornerstone of sorts and the future of Duke Basketball is shining bright.

When Mason visited the Duke campus during the courting process, his brother Miles (Duke 08) tagged along.  Nobody knew at that time Stanford would lose their coach and gain former Duke Assistant Johnny Dawkins.  It ended up working out well for Duke in that Miles had seen Mason's recruitment up close and personal.  This prompted him to sign once he was released.

Mason Plumlee has become an important recruit for other reasons besides the later addition of his brother.  He's the prototypical Duke big man in that he is versatile.  I have been able to view about 12 of his games since Duke first showed interest.   His strengths include the ability to pass and put the ball on the floor extremely well for an player with a 6-10 frame.  With his ability to hit the boards, take up room in the lane, a nice and still developing offensive game and you have a player that is sure to contribute.

Plumlee finally made his official visit to Durham in a weekend that became a recruiting bonanza. "The official went real well.  Just to get over to Duke again was nice," said Plumlee.

"It was the first time I got to see [private] my family - everybody but my sister."  His little sister had to stay home for school.  Education is a big thing in the Plumlee family as is evidenced by their sons solid work in the classroom.

When asked about the highlights of his visit, he said, "Just seeing Miles and Coach K of course."  I then asked him what Miles had to say.  "He just really likes it in all ways.  He said there is a lot of work to it.  He just told me how glad he was that he decided to go there.  It was fun just hanging out with him and other (Elliot Williams) freshman."

I asked him if K and company was showing their usual love of family during his visit.  "Yes, definitely.  My parents were there and Miles and I were able to spend time with them."  In a recent talk with his parents, both told me how hard their sons would work and it was obvious of their love for each of them.

"We played a lot of pick up games on Friday and Saturday.  They mixed up the teams pretty well.  On Saturday, the three 2010 kids came and we played a lot.  Jon Scheyer impressed me the most of the current players - I was able to play with him."

Plumlee mentioned that he talked to Coach K on Friday.  "We talked about how I didn't play so good the second half of the summer and some things to work on and some minor goals for this year.  We talked a lot about Miles too."

Mason started off playing well for the USA U-17 team this summer, but he admitted he was disheartened that his playing time suddenly diminished during the last couple of games.

"This summer was both good and bad and that made me realize there were a lot of things I wanted to work on.  There was definitely a difference in my play during the early spring and Vegas.  I just felt like I didn't play as hard as I needed to at times."

In talking to his Dad I found out that Mason had flown into the United States from South America and then hopped on a flight to Vegas for the final AAU tournaments.  Perhaps this had something to do with fatigue, but when I asked him of it,  Mason would in no way make any excuses, stating there were none.

Mason is very excited about his upcoming high school season where he will lead the defending state champions Christ School for another run.  "I think we have a really good chance at defending our title," said Plumlee.

After our chat I pondered young Plumlee's answers and I can tell you that he was very frustrated at his lack of time on Team USA.  I then took the time to look at the box scores and it made even less sense to me why his time diminished in that his numbers were solid early on.  Then something dawned on me.

Davidson Coach Bob McKillop was in charge and a player Duke has recently offered, Ryan Kelly, was starting while Mason was coming off the bench.  As recruitniks, many of you might remember that McKillop was going hard after Kelly at that time.  While it may be nothing more than happenstance, I still found it a bit interesting that Kelly ended up starting after the first couple of games.

Mason did talk of Kelly, mentioning that he realized that Duke needed more than a couple of bigs, and stated he hopes Kelly comes to Duke.  The two played against each other several times in the AAU circuit and there was one match up during the TOC which was classic.  Kelly had a great first half, while Plumlee struggled.  Things changed in the second half where Plumlee led his team to a comeback win, thoroughly controlling the game.  (report from that game will be place on the message board)

In closing, I see a young man that has been a bit riled and he wants to constantly get better.  He is going through daily drills and working hard in the weight room.   He seems determined to prove that the late season swoon was an anomaly.  The most impressive thing about Mason is his desire to do the right thing and not complain in some tough situations. [/private]

Tyler Thornton on his visit – “By the time we got there, I knew I wanted to be a Blue Devil”

Tyler Thornton took the time to chat with Blue Devil Nation Premium last evening.  Thornton talked about his big weekend visit sharing his thoughts on his trip to Durham and verbal commitment to play for Coach K's Blue Devils.   In our previous talk, Thornton said that he had every intention of returning home to think over his choices.  In the end, far too many factors fell into  place, so he made his collegiate choice on the spot and he's glad he did.

When Thornton answered the phone, it didn't take long for me to tell there was a wide grin on the other end.  His Mom, who I talked to first said,  "I saw a comfort level in his body language during the visit and that led me to believe he was very excited and definitive with his choice.  [private] Tyler has an infectious smile and he was wearing that smile on our visit."

"By the time we got there I knew I wanted to be a Blue Devil," said Thornton.  It was just so much fun.  I loved being around the guys and the coaches on campus and I had a great time the whole weekend.  I can't wait to go back!"

As it turned out, Thornton spent most of his free time with Josh Hairston, Andre Dawkins and Elliot Williams.  He mentioned that the brothers Plumlee, Mason and Miles also stopped by the room on Saturday evening as well - all talking of one day playing together.

"Andre and I have always been cool with each other.  Getting a chance to hang out with Josh who I consider one of my best friends and him was really nice.  We hung all day with each other and we can't wait to go back down."

Thornton made his commitment official during an afternoon meeting with Coach K.  "We talked about the guys visiting and this years team.  He told us stories about Team USA in Beijing and how much fun he had coaching them," said Thornton.

"It's a blessing being a part of the Duke Family.  Not everybody gets to go even see things like the new practice facility.  To have it at my disposal  and to be able to go whenever I want or need to is great.  I can't say a lot more about ... it's great to be a part of the family.

Family is a recurring theme when one talks of Duke Basketball and all three of the 2010 verbals seem to realize they are part of something really big.  However, the prospects aren't the only ones impressed by the homey togetherness.

"One of the common themes that came out is that everything just felt right," said Thornton's Mom.  She continued, "Tyler has been in private setting since the seventh grade.  It's a setting we feel most comfortable in and Duke had a lot to offer off the court.  What's impressed me the most since the beginning was the family feeling and how welcome and at ease we were.  As a mother or a parent, you want to know that your child is going to be taken care of."

The weekend also included several rounds of pickup ball.  "My team had Jon Scheyer, McClure, Mason and Josh.  We won most of the games - it was fun."  It was later confirmed in a talk with Andre Dawkins that Tyler's team indeed was tough to beat last weekend.

"The highlight of my visit was when I actually made the decision that I was going to commit," stated the future Dukie.  "All the coaches were excited.  I did go down with the mindset that wasn't going to commit, but once I got there, I couldn't resist - I couldn't wait any longer, so I made my choice and I'm happy about it." [/private]

Additional comments will appear on Blue Devil Nation's Premium Message Board.  Talk about this article there.

Premium Update #21 Addressing the rumors – again

Our lastest Premium Update is up, formerly known as our General Update.  There are a few rumors floating about of late and while this site gets tired of setting them straight, we will attempt to clear the air on Ryan Kelly, Kenny Boynton, Jamil Wilson and Harrison Barnes.  Let's start with Kenny Boynton. [private] No decision has been made and he is expected to take all of his official visits.  While I'm sure Kenny enjoyed his visit to USC, the fact remains that Duke and Florida are running neck and neck down the stretch with teams like the aforementioned Trojans trying to sway his thinking.  Duke has put a lot of effort into Boynton and this will continue until he commits.  In fact, Duke will visit Kenny once a week until that decision which is the max allowed by NCAA rules.  Yes, this includes open gyms where the main players will all be in the stands.  Team Boynton has pretty much shut down any media contact of late, but that could change any day now.  He is still scheduled to visit Duke in his last visit.

While Ryan Kelly did visit Duke yesterday, he is not a solid Devil lean at this time.  In fact, Notre Dame is probably the slight leader.  Duke is in it and is one of two or three teams which are clearly at the top.  The Kelly family is said to be looking to go through the entire process, meaning they will think the decision through carefully.  Kelly took in some of the current Blue Devil players going through their workouts on Tuesday.

As I said earlier, Harrison Barnes has taken to Duke and wants to make an unofficial visit (tentative Va. Union game) if it is economically feasible for his family.  If he does come to Durham, he will have been to just two schools on unofficials, the other being Kansas during midnight madness.  Barnes has everybody in the country drooling and for good reason.  He is one heck of a player.  I will be adding the archives soon and suggest going back and read the earlier reports on him.  Our most recent interview is the most in depth you'll find anywhere on the web.

Finally, Jamil Wilson has not set up an official visit to Duke as has been reported by Scout, nor has Duke pushed for one of late.  Duke will follow through with their plans which include Kelly and Boynton and if they miss, they'll revisit some other options which could then include Wilson.

While no firm dates are set at this time, the Duke staff will be visiting a lot of open practices in the coming days.

A reminder, the early basketball signing date is this November 12th through the 19th.  The final date is April 15th through May 20th in 2009. [/private]

Josh Hairston talks of his visit and commitment to Duke

Duke hosted two prospects over the weekend and turned them into commitments before they left.  One of those commitments was talented front liner Josh Hairston.  "It feels great to be a Blue Devil," said Hairston.  He continued, "I've been down here a couple of times and I feel comfortable and excited about my decision to become a Blue Devil."

[private] Duke fans think it's great that Hairston is a Blue Devil too.  In fact, many were caught off guard when both Thornton and Hairston announced their decisions yesterday afternoon.  Of course, you as members saw this coming from my comments, but it always feels better when the decision is official.

"I told Coach K around three or four o'clock.  I was talking to him individually and told him of my decision," said Hairston.  "My family was real happy about it.  My Mom and Dad were real happy and my sister was too.  This is where they wanted me to go, so I'm close to them and it's a good thing."

As I continued the talk with Hairston, you could hear some others in the background.  "I'm in the room with Andre, Tyler, Mason and Elliot," said Hairston.  I then asked if Thornton and his decision was based on playing with one another and if they talked it over.  "Yes sir, we did talk.  I've played with Andre and Tyler and this was the place we wanted to be."

Hairtson said that he and the rest of the players gathered together around 11:00 for lunch and then played some pick up games.  They went to the football game in the second half before they returned and relaxed in the lounge.  "After that, Tyler and me made our decisions," said Hairston.  "I am glad it's over because I can now concentrate on my high schools season."

When asked what the best part of the visit was, he responded, "All of it was good, talking to the players, talking to Coach K ... that was probably the best part of the visit, but I had a good time doing everything."

Josh admitted that it was a little tired and that he would return home with his family sometime tomorrow.  Tired or not, he was probably headed out to hang out with his new friends and future teammates.[/private]

Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton commit to Duke

[private]Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton have committed to Duke University!  The BDN has learned from sources close to the situation that the two standout prospects from the class of 2010 made their selection today.  Welcome aboard guys!  Good job staff! 

Josh Hairston - (2010) 6-7, 200, Spotsylvania, Va.  Courtland HS

Josh continues to improve his game, having developed more and more over the AAU summer.  He has a nice inside-outside game and Duke will use him much like they did Roshown McLeod.  Josh picked Duke over Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Georgetown.

Tyler Thornton - (2010) 6-2, 180, Gonzaga HS  Washington, DC - Tyler is a true PG ranked hin the top fifty players in the class of 2010.  He is a hard nosed leader who loves to win.  He is Josh Hairstons teammate for DC Assault on the AAU circuit.  Thornton chose Duke over Georgetown, Stanford and Wake Forest.

"We got them," said Duke commitment Andre Dawkins.

"We're very happy to have them aboard," said a source close to the team.

The members of BDN Premium get reliable information and are often tipped off long before the real deal goes down.  I will have interviews with Hairston, Thornton, Dawkins and Plumlee up starting late tonight.  Why not join us on the inside by becoming a member of BDN Premium today![/private]