Category Archives: Duke Basketball

2010 prospect Tyler Thornton prepares to visit Duke

[private]This weekend could eventually prove to be fruitful for Duke Basketball as two top notch uncommitted prospects are ready to head a few hours south for unofficial visits.  One of those prospects is PG Tyler Thornton who plays his high school ball for Gonzaga in D.C. and his AAU ball for DC Assault.

BDNP caught up with Tyler as he prepared for school the next day and of course his pending visit to Durham.  He will be down with his parents from Saturday until Monday, which will give them the opportunity to get a feel for the campus, program and classroom atmosphere.

When asked of his Duke recruitment, Thornton stated, "Coach Wojo has been in touch the most, but I've been in contact with all the assistants."  He stated that he was excited to get to see the campus again and be there with friends.

"I look forward to hanging out with the guys, Andre, Josh and Mason - just to hang out with them will be good."  Thornton is very good friends with Hairston, the two talking frequently on the phone.  "Josh is one of my best friends, I've spent the whole spring and summer with him - every weekend, every week.  We have a tight bond with each other, especially on the court.  I know where to get him the ball - where he likes to get the ball - how he likes to get the ball."

He stated that he would like to play with Josh if possible.  Well, it is possible and just Duke and Georgetown are on both youngsters list.  "It would be nice to play with each other in college. 

When asked of what he looked for in a school, he stated, "A great coaching staff  - somewhere I could be myself and spend four years.  Somewhere where I won't feel like I have to transfer to another schools if I'm not doing well with the team.  I just want to be happy for four years during my college career."

Like Hairston, Thornton maintains that he will make a decision before his high school season, but he did say it was possible he might make an early choice, but that he felt he would wait and sit down and talk it over with his parents before making a decision public.  "We can't be too quick to jump, we have to come back home and talk about it and analyze the situation.  We will just wait until that time comes to let the world know."

I asked Thornton to describe his game in his on words for people that haven't seen him play.  He responds, "A leader, a person who loves to hustle, unselfish on the offensive end.  I never get mad when I don't get the ball or get a certain amount of shots during a game.  I just love to win - a person who plays with a passion and does anything he can to help his team win."

Thornton stated that his high school team had one of their greatest teams in their history, winning every tournament they faced going 34-1 and taking the title.  Despite losing the leading scorer and half of the team, Thornton still plans on doing it again.  One thing that is obvious when talking to Thorton, he is a competitor. 

His list going into the weekend is Duke, Stanford, Villanova and Georgetown.

We will have Thornton's thoughts after the visit on Blue Devil Nation Premium.  This article is but a small sample of the current information overload that awaits you as a member.  Currently up is a talk with Josh Hairston on the eve of his visit and an extrememly informative recruiting and team update.[/private]

BDN’s jam packed behind the scenes update – the real deal!

[private]Let's start off with  Kenny Boynton.   Duke feels pretty good about their recent visit.  Now, the waiting game begins.  At this time I still feel it is Duke and Florida.  This one is too close to call and I have elected to contact him after his visit to USC this weekend in order to get the big picture after two more in home visits.  Kenny has maintained all along, he will almost assuredly take his visits and decide in late October or early November.

As you already know, Duke will entertain commitments Mason Plumlee and Andre Dawkins this weekend.  Mason will be the first to arrive tomorrow evening.  He’ll make his way to Durham with his brother Marshall.   Mason is looking forward to playing with the team.  In fact all four visitors will play with the team.  His brother Miles is playing well in his workouts and really likes Kyle Singler.  He is adapting to the campus life and is happy.

One of the players which will not play is Gerald Henderson.  It has been confirmed that he has returned home and has a case of mono.  The severity of the illness is unknown.  While I am on injuries, no current Devils have major ailments and Brian Zoubek is coming along fine.  In short, the team is healthy.

Speaking of the team, they are currently allowed to participate in drills and are working very, very hard.  They lift weights in the morning, run in the afternoon and play in the evenings.  All of the aforementioned is laced with one coach on three player drills.

Coach K and Wojo went to see Harrison Barnes at an open gym in Iowa today or last night.  Speaking of Barnes, Duke will attempt to get him to visit the same weekend as Boynton on an unofficial.  Barnes has shown Duke interest.  Trust me, that feeling is mutual.  They cannot make contact during todays practice. 

Tomorrow, they check out Ryan Kelly for an in home visit.  Kelly was recently offered and on campus.  Notre Dame and others are very much involved with the Raleigh Ravenscroft star.

Okay, on to Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton.  I told you awhile back I thought Hairston was in the bag.  I feel the two will commit over the weekend or shortly thereafter.   There have been positive vibes coming from both camps.  Stay tuned.

Duke will visit Andre Dawkins, Josh Hairston, Tyler Thornton, Brandon Knight and Josh Smith in the near future for open gym. All of these prospects have been offered and of course, Dawkins committed.  Duke has interest in other 2010 kids and will get out to see many of them as well.  Among those are Nate Lubick and Jason Morris.  There are a couple of new names I will discuss in the near future.

Dawkins has done a great job recruiting for the Blue Devils and if all works as I expect it will, he will have help;)  For those of you who subscribe to Blue Devil Weekly, check out my latest recruitng article featuring Andre.

I hope you enjoyed the update.  Welcome to the new and improved Blue Devil Nation.[/private]

Kenny Boynton sets up his official visit to Duke

[private]Olympic Gold Medal winning basketball coach, Mike Krzyzewski, Chis Collins and Nate James visited the Boynton household last evening and came away having set up an official visit.

Kenny will visit Duke officially the weekend of October 24-25 weekend, which he'll be able to take in the Virginia Union exhibition game.

For more details, you must be a member of BDN Premium where you can discuss it more on our premium only message board.

Boynton is one of the nations top rated prospects and is down to six schools.[/private]

Coach K and company set to visit Kenny Boynton Jr.

[private]The Duke Men's Basketball staff will be more than just a little busy this week. On the first day that they can be back out on the road, which is tomorrow evening, Coach K and company will have an in home with Kenny Boynton Jr. and his family.

Boynton is one of the nations top guards, arguably the best in the class of 2009. Duke has been recruiting him consistently for a long time. He reminds most Blue Devil faithful of Jason Williams. Williams won a national title, was named national POY which led to him being a lottery pick in the NBA draft. Like Boynton, Williams was a offensive scoring machine that could play both guard spots, but he settled in on the point at Duke where he learned the trade from Coach K.

Long the buzz of various basketball crazy Duke message boards, Boynton is a prospect that fans dearly want to see rock Cameron. There is a heated battle for his services and he's maintained all along that he would take his five official visits.

Florida has really turned it up for Boynton, attempting to make a move while Krzyzewski was coaching Team USA to the Gold Medal. Boyntons friend, Eloy Vargas is already a Gator and he is of course from the sunshine state like his friend.

If Boynton were to choose Duke he would remain in the constant media spotlight of a team which has every game televised and one which is in the basketball fanatical ACC. He could very well be the focus of any school he chooses in a list that includes USC, Memphis, Georgia Tech and Texas along with Duke and Florida.

Florida will come in the night after the Duke staff, but you can bet that there will be a lot to think about in the Boynton household. While UF has a wonderful basketball program, they sometimes play second fiddle to Gator Football. Still, the local allure might be as attractive as the national spotlight and playing for a living legend in Coach K.

In the end, the decision should come down to where can he better prepare for his goal of the NBA and which school will continue to support him once he is in the league. College will be nothing more than a temporary stop for the talented Boynton but his choice will go a long ways in defining him as a future player.

Make no mistake that the Blue Devils covet and care about young Boynton. They want him to be a part of what looks to be a very talented team. Duke will always compete for national prominence, but the addition of Boynton would be another step towards a national championship.

The staff has layed it on the line and Blue Devil fans have followed his every AAU move. Now all they can hope for is that Boynton sees the golden opportunity available for him in Durham.

Blue Devil Nation Premium has covered Kenny Boynton from the very start and you can follow the process even closer by becoming a member. You can subscribe here. We will be moving to our new home very soon![/private]

In Depth Interview With 2010 Prospect Harrison Barnes

As you already know, Duke has made five offers in the class of 2010.  This is a departure from the way they have done things in the past, meaning they have adjusted to the times.  While the offers are firm, Duke is still keeping eyes on some other kids, but we’ll talk about that later.

[private]Harrison Barnes holds one of those offers and the Blue Devil Nation got the latest from him last evening.  The interview was approached from a national stand point to ensure accurate answers.  As you will see, this one will go on for awhile and there are no true leaders at this time.  So, enjoy the interview and don’t read too much into anything.  FWIW, he really seemed to enjoy the conversation, so I hope that translates in this long and in depth interview.  Needless to day, we will not need to talk to him anytime soon for he was very open.

You were in Orlando recently for the AAU Nationals.  How did you play there?  Was it a good tournament for you?

Yes it was. We played well as a team and I also played well.  We made it to the Elite  before bowing out.

You play for All Iowa Attack Black, right?

Yes sir.

Let me make sure I have the general background information correct.  You play for Ames Senior High and are 6-6, 195?

I do play for Ames High and the figures are close enough.  I am around 190 now.

And you averaged about 17 ppg and 8 rebounds as a sophomore?

Yeah.

(Jokingly) Okay, I’m doing pretty good here so far.

Yes.  (while laughing)

Okay, back to Orlando.  I suppose you saw a lot of coaches in the stands?

Yes there was.  There were a lot of coaches which offered me a scholarship out there along with other schools that are showing interest.

So, there has been a lot of new schools come in of late?

Yes.

The last time I checked, I think you had eleven offers?  Is there more than that?

Right now it is bumped up to like twenty.  Do you want me to read them off to you?

Sure, that’d be great.

Off the top of my head.  I think I have a list right here.  (seemed as if someone were handing or writing a list for him for he spoke the teams slowly).  DePaul, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma, USC, Tennessee, Texas, TCU, UCLA … umh.  I think that’s it.

Okay.  I think I had seen somewhere where UNC and Duke were looking at you. They haven’t offered?

Oh!  Duke!  They have offered.  North Carolina has shown interest but they have not offered.

With such a list of schools with deep traditions, do you think the local schools might be a little upset wanting to keep you in state?

(Laughs)  I don’t think they’re upset, but happy for me.  (meaning Iowa State)  You get pressure.  Some of the fans will say you should go to school “A” or school “B.”  I think in the end I picked another school they’d be okay with that and would understood I was doing what’s best for me.

Are you from Iowa your whole life?

Born and raised in Ames.

Being in the backyard of Iowa State, were they your favorite team?

Actually I grew up watching the NBA.

Speaking of the NBA, do you have aspirations to go to the league one day?

Yes.  (emphatic)

You are just 16 and have two years of high school ball left.  Have you thought how long you might stay in college?  Would you be a one and done guy?

Right now that’s so far off because the league is such a different animal than high school.  I mean I haven’t done anything at the college level yet, so ….

How do you keep yourself grounded.  Scout has you number three in your class, Rivals five, ESPN seven … That’s a lot of hype.  Is it hard to keep your mind grounded despite soaring in the rankings?

Not number one! (laughing)

(Laughing back) Okay, so number one is the deal now, if you hit that we will have to go back to that question one day.

Well, what I find that keeps me grounded is that there is always good basketball players no matter where you go,  Whether it’s the gym down the street or at the national level.  And I want to be the best, so I work hard every day trying to be the best I can be.

So, your goal is to be the best, number one?

Ah, in high school … yes, I would like to be number one.

Let’s get into recruiting a little bit.  I understand you will make your decision after your junior year?  Does that still hold true?

I will take my official visits and will decide shortly after that.

Have you been on or set up any unofficial visits?

At this point in time, I have not been on any unofficial(s).  I’ve been to Iowa of course.  I’ve been to the USC Elite Camp.

Have any schools talked to you about setting up unoffcials?  I don’t think you can take officials, until what, your rising senior year?

Yes, that is correct.  My Mom and I are discussing when we might can go out and see some schools.  We’re discussing that.

When will you narrow down the list?

(spoke carefully)  That is not a priority right now.  There are so many things that need  to be done, like finding out more about the schools.

You talk a lot of your Mom, so your parents will play a big role in your decision?

It’s mostly just family, my Mom and I.  She says no matter where I go she will support me 100%.

You have offers from as far west as UCLA and as far southeast as Florida.  Would she ever consider moving to follow you or is she entrenched in Iowa due to family and having lived there her entire life?

She will stay in Iowa no matter where I choose to go.  That fact that my sister (I will keep her name to myself) will be in middle school going into high school.  So she doesn’t feel like she would want to interrupt her education.

During the LeBron James Skills Academy, you sort of blew up and got a lot of eyes turning your way.  What was the experience like there?  Did you get to meet LeBron?

It was a good experience. I got to meet LeBron and Chris Paul and (emphatic) I got to go out and play against some of the nations best.  It was an opportunity to go against great players and measure yourself against them.

You will be playing in the Nike Global Challenge, right?

I will and it runs the 7th through the 11th.  It’s supposedly the top thirty players that were at the LaBron Camp and we will be divided into four teams.  We are the United States and we will play against foreign teams.

Would it interest you one day in playing for the USA?  The Olympics are getting ready to start … Duke is recruiting you, is it kind of cool watching Coach K?

(laughs) Yes, it is, it is.  It’s a great honor just to have known him let alone have him recruit me.

So you guys have talked before?

Yes I have.

Would that interest you playing for Team USA one day?

Yes it would.  Getting to the league is my goal, but playing for Team USA, that would be a great honor.

You speak of getting to the league,  Would that mean you would look for a team with a coach that has a track record of getting players prepared or have success in numbers?

Yes and no.  I would like to go to a school that sets me up for the NBA, but that wouldn’t be one of my main issues.  My priorities are academics and fitting in well with the basketball team.

Have you given any thought as to what you might like to take in college at your young age?  Is there anything that interests you?

Business Administration and Finance.

You were on the track team, competing in the high jump, long jump … ?

(laughing) You know your stuff.  I have been into track before basketball.

Okay, so that’s kind of when you started your athletic endeavors, huh?

That’s correct.  I started track in about the third grade.  I didn’t really get involved in basketball until aboutthe fifth grade.  If I had to choose, it would be basketball.  I do run track.  I did so this past season and will likely continue to through high school.

How did you get your start in basketball?  Is it something that just happened?  Was there a mentor who said something like I think you will do well in hoops?

My Father played at Iowa State.  His name was Ron Harris.

Okay!   (jokingly) So there are really some Iowa State ties, huh?  You have your Dad there, grew up in the backyard, your little sister is probably saying, brother don’t leave me …  I mean you have to be the pride of Iowa.

My sister is okay with where ever I go.(Laughing)

What Head Coaches have you talked to?

Head Coaches would be, Coach K, Coach Donovan, Coach Self, Coach Floyd, Coach Williams at Maryland, Coach Wainwright, Coach Gillespie, Coach Webber …

Wow! That’s a who’s who.  Kentucky has really been pushing hard from what I’ve heard.  I think I heard that Jeff Berstrom??? had some ties to Iowa State?

Yes, he was working with the aerotech program for one year at Iowa State and then went to Kentucky.

(I then asked about some assistants who were supposedly lead recruiters which he confirmed.)  So, what will you do the rest of the summer?

When I am home I just rest my body and hang out with friends.  It’s been a long season and I haven’t had a lot of time here with my family.

I can only imagine.  I’m sure your Mom is happy to finally see you.

Actually, she travels to all my tournaments with me.

Oh she does?  That’s fantastic she is able to do that.  Is it nice having her on the road with you?

Yes, she is always there for me.

So both of you are well traveled for the AAU circuit is all over the place.  Were there any pars of the country you really liked?

Yes we have. (laughing)  We have been on the road constantly, so we’ve had little time to sit back and reflect.

How are your academics?  Every thing I have heard about you says that you are very well rounded not just on the court but off.

I have a 4.39. (laughing)

That’s pretty good!

It’s okay.

Oh, so you want to be number one in academics to?

I would strive for the perfect score, but I came up way short.

How are you dealing with the media end of the process.  I am sure you are getting a lot of calls.  Does it become tiresome?  I know sometimes they can pound the phone lines.

Not yet.  Right now it’s something I can manage.  My Mom is okay with it so far.  She wants what’s best for me.  I get about two or three calls a day.

What position do you actually  play in high school?

Actually, I play everywhere.

That’s what I thought.  That’s often what goes on at the high school level.

Yes!  I play a forward to kind of a wing to bringing the ball up the floor, just where ever.

What do you envision yourself playing in college?

The two or the three.

You are sixteen and 6-6.  Do you still feel as if you are growing?

I think I might grow about two or three more inches.  I have grown about two or three inches in a little over a year.

You have a bright future and I greatly appreciate your time and have enjoyed talking to you.  I will be following your progress throughout your career.  Tell your Mom thank you for letting me talk with you and the best of luck to you throughout your career.

Thank you!  I enjoyed talking to you as well.[/private]

BDNP Hoops Recruiting Update – Ryan Kelly offered

Ryan Kelly was officially offered a scholarship when he visited the Duke campus on an unofficial visit today. [private] The Duke staff is in the process of setting up an official visit. Kelly was accompanied by his family.

Duke Coaches will be allowed back on the road on September 9th and will visit the Boyntons on that very day. Duke is also ironing out a date for his official visit despite various internet rumors which said he would not visit Durham.

Mason Plumlee will come in on his official with his parents on September 12th to the 14th. That same weekend on the 13th, Duke will entertain Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton on a visit. They will be joined by Duke commitment, Andre Dawkins.

Duke could very well end up with a class of Plumlee, Kelly and Boynton in 09. I will keep you updated.[/private]