Category Archives: Duke Basketball

BDN sits down with John Wall for a one on one interview

The Blue Devil Nation sat down with John Wall for an exclusive one on one interview and talked about many things, including the recruiting process.  We have condensed two separate interviews on successive nights into one and feel you will enjoy hearing the latest on the top prospect.  Wall won

Everybody wants to know whats up with John Wall.  Our interview will answer many of your questions.  Copyright BDNP
Everybody wants to know whats up with John Wall. Our interview will answer many of your questions. Copyright BDNP

the Glaxo Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award and his team takes on rival Ravenscroft this Wednesday night.  Wall almost led his Word of God team to a victory over Christ School, but came up just short.  Blue Devil Nation Premium is a subscription service which offers you accurate and detailed information on all things Duke.  WIth all of our latest offerings and scheduled events, it's a great time to join. [private]

You had seven blocks in the second game of the tournament.  What do you attribute that defensive effort to?

We just concentrate on our defense and what the coaches teach you.  I like to leak out on defense a lot, but tonight I had to stay down there and help my other teammates.

We've talked several times at various events.  Everybody is coming at John Wall and wants to know whats up.  There are just three and a half months left before you will make a decision.  Are you starting to think about that?  I mean, do you say wow, I've got to get down to business?

Yeah, I am going to get down to it.  It's kind of a tough decision because it's the last decision you make as a kid.  It's kind of tough and I'm trying to make the best decision for me and my family.

Do you still feel like a kid?  I mean you have been through a lot during the process.

Yeah, I still feel like a kid and get to hang out with my friends.  When I get between these four lines or I'm in my classroom at school I have to take it serious to become a man.

What has Word of God done for John Wall?

It's helped me a lot.  It helps me off the court, with academics and made me a better person.  It's made me see things in life I wouldn't have learned staying in a private school.  The smaller environment has helped me.

You've had several people watching you - the Duke and N.C. State staffs ... what does that mean to you?

I used to it now, but it feels good.  When one of the top college coaches in the country comes in you have to try to be calm and run your team and try not to do stuff that takes you out of your game.

Are you really serious about all of the schools on your list?

Yes sir.

Have you been on an unofficial to N.C. State yet?

Yeah, I took a visit there.

What about Duke?

I haven't took one yet.  I'm supposed to be setting that up.  Maybe this weekend.

You've said that you have talked to Coach K several times, what is he saying?

He just tells me he wants me to come see the school and not to do anything until I get a chance to get over there and check out Duke.

I talked to your coach last night and Clifton as well recently.  It seem like the visit to Duke has been really hard to set up.  Is there any reason for that or is there some sort of thing that concerns someone?

My coaches just wanted me to focus on this tournament right now.  With my Mom being in the hospital I've just been telling the coaches I'd talk to them after she gets well.  Everything went well in her surgery so I feel some pressure off of me now.  So now I will start setting my visits after this tournament.

I've heard that you had a good time in Memphis on a visit??

I did.  I really liked the coaches and players and had a good time on the visit.  They told me I could be like Derrick Rose.  I liked the facility and felt comfortable.

Will the pending decision be John Walls to make?  I gather that there is three important components at work here, that being your high school coach Levi Beckwith, your AAU coach Clifton and your Mom.  Is that pretty much accurate?

Yeah.  This is my decision but my Mom said that said I had been home so long that it was my decision.

Wouldn't that be a hard decision to make?  Going away?

Yeah, it's going to be pretty tough.  That's why I'm trying to see which school would be the best fit for me.  If one fits me best elsewhere I will have to move out of state and go to college,  if one fits me best here then I will stay close to home.

What are you looking for in a coach?

A coach that plays the style of ball I play.  A coach who going to push you and not just say you are going to have a starting spot when you get there.  You have to have a good relationship.  I want to see if like I get a turnover or something how long he'll take a player out or if he'll let him play through some mistakes.  I can only take in what people tell me but you can't believe what everybody says because they don't want you to go to a school.

Do you think coaches are straight up for the most part?

It's hard to tell because they are getting payed a certain amount of money and they're trying to get the best players so they can win.  If they are not winning they are not going to keep their job long.  It's kind of tough, so you have to go out and find coaches you feel you can trust and feel most comfortable with.

What are your goals for the rest of the season besides winning as a team?

I'm just want to be the best player I can be.  Prepare myself for college and help my teammates.

What three words or phrases best describes John Wall at this point and time?

Fun, fast and a celebrity I guess.

Are there any games you've marked on the schedule as being special?

I think Ravenscroft will be special.

And you get to play them twice, right?

Yes sir.

I appreciate your time and wish you the best of luck and hope your Mom gets well soon.

Thank you. [/private]

Ryan Kelly Interview – Kelly wins Glaxo Most Outstanding Player Award

Ryan Kelly helped Ravenscroft go 2-1 during the Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational and his play earned him not only a spot on the All Tournament team, but his bracket's Most Outstanding Player Award. [private]

Kelly was visibly disappointed after his teams loss to Centennial where the wheels came off and the

Kelly named the Glaxo Invitational Most Outstanding Player Award - copyright BDNP
Kelly named the Glaxo Invitational Most Outstanding Player Award - copyright BDNP

lack of depth in the Ravens' back court was exposed by constant pressure.

Ravenscroft hopes to bounce back against Word of God this coming Wednesday.  John Wall, C,J. Leslie and company will travel over to participate in a big game on both teams schedule.   Unfortunately for Duke fans, Duke hosts Davidson and Curry that same evening.

Kelly was able to talk with Coach Krzyzewski after his teams loss as we passed to do an interview.

Kelly attended yesterday's Duke-Loyola game as did the Plumlees.  They were also able to meet with Andre Dawkins, a class of 2010 commitment.

Part I -

What does a guy like Ryan Kelly do with his time off?

Go to church, get some shots up, go to movies and hang out with my girlfriend.

A girlfriend?  How long have you two been together?

About a year now (smiling).  Her name is Lindsey Cowher.  She plays for the Girls team at Ravenscroft.

And she is the daughter of Bill Cowher the former Pittsburgh Steelers coach?  Whats it like to be around him?

I am very fortunate.  I've had a lot of good opportunities and met a lot of good people in my life.  My parents are great.  I've been blessed.  I'm having a fun time and just finishing my senior year of high school.

Is it hard to go through all of these tournaments and then get it back together for school?

We'll find out. (laughing)  No, I think I handle it pretty well being responsible.  We have our study halls after school and we all do a good job

Your Coach, Kevin Billerman said you were able to talk to the Duke coaches a lot ...

Yeah, I talk to them pretty consistently after their games.  I let them know about my season and they let me know how theirs is going.  Obviously they are doing pretty well.

Were you able to talk with Wojo or Collins the other night?

No, the timing ... they probably left just before the game ended.

Do the Duke coaches give you a heads up when they are coming?

Yeah, they let me know when they are coming most of the time.

Part II (after his teams loss to Cetennial)

That was a tough loss, but Ryan Kelly will bounce back.  What will you do in order for that to happen?

We just have to play better as a team and get our confidence back.  At Chic-Fil-A we lost a couple because we jumped to some really good teams.  I felt like we had gotten it back a little bit (to straight coming in) ... actually I felt we had it (confidence) back to where it should be, but today it disappeared.

You played a good game, so it must have been frustrating that your team played well early only to come apart in the second half.

We never let it slip to the point where we weren't in it.  We just couldn't get over to hump to get it under ten again.  We kept it close for awhile but thats where the confidence comes in tying to get over the hump. [/private]

Duke wallops Loyola (Md) 92-51

[private]The Blue Devils close out 2008 in style by defeating Loyola, Maryland 92-51 to raise their record to 11-1.  There was little sign of lay off blues, save the fact that Duke hit just one three point field goal in route to 92 points.

Despite being cold from beyond the stripe, Duke was on target in all other phases of the game.  Kyle Singler led the Dukies with 20 points.

Brian Zoubek had one of his best games of the season scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Gerald Henderson continued his stellar play of late, tallying 19 points.  "G" as he is known by his teammates and staff was pretty much all over the court making several outstanding plays.

Hendersons play prompted Krzyzewski to say, “I think G now has put three really good games together.  We need him, we need him badly – he and Jon and Kyle, really are the three guys that have to be there every day for us at a really high level.”

There will be no more breaks the rest of the season as ACC play begins in earnest.  Duke will host Virginia Tech this Sunday and getting off to a good start against what has proved to be a tough match up will be vital.

“We’re excited to get going. Hopefully some of the students are back Sunday night to create a really good atmosphere in here. Virginia Tech has played a very difficult schedule. In Vassallo, they have one of the top scorers in the league. They’re a veteran team – I think they’re a really good basketball team. Once you start ACC play, everything is kind of even. That’s why you start 0-0 again,” said Krzyzewski.

Today's win was the Blue Devils 66th straight home victory ove an out of conference opponent.  Check back in with the Blue Devil Nation this Friday for player quotes going into ACC play.

Box Score Link[/private]

Christ School stages a comeback to defeat Word of God for Glaxo Championship – Plumlee MVP, Wall MOP

[private]In the long history of the Glaxo Smith Kline Holiday Invitational, last evenings contest between Christ School Arden and Word of God Raleigh could well be the most memorable game.

Christ School came from 17 points down to defeat Word of God 76-73 with every

Christ School Arden - 2008 Glaxo Invitational Holiday Tournaments Champions
Christ School Arden - 2008 Glaxo Invitational Holiday Tournaments Champions

possession being critical down the stretch and big plays were made time and time again.

Before a standing room only crowd at Raleigh Broughton High School, the two teams put on a most entertaining and competitive contest.  In fact, it was one of those games where if you sneezed, you missed a great play, especially during a furious second half.

The game had it all -player and game intensity, a rocking crowd, steals and slams, multiple blocks by players in one sequence, great passing, You Tube instant classics ... well, you get the picture.

It was sort of like this - John Wall made the steal goes coast to coast in like two seconds and throws down a one handed sweeping dunk, Lakeem Jackson answers with a three point shot while blanketed with defense.  Word of God got the ball up

Wall slahes to the rim with former AAU D-One teammate Mason Plumlee trying to alter his shot
Wall slahes to the rim with former AAU D-One teammate Mason Plumlee trying to alter his shot

quickly and found C.J. Leslie flashing along the baseline only to catch it and throw down a dunk.  Not to be outdone Mason Plumlee throws the ball off glass, catches it in the same motion and throws down a thunderous dunk which is one of many spectacular plays that brought the crowd to their feet.

Word of God jumped out of the gates quickly with a break neck pressing defense and took a 23-11 lead after one quarter of play, knock the undefeated Greenies back on their heels.

"The first ten minutes or so, I was very upset with our lack of composure.  I was more frustrated than upset, but we knew we weren't going to quit.  We had to go out their and fight fire with fire," said Greenies Coach Gaines.

It seemed as if the gliding Wall was all over the place in that quarter, making several crowd pleasing plays. Wall took that play into the second quarter as well with the Rams continuing to stretch out their lead before the Greenies caught their breath.

Christ School Coach David Gaines said, "John (Wall) is the best north-south guy I have ever seen.  You see it coming and we're pretty athletic, but even with two or

John Wall was named Most Outstanding Player - copyright BDNP
John Wall was named Most Outstanding Player - copyright BDNP

three guys on him or back, still I would often want to turn and look the other way because he is such a great finisher."

That was when Mason Plumlee got a scowl on his face just underneath where this writer was perched.  Plumlee wasn't that productive early, but he wasn't about to disappoint those who had come to see him play.

Coach Krzyzewski, Wojo and Nate James were their having just watched Duke commitment Ryan Kelly.    But a bit later his brother Miles Plumlee, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Elliot Williams entered the arena and sat just behind their coaches while adoring fans began to sneak over for glimpses and autographs.

Of course, K and company are one of the schools highly interested in John Wall and hoping to secure a visit with him.  Sydney Lowe and N.C. State assistants, sat just below the Duke staff on the floor as well.  They were their to see Wall and C.J. Leslie.

Back to Mason - it's as if he wouldn't be denied and his play along with some inspired minutes from his younger brother Mashall (5 points, 5 rebounds) helped the Greenies close the gap to 42-35 at the half.

"At halftime there weren't a lot of X's and O's, we made a couple of adjustments, but the challenge was that you've got to come out and meet that physicality with the same," said Gaines."

Mason Plumlee told BDN after the game, "We knew we were the better team and we got ourselves in a hole early.  During a timeout we decided we were going to be aggressive and take control."

As the second half started, Word of God picked up where they had left off and Christ

MAson Plumlee was named the tournament MVP - copyright BDNP
MAson Plumlee was named the tournament MVP - copyright BDNP

School found themselves behind double digits midway through the third quarter, but that's when the Greenies dug in and adjusted to the pace.

Part of the reason for the comeback was the Greenies front court, one which started to assert itself as the game went on.  C.J. Leslie had been a beast for WOG early on, but the young star was held to just 7 points in the second half. 

Another boost came from Reggie King who scored 11 second half points, many key baskets during the comeback.  Tony Kimbrough also added 9 points.

Word of God refused to go away until the very end in this game and they were led by the countries top unsigned prospect in John Wall and he gave the fans quite a performance, scoring 28 points, grabbing 6 boards to go with 3 assists and 2 steals.

"We came out and played our game, but in the end we just didn't finish it off.  I was able to penetrate and find lanes in their defense and that helped me to make some plays and get teammates the ball where they could finish.  We'll just have to learn from this experience and move on," said Wall after the game.

N.C. State commitment, C.J. Leslie chipped in with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.  Leslie was later named to the All Tournament team.

"I told our guys we played well for 99% of the game.  Our game plan was to keep

When Coach K attends events, he watches the games intensely, but he took time for some autographs from fans
When Coach K attends events, he watches the games intensely, but he took time for some autographs from fans

them off the boards and we did a pretty good job of that," said Word of God Coach Beckwith after the contest.  He continued by saying, "This team has made some tremendous strides in how they play together as a team."

Christ School had a more balanced attack putting four players in double figures.  Reggie King had 13, Lucas Troutman 11 and another All Tournament team selection, Lakeem Jackson had 10.

After the game, the awards ceremony took place and Mason Plumlee was named the tournaments MVP while John Wall garnered the Most Outstanding Player.  This was Christ Schools second Glaxo Championship.

"I'm running out superlatives.  This guy (Mason Plumlee) was the catalyst to getting us back in it.  Without saying anything and just through his actions he basically said we're getting back in this if I have to take over run the point, go down low or whatever.  He's a winner and he competes like the dickins," said Coach Gaines with concerns to the future Blue Devil.

BDN asked Mason if he was trying to be emphatic with his dunks and he stated, "Yeah (smiling).  There were a  lot where I should have dunked, but went up soft and had them blocked.  When I did get the opportunity I wanted to go strong."

Then I put him on the spot asking of the off the glass, catch and slam.  I joked with Mason asking him if his Dad taught him that with his proud Father, Perky standing nearby.  "You see a lot of stuff like that on You Tube.  I saw Tracy McGrady do it in All Star games ... it's not something you practice it just worked out for me."

During the press conference Coach Gaines had said Mason took a couple of shots he wasn't sure about, but he couldn't help but glow a little bit with that statement.  And while it may not have been a move his future college coach would suggest, it was surely a crowd pleasing move on a night where both teams left those in attendance with some memories.

Mason Plumlee, Coach David Gaines and Lakeem Jackson hold up the Glaxo Championship trophy
Mason Plumlee, Coach David Gaines and Lakeem Jackson hold up the Glaxo Championship trophy
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Kelly, Plumlee and Wall will participate in tonight’s Glaxo Invitational Championship games

[private]Christ School advanced to the Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational Shavlik Randolph Foundation Championship by defeating Kinston 76-59.  They will face Word of God tonight just after 9:00 in what should be an exciting match up.  Ravenscroft will also take place in the championship game of the Summit Hospitality bracket against Centennial.

"Our half time adjustments were great and our defense confused them a little bit.  It's hard to keep these guys up for five games in a row.  Jackson and Plumlee ... I can't say enough about what they do for this team and we just have to get up for tomorrow night," said the Greenies Coach Gaines.

Christ School shot 61.7% from the field over a pesky Kinston team.  The Greenies were led by South Carolina commitment Lakeem Jackson who tallied 18 points and 4 rebounds.  He spent much of the night guarding UNC commitment Reggie Bullock who scored 17 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.

"For two years Lakeem has guarded the other guy's stars.  We told him you have to guard Reggie Bullock. He (Jackson) takes such pride in his defense.  Reggie made some great shots in the first half, but by in large Lakeem did a great job on him," said Gaines.

Duke bound Mason Plumlee was a force in the paint where he scored 15 points to go with 13 rebounds.  Plumlee known for his uncanny passing skills for a big man dished out 7 assists.

"If this kid is not an All American, you've got to be kidding me.  It's not going to be because he scores 25 points a night.  Tonight we had him for 8 assists.  He just produces in the big games for us.  I would like to see him post up a little more and part of my barking at him was to get him to do that.  But again, the kids a superstar," said Gaines when asked of Plumlee.

Plumlee was 7 of 10 from the field, two of those misses were three point shots.  Plumlee is a shoo-in for the all tournament team and his field goal percentage has to be among the best at the event.

When asked of his passing ability for a big man, Plumlee told the Blue Devil Nation, "When you have good shooters like we do, you want to get them the ball.  I've been watching the game since I was younger and a lot of my favorite players were great passers.

The Greenies pulled away late in the game after throwing a variety of defenses at Kinston.  They must now prepare for Word of God, an athletic team which will press and push the ball.

Word of God of course, is led by the nation's top uncommitted prospect in John Wall.  While their game wasn't pretty on the eyes due to numerous turnovers, they held St. Raymond to 30% shooting in a decisive 63-43 win.

"I think the biggest thing for us tonight was our defense.  We gave up 10 points in the first quarter and 6 in the second.  We had a little bit of a let down in the third, but came back strong in the fourth," said Word of God Coach Levi Beckwith.

Wall showed off his ability to get from end to end faster than any player in the high school ranks.  He scored 14 points on 40% shooting from the field.  He was 6 of 7 from the free throw stripe and dished out 4 assists.

"I'm just trying to be the leader I'm supposed to be and prepare for college," Wall told the Blue Devil Nation in a post game interview.

Another impressive stat line for Wall was his 9 rebounds which is a testament to his active feet.  But his top stat was his 5 blocks, where two were on the same possession where he also started the break for an easy basket.

"We've watched them (Christ School) play the last two nights and Coach will give us our game plan.  If we follow his game plan we win, if we do something outside his game plan we struggle to win.  We will go home and rest tonight and we'll go over the game plan.  It's going to be a tough game but we might come out with the win," stated Wall on his next opponent.

Coach Beckwith added, "We are going to need to make sure we did the same thing we did down low tonight which is number one make sure we're down there.  Obviously we want to use our speed, but they have speed as well.  We are going to do what we do just like they do.  Their coach is probably sitting back when we are going to trap them half court - we are doing the same thing."

Ryan Kelly will lead Ravenscroft against Centennial in the first game this evening.  Centennial is led by N.C. State commitment Lorenzo Brown.  Another Pack commitment of interest is C.J. Leslie who plays for Word of God.

Once again, Broughton High School was filled to capacity and people were turned away in droves outside the venue.  Duke Assistant Coach Nate James took in the action for the Blue Devils.

Blue Devil Nation Premium our subscription service has an exclusive one on one interview with John Wall and much more from last evening alone.  Why not check out the hardest working premium site around and judge for yourself where you get the best basketball coverage to add to your fan experience.  If you are a member of another site, once you check us out, you'll likely see the difference.[/private]

Kelly and Ravenscroft head to the Glaxo Championship game

[private]Ravenscroft won their third consecutive game by disposing of Panther Creek 77-53.  The Ravens put on a shooting clinic for much of the game ending up 73.5% from the field and a whopping 77.8% from the three point stripe.

The Ravens lost their first two games of the season during the Chic-Fil-A Invitational before winning their final contest of the event.  Those losses did not settle with Coach Billerman and his

Kelly thunders to the hole against Panther Creek - copyright BDN Premium
Kelly thunders to the hole against Panther Creek - copyright BDN Premium

team and thus far they've played with a chip on their shoulder in the continuing Glaxo Invitational in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"This is the type of basketball I think we can play.  We started the game against their trapping defense hitting some wide open shots.  We held them to four offensive rebounds and if we can do that every day, we'll be hard to beat," said Billerman shortly after the contest.  The Ravenscroft Coach continued, "In my nine years it may have been the best game Ravenscroft has played."

Part of the resurgence can be attributed to their go-to player, Ryan Kelly. The Duke commitment scored a game high 30 points going 11 of 14 from the field to go with his 5 rebounds and two assists.

Kelly was 11 of 11 before missing a three point shot to break the streak.

"We got good shots early on and the whole team was knocking them down," said Kelly.  "We were pushing the ball real well today and shooting as good as we did from three is pretty amazing."

Luke Davis also asserted himself with 20 points, while Panther Creek was led by Auburn commitment Earnest Ross with 29 points.  "We are a good passing team when Luke has his energy.  A lot of people don't know that he has been really sick.  At Chic-Fil-A in South Carolina he wasn't himself but I thought you saw a pretty complete player today who was able to penetrate past their guards and allow others to score," said Billerman.

Ravenscroft now has a chance to win their bracket championship on Tuesday evening and carry that momentum into the rest of the season. "It means a lot to Ravenscroft.  Playing for a Glaxo Championship is something we'll talk about over the break and we'll give our hardest effort in order to do that."

Kelly later told BDN, "We wanted to come in here and show some people something.  It's important because a huge chunk of the City of Raleigh is coming out to watch these games and they want to see a championship game between two good teams and we are happy to be one of them."

The Ravens will play the winner of the Centennial-Knightdale game which will be played at 5:40 today.  The championship game will start at 7:20 on Tuesday.  In the other bracket, tonight's Christ School-Kinston winner plays in the nightcap versus the winner of Word of God or St. Raymonds.

For an in depth one on one interview with Ryan Kelly, join Blue Devil Nation Premium and get complete inside access.  There are already premium articles and interviews up with Plumlee and John Wall.  Members also have access to our message board where we will be blogging live from the event.  For some of the best recruiting and inside new available, join today and see what you are missing.[/private]