Category Archives: Duke Basketball

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]

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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]

Hot off the press – Josh Hairston tells BDN he’s anxious to visit Duke and talks his recruitment

[private] What are your plans for the weekend?

I will not do anything on campus when I arrive Friday night, but will get up with Coach Wojciechowski in the morning.  I am going to meet up with the rest of the guys and go around campus, then go to the football game.  After that we will play in open gym where I will run a couple of games, and of course talk to Coach K.

Are you looking forward to the visit?

I am ... I can't ... I've been looking forward to the visit for a long time! 

Have you discussed the visit with your friends?

Yes sir.  I actually talked to Andre a couple of days ago and we've been trying to talk to Coach Wojo and get a date we can both get down there.  When I went down before for the first time, Andre had been there the previous day.  This will be the first time all three of us (Tyler) being down on the campus together, so it should be fun.

Have you talked to any of them of late?

We've talked about it over the phone.  I played with Andre my freshman year before Boo Williams.  We had talked about playing together before Duke was looking at any of us.  I actually talked to Tyler about it yesterday.  It's a great thing to think about that you can possibly be playing with two guys you have played AAU with.  You know their every move and they know your moves - you are comfortable with them.

What Duke coaches have played a big role in your recruitment, the lead if you will?

Wojo came to one of my open gyms my sophomore year.  Since then he's been to the majority of my tournaments.  Him and Coach K come together a lot.

If you are blown away during the visit, is there a chance you could go home a Blue Devil?

There actually is a chance.  If I go down there and feel comfortable and they've answered all my questions, yeah it could happen.  As of right now when I head down there my mind will still be open.  I'm still keeping offers on the table, but if I feel comfortable and I feel that's the place I want to be and they want me there then that can definitely happen.

Are your parents excited about the visit?

They are.  They're probably more excited than even I am.  They have met Coach K before and when I was at the practice facility, I met Coach Nate James and I was talking to him and they got a good chance to talk to him.  They're really tight.  My sister is probably the most excited out of all of us.  She hasn't been there and she grew up a Duke fan.  She's always been in love with Duke girls basketball and everything about Duke, so she is looking forward to it the most - she can't wait to get down there.

So, you like Nate?

The first time I got to talk to him was on my visit to Duke.  I really like him and have had a chance to talk to him and learned he was from the DC area.  He checked me out on his first recruiting trip.  You know, you could see him over there watching in the corner.  He'd wink at me.  We noticed him and he noticed us.  I really do like Coach Nate.

Have a safe journey and a good time on your visit.

Oh, yes sir!  I will.[/private]

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]