Category Archives: Duke Basketball

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]

One on One with future Dukie Mason Plumlee

The following is a question and answer session with Duke commitment Mason Plumlee which took place after his teams victory.  Plumlee discusses his match up with Ryan Kelly, his brother Miles and

Plumlee slams one of two consecutive dunks down - copyright BDN Premium Photos
Plumlee slams one of two consecutive dunks down - copyright BDN Premium Photos

Marshall, his teams play, his spectacular dunks in his first Glaxo game, what the Duke coaches have him working on, his love for the Triangle area and much more in this exclusive one on one interview.

Let's back up to the Chic-Fil-A tournament where your team faced Ravenscroft.  A lot of people wanted to make that game out to be Mason Plumlee vs Ryan Kelly, both of you Duke commitments.  Were you more pumped up for that game than normal?

I was more-so because Ravenscroft was a team ... they were undefeated, we were undefeated and we just wanted to make our mark as a team.  Of course people try to hype up individual stuff.  We talked about it as a team ad decided we are going into every game as a team.  It's not us against them.  We had a game where one team had a kid that was going to a school that didn't offer Reggie, but we still attacked them as a team and not individual match ups. [private]

What's it like to have Duke Assistant Coaches Wojo and Collins watching you?

It feels good just to see them at the game.  It makes you want to play well, that for sure (smiling).  It's good to have them here.

I see that your parents are here and your younger brother plays along with you.  Are you finding a little time to relax with them during this time?

Yeah.  I've been with Miles the last couple of days.  We're getting to know Durham a little bit.  I like it down here.

What has Miles told you about his freshman season at Duke?

He just said it was a lot of work.  He's glad he went to Christ School because it's prepared him for college as best it could be.  But he said college is a whole other animal in terms of his studies.  He's in Engineering

That's biting off a lot as a freshman ...

Yeah, he just says it's tough to balance school and basketball.  He loves it at Duke.  That's never been questioned.

You seem to have added more to your game.  What was going through your head when you threw down that reverse dunk?

(laughing)  Maybe not in this game but when you play against so many athletes and stuff where people try to block your dunk from behind, if you go under the rim you still get the dunk in.  I probably didn't need to do it, but whats wrong with something different?

The crowd loved it ...

Yeah (smiling)

Has the staff told you to work on anything in particular?  What have they said to you?

Coach K saw me in my final game of the Chic-Fil-A and he wants me to play with my back to the basket and get a better feel down there.  "Get my behind on the block," he says, so (smiling)

Are you having a good time in high school or are you anxious to get to the next level ...

I'm loving every second of it in high school.  I love my team, I love my coaches and I want to enjoy every second.  I'm looking forward to Duke, but I just want to live in the moment.

Tell me a little bit about Marshall.  Whats going on with him these days?

He's trying to live the day, but he's been working hard.  He hasn't come into his own completely which is obvious.  But he always plays hard getting rebounds and blocking some shots.  He'll just keep getting better.

Do you guys ever work out together?  What routines are you going through to build yourself up?

There are a couple of people on the team who are always working on their game.  It's obvious who wants to get better and we work hard in high school.  We go hard in practice, but outside of that we are always in the weight room or doing skills stuff.

Coach Gaines admitted to me that you guys were looking ahead to that Oak Hill game a little bit.  What are your thoughts on that?

I was upset after the game last year because we lost by three.  If I remember right I missed three free throws in the second half.  So, it's just one of those games ... we only had two losses last year and that's one of those games we shouldn't have lost.

So, how are your parents liking the area?

They like it.  They moved down for the week.  Where we are from ... it's kind of boring.  I'm trying to talk them into moving down here, but only if they can.  I love it here.  We did some last minute Christmas shopping ... it's a nice area.

Are you looking forward to the challenge against Kinston and UNC commitment Reggie Bullock?

It's going to be a good challenge and we are looking forwad to competing and hopefully winning this tournament.  That's our goal.

Thanks for your time.

Thank you! [/private]

Plumlee helps Christ School advance, going 9 of 11 from the field

[private]The Glaxo Smith Kline Invitational has afforded Duke fans their first opportunity to see 2009 commitment Mason Plumlee play in the Triangle since last seasons State Championships.  Plumlee didn't disappoint, prompting one recruiting guru to exclaim, "Mason is the real deal, Duke has got a good one in him.  He can do it all."

Plumlee is the younger brother of current Duke player Miles Plumlee, yet he was the first to cast his lot to wear the royal blue.  He plays for Christ School of Arden, the defending state champion and a team that is now a traditional North Carolina power.

Plumlee pretty much had his way in his teams 70-45 win over Apex Middle Creek during their tournament opener.  Plumlee tallied 18 points going 9 of 11 from the field.  He added 7 rebounds and 2 blocks to his total as well.

"He continues to do what he should.  He plays like a high school All American should play," said Christ School Coach David Gaines.

Plumlee showed off his ball handling ability and was a force on the boards while altering shots.  He threw down a reverse slam dunk as the first half ended and had two consecutive dunks prior to that. 

"We just did what we needed to do.  I think it all starts with our rebounding.  We have great defenders and when they can put that much pressure on the perimeter and we get some easy baskets offensively, it makes things come together much quicker," said Plumlee when talking of his teams win.

Plumlees numbers may seem a bit low to some, but one must consider that his team features seven Division I prospects or commitments and they can go very deep.  How deep?  Well, they played ten players in the first half against Middle Creek.

"He is a little too unselfish for me.  I would like to see him dominate more, but I think Mason has a feel for the game and wants to get others involved maybe a little bit too much," said Gaines.  He then touched on the aforementioned depth. "Mason Lakeems' (Jackson, South Carolina commitment)statistics are misleading.  They are averaging about 16 points a game, but both would rather pass it than shoot it."

Plumlees team will face Rocky Mount led by UNC commitment Reggie Bullock on Monday evening as the Glaxo Invitational continues in Raleigh.  "Kinston is going to be the most disciplined well coached team that we've played.  "Reggie Bullock is a tremendous player and they do things the way we do things.  That's (game) is going to be more of a chess match," said Gaines when asked of Rocky Mount.

Blue Devil Nation Premium subscribers can get a more detailed scouting analysis and a one on one question and answer session with Mason Plumlee  Members also have access to the premium only message boards, where we blog live from the event.  Next up is a Ryan Kelly game story in our free section and a Ryan Kelly interview for members.[/private]

Glaxo Premium Report – Wall talks recruiting and Kelly his teams victory

The Blue Devil Nation was on the scene for the 37th Annual Tournament where we caught all of the action in a sold out venue.  We talked with John Wall about the recruiting process and where he stands.  BDNP talked to Duke commitment Ryan Kelly as well.  The following is an in depth report laced with plenty of details and full of scouting reports, interviews, pictures and behind the scenes chatter.  We will continue our live blog of the event on the Premium Message Board this afternoon.  It's a great time to join Blue Devil Nation Premium.  Details for membership are in the menu just under our name. [private]

Word of God - When Word of God players arrived in the media room, John Wall, CJ Leslie and Bishop Daniels joked about with each other about missed finger rolls or dunks.  While the three got along well together off the court, there were time when some of the Word of God players seemed to take their shots when they got them for fear of not getting enough shots.

John Wall - Word of God  is very athletic and the crowd really got into their game.  But all of their players seemed to want to make the showboat play.  Wall would show off his ball skills in an almost taunting manner when guarded one on one.  There was one short, stocky kid which got a five second call on Wall after his showboating.  That's a call he'll talk about to his family about one day when Wall is in the NBA.

In reality, his team is giving the crowd what they want and they run the court non stop, but did play a zone this evening which is uncharacteristic of their team.  Quite simply, WOG plays on emotion and their talent allows them to try and do things other teams wish they could.

Wall showed the ability to make amazing dunks from any and every angle.  His leaping ability is something to behold, especially considering he gets up so quickly.  He can make up ground like no other guard in the country and came floating through the air effortlessly for two blocks and a third which was called a foul.

Wall is a streaky outside shooter.  He would nail a couple and then miss one badly.  His strength is going to the hole and he actually needed the ball in his hands more in order to create on the break.  His half court PG skills need work, but he is a motor guy who will be a star on any level.

ESPN is doing a documentary on Wall and a piece for an upcoming ESPNU show.  The camera seems to follow Wall everywhere in an almost comical fashion, be it in the

Not even the Fire Marshall could get in to see Wall on Friday night
Not even the Fire Marshall could get in to see Wall on Friday night

stands before the game or close enough to see sweat glands at work in the team huddle.

Much has been made of past attitudes and problems with Wall.  His coach had this to say, "One of the things that people don't see is the strides that these guys has made as young men.  If you were to interview people that knew these guys years ago, they would tell you what they have developed most is not their game, but their character.

My Q & A with John Wall -  (Keep in mind there is limited time during this event and I fired off as many questions as I could which was pretty much half the questions asked total)

Somebody is going to bring up recruiting and where you are in the process, can you speak of that?  There was a TV camera on you quite a bit.  Is this the continuation of the documentary they were filming since the last time I talked to you in person at the Peach Jam.

"I'm not sure, really.  I think that's ESPN," said Wall who then turned to his coach asking, "Is that ESPN 360 ... I think?"

When will you trim your list?

"I think I will do it when I take two or three more visits.  When I take my last couple of visits that's when I will try to trim my list down and make a decision in April."

Are any of those visits set or in the near future?

"I've got to take one to Miami and Baylor and then I've got to take one more after that."

... and your list consists of?

"Kansas, Memphis, Baylor, Miami, N.C. State, Duke and Oregon."

Rising Star Bishop Daniels- Daniels was a sharp witted youngster witha big smile and seemed mature beyond his years.  When asked about playing with Leslie and Wall.  "Man they treat me like a little kid. They treat me like the baby. (room laughing) It's fun playing with them.  I go at them hard because they go at me hard.  They try to hurt me in practice (Jokingly), but it's different with two superstars on the court.  I'm trying to show what I can do on the courts too."  I then asked him to tell me something nobody knows about John Wall and CJ Leslie as both players put their faces in their hands.  "CJ is a clown and Johns a clown too.  They like to have fun, more fun than anybody I know."  Once in the hallway, I asked Bishop where he thought Wall might be leaning.  "It depends on which day it is.  He changes back and forth all the time."

Ryan Kelly -Kelly continued his perimeter play often handling the ball out front in his teams opening night win.  Kelly scored 21 points grabbed 4 boards and had 3 blocks. Ravenscroft defeated Apex 71-56 and the opponent had nothing to combat the size of the Ravens.

Kelly flushed three dunks and handled the ball well.  When he did take the ball in low, it allowed him to kick back out to teammates for open shots.  Kelly still needs a little work on his three point stroke, but his movement is smooth.  Again, I am impressed by his length when challenged defensively.  He easily mad up ground against shorter players.  He will be in action again this evening.

Ravenscroft teammate Matt Wilson who is heading to UNC-Wilmington had a solid game where he tallied 18 points.  FWIW, the official stats seem to need an extra stat person for they indeed differ from what many of us are keeping.

Former Duke player and Ravenscroft coach  Kevin Billermans comments -

Opening statement - "Our guards made some threes early which opened the game up for us and our defensive pressure allowed us to open it up to twenty points."

He wanted folks to know his team has not been healthy- "One of the things that people don't understand is that Madison is coming off a sprained ankle and has not been able to practice for an extended period of time.  Luke Davis our PG had streped throat down in South Carolina and did not have the energy he normally had.  When those two guys are healthy they created plays where Matt and Ryan can finish."

I asked about how he was using Ryan and that it seemed different from last year -We wanted to feature Matt (Wilson) more in the post this year.  Most teams don't have two big men.  With Ryan, he's so skilled and can create shots for himself Matt and our perimeter players.

Q and A with Kelly-

Did this game help your team get back on track after dropping one of three games in the Chic-Fil-A tournament?

"Yeah, definitely!  We began to get into a little bit of rhythm once now that this tournament has begun.  Obviously we didn't do as well as we would have like down at the Chic-Fil-A tournament.  But we finished with a win there and started off with one here and hopefully that can translate as we continue into the tournament."

I asked Kelly if having Chris Collins and his Father Doug in the stands got him more pumped up -

"I go out in every game prepared to play as hard as I can.  It's great to see that the coaches are supporting me, but I play the same with every game - the same emotion.

Chris Collins and Doug Collins - It's always great to see these two basketball

Kelly, Collins and Collins/copyright BDN Premium
Kelly, Collins and Collins/copyright BDN Premium

purists together.  They were going over X's and O's during the game and ESPN was sure to get a shot of them.  Kelly stopped over to talk with them after I talked with him.  Once a player is committed coaches are allowed to talk with their kids.

I will be covering the event today and will have a live blog going on the message board for members.  Mason Plumlee plays this evening followed by Ryan Kelly. [/private]

Glaxo Invitational Day One – Kelly, Wall lead teams to win

[private]The ghost of former Raleigh Broughton player, "Pistol" Pete Maravich would have loved to play in his former gym on Friday night.  The reason was there was a standing room only crowd so big that a horde of people were turned away outside.

The reason for the huge gathering of basketball fans was the 37th Glaxo Smith-Kline Holiday

Duke commitment Ryan Kelly and former Duke player Kevin Billerman pose after last nights victory
Duke commitment Ryan Kelly and former Duke player Kevin Billerman pose after last nights victory

Invitational.  Day One saw Duke commitment Ryan Kelly lead Ravenscroft to a 71-56 victory over Apex.

Kelly tallied 21 points and added 4 rebounds and 3 blocked shots according to the official stat sheet.  Kelly displayed a wide variety of moves.

"We definitely began to get in a little bit of rhythm as we get into this tournament in Glaxo and didn't do as well as we had liked to down at Chic-Fil-A (Invitational).  But we finished with a win there and started out with a win here," said Kelly after the game.

In the nightcap, John Wall displayed his incredible athleticism as his Word of God team advanced with a 67-41 blowout against Rocky Mount.  Wall finished the game with 16 points, 3 blocks and 2 assists.  He had three resounding dunks in the contest which brought the crowd to its feet.

Word of God will not play again until Monday evening and Ravenscroft takes to the court again tonight at 9:15.  Preceding that game, Mason Plumlee and Christ School open with their first contest in the tournament.

Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins and his Father Doug were there to take in the event.  Raleigh Police were called in to help handle the crowd outside where a line stretched for more than 100 yards two and three deep.

For complete and unmatched coverage, consider joining Blue Devil Nation Premium.  There you will find quotes from Kelly and Wall and analysis of the event that few fans were able to see.  You can also read our live blog from the event on the members only message board.  BDN will continue to report the results of the games in our free section as well, so check back in this evening.[/private]