Category Archives: Duke Basketball

BDN’s Slater gets talent guru Tom Konchalski’s thoughts on Duke committments

Tom Konchalski has been the editor and publisher of the highly respected High School Basketball Insider Report for more than thirty-five years. Currently, more than 225 colleges subscribe to his service. He is one of the select McDonald's All-American voters. After a weekend at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts, Mr. Konchalski sat down with Blue Devil Nation to talk about some Duke commitments and prospects.

Mason Plumlee
Mason Plumlee

Mason Plumlee: First of all, he has surprising athleticism. He can really jump. The trouble is his body lacks flexibility. He's got to get pliable. I really think he needs a person to work with him on that. He plays too erect. He never really bends his knees. He tries to back people down. He's got the quickness. The main thing he lacks is flexibility. He's got the size. He's very coachable. [private] He'll be a four-year player there and I think he'll be a good player in time.


Ryan Kelly
Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly: Ryan has so much more fluidity to his game right now. He really does so many things. He's got nearly a perfect skill set for a guy 6'9." He's not going to be a three. He's a step out four man, who has very good skills. Defensively, he'll be capable of defending the four, but he just needs to get stronger. Plumlee less so, but also most kids coming from high school need to get a lot stronger.



Andrer Dawkins
Andrer Dawkins

Andre Dawkins: He's a very good shooter... 6'4"...plays in a system. He's a guy that you don't need to get fifteen shots per game. He'll play within the system. He will knock down the three-pointer, but he's very patient. He doesn't really look to create his shot that much, but he'll take the shots that come to him. He'll be a very good system player. He's a big off guard that can shoot the ball. He's a good example of the saying "good shots make good shooters and bad shots make bad shooters."

Tyler Thornton
Tyler Thornton

Tyler Thornton: He's a utility guard. I don't think he's a pure point guard. He's not a great outside shooter, but he has really active hands. I think he'll be a defensive catalyst. He'll be a utility guard...a little point guard...a little off guard. He's a program player. You might say that's a euphemism for a career backup, but he'll be a program player. He'll be part of a winning process. Listen I don't think they're going to beat North Carolina or win the ACC or a national title with Thornton starting for them, but I think he can help.

Joshn Hairston
Joshn Hairston

Josh Hairston: Now, Josh Hairston's got a chance to be really good. He's 6'8," skilled, athletic with a good body, yet hasn't really hit the weights much yet. I think a big part of going after Tyler was that he was a D.C. teammate of his and continue to work D.C. Assault. Nolan was the first player to commit from the program and, if these two also have a good experience at Duke, they will be in good position to get future players as well.


John Wall
John Wall

John Wall: He's Evil Knievel without the cycle. He's the most explosive athlete in the class. He's just in a different class. He's 6'3 ½." He tries to just run by people. He plays at one speed. He's got to...if hes going to play and be an elite point guard...learn to play at different speeds. He'll drive by you...dunk on you...throw alley oops, but he's got to learn to not always try to play at one hundred miles per hour. As a point guard right now, he'll get assists mainly because he'll get by people and create numerical disadvantage. Through that...he'll find people, but he's got to learn to play at different speeds. He's just explosive. He's got to shoot it better. He's got to get more selective with his shot and push the ball at different paces. Someone has got to work with him on that...but there is no one in this class at his level of athleticism.

Harrison Barnes: I've never had a chance to see him play yet, but he's supposed to be a terrific player. I was at Reebok, when he was at Nike.

Kyrie Irving: Very good player. His father is in the Hall of Fame at BU. He played at Adlai Stevenson in the Bronx. His name is pronounced "Dedrick," but it's spelled Drederick. He played mostly for Jarvis at BU. He was a very, very good player at BU. He was about 6'3." Kyrie is now 6'1." He transferred in from Montclair Kimberly Academy. He would be eligible today, but they don't play again until Thursday. Right now, he's sort of a combination least 6'1." I'll tell you what I thought he and Isaiah Epps (Pitt) were the best junior guards in Jersey, but now he may very well be the best. He can shoot the ball very well. He can handle it and he's younger physically. See, Isaiah Epps is going to have to go prep school next year. He's run out of eligibility. I think he's a combination guard, but because of his size...he's 6'1"...wherever he goes they'll probably try to make him into a point guard. He's a talented player. He could play at that level. Would he be an all-American at Duke? Probably not, but he could be very good for them.

Jason Morris: Well, he didn't shoot well today again. His father, Phil, played in NY too. He lives with his mother down in Augusta, but the father played in New York and first talked about him when he was in the sixth grade...but everybody thinks their kid is great in the sixth grade. He goes to a very good school. He's going to play with the Gauchos, but he's played with other organizations in the past. Jason Morris has great explosion with the ball. He really elevates. He's got Otis-like elevation with the ball. He can stop on a dime and explode with his jump shot. I think he'll be very good and he's mature for his age. [/private]

Gerald Henderson talks of Wake, being ranked #1

Gerald Henderson took time to answer a few questions during yesterday's media availability -

On how Duke matches up with Wake -

By the numbers, we don't match up.  But we've played big teams, Florida State and Georgia Tech.  We

Henderson and Duke will face a hostile environment tomorrow evening
Henderson and Duke will face a hostile environment tomorrow evening

have to go to our strengths.  We'll continue to game plan and stick to the same things we've been doing.

On the tremendous size of the Wake frontcourt -

Aminu, Johnson, McFarland - they're all really good players.  But it's not one player we need to stop because they have a lot of good players. 

On how to come out with a win -

It'll be a team effort and we hope to have a really good gameplan going for us.  If we play good defense and rebound the basketball, we have a chance to win.  No matter how our offense is going, we'll have a chance to win if we do those things.

On his getting the ball in position to score in the Duke offense -

Coaches are really inventive when it comes to sets and plays, so we run off of that.  It gives us a lot of options with Kyle and Jon ... we just try to get it to players where they are at their best.  It helps me drive and always attack the basket and if I am covered, there is always a guy in the corner.

On how to protect Kyle -

One of our biggest things is to try to play without fouling.  With Kyle, whoever the big is he's guarding at the time, we'll just have to play our defense.  Obviously we have help side defense that's pretty strong and that's one of the biggest things in our defense in how aggressive we play.

On how Wake plays -

They like to get out on the break.  Everyone knows that from watching them play.  We'll have to fan out and protect our basket.

On being ranked number one in both polls -

It really doesn't mean as much as people talk about it.  At this point we feel like we're one of the best teams in the country, but I guess people with our ranking think we are the best team.  With our season ... that won't help us until we get  to the NCAA tournament.  We just try to win all of the games and all the rankings will take care of itself.

On last season's defeat in Winston Salem -

They jumped on us early.  For a point we were leading but just fell apart.

Scheyer talks of Duke being atop the polls and preparing for Wake Forest

Jon Scheyer took the time to answer a few questions on Monday.  Scheyer addressed being ranked number one and the upcoming game at Wake Forest.

What is it like to be ranked number one in the nation?

Obviously it's an honor to be number one at any time in the season.  It's a lot of great teams out there besides us and any one of them want to be ranked number one at the end of the year.  It's exciting, but we have a big win coming up.  We enjoyed it for a little bit and now we'll move on.

As a team you could probably see this ranking coming.  Did Coach K tell you anything?

We talked about it even before we were number one.  We talked about it way back when Pittsburgh lost that we could have possibly been number one then.  The one thing we talked about is if we were one or two our focus has to be on the next game.  That's something we've done a good job with it.  We've seen the number one team get knocked off the last two weeks, so we see that you can't enjoy it.  Wake was just number one and now we're going to play there.  The rankings will take care of themselves at the end of the year, so we just have to get ready for the game with Wake.

How familiar are you with the Wake and how they play?

They're really long and athletic so you have to be strong with the ball, every pass you make.  With Wake - you're not going to overpower them because they have a lot of athletes.  They get out on transition.  They want to make people take forced or quick shots and get out and run.  We just have to make smart plays.

Wake plays a lot of big guys, so there will be situations where you may be guarding Aminu or Johnson on a switch.  Can you talk about that a little bit?

Well obviously, they start a really big line up and come off the bench with big guys.  For Gerald and myself getting switched off we have to be smart the way we play them.

And this week, Duke sits atop the poll at #1

The Duke Blue Devils moved to the top of the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll this afternoon,

Since the year 2000, Duke has more wins than any other college basketball team
Since the year 2000, Duke has more wins than any other college basketball team

garnering all but one first place vote.  Duke has now been number one sixty times since the polls inception in 1999.  UNC is a distant second since that same time frame. 

The Blue Devils will carry that #1 ranking into Winston Salem on Wednesday night to take on last weeks #1 team in Wake Forest.  Duke joins, UNC, Pitt and Wake Forest as teams that have held the position so far this season.

 1. Duke(30) 18-1 774
 2. Connecticut (1) 18-1 733
 3. Pittsburgh 18-1 706
 4. Wake Forest 16-1 666
 5. Oklahoma 19-1 663
 6. North Carolina 17-2 636
 7. Louisville 15-3 547
 8. Marquette 17-2 538
 9. Michigan State 16-3 475
10. Xavier 17-2 458


Duke Women run over Georgia Tech for 15th straight win

DURHAM, N.C. – The fourth-ranked Duke women’s basketball team used a stellar defensive effort on Sunday afternoon to down Georgia Tech, 60-34, to win its 15th straight game this season and 29th straight contest against the Yellow Jackets.  The Blue Devils held Georgia Tech to its second-worst single-game output in school history, while holding the Yellow Jackets to only 25.5 percent shooting.
Abby Waner scored 14 points, while Chante Black and Jasmine Thomas each added 10 points for the Blue Devils.
For a full recap, click on

High School Hoops Edition No. 8

Brandon Knight scored 17 points, on Thursday, as Pine Crest dominated Chaminade-Madonna 68-32. On Tuesday, Knight made six three pointers and exploded for 37 points in a 79-48 victory over Coral Springs Charter. Knight will be facing off against Kenny Boynton for the second time this season on January 31st. The Sun-Sentinel has a game preview posted. Knight scored 35 points as Pine Crest defeated American Heritage earlier this season.

Atlantic Shores defeated StoneBridge 78-43 on Saturday night with Andre Dawkins' 24 points leading the way. Dawkins scored 21 points on Thursday in a 68-52 win over Benedictine, and 16 points in a 73-36 defeat of Williamsburg Christ on Tuesday evening.

The Washington Post has an article posted on the Gonzaga - DeMatha game. Tyler Thornton scored 14 points as Gonzaga won 86-76. Of note, Gonzaga was 21/21 from the free throw line with Thornton going 4/4. Thornton scored 18 points and was 9/10 from the free throw line, on Friday night, as Gonzaga defeated Good Counsel 73-56.

Josh Smith scored 29 points on 14-of-19 shooting but #2 Kentwood fell to Kentridge 67-58. The game is the second story in this Seattle Times article. The lead story is about #1 Garfield losing to Foss. Garfield features Tony Wroten Jr. who did not play due to a sprained ankle. Earlier in the week, Smith scored 15 points and 39 points in two Kentwood victories. Smith is averaging 25.5 points per game.

Ryan Kelly followed up his career high 47 point performance by leading Ravenscroft to two victories on Thursday and Friday. Kelly scored 20 points and secured eight rebounds in the first victory, while scoring 21 points with eight rebounds in the second game.

Christ School dropped their second game of the season with a 64-60 loss to Princeton High School of Cincinnati on Saturday.  Mason Plumlee scored 12 points.  Plumlee scored 20 points and Tony Kimbro added 13 in a 68-66 win over New American of New York on Friday night. Both games were part of the Laurel County Hoop Fest in Kentucky.

Harrison Barnes scored 19 points as Ames defeated Mason City 86-63 on Saturday night. The game was tight early with Mason City having a five point lead in the second quarter before Ames pulled ahead to lead 44-41 at the half. The Ames Tribune has a game recap posted.