Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Blue Devils continue play in the NC Pro Am

As I stated in my last Pro Am report, more stars would start to come out during the final weeks.  The mere addition of JJ Hickson, gave winless E-Net another force down low to go with Josh Powell which carried them to a 71-46 win over the RDU Barnstormers.

The Barnstormers feature three Dukies in Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and incoming freshman Olek Czyz.  Singler got little help from Czyz in defending Powell and Hickson, which shows that work lies ahead for one of the most popular players in the tournament.  Czyz did drain a three and positioned himself better on the court than on Tuesday.  And he of course had a sweeping one handed dunk which brought about many looking at one another as if to say, did you see that?

Still, for all the tremendous athleticism Czyz possesses, his defense is a work in progress.  Czyz plays hard all the time and is in excellent game shape and Coach K will certainly tweak his game to a desired effect.  Czyz finished the evening with 15 points.

Kyle Singler (12 points) was steady, but tired after working overtime on the glass which took a toll on his shot.  I mean, he never comes out of the game and I have yet to see any other player not get a little rest in the event.  Unfortunately, some sloppy guard play which accounted for four straight turnovers at one point, helped send the Barnstormers to their second loss.

Nolan Smith came off the bench for the Barnstormers and had a stretch in the first half which I have yet to see anyone recognize.  I mean all he did was wreck havoc in the passing lanes, slash to the rim on his ways to 13 consecutive points.  That's right, 13 straight points!  The second half was a different story for Smith who scored but 2 points giving him a total of 15.  Smith struggled from the free throw stripe and this was a classic case of a tale of two half's.

Another Duke freshman, Elliot Williams played on the winning team and he would on some occasions match up with Nolan.  Williams cored just 11 points tonight but continued to show the ability to make his team better with his passing.  The fact that he can take his man off the dribble, allowed him to draw multiple defenders which allowed him to make the pass to a teammate for the open shot, if not a dunk.  One thing is certain, that being Williams has the ability to contribute in a big way as a freshman.

One thing about sitting as close as I do to the action is that you see a lot more than just the game.  Nolan is still not 100% and favored his knee down the stretch.  While I normally do not talk of how the games are called, I must admit that this one was sloppy.  Hey, no homer-ism though!  The entire body of games on this night were called in an inconsistent manner, in my opinion.

In fact, the first game had a controversial foul on tournament sponsor Jerry Stackhouse (11 points) as less than second was left on the clock.  Miles Plumlee would later be called for an iffy foul with 3.2 seconds on the clock with his team up a single digit.  Ironically, he fouled a soon to be teammate that he was playing against on this night.  Lance Thomas missed hit one of two and the game went to overtime.

Thomas played a bigger role in the extra period, flushing a hard dunk and connecting on two free throws at a critical juncture of the game.  Thomas moved well and played good position defense scoring his tournament high of 17 points. 

This was the first time I got to see Miles Plumlee (10 points) and he showed me that he is pretty good with his decision making and that he plays hard.  He drew UNC freshman Ed Davis (16 points) and had to play a lot of help defense which would leave a man open where teammate's didn't shift.  He plays smart and has indeed gained some weight to a body that is still a work in progress.  I look forward to seeing him more.

In the end Stacks Regulators  team remained undefeated, but they got help from two obvious makeup calls which somewhat tainted the game for this fan.  It was a really tight game that was full of intensity down the stretch and it should have been decided by the players and not the whistle.

Despite the lackluster officiating on this night, there was still great entertainment value in that the event is absolutely free and the crowd was the the biggest yet.  They will throw the rock up again this coming Tuesday and if you are a Triangle resident, there is little reason not to go.  Read other reviews and in depth analysis on the BDN Premium Message Board by becoming a member.

Standings Link

Photos - (1) Miles Plumlee and Ed Davis, (2) Kyle Singler*, (3) Elliot Williams*, Olek Czyz*

*Rick Crank (All Photos on BDN are original unless otherwise marked and they are copyrighted.  IOW, no reproductions without prior permission)

Friday Morning Links

Starting off with AAU Basketball and Las Vegas, Kenny Boynton and Brandon Knight have scored 33/26, 21/24, and 26/19, respectively over the past three days.  The two have combined to make 17 three point shots.  Jody Demling has an extensive update from Las Vegas posted on his blog at the Louisville Courier-Journal.

The Las Vegas Review Journal has written a positive article on the ability of lesser known athletes to achieve exposure via the AAU circuit.  Adam Zagoria and Dick Weiss also have updates on their blogs.

Turning to Duke football and Desmond Scott on his decision to play for Duke University: "I wanted to play in my backyard."  WRAL.com has more here.

Finally, here is Coach K with more thoughts on USA Basketball.

Team USA, Kenny Boynton and Duke Football

When Kobe Bryant mentions the "joy of the game," you get an idea of what Coach K has done to make sure the players are enjoying themselves in preparation for the Olympics.  Most of the players remember little of the last time the USA won Gold.

In this blurb, the author says Team USA has that special something that is missing from most NBA teams.   There is some worry about the overall team health.  And here is CNNSI's Chris Ballard on long range planning for the USA Basketball program.

Kenny Boynton has no shortage of confidence judging from his comments in this link.

With kickoff to football season just over a month away, Coach Cutcliffe caught the attention of coaches on Wednesday's Operation Football.  Here is ESPN's Heather Dinich on Duke's "Catch 22."  Richmond edged out James Madison in the pre season polls which is a departure from the pre season magazines which all have JMU on top.  TSN picks them #2 in the nation, Lindy's #3 and Phil Steele has them number one.

Vegas links buffet – Boynton wows many!

Here is your daily platter of links from Las Vegas where the nation's top basketball prospects are gathered.   Let's start with the local paper the Las Vegas Journal Live.  Then there is this link at NBADraft.net followed by one of the better blogs around in Zags Blog.       

Let's not forget Jeff Goodman of Fox and then there is the LATimes-Thompson says tournaments not so good  for prospect's inflated egos.   Lastly, Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier has as a good report up.

Singler leads team to win, Williams drops 21 in loss

The first two contests during tonight's NC Pro Am games at North Carolina Central were relatively quiet.  That would soon change as Jerry Stackhouse would suit up for the first time with a cast of Tar Heels.  The undefeated Regulators would face the winless E-Net led by Duke freshman Elliot Williams and walk-on Steve Johnson.

Stackhouse, of course, sponsors the tournament and the word is that more ex pros will trickle in over the next two weeks.  Joining Stackhouse were rising UNC senior Danny Green and incoming freshman Ed Davis.

The game started off a bit slow as Stackhouse drained a three.  Few fans who have watched the games figured Team E-Net had a chance, but as the half went on they hung in the game early in the first half taking a one point lead at 16-15.  Shortly thereafter, the fun began.

Elliot Williams jumped out on Danny Green on the far baseline and forced the ball off his leg with smothering defense.  This brought the Duke fans to life as cheers echoed throughout the arena.  Shortly thereafter Green faked by Williams for a score which brought oohs and ah's from the Tar Heel contingent.

Several big plays ensued, be it a dunk or a block.  Stackhouse showed his light blue blood getting a little riled after a few big plays from the Dukies.  Ed Davis also stepped up and looked really good on the glass.  Steve Johnson scored six points and is fundamentally sound ina many areas of the game.

Toward the end of the half, Williams stole the ball (one of four) and went to the rim to dunk, but Green would have none of that challenging him and getting the block but also the foul as time expired in the half.  He also got an elbow in the mouth, blood streaming to the point where he covered his mouth with a towel and sat out the second half.

It was in no way intentional on either players part.  Williams hit the deck hard and Green came away with the elbow.  The fans enjoyed the mini Duke-UNC rivalry and several seriously hard plays. Green had nine points and shook hands in a show of sportsmanship with Elliot after the game.

During one sequence, Johnson and Williams both had steals and dunks back to back.  Elliot again showed the ability to take his man off the dribble and finish with the dunk.  He had one play where he blew past Stackhouse for a rim rattling dunk.  He struggled a bit from the outside, but again, showed the ability to pass the ball garnering a few assists.  Williams ended the game with 21 points.

Former N.C. State star, Josh Powell was the game's leading scorer with 26, but he was literally all E-Net had down low and this coupled Stackhouse's experience made for an easy 73-58 win down the stretch.  Still the game was closer than that score indicates.  Stackhouse had 12 points and Ed Davis added 14.

In the nightcap, the Barnstormers rattled Team KG 70-58.  Kyle Singler had his usual all around game, playing the entire game for his depth shy team.  Kyle ended the game with 17 points  and as usual was vital in his team's win.

Olek Czyz, called O.C., scored just 8 points tonight with 4 coming off his patented dunks.  There were times when he got lost on the court tonight and he will have to position himself better and more importantly know where to be on the court in sets.  Olek signed autographs for adoring fans who've come to love his uncanny athletic ability.

Nolan Smith had a quiet 14 points, and seemed to favor his knee.  He played sparingly at times due to the nagging problem.  This was his first time back after sitting out last Thursday.  The three Dukies have led their team to second place in the standing with just one loss.

Duke PG Greg Paulus and Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis were in the house to watch their school mates.  Miles Plumlee is listed on a roster but didn't make the early game.  Paulus attended the game with his brother who plays for the UNC football team. 

The games continue this Thursday at 6:00.  The last game tips at 9:00.  Here is the Pro Am's official website where you can check the schedules, gametimes and stats.  Admission is free.