Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Q & A with Duke commitment Ryan Kelly

In our latest interview, Ryan Kelly covered many interesting subjects.  Among those subjects were, John Wall's recruitment, Cameron Indoor Stadium, his upcoming game versus Christ School and Mason Plumlee,  Coach K  and his progression as a player.

It was a big win, beating Greensboro Day who came into the game 10-0 ...

It was a big step for us as a team.  Our first seven games were ... I don;t want to say they were pre season but that was a big step in our schedule to come out with a win as we go into Christmas tournaments.

You were a bit off from the outside tonight, but you took it inside in the second half ...

Yes (acknowledged)

Is that something you did on your own?

You've got to find where you can score with the ball.  For me the shots weren't hitting early on outside and in the second half I took it inside and after some success there I moved outside a game.  The versatility of my game ... that's something I've worked on as I continue to be able to knock those shots down consistently I'll get better.

Coach Billerman said he talks to the Duke coaches once a week.  Have you been or do you stay in contact with the Duke staff? [private]

Yeah, I will talk to them after the games.  I'll let them know about my season and talk of how theirs is going.  They're doing pretty well ... it was a tough loss (Michigan).

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

Well, one is to win a state championship and we are going to try as hard as we can to win every game.  But we are going to try and win a state championship and hopefully in these Christmas tournaments, we'll come out with some championships there.  We need to keep out confidence up.

Talking about state champions, there is a team you might run into that you play on the 20th (December) in Christ School.  Of course, you will be going up against Mason Plumlee which will be a big thrill for Duke fans.  Are you looking forward to the match up?

Yeah.  I can't wait, they're considered the best team in 3-A.  Hopefully some will consider us to be right there too.  They are obviously a heck of a team and we need to show some people something.  We have the ability to do that, so I'm looking forward to it.  Obviously Mason is a great player and I look forward to matching up against him and his team.  So, I can't wait.

Is there a lot of pressure off of you now that you have committed to Duke?  Is it cool that you're a Blue Devil and are you glad the process is over?

Yeah, it's really cool.  The pressure is off and I don't have people wondering where I will be.  At the same time there is pressure to succeed.  I need to keep getting better to play at Duke as any high school senior needs to play over at Duke.

Has the staff told you to work on any part of your game?

Yeah ... continue to work on my defense.  Tonight I had a big man, but they want me to be able to guard smaller guys out front a guy smaller, a guard.  That's what Kyle Singler does well.   To continue to get stronger.  I need to obviously get stronger in the weight room, but to get stronger with rebounding.  I think it's important to keep getting better with what you are good at.  You can't just level off.

So, it's safe to say you feel comfortable in most every aspect of the game?

Yes sir.

You came out on defense and looked really good in doing so.  You play defense really well out front for your size.  I was surprised to see how you blanketed some of those guys out front.

I continue to work on it and lateral quickness is something that doesn't come very natural for me.  A lot of that comes in thee weight room and working on zig zag drills in practice and we work pretty hard on that.  We held them to 40 points and they're an 80 point per game team.  So, we did a pretty good job.

You've played with John Wall before in the AAU circuit and heads up during the season.   He's a kid Duke is recruiting real hard.  Do you ever talk to him or put a bug in his ear?

I haven't talked to him in a little while.  I was planning on going to see him, but I have talked to him in a little while.  Obviously. he's a heck of a player.  He made summer ball so much better for me.  He's a great guy and a good athlete and I wish the best for him where he goes.

It's safe to say that you would want to play with him?

Yeah, for sure.

I guess in the end he'll be a tough get ...

He's got a decision to make like I had to make and it's not easy.  He's taking his time which is really great for him.

Do you ever talk to some of the prospects who have committed?

I'm focusing a lot on what I'm doing here.  Obviously, I ha a lot of time to talk to Mason.  That was with USA Basketball.  I'm looking forward to playing against him.  They are undefeated to, so I will see how it is going for him.  I know they are all great guys and I'm looking forward to seeing him there.  I get over to Duke as much as I can.  It's ... the bright lights come on when you go to Cameron Indoor Stadium whether it's Duke or you are playing for somebody else.  You have top get as comfortable as you can there and going in as much as you can is the best way to do that.

What do you think about Coach K?

Aw, I can't wait.  He's a great coach, one of the best ever.

Do you want to play in the NBA?

Sure, it's my goal.  I think any basketball player should have that goal.

I appreciate your time and we'll see you agains as the season goes on.

Okay!  Thanks for coming.


High School Hoops Edition No. 4

[private]This week's theme is marquee match-ups: Ravenscroft versus Greensboro Day, Pine Crest versus American Heritage, and Gonzaga versus Bishop O'Connell. These games involved Duke commits Ryan Kelly and Tyler Thornton, and Duke recruiting target Brandon Knight; plus Florida commit Kenny Boynton and Carolina commit Kendall Marshall.

Ryan Kelly helped Ravenscroft improve to 8 – 0 with a 29 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots, and four steals performance against Greensboro Day. Ravenscroft won 56 - 42 and is headed toward a showdown with Christ School on December 20, 2008, in Columbia, SC. It will be exciting to see Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee go head-to-head.

Brandon Knight out dueled Kenny Boynton once again and Pine Crest defeated American Heritage 74 - 72 on Friday night. Knight outscored Boynton 35 - 32 in the individual match-up. Knight and Pine Crest have defeated Boynton and American Heritage in four of their last five meetings.

Tyler Thornton scored 23 points in the game but his Gonzaga team came up short, 65 – 60, against Kendall Marshall and Bishop O’Connell. Marshall scored 15 points for O’Connell. In his latest game, on Friday night, Thornton scored 16 points in a 66 - 55 Gonzaga victory over Mount St. Joseph.

Mason Plumlee was the leading scorer in three Christ School victories this week. He scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked four shots, and tallied four assists, on Monday as Christ School defeated Carolina Day 77 – 41. On Tuesday, Mason scored 18 points in a 90 – 35 rout of Shannon Forest. The Greenies are now 9 – 0 on the season.  On Saturday, he scored 21 points in a 81 - 30 blowout of Providence Day.

Andre Dawkins continues to be impressive for Atlantic Shores Christian School. Last Saturday, in the ASCS Tip-Off Championship Game, Dawkins and Steven Pledger executed a pick and roll that resulted in Dawkins draining an 18 foot buzzer beating jump shot giving Atlantic Shores a 56 – 54 victory over Miller School. Miller School was paced by Marshawn Powell and Mychal Parker who both scored 19 points. Steven Pledger, who has signed a Letter of Intent to play for Coach Jeff Capel at Oklahoma, scored 34 points and was named the tournament MVP. Dawkins finished the game with 15 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Josh Smith scored 21 points on Thursday as Kentwood went on the road and defeated Auburn Riverside 65 – 62 to improve to 2 – 1 on the year. Earlier in the week, Kentwood lost to Federal Way, the number one ranked team in Washington State, 61 – 53. Josh Smith scored 19 points in the loss. The 6’9” 280 Junior is averaging 24 points per game so far this season.  Smith is the third leading scorer in the South Puget Sound League 4A Conference.[/private]

Ryan Kelly and Ravenscroft too much for Greensboro Day

[private]Two of the State of North Carolina's top private schools met on the court Friday evening when Ravenscroft hosted traditional power Greensboro Day.  Ravenscroft entered the contest at 7-0 while Greensboro Day sported a 10-0 record and something had to give.

Greensboro Day came out of the gate playing like a well oiled machine, extending their defense and pushing the Raven guards out.   Javon Mitchell led them early on hitting key back to back buckets to keep his team ahead.

Meanwhile, Duke commitment Ryan Kelly kept his team in the game with 10 points and 7 boards in the first half.  Kelly struggled a bit with his outside shot, and played almost entirely on the perimeter early on.

You might say the two teams were feeling each other out and the Ravens were never quite settled in early.  Every time they'd mount a comeback, Day would hit a timely bucket.  Greensboro Day went on to take a 21-20 lead into the half, but Kelly did help bring his team back into the game just before intermission.

When the teams came back out for the second half, it was all Ravenscroft.  A three point shot gave them the lead.  But Greensboro Day  is a well coached bunch and it appeared as if they would trade baskets and were unwilling to go away.  That's before Kelly started to really  make his presence felt.

Kelly made a key steal and then the assist for a bucket.  The next time down the court he threw down a dunk giving his team a 34-30 lead.  The next thing you know it was 38-30 and Billerman screamed at his team to go into a spread offense with 54 seconds left in the third quarter as he realized the tide had turned.

Billerman had rested Kelly briefly during that time, but as the fourth quarter got underway, Kelly returned and the Ravens coasted.  A Kelly dunk gave them their largest lead of the game at 46-36 and the Ravens stretched that to a 56-42 margin when the final buzzer sounded.  In the end Ravenscroft came out the only undefeated team going to 8-0, but the feeling here is they haven't seen the last of Greensboro Day (10-1) this season.

"It was a good win.  I thought we played extremely good defense in the second half.  To hold them to 42 points for the game when they were averaging 80 showed the type of defense we can play.  In the second half we started to go into Ryan Kelly some and that certainly opened things up for our entire team," said former Duke Basketball player Kevin Billerman.

Billerman was without the services of his son Sean who plays guard, but they continued to groom Luke Davis.  "Sean dislocated his knee cap.  We went to Dr. Lyman Smith a former Duke football player who is an orthopedic surgeon.  Lyman felt like he was lucky he didn't tear his ACL.  We look forward to getting him back," said Billerman

When asked of the play of Kelly, he stated, "Ryan is a multi skilled 6-10 kid.  Somebody who probably 50% of the time brings the ball up the court for us.  He didn't make quite as many jump shots as he usually does, but he had what ... 4 blocks and 4 assists?  He's a multi talented, multi skilled player."

With his outside shot not as accurate as normal, Kelly asserted himself on the blocks in the second half.  Kelly showed off his versatility ending up with 29 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, 4 steals and 4 assists.  The only negative in his game were the 6 turnovers I had him with.  Still, he drew 10 fouls on the opponent and altered 4 shots on the evening.  In the end, Day had no answer for the Kelly.

"Tonight was a big step for our team.  That was a big game in our schedule and to come out with a win going into the Christmas tournament in Columbia," said Kelly when commenting on the game.

Ravenscroft now looks ahead to a match up with defending state champion Christ School of Arden.  The two teams will meet at the Chic-Fil-A Invitational on December 20th in Columbia, South Carolina.  Duke fans have awaited this game as well in that the two 2009 commitments, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly will oppose one another.  The game tips off at 8:00 EST, but it is on the same day Duke takes on Xavier at 2:00.

When asked of Christ School-Ravenscroft showdown Kelly stated, "I can't wait for our match up with Christ School.   They are considered the best team in the 3-A.  Obviously Mason (Plumlee) is a great player and I look forward to matching up and playing against him."

Blue Devil Nation Premium Subscribers can read the entire interview with Ryan Kelly and get more of Coach Billermans comments on the upcoming battle with Christ School and more.  Why not join today and catch up with recruiting and get behind the scenes with unique coverage.[/private]

Tyler Thornton talks basketball with BDN Premium (Now free to the public)

Blue Devil Nation Premium caught up with Tyler Thornton who updated us on his high school basketball season and much more.  The Duke commitment will lead his team into his schools own Gonzaga D.C. Classic this weekend with a very strong field assembled.  Tyler talks of Coach K and Wojo visiting his teams game, future teammate Josh Hairston and the rigors of playing in a tough conference.  We hope you enjoy what we feel is an informative and interesting interview -

Tell me a how your high school season is going.  I know you had a big game versus Bishop O'Connell that was a tough loss.

We started off the season 2-0 but then had a tough game against O'Connell and Kendal Marshall (UNC commitment).  Last year we beat them four times, but they came in our house ready to play.  It was a tough game which came down to the end.  We made plays, but didn't make enough.  Right there at the end we had our chances after being down and coming back to tie the game.  We just didn't make the shots.  So, it was a tough loss but a wake up call for our team.  We're young and learning at the beginning of the season.  We have time to get everything straight.

I understand you had a pretty good game on the offensive end ...

Yeah, I had 23 points and around 6 assists. [private]

So, you're breaking in a lot of new guys.  Are you pretty much running the point for your team?

Oh yeah.  I'm at the top a lot.  We run two guards at the top and I'm one of the two.

I understand that Coach K and Wojo came up to see you play.  Were they at the game?

Yes, they came up.  It was exciting.  The whole day at school the kids were talking about Coach K and Wojo coming in, so there was a lot of excitement.  After I got through warming up, I was looking around to see if I could find them.  They ended up being right there behind the bench which gave me an extra boost.  I wish we could have won.  They left right after the game, but Coach K called me.

Can you tell me a little bit about that without getting into the personal stuff?

He said he enjoyed watching the teams play and that he wished we had come out with the victory.  He said he enjoyed the atmosphere and that he wanted me to come down to a game at Duke.  I plan on going down to see a game, but I'm not sure which game I will be at because my schedule sometimes conflicts.  I will most definitely come down to see a game though.

What games do you have coming up?  Are you in any kind of Holiday tournaments?

My school has the Gonzaga D.C. Classic this weekend.  Then we have another league game next Friday after exams.  Then the day after Christmas, we go down to Miami for the Tournament of All Stars.

In our tournament we play Mount St. Josephs in Baltimore Friday (tonight).  There is a solid of field of teams coming down like Coolidge from D.C. and Archbishop Mitty to name a few.

Are there any games or match ups you are especially looking forward to this season?

I always look forward to playing against DeMatha and St, Josephs and of course St. Johns and O'Connell.  Those are the games I always get up for.  Bishop McNamara is playing good as well, so that will be a big game in deciding the season in our conference.

Needless to say you play in a tough conference ...  what's it like to play on the road in the league?  Is it tough or are their big home court advantages?

The atmosphere ... every game we go to no matter who it is, even the worst team in the league. the atmosphere is there.  The fans really get into it and the atmosphere is great.  It's great playing in our league.

Have you been able to keep up with Josh Hairston of late?

No, I haven't been able to keep up with him.  But I did talk to him last week to see how he was playing and he said he was going to come up and watch our tournament this weekend.  So, I should see him this weekend, but that's about it.

It's a busy time of year for you.  How is school going?  Is it a lot different now that you have committed to Duke University?

It's lifted a lot of pressure off my back in trying to  balance everything like school, recruiting and playing.  That was one thing I was glad to get off my back after committing.  Now I am able to focus more on my school work and energies in class.

In ending, let me ask you if you have set any personal goals for the season?

One goal I have is ... last year we had such a great team, I want to follow up and win another championship (State Champs last season).  If everything goes like it's suppose to, I think we can.  That's the main goal, to win another championship.

Okay!  Thanks for your time and good luck with the rest of your season.

Thank you.

This is but a small idea of the interviews Blue Devil Nation Premium brings to it's members.  Why not join today and gain access to accurate, timely and reliable recruiting information, behind the scenes tips, current player and coach interviews and some of the most unique coverage on Duke Athletics around.  You'll find no speculation here unless stated - we have the facts from some of the best sources available. I've been around the Duke Athletic programs for forty years and I know the subject matter, the trends and what to look for.  So, come on in and discuss the latest Ryan Kelly interview with other members on the BDN Premium (members) only message board and be there as we continue to bring you the very latest information well ahead of the curve.

Duke Basketball on the road – examined

[private]12/10/2008 - Al Featherston, Courtesy of

DURHAM, N.C. – When the Duke basketball team goes on the road, it’s never just a basketball game – it’s an event.

“We always laugh because when we go in for the day-of-the-game shoot around the seats are always covered with their giveaway tee-shirts or the freebie towels,” assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski said. “I think we help the marketing departments of other schools out quite a bit.”

Last week, the Blue Devils helped out the marketing departments at Purdue and Michigan as Duke visited those two Big Ten schools. It’s not just that both games were sellouts. At Purdue, students camped out for seating for the first time in school history. Licensed ticket brokers were asking almost $600 a ticket for prime seating.

Duke always gets the best opposing teams – and their fans – can offer.

“It’s kind of been that way for almost 20 years,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “[I still remember] going down to LSU in’92 with them camping out and having the tiger out. We’ve experienced that for two decades.”

The evolution of Duke’s road “aura” is interesting to track. It didn’t happen overnight.

This reporter was lucky enough to cover all three Triangle basketball teams in the 1980s and early 1990s. I can clearly remember 1986, when Coach K first burst through with an ACC Championship/Final Four team. What stands out in my mind are back-to-back trips to Charlottesville that season.

On Jan. 30, 1986 No. 1 and unbeaten North Carolina visited University Hall. The dark, dingy arena was electric that night – kind of like Mackey Arena was for Duke last week. The boisterous crowd helped spur the Cavs to an 86-73 upset of the top-ranked Tar Heels. Exactly one week later, surging Duke – ranked No. 4 and just two weeks away from a No. 1 ranking – visited University Hall. The arena was sold out and the fans were loud and supportive, but it wasn’t anything like what UNC experienced a week earlier. It was kind of like the difference in Cameron Indoor Stadium between a normal ACC game and a Carolina game.

Of course, that kind of reaction must be earned. In 1986, UNC was reaping the fruits of 20 years of excellence under Dean Smith. Duke was an upstart, just emerging as a power under Krzyzewski.

It’s not possible to pinpoint the exact moment when all that changed, but it’s clear that by 1992 – after five Final Fours in six years and Duke’s first national championship – the Blue Devils had become the primary focus of opposing fans. Covering the ’92 Blue Devils was like following a rock band. Buffalo produced the largest college basketball crowd in its history for Christian Laettner’s homecoming. So many fans swarmed outside the Duke locker room that the Blue Devil players had to escape through a locker room window. At Clemson, mobs of fans surrounded the team bus – many of them screaming teenage girls.

The hysteria continued in 1993, when this writer noted the same disparity between road crowds for Duke and UNC as I had noted in those two trips to Charlottesville in 1986.

Only this time it was Duke that endured the frenzied madness, while Carolina faced relatively normal ACC road crowds. The contrast was most sharp in Tallahassee, where on Jan. 24, the loudest and most enthusiastic crowd in Florida State history spurred the Seminoles to an 89-88 overtime victory over No. 6 Duke ... while a month later, a relative sedate crowd watched No. 3 UNC defeat the ‘Noles 86-76.

For Duke, it’s been that way ever since.

“With where our program is right now, we get every team’s – and every opposing arena’s – best shot,” Wojciechowski said. “I can’t remember a game where we have gone on the road and we felt there was no atmosphere or no environment.”

Not that anybody connected with the Duke program is complaining.

“That’s why our guys came to Duke – you want to be in those type games,” assistant coach Chris Collins said. “Who wants to play in an arena when nobody’s there? You want to play against the best teams. You want to play in hostile environments. Our guys were really excited about it [at Purdue]. You get that little bit extra energy and excitement when you play that type of game.”

Wojciechowski said that’s what he was looking for when he came to Duke as a player.

“If you ask any player the type of atmosphere they want to play in – they want to play in packed arenas,” he said. “When you’re a kid, growing up and shooting baskets on a playground or in your backyard, you don’t dream of hitting the game-winning shot in an empty arena. You dream of playing in big games with big crowds who are rooting against you ... and coming up big in those situations.”

Wojciechowski and Collins had to go through the fire when they were Duke players in the 1990s. Those players currently dealing with the enthusiasm that the Devils face on the road seem to share their appreciation of the situation.

“It’s exciting for us,” Kyle Singler said. “The way other teams are camping out for games, that kind of reminds us of our home court. There’s no other place we’d rather play than in that atmosphere. We want everybody’s best shot.”

Duke’s schedule hasn’t included that many true road games in recent years. Of course, the Blue Devils play eight ACC opponents on the road every season and annual trips to the Smith Center in Chapel Hill and the Comcast Center in College Park, Md., certainly provide as hostile an atmosphere as anyone could want.

However, outside the league, Duke has – with a handful of exceptions – been more likely to play its big non-conference games on neutral courts. Part of that is by design. The NCAA Tournament is played in neutral, big-city arenas. It’s good preparation for the Devils to play Xavier in the Izod Center in the Meadowlands (as they will on Dec 20) or Pittsburgh in Madison Square Garden (as Duke did last season).

But part of the reason is because several of Duke’s favorite non-conference opponents use big-city arenas as their home courts. Both Georgetown (the MCI Center) and St. John’s (Madison Square Garden) play all their big games in such arenas. Temple often moves games either to the Palestra or the U.S. Bank Arena (where the 76ers play).

“It’s just who we have in intersectional play,” Krzyzewski said.  “We like playing some of the traditional powers. Our schedule has always been in the top 10 in the country. We have a tough schedule this year. We think a veteran team needs it, so we can learn as we go along.”

Krzyzewski’s boast about his schedule is not an exaggeration. In the last five years, Duke’s RPI strength of schedule has been eighth, third, first, fourth and fourth.

Of course, it’s not always easy to go on the road and deal with teams and fans who treat your visit as the highlight of the season.

“I think [Purdue coach] Matt Painter put it the right way when he said that for our kids, every game is a game like that, whereas for his kids, only a few games are like that. The more we get accustomed to playing in games like that, the better we’ll be.”

That’s Lance Thomas’ position.

“I think that’s a strength,” the junior forward said. “It makes us keep our edge. We are not going to relax anywhere we go because every game is going to be somebody trying to slit our throats. It’s really good for us.”

Plus, it’s fun to win in such a frenzied environment.

“I know for me, and I can speak for my teammates, it’s always good to win on the road,” Thomas said. “Back against the wall ... everybody against you – that makes it that much more meaningful.”

But is there a danger of playing so many emotional games over the course of the season?

“I’d rather not look at it as a disadvantage,” Krzyzewski said. “Whether it is or not, if we make that as an excuse, I think it weakens you. You try to use everything that is there in a positive way, so we’ve always tried to use it in a positive way.”

And the positive way of dealing with Duke’s testing road schedule?

“I think it’s great preparation as you go forward with the year,” Collins said. “In our game, it’s a one-and-done deal at the end of the year. We always expect a team’s best shot. We know it’s a big game for them, especially when they are at home. Their crowd is going to be as excited as they are all year.”

Duke, after years of being one of the nation’s successful programs in March, has not finished well the last two seasons. But it’s hard to attribute that blip to the parade of pressure-packed games the Devils have to play. After all, that pressure has been there for decades – and previous Duke teams have handled it well.

“I think the last two years had a lot to do with youth,” Collins suggested. “There’s no question that our guys were under intense pressure that only a handful of programs have during the year – where every game is scrutinized, where every game is a big game.

“I think when you have some older guys, they understand that journey better. In the last couple of years, we had good players, but they were very young players. They were figuring it out and they were playing as hard as they could, but at the end of the season, we just ran out of a little gas and we weren’t playing our best.

“Now we have so many juniors and seniors ... we have great leadership. Although you can’t guarantee success, I don’t think that’s quite going to be the factor this year.”

Everybody in college basketball plays road games. But few programs play the same kind of road games that Duke does. That’s a result of the team’s past success and maybe, just maybe, a contributor to success in the future. Wojciechowski certainly believes that Duke’s impressive performance against Purdue in front of a historically jacked-up crowd at Mackey Arena will pay future dividends for the Blue Devils.

“You have to be able to win big games when you’re playing in front of a hostile sellout crowd,” he said. “For our group, it was great to have an early season test like that. It was a great environment against a really good team. For us to come out and play on the level we did, we were really excited about that.”


Lewis Bowling talks of his new book – Duke Basketball – The Pictorial History

[private]If you are still looking for a Christmas or Holiday gift, you might want to consider Lewis Bowling's latest book which would make any Duke fan happy.  Lewis took the time to talk with the Blue Devil Nation and we got the skinny in what went into The Pictorial History of Duke Basketball -

Can you describe your new book for readers of the Blue Devil Nation and or Duke fans?

This book contains more than 200 pictures of Duke basketball, dating back to the first Duke team of 1905-06 and up to the present day.   Each picture is accompanied by a caption describing some aspect of history related to Blue Devil basketball.   Also included in the book are forewords written by Bob Harris and Bucky Waters.  Of course, Duke basketball fans know these men well, as Mr. Harris is the longtime “Voice of the Blue Devils,” and Bucky Waters is a former Duke head coach.   Mr. Harris’ voice is synonymous with Duke basketball and football being “on the air,” and he is as much a part of the great tradition of Duke basketball as anyone.  Coach Waters was an assistant coach on the great Final Four teams under Vic Bubas at Duke in the early 1960’s, and then became head coach of Duke in 1969 and now covers college basketball on television.

So, it's more than the Coach K era alone?

Probably quite a few Duke basketball fans equate Blue Devil success as belonging to Coach K alone.  Without a doubt, Duke basketball under Coach K has reached heights never attained by previous Duke teams, and this book contains many pictures from 1980 to the present day, the years of Coach Krzyzewski’s tenure in Durham.   But this book also has pictures and information on the “Father of Duke Basketball,” Wilbur “Cap” Card, and his 1911-12 team which won 6 and lost 1.  The very first Duke team of 1905-06 is shown, led by the first captain in Duke basketball history, Thad Stem.   There are several pictures of Eddie Cameron and his teams of the 1930’s and early 1940’s.   Harold Bradley, Gerry Gerard, Vic Bubas, Bucky Waters, and Bill Foster also had successful eras while coaching at Duke, and many pictures detail this.  Some present day Duke fans will be surprised to know that Duke has been playing in NCAA Tournaments since the 1950’s and participating in Final Fours since the 1960’s.

There also is an entire chapter devoted to Duke’s four home basketball stadiums, from The Ark and Alumni Memorial Gym to Card Gym and Cameron Indoor, with interior and exterior pictures.   The book includes several pictures of Cameron Indoor Stadium being constructed in 1939, and pictures of the very first game in Cameron against Princeton in 1940.

Is the book's coverage exclusive to the men's program?

The Duke women also are an important part of Duke basketball history, and the book has a chapter devoted to them.  Debbie Leonard had some very good teams at Duke and, of course, Gail Goestenkors developed the Blue Devil women into a national power.  Joanne P. McCallie came to Duke in 2007 and now is building on the foundation that Coach G built.

Can you describe the research that went into the book?

The majority of the pictures came from the Duke University Archives.  Of course, all the pictures are described in words, so background material such as dates and statistics had to be referenced also.   I must say, John Roth’s book, The Encyclopedia of Duke Basketball, was a good reference for me.   Every Duke basketball fan should have this book in my opinion.

The Duke Sports Information Department was also a big help, supplying me with photos and other information.  Duke Photography was a very good source for me too.   Many individuals gave me pictures, such as Add Penfield, the radio voice of Duke sports from the 1950’s into the early 1970’s. and especially its database of basketball history was very helpful.

Of course, Bob Harris and Bucky Waters, who wrote forewords, were both very accommodating.  Through several meetings with them, I borrowed from their years of experience with Duke basketball.

On a personal note, much credit goes to my wife, Beth Harward Bowling.  Beth helped me throughout the book, and has been a fan of Duke basketball all her life.  Beth’s parents have season tickets, so Beth and I go to several games a year.  Let’s just say that Beth is such a fan that on the rare occasions Duke loses, my dear wife is one very sad girl for a couple of days.

Is there one picture that serves as a personal favorite in the book?

I don’t think I can say I have one favorite picture.   Many readers might assume that the picture on the cover of a book is the author’s favorite, but not necessarily so.  In many cases, the publisher of the book has the final say.  So even though I really like the cover of my book, it was not my absolute first choice.   I would say that a picture on page 40 of the book is one I like very much.   It is an exterior view of Cameron Indoor Stadium in the 1940’s with some cars parked outside.   There is also a picture on page 44 of Duke’s very first basketball coach Cap Card, for whom Card Gym is named.   In this particular picture, Coach Card is lifting weights using a dumbbell, and is flexing his triceps muscle quite a bit!   Another favorite of mine is on page 67, it is of Lefty Driesell when he played for Duke in the early 1950’s.   Of course, Lefty went on to become a great basketball coach.   I also like the picture on pages 56 and 57 of Duke celebrating its national championship victory over Kansas in 1991.  So, as you can see, it is hard to pick just one picture as my favorite.  By the way, the picture of the 1997-98 womens team on page 133 with the Duke Chapel in the background is another.   But with around 225 pictures to choose from, you can see why it is hard to choose just one.

You have written a book on Wallace Wade as well.  Tell us about that and if you have any other projects in the works.

Yes, I have written a biography of Wallace Wade, who established Duke as a national football power in the

Bowling and Cutcliffe
Bowling and Cutcliffe

1930’s and 1940’s.  This book was published last year and is available in local bookstores,  at or, or by calling 1-800-489-7486.

With the resurgence of Duke football under Coach Cutcliffe, there is increased interest in that sport on campus at Duke.  I signed quite a few books during this year’s NC State at Duke game.  If anyone is interested in having me talk about and sign either of these books, I can be reached at

Where can both books be purchased?

Duke Basketball – A Pictorial History can be purchased at local bookstores and  The book can also be purchased at The History Press.[/private]