I just got off the phone with Josh Hairston and had an enlightening interview. [private]His school list is the same, Ohio State, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Duke. He mentioned Memphis, but I feel they are out of it by his answers. He said he got out of school at 2:20 yesterday and Coach K called him at 2:21. His family is arranging a visit and that date will likely be September 13th. In fact, I am sure this is the date which they will come down. He had nice things to say about Duke despite the fact that I approached him as a national site. I got comments on all the teams involved in the process. Duke is the only school that has a set unofficial visit at this time. It seems the staff wasted little time and hit American soil running. Josh mentioned that he talks to Andre Dawkins and Nolan Smith a lot and more. He likes OSU a lot, but distance could be a factor in that he wants to be close to home. You will get the whole interview by tommorow but I wanted to give a bit of information early on instead of a tease. Trust me, it will pick up around here and you will get some of the best quality interviews around. My general feeling? Duke is the team to beat for his services. Stay tuned for the entire interview![/private]
[private]The 2008-09 out of conference schedule contains strong foes to complement the always tough ACC games. Duke will face off against three pre-season Top 25 programs in Davidson, Georgetown, and Purdue, with the possibility of facing a fourth, UCLA, in the Coaches versus Cancer tournament. The Purdue game is a road game on December 2, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The early season road game at Purdue will be a litmus test for the Blue Devils. Purdue, ranked number six in the CBS Sportsline preseason poll, returns all but one player off of last season’s 27-9 squad. Small forward Robbie Hummel was First Team All Big Ten, guard E’Twaun Moore was Second Team All Big Ten, and guard Chris Kramer was voted Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Boilermakers are talented and experienced as they return 65.1 of the 69.6 points per game scored last season. On defense, Purdue forced their opponents to turn the ball over an average of 17.4 times per game. This will be a tough road game and should be a good indicator of Duke’s toughness.
Davidson travels to Cameron on January 7, 2009, and of course that means sensational Stephen Curry will be in the house. Curry was named the Mid-Majors Player-of-the-Year by CollegeHoops.net. The Southern Conference Champions lost point guard Jason Richards, and 6-8 forwards Thomas Sanders and Boris Meno whom combined for 27.1 points per game and were the teams second, third, and fourth leading scorers behind Curry’s 25.9 points per game. 6-10 230 pound center Frank Ben-Eze is the Wildcats lone new freshman. The loss of point guard Jason Richards who averaged a national best 8.1 assists per game will be tough to overcome and Duke should hold off Davidson to secure a home court victory.
Duke faces the Georgetown Hoyas, on January 17, 2009, in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Hoyas, who lost leading scorer Roy Hibbert to graduation and the NBA, have suffered two off season transfers in Vernon Macklin and Jeremiah Rivers. Starting guard Jonathan Wallace, 10.7 points and 2.6 assists per game, and Patrick Ewing, Jr., 6.1 points per game, have also graduated so the Hoyas have lots of holes to fill. Four new freshmen will need to contribute early for Georgetown. Highly sought after power forward Greg Monroe is one of the new Hoyas who are ranked number 15 in the CBS Sportsline preseason poll. Georgetown should push the Blue Devils but they will be too inexperienced to win on the road in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
According to how the brackets play out, Duke could face UCLA in the Coaches versus Cancer Tournament in Madison Square Gardens in November. The Bruins lost Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, and Luc Mbah a Moute to the NBA, but Darren Collison and Josh Shipp return and the Bruins bring in the nation’s number one rated recruiting class, which includes McDonald’s All-Americans Jrue Holiday and Malcolm Lee. A game against UCLA in MSG would be an early test for the Blue Devils equivalent to last season’s match-up against Marquette. A Duke – UCLA match-up should be an even and very tough game.
The Blue Devils will be deep and experienced this season with 12 scholarship players including seven upper classmen on the roster. As always, the ACC schedule will be tough and the out of conference games highlighted here will assist in preparing Duke for the tough competition they must defeat in March in order to continue playing into April.[/private]
[private]We are entering your names into the new site's system and hope to make the permanent move soon. Your patience has been appreciated. I can assure you that once the dust clears and refinements have been made, the information will be what you have come to expect from BDN.
It's been a really crazy month with the Olympics and start of the Cutcliffe era. As you know, I covered the return at RDU and will have some comments from that by the weekend. Also, Coach is addressing the local and national media tomorrow and I will be there to bring you the happenings.
I have a few interviews lined up and some already in the bag. For instance, I talked to Duke commitment Andre Dawkins tonight to finish up an article for a publication. Of course, you will hear it all later.
I know you want to know if he has talked to Josh Hairston. The answer is they talk often. Andre said Josh would take another unofficial to Duke and likely other schools in the coming month, making a decision as early as late September.
"Coach K called me before the Gold Medal game which was pretty cool," said Dawkins. He went onto say he would likely call Coach tonight.
Dawkins played with Tyler Thornton as a youngster, but doesn't talk to him as much as Josh. He plans on getting Tyler's number though. Dawkins wants to play for K so bad that he worried about a jump to the NBA after coaching the likes of LeBron and Kobe.
We are turning over some stones to find out what is up, making sure information is accurate before it is released. You can count on an update in the coming days.
We will cover football recruiting as we have basketball. Look for talks with prospects starting next week. As I have mentioned, we will keep football information free for two months in an effort to draw fans in. While I realize the core of my members are hoops fanatics, covering football will bring other fans who love basketball as well.
So, don't fret too much faithful members! We will steady the ship soon enough, making it through the seas of change.[/private]
The ACC released the basketball schedules today. Now you can start to peer ahead.
Just minutes after placing his feet on American soil, Mike Krzyzewski addressed a throng of media members and adoring fans at RDU International Airport. Coach K is still immersing himself in the Olympic experience and will continue to do so as the media requests are sure to come in from well, everywhere.
That's the life of the legendary college coach who melded together NBA stars into a cohesive unit which of course made all things golden. While the Chinese media gravitated towards players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant making them darlings, Coach K is sure to get lots of love in the coming days.
Coach K was flanked by family, in both blood and Duke Blue brotherhood. As he took to the podium, assistant coaches Steve Wojciechowski, Chris Collins and head of basketball operations Chris Spatola stood at attention behind their captain with the American flag as the backdrop. His wife Mickie, daughters and their children were just to his right.
In typical Krzyzewski style, he first commented about the players. "The players were amazing, both on the court and off. They represented us so very well." He then gave props to Spain for a competitive game. At that point chants of USA, USA, USA, USA could be heard ringing in the corridors of the airport.
He didn't stop with his praise and commended China on being a good host before joking, "If they had elections there which they don't, and Kobe was a write in, Kobe might win." This brought laughter from the crowd and allowed his staff to crack a smile in the background. He continued on Kobe, "Thank goodness he took over at the end of the game."
He then showed graciousness towards his staff, including new Stanford coach Johhny Dawkins saying they worked tirelessly with no recognition. You can bet that the work proved worthy for each and will look fabulous on their resumes. "It's definitely the best basketball experience I've been involved with," said Duke assistant Chris Collins.
Knowing Coach K, he was probably already mapping out recruiting plans on the flight. He was quick to quip with a smile, " It's so good now to just be the Duke Coach," which brought about applause from Iron Duke Members and fans alike. He then said, "It's really good being the Duke coach having won the Olympics."
"You don't realize how proud you are to be an American until you are in those settings and you're representing your country, said Kryzyzewski. He then reflected on the awesome accomplishment of winning the Gold Medal, " During the National Anthem before the Gold Medal game, we are all standing there just mouthing the words and all of a sudden you get emotional. You start crying and say "Boy," I wish my Mom and Dad were here ... and how the heck are you this lucky to be representing the greatest country in the world in this fantastic sport."
Well Coach! Duke fans get a bit emotional too. We wonder how the heck we are so lucky for you to represent the greatest program in the world and be our coach 24/7. Congratulations Coach! You've made us all proud.
Note - The Blue Devil Nation will have the Q & A session with Coach K up tomorrow, so please check back that and Coach Cutcliffe addressing the media for the home opener.[/private]
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this is but one of many pictures of Coach K that will live on in time. Coach K further cemented his name into the history books in leading Team USA to the Gold Medal, an accomplishment few can claim. If you think Coach is satisfied with three national championships and his latest accomplishment, think again. His staff will be hard at work on the recruiting front trying to help secure the combination of players which will be a part of the fourth or maybe even fifth title by the time they time they arrive.
No matter, how you spin the effect of the Gold Medal on Duke Basketball, there is no denying that it helps in many ways. During the upcoming season, announcers will all allude to Coach K and his Olympic success. Current players like Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler will benefit from his experiences and the nations spotlight will be cast no matter where the Blue Devils play.
What about recruiting? Duke is in a hotly contested battle for Kenny Boynton in the class of 2009. Do you think seeing Coach K handle super talented guards like Dwayne Wade and Chris Paul made an impression? Do you think any of the five kids offered in 2010 want to be a part of something special? Would they like to attend a school where they will play for a living legend and have all their games televised?
While nobody can answer these questions for sure, one has to think that with Coach K now turning his sole focus on Duke that there will be a lot of kids wanting to play for the man who has handled the best players in America and has produced either the first or second most NBA players, depending on where you look, than any other coach in America.
Yep! Coach K had this talented bunch of NBA stars buy into teamwork for the greater good. And we all know that selfless play produces winners. Believe me, all these players are winners, having endorsements waiting in multiple countries and more importantly, representing what's best about America!
As Duke fans or Americans, we should be proud of what Coach K had done for the United States, Duke and world basketball. Thanks to this years edition of Team USA, millions of fans were born making basketball a household name. Quite simply, Coach K was as selfless as his players, serving as an ambassador of basketball instead of shirking the duties to concentrate on Duke alone.
In the end, we learned a lot about teamwork and as Duke fans we are fortunate to have a legend strolling the sidelines of Cameron for years to come.[/private]