Category Archives: Monday Musings

BDN Monday Musings – Duke Basketball Happenings

Duke is in hot pursuit of Amile Jefferson who will decide in the coming days and the staff will hit the recruiting trail hard starting this week. BDN Photo

It’s been a while since I threw out an edition of Monday Musings so let’s try an abbreviated version to hold you over –

Next stop for Rasheed Sulaimon … Duke University

As you know already we covered the Nike Jordan Brand All Star game this past weekend and Sulaimon showed well for the Dukies earning praise along the way from many recruiting types. Sulaimon will be on the Duke campus in early July which is just over two months away and he will take the time in between to reflect on all that has happened to date and continue his workouts. Having seen Sulaimon play in person over 20 times now, I can tell you that Duke fans will love his ability to play good defense and his first step is as good as it gets. While not a total speed demon, Sulaimon has a way of being all over the place as an active player.

 

We hardly knew you …

Word started to leak out yesterday that Michael Gbinije would transfer and this has long been floating around the rumor mill.  Well, it is all but a formality at this point and we should hear official word from the Duke Sports Information Department any time now.  Gbinije has a history of transferring from schools, several stops in high school and seems to be having trouble finding the right fit.  We wish Gbinije the best and it looks as if he will take a long look at Big East and Virginia are schools.   He is a talented young man and a great student, so he will do well.  Normally, the school handles official announcements but the rush for a scoop caused a lot of  issues.  The sad truth is any kid transferring is not newsworthy enough to have been handled in the way it was and bordered on being meddlesome but that is simply one mans opinion.

 

Amile Jefferson come on down …

Duke still has a shot at Amile Jefferson who is still deciding between several schools making hard, late runs for his services.  I expect we’ll know what the deal is as early as this week.  The general consensus is that he is the last prospect Duke has a shot at in 2012.

Unless ….

Unless, Tony Parker comes around at the midnight hour.  Sources have told Blue Devil Nation that he will make his selection known at his high school on Friday of this week.  Parker was rumored heavily to be UCLA bound this weekend, but he has been the center of many rumors and many national analyst washed their hands with him once he started being all over the place with his comments.  Parker shows little respect for most of the media and is a young kid funning about with the process.  In the end, do not be shocked if he stays in state and goes to Georgia,  His recruitment has frustrated many fans, especially those of Duke for there is a glaring obviousness that he has a spot at Duke where he would play.  I am think the parents who strongly favored Duke will settle for him staying near home.  Parker is a good kid with a nice skill set but looking back on his decision will be interesting.  Who knows, maybe he will have another last minute change of heart but I would not wager the house on it at this point.

Nike EYBL kicks off this week

The Nilke EYBL gets underway at Minneapolis, Minnesota this week and Duke will have a bevy of prospects there.  The coaches will be out in full force this week during an earlier open period than years past.  The bigger names they will watch are Jabari Parker and Julius Randle but several others are on the radar which members of the Blue Devil Nation know about.  For more on the recruiting front, join BDN Premium as we start our unmatched AAU coverage which has now become a site tradition.

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BDN Monday Musings ponders past and future happenings around Duke Basketball

The Duke Blue Devils coasted past Boston College last evening setting up a huge rematch against Florida State this week and BDN Monday Musings takes a look back and ahead.

Duke too much for Boston College

After a slow start, the Blue Devils waltzed past the Boston College Eagles 75-50 and that kept them in a three way tie for first place.  A tremendous 45-21 rebounding edge and pounding the offensive glass gave Duke the win but this game is less than memorable after the Blue Devils have won a couple high profile and talked about games.  But Duke took care of business and returned to snow dusted Durham healthy and well.  The 25 point margin was the larger in the series for Duke who holds a 14-2 edge in the series.  Duke held the hapless Eagles without a field goal for a 14 minute plus stretch.  Folks point to the Blue Devils defensive numbers being down this season and this game will help those numbers but has anyone taken into consideration the Blue Devils strength of schedule his season and that they haven’t played the sisters of the poor?  Just sayin’

Curry-Rivers chemistry

If you’ve been paying close attention to the last few games, the Blue Devils are getting improved chemistry from it’s guard tandem of Seth Curry and Austin Rivers.  This is a good thing for Duke in that the two have become the top two scoring options on the team.  You will continue to see Rivers with the ball in his hands at crunch time and Curry has a constant green light to shoot on the offensive end.  Both will need to show up big against Florida State in Tallahassee this week.

Coach K on the Dan Patrick Show

Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski appeared on the Dan Patrick show today where he addressed “Linsanity,” an this seasons team.  When asked which president he’d have a drink with if he could, Krzyzewski responded that he’d like to have a glass of wine with George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, the founding fathers.  Patrick asked, but what if Washington was a UNC fan tongue in cheek.  Krzyzewski responded by saying, “He’s not a Carolina fan or he wouldn’t be after a few bottles of wine.”  Kyrie Irving was also on the show and spoke of keeping up with Josh Hairston and his happiness that Rivers shot beat the aforementioned rival North Carolina.

ESPN GameDay is coming to Durham for UNC-Duke Game

The GameDay crew of Reece Davis, former Duke player Jay Bilas, former coaches Digger Phelps and Bob Knight and former UNC player Hubert Davis will broadcast live from Cameron Indoor Stadium during the North Carolina at Duke game on March 3rd.  Former players and guests will appear.  More details to come from BDN as the event nears.  In the past, some fans just come for the atmosphere and then watch the game locally.  Tickets to a Duke and UNC game are next to impossible to obtain in Cameron without giving away your first born or a large section of your wallet.

Another reminder for Greensboro

The first round of the NCAA Tournament in Greensboro will feature Duke and North Carolina and tickets are still available, so go to ticketmaster and get them now and show off your royal blue colors in an effort to move the team on.

Coach K post game comments

Here are a few comments from Coach K on yesterday’s game where Terry Rains represented the Nation in these two BDN Vids

BDN Monday Musings – Upset loss, Duke-UNC Women and Men, Crazies, Cheerleaders and Quinn Cook

 

Duke cheerleaders returned for a reunion yesterday.

No more Super Bowl day games for Duke, I say!  The Blue Devils fell in overtime to Miami for their second ACC loss of the season in Cameron Indoor Stadium and their third straight loss on Super Bowl Sunday. They must now pick up the pieces for the coming media blitz and hype which is known at the Duke-Carolina game.  Monday Musings takes a look at a litle bit of everything today and with that let’s get the ball rolling.

In search of the right buttons

The Duke Men’s staff has tried to shake up the lineup and they’ve tried to figure out ways to get to this years team to play together and smart.  Early in the season it worked for Duke holds nice wins over Kansas and Michigan and Michigan State, but since that time the team has struggled a bit and of all places at home.  The reason I say, a bit, is because they could have easily won their games against Miami and Florida State with a couple of made shots or execution.  The frustration on Coach Krzyzewski’s face was evident yesterday and he is trying to figure out a way to get his team to play a full 40-45 minutes of what is known as “Duke Basketball,” and their year in and out lofty expectations.  Just when you thought the team had reached deep and turned a corner, they fell back into some bad habits.  I hate to say this, but this years team seems a bit soft at times and there were some loose balls and rebounds missed that could have turned the tide in their two ACC lossesYou see, Krzyzewski wants all his teams to win the regular season, but yesterday, those hopes took a major hit and it is not acceptable by his standards.

Growing pains for freshman

Quinn Cook came off the bench to spark Duke in a big way yesterday, but at games end he throws up an inexplicable wild runner with the outcome on the line and nobody in position to board late in the game.  It was a critical mistake and one of several which changed the games outcome.  But before you give up on Cook, realize that he now has an assist to turnover ratio of 3.33 to 1 which is the best of any freshman ever at Duke.  And just ask the assistants on the bench or go back and look at tape on any of the former PG’s in their freshman years and they all had growing pains or a lapse when the game was on the line.  And the good news is the rest of the aforementioned or former freshman I alluded to all learned and helped Duke to many victories.

Duke gets all the calls … yeah, right

You will never see the staff blame the refs for a loss, nor me for that matter.  But those who think Duke gets all the calls haven’t been paying attention of late.  It’s funny how Karl Hess is well known by the Crazies and the Blue Devils record is, well, just look it up under him.  But the real crime is with the game on the line, none of the three refs were seemingly paying attention to the Duke head coach who was doing everything he could to call a timeout.  In my experience, a ref is almost always near the bench in those instances or at least aware the game is on the line and paying attention.  That in no way caused the loss, but it sure makes one wonder of yet another what if.

The elephant in the room for me was …

The Cameron Crazies have been in the news more than I care to see this season and for good or maybe I should say, bad reasons.  There have been so many articles on this of late that I can honestly tell you I read maybe one.  But there is a problem and it is a huge one and the university itself needs to figure out a way to resolve this before the bottom tier of the stadium is dominated by average fans.  The turnout yesterday was deplorable at best and I heard many reasons from the CC’s which sit behind me.  For the record the Crazies who come on a regular basis are great and I mean that, but what on earth is happening to where students will not come to a Duke game when it is free?  I could put together a book on how they just aren’t the same anymore but that just seems a waste of time when the season is in full swing.  Maybe it’s time the scrap everything and start fresh, I don’t know, nor can I personally do more than complain that I miss the atmosphere that has made the stadium so famous through the years.  Seriously, former Crazies never used the same chant for a player in a game more than once and there was a brain trust who came up with some outrageously witty and fun cheers.  Coach stopped short of saying the Crazies had anything to do with the loss when asked by media members seeking yet more ammunition for articles.  He instead blamed his team for the loss and he was right, but he did mention atmosphere and if you have been around as long as I have, you easily read between the lines of what was said. 

Everything was off

The air was ripe for an upset in so many ways.  On message boards fans wanted to fast forward to the UNC game this Wednesday evening and overlooked Miami, a team projected #5 in the ACC this season.  Then the team looked flat and almost sleep walked through the first half and in the process dug a hole too deep to climb out of.  And then the aforementioned worst turnout of the season by the Crazies which has caused a ton of negative media towards the program didn’t help.  But I can tell you this for a fact, Duke did not overlook Miami and they were not looking ahead to the UNC game.  Nope, it was just one of those foul, unusual days where all alligned in a not so good way.

UNC at Duke Women

Before the men’s team play this week, the women get it going this evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  This is always a spirited and entertaining affair and tickets are cheap, so tuen out and cheer on the Blue Devils as they try to maintain their hold on first place in the ACC.

And the hype begins

There is no doubt that yesterdays upset loss to Miami tarnished the upcoming Duke at UNC game a bit for you always want to come off a win.  But the hype begins today with a Coach K press conference and players talking about the game and BDN will be there and remain for the Duke vs UNC women’s game, so stay tuned for a lot of coverage all the way through the game.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, but not really

As usual, any Duke loss this season is met with the Chicken Little effect from many fans and it is the end of the world as we know it, but nothing is fine.  Okay, that was a  bad play on an old song.  Duke is a few plays away from being 21-2 and there is plenty of balling left.  There are some red flags for sure, but this Duke team has 19 wins against a difficult schedule.  Some Duke fans need to suck it up, just like our team will do.  Support your Blue Devils when they need it most.  Duke was down 16 points yesterday and staged a comeback which fell short.  Krzyzewski will find a way to get his kids to play together  and  with a collective heart and make a run when it counts in March and the lessons learned will help along the way.  Remember, this team lost Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving and they are young at many key positions.

 

 

Mason Plumlee and Duke strive to go dancing in March

BDN Monday Musings – Big week ahead for Duke Athletics

Mason Plumlee and Duke strive to go dancing in March

A busy week lies ahead for Duke Athletics and BDN Monday Musings takes a look at the many events that will take place starting with tonight’s UConn at Duke Women’s game.  The Blue Devils have two men’s games as well one on the road and one at home and national signing day for football.

UConn at Duke – the ultimate measuring stick for the progrm on “Big Monday”

In a nationally televised game, the 5th Duke women (17-2) host the traditionally strong and 3rd ranked UConn women (19-2) led by their enigmatic coach Gino Auriemma.  The Huskies lost to the top two rated teams in the country Baylor and Notre Dame before going on a monster roll, where they demolished the Blue Devils arch rival, North Carolina by a score of 86-35 and all other comers as well.  The key to the game for the Blue Devils will be for their guards, Chelsea Gray and Tricia Liston to slow the Huskies backcourt of Tiffany Hayes and Bria Hartley.    As we’ve said in a past column, Duke freshman Elizabeth Williams is as advertised and tonight she’ll be on the big stage with the rest of this young Blue Devil squad.  There are still a few tickets left for the game and they’re very reasonably priced, so turn out tonight for this heavyweight bout and cheer the young Blue Devils to victory.

Rest for the men’s team

The Duke Men’s team returned to the practice courts today after taking off time to rest after their lack luster victory over St. John’s.  The Blue Devils will travel to Blacksburg on Thursday to take on a wounded in wait Hokies team that would love to make their season with an upset win.  One of the things happening is this years squad is getting accustomed to taking other teams best shot as some of the players grow into their roles.

Speaking of roles … who will step up?

Before the season Coach Krzyzewski said that different players would step up on different evenings on this years team.  And that’s what has happened to date and the Blue Devils are a not too shabby 18-3 from it.  But will any of the players have that light go off down the stretch and take over their roles in a consistent manner?  Mason Plumlee has pretty much been the star of this team and or the most consistent player.  Austin Rivers is on a learning curve, but his numbers are decent as well.  I mean, the kid will likely be named the ACC’s Top Rookie.  But are juniors Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Andre Dawkins ready to break out?  Duke needs more consistency from the group, but make no mistake, each of them have already played key roles in major victories as has sophomore Tyler Thornton in Maui.  This is also the final go round for senior Miles Plumlee and can he become a force as the season enters it’s grind?  And this folks, this is why we watch the games, to see how it all will unfold.

Just a reminder … March 16th and 18th NCAA Tournament in the ‘Boro

Get your tickets for Greensboro now Blue Devil fans!  Duke will almost assuredly be in Greensboro for two games and the kicker is that North Carolina will share that pod.  That said, get your tickets to the event as soon as possible.

The last ten games

It’s hard to believe that there are just ten regular season basketball games left this season and just five of them home games in Cameron.  Breaking it down for you, there are two games each with Virginia Tech and North Carolina, Miles senior day being the last regular season and home game.  Then road trips to Boston College, Florida State and Wake Forest and home games with Miami, Maryland and N.C. State.   So, how do you think the Blue Devils will fare?  I have heard 6-4 to 8-2 most often from those who cover the team.

National Signing Day for Football

On Wednesday, BDN will be on hand at Duke to hear the latest on the new group of Blue Devils from Coach Cutcliffe and staff.  We’re talking national signing day here and it is a big deal around the nation.  Several prospects are taking their decision to the midnight hour and in our premium section, Patrick Cacchio talks of that and how things are shaking out with the likes of RB hopeful, Jela Duncan.  Also, mark down March 31st on your calendar, for it is the date of the annual spring game where Duke returns 17 starters from a season ago.

 Just do it!

I am not going to open the can of worms known at the decline in attendance for the Cameron Crazies at this time.  There are five home games left and this is a team that needs the support in a big way, so no lecture or speculation from me other than this suggestion – Just do it!  Sorry for the overuse of that Nike trademark, but it’s what I’d tell them to do down the stretch if asked what should be done.  Prove the critics wrong and show them you are not the weak bunch many think you to be.  Man, was that a challenge or what?  Crazies means getting crazy, so let go of yourselves, have fun and all will play out.  I have faith that the many who follow this site can get it done.  And for what it is worth many of the ones there are the best and if their leadership spreads, you will hear few complaints by seasons end.

BDN Monday Musings takes a look at Duke Athletics

This week, we have an abbreviated version of Monday Musings as we continue to work on other site projects –

Rebounding from a tough loss

Duke is not feeling sorry for themselves after the Florida State loss at home which killed several records.  This team will now start new streaks if they have their way.  After any loss, much of the Blue Devils fanbase goes into Chicken Little mode and you would swear that the sun will never rise.  Food for thought is that Duke has 3 losses against a brutal schedule ranked the toughest.  That means on Kentucky and Syracuse have less losses of any of what are considered the true national contenders. 

The new polls

Kentucky is the new #1 after Syracuse faced their first defeat of the season but are they good enough to be a unanimous #1 save 4 votes in the A.P. poll?  Duke is ranked 6th in the Coaches poll and 8th in the A.P. this week.  Interestingly, Florida State moves into the A.P. poll at #23 after their upset win in Cameron, ranked one spot ahead of a UConn team they lost to by a bucket.  Duke has defeated #5 Kansas, #10 Michigan State, #19 Virginia and #20 Michigan and lost to #3 Ohio State and #23 Florida State which translates to 4-2 against the top 25.

Bracketology

For me, early bracketology is much like “what if,” articles in that I’m not a big fan of either one.  But many do and in this weeks edition of ESPN Bracketology by Joe Lunardi, Duke is a #2 seed opening with  a tough Cleveland State team.  Kansas is the #1 seed followed by the Blue Devils, then West Virginia at #3 and Creighton at #4.  FWIW, they’re in the St. Louis region, if they get that far for the first two games will be in Greensboro.  I’d take  that bracket and yes, I just got caught linking and reading early bracketology … ugh.

Duke Women are young and GOOD!

Due to workload we haven’t been able to cover the women as much as we’d like but I made it to the Maryland game yesterday and it is by far the smoothest, cleanest game I have been to since Coach P took over.  No missed free throws and few turnovers made for a good game on the eyes and of course, Duke won and remains atop the ACC.  The Blue Devils offensive sets against were crisp and there was great spacing.  Freshman Elizabeth Williams has it going on for sure and you should check here out and Haley Peters “womaned” up yesterday with an outstanding performance.  Duke takes on UConn in Cameron next Monday and very few tickets are left.  Get you a pair through Duke and back the Blue Devils against the beast from the east.

Football recruiting red hot

Duke entertained Jela Duncan and others and BDN Football Analyst Patrick Cacchio has the latest on all the happenings on the front.  BDN Premium has some good stuff up for members and gridiron fans and we have the only recent and in depth interview with Amile Jefferson.  It’s a great time to join and talk Duke Athletics on our subscription only message board where you avoid all the free board maniacs and have real discussions.

Blue Devil Nation Open Facebook Page

As most of you know, Blue Devil Nation on has a message board for paying members of BDN Premium, but we do have a Blue Devil Nation Open Facebook page which you can join and it is our version of a free message board.  So, if you want to hang and chat with other Duke fans, check it out.

This is Amile Jefferson, the latest 2012 prospect to hold an off to Duke University.  This picture was taken in Cameron Indoor Stadium during the 2010 Countdown to Craziness.  BDN has been aware of and followed Jefferson for a long time and our team has seen him play multiple times.  Want more on this latest offer?  Join BDN Premium and be in the know.

BDN Monday Musings – Duke Basketball, Amile Jefferson offered, ESPN’s Jason Jordan and more

This is Amile Jefferson, the latest 2012 prospect to hold an off to Duke University. This picture was taken in Cameron Indoor Stadium during the 2010 Countdown to Craziness. BDN has been aware of and followed Jefferson for a long time and our team has seen him play multiple times. Want more on this latest offer? Join BDN Premium and be in the know.

When a basketball player has gone cold from the field and he struggles with his shot, he simply needs to see the ball fall in the basket, to get things going again.  It is generally known that shot will be a simple one, a lay in or dunk and or a sure thing.  I apply that same logic to Duke as a team and just seeing a win in the column, is just what the doctor ordered, with especially that win coming in the ACC opener on the road at Georgia Tech.  Like a shooter, I expect Duke will get back on track with a win in the column after two road games which resulted in an upset loss at Temple and squandering a 20 point lead to hang on for a win in Atlanta.  In this week’s Monday Musings, BDN takes a look at the team and Amile Jefferson, the latest basketball prospect to be offered.

Grinding out a win

Duke got what it needed in the win over the Yellow Jackets, that being a victory.  One must remember this is not an old team and they started two freshman guards and that this team is still finding out its true identity on the court.   Add to that the psychological effects of a road loss at Temple, coming off another one against Ohio State and simply winning on the road cures a lot of ills and allows for  a foundation for adjustment.  While a lot of Duke fans lit up the message boards with concern and arm chair analogies, I, for one, was happy with the win and I have been around the block once or twice and realized that the game was already in the rear view mirror.  Duke needed to see a road win in the ledger and they’ll be better from it.

Growing pains

Duke will not always play a perfect game where all goes as expected but fans seem to forget losing Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving is devastating and that this years team is in the process of finding their collective roles.  Unlike teams past, this years version has no stand out super star at this point.  This is a team where every player are learning their roles on the run and considering the tough schedule Duke has played to date, they’re right where they need to be.   If you haven’t done so already, you need to adjust your expectations with this team and not hold them to a spoiled standard if you will.  By season end, this may well be a team that can make a run in March, but it is the lessons learned along the way that make them possible.  And this is where I remind you that Krzyzewski has said all season long, that different players would have to step up each night until leaders are established.

The Hoo’s await Duke in Cameron

The Cameron Crazies need to bring their “A,” game for the Blue Devils take on a Virginia team that could lay claim to the perception of being considered second best team in the ACC to the loaded Tar Heels with an upset win.  Virginia comes into the Thursday evening  game on a roll having lost a single game on the season.  Make no mistake that this is a huge game right off the bat in ACC play and this game provides a good measuring stick for both clubs.  And we’re back to those 9:00 starts in this one as the season takes off where there is little time to catch your breath until sometime in March or April.  Anyhow, I expect Duke to come out and be ready for the challenge this week.

A new offer is on the table — Amile Jefferson

The Duke Blue Devils extended an offer to Amile Jefferson, a 6-8, 198 pound forward  from Friends Central High School in Philadelphia, PA.  That offer came after a conversation between Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Jefferson, who joins Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker as players still holding offers in the class of 2012.   The first thing I noticed when watching Jefferson was his length and how smooth he was on the court.  He also makes good decisions and is a great student in the class room.  While he is indeed slender, his frame will allow growth and he moves in a smooth way which allows him to slither around the basket with advanced body control.  Our BDN Recruiting analyst are breaking down his game for members of BDN Premium in that we, as a team, have seen him play around 25 or so times.  Our first interview with him came in early 2010 and there are five total in our archives and they are very informative.  Anyhow, all you want to know is being discussed in the members forum, so join today for full site access.

Jason Jordan on Julius Randle and …

I had the chance to meet and chat with Jason Jordan of ESPN during the Holiday Invitational recently.  We originally had this video interview up for our premium members, but it is now open to the public and gives one an idea at our content.  We discussed Duke Basketball  recruiting and we’ll do so again in the near future.  Here is the link to our chat – Mark Watson and ESPN’s Jason Jordan.  And here is an article which is hot off the press where Jordan has key Duke prospect Julius Randle talk of his visits to Duke and UNC.