Category Archives: Monday Musings

BDN Monday Musings – Irving, Plums, Peach Jam, Pro Am, Football Approaching — and More

I took this picture of Coach K upon his return with the first Gold his team earned. Let’s hope he can do it again and BDN will once again greet him at the RDI Airport.

There is always a lot happening around Duke athletics, and this coming week is no different.  BDN Monday Musings takes a look around  in our latest group of tidbits.

Kyrie Irving injured again

Kyrie Irving suffered an untimely injury when, during a Cavaliers practice, he hit his hand out of frustration — breaking a bone in the hand — and will now be out of action until the start of training camp.  Irving is, of course, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year who most recently was a member of USA Basketball’s NBA Select Team.  Here is more on his injury.  BDN wishes him a speedy recovery.  For the record, according to BDN’s recruiting analyst who was recently in Las Vegas watching Team USA’s preparations, Kyrie’s play was as good as any guard in the USA camp.

The Nike Peach Jam is upon us

One of the more popular stops on the AAU circuit is the Nike Peach Jam, which is held in North Augusta, SC, just minutes from the site of the Masters golf tournament.  This event provides coaches with one of their last opportunities to scout the Nike kids.  Only the top teams qualify for the tournament, which ultimately crowns the best team on the “Swoosh” circuit.  In fact, the importance of the event caused several players to back out of the Nike Hoops Summit this past weekend.

Several key Duke prospects will participate in the Peach Jam, and BDN will be there to bring you all the action.  Our most recent offering for premium members is a very interesting interview with big man Jahlil Okafor, who stated on record how bad his team wanted to win it.   The Nike Peach Jam was one of the first events that Blue Devil Nation covered, and it’s always one of my personal favorites.  BDN has now been around for ten years and our message board is celebrating its 5th anniversary this season.  Want more great coverage?  Join today!

Team USA preps and also entertains the troops

What an exciting summer it is for Duke fans, as they get to see coach Mike Krzyzewski try to mold another gold medal-winning national team.  During yesterday’s practice several members of our military and their families got to watch their heroes work out at the National Guard Armory in Washington, D.C.   “They humble us. I mean they do so much for our country and represent our flag,” said Timberwolves and Team USA forward Kevin Love.  “We just go out there and play basketball. So they are the reason we have our freedom.”  Team USA will take on Brazil today; here is the team’s entire schedule through theLondon Olympics.

Duke Football

Just 47 days remain until the Duke football team kicks it off against Florida International in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 1st at 7:00 EST.  There is no update on Blair Holliday, who was recently injured in a horrific boating accident.  Please keep his family and Blair in your prayers. But Duke Football will have to suck it up and prepare to start practice, where they will undoubtedly be hampered by the loss of Holliday at wideout, where he was slated to start.  In fact, this is the position that will be watched most closely in the pre-season by media and coaches alike.

The ACC Kickoff happens in Greensboro this coming Sunday.  This event marks the unofficial media start to the season, as coaches and players meet and the pre-season projected standings and All-ACC teams are released.  BDN will be there as always to bring you full coverage, including the comments of Duke Coach David Cutcliffe.

Elton Brand

In a move designed to shed $18 million from their payroll, Elton Brand was released by the Philadelphia 76ers.  But Brand was quickly picked up and signed by the Dallas Mavericks, who outbid the rest of the league for his services.

 

My man, Rick Crank is a heck of a photographer and we’ll see more of his work soon.

Mason Plumlee named to Honor Court

Mason Plumlee was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches 2011-12 Honors Court today. The Honors Court awards the talents and gifts that these men possess off the court and the hard work they exhibit in the classroom.  Plumlee, a double major in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, also received CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America honors last season. On the court, he was named third team All-ACC while averaging 11.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Plumlee also shot 57.2% from the floor and finished the year with 12 double-doubles and a school record 60 dunks.

North Carolina Pro-Am

The N.C. Pro-Am has kicked into high gear on the campus of N.C. Central University, and more Duke players could be participating in the event this week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  There really hasn’t been enough play thus far to warrant us passing on our opinions of the players we’ve seen, but that will change in the coming weeks.  There are several interviews from the event up on the site already, and even more for members on the message board.

Miles Plumlee is a hit

Miles Plumlee was named to the NBA’s Orlando summer league’s First Team.  Check out his video from Dime Magazine.

Syracuse is set to join the ACC

It’s official!  Syracuse will join the ACC in July of 2013.  Check out this link.

Monday Musings – Duke Hoops had a heck of a week

 

Mason slams one down.  His brother was a first round NBA Draft pick this past week.

What a week it has been for Duke Basketball!  There is no denying the “feel good” atmosphere around the program these days. It began last Thursday night when Austin Rivers was selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 10th pick in the NBA draft. He was followed by Miles Plumlee, who went 26th to the Indiana Pacers, giving Duke two more first round draft selections under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. On Saturday, coveted transfer Rodney Hood pulled the trigger for Duke, so as I say, it has indeed been a good week for the program.

If you’ve seen Miles Plumlee of late, he sports a spiffy new look that recalls Clark Kent chic, and it fits him to a tee. Plumlee was often seen by the media as a mild-mannered type, always polite, grounded and professional. But this past Thursday, Plumlee ripped open his shirt to reveal he has a little Superman thing going on as well. While the Pacers’ pick shocked many, those of us who followed Plumlee’s progress and spoke with league insiders saw this coming. Plumlee is a workout freak, and he posted great numbers during the NBA combines.  Many teams saw a player with both the athletic ability and the skill set to make it in the league. You can’t teach height, of course, and Miles’s size, combined with his ability to shoot from the permiter and run the court, served him well. NBA coaches and execs also did not forget that Miles learned how to play the game under Coach Krzyzewski at Duke, and that at 23, he’s already mature in many ways that should aid in his transition to the next level.

Austin Rivers is one of the most unfairly judged players I have been around since covering Duke basketball. Many mistake his confidence as a brash arrogance, when the reality is that confidence is an integral part of his game and a key component of his drive and his motor. Desire can carry a player a long way, and Rivers unquestionably has it. It never ceases to amaze me how uninformed internet chatter can be taken as gospel truth, even by the “mainstream” media, and this was certainly the case with regard to the perceptions of this young man.  I can tell you first hand that Rivers is a good kid, polite and professional when need be, but also not afraid to speak his mind. He is the type of kid that would settle differences with a game of one-on-one; the only thing wrong with that is how unfair it would be to just about any opponent he would face.

Austin leaves Duke having provided the program and its fans with one of the most thrilling and unforgettable moments in Duke’s long and glorious history when his buzzer-beater to beat UNC hit nothing but the bottom of the net.  While Rivers will certainly have to adjust to the physicality of the NBA game, he has been a big success at every level, and this one will be no different.

The news came Saturday evening that Rodney Hood, a coveted transfer from Mississippi State, would be attending Duke. In our latest BDN Premium update we discuss his addition for our members, and one of the things we share is that he will be on campus this Wednesday.  Hood’s addition changes the landscape of Duke’s recruiting, and we discuss that as well in the Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update. Hood was a player BDN was on early when he was on the AAU circuit, when he let us know that he had always liked the Blue Devils growing up. Hood will be allowed to practice with the team this year, and should be a part of the N.C. Pro-Am, where fans will get a firsthand view of his game.

We are a mere two months away from kickoff on the gridiron, and the Blue Devils face a bear of a task in the opener, as Florida International comes to Wallace Wade returning 18 starters from back-to-back bowl teams. There is no doubt that this game, even though it’s the opener, is vital to the Devils’ hopes of a run at a bowl themselves.  If a season opener could ever be “must win” for Duke, this would be the year.  We’ll be talking more football starting this month as Cut surveys his team.  Make plans now to support Duke Football by buying season tickets and check out the new “Cut’s Corner.”

USA Basketball is about to take center stage as well, and Coach K and company will keep Duke in the headlines in their effort to bring another gold medal home from London.   BDN has always supported and covered Team USA’s efforts, and this season will be no different.

BDN Monday Musings wishes all a Happy Memorial Day

 

Laettner schools SID Art Chase during the Coach K Academy

I hope that all of you are having a great Memorial Day weekend and that you are all fresh and ready for the coming coverage at Blue Devil Nation. We have had Andrew Slater in Oakland, California all weekend long covering Nike EYBL Session 4 and he has updated via his twitter site but the good stuff is on our members only message board. Slater has let our members know of all the latest on Duke Basketball Recruiting prospects and secured interviews with the likes of recent Sports Illustrated cover boy Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and many more, including some relative new names to many. We hope you consider joining to read those coming interviews while getting the very latest on each prospect and their thoughts on Duke. That said, we take a look ahead and toss out a few notes in our latest Monday Musings column.

Coach K Academy begins

The annual Coach K Academy begins this week where a bunch of 35 years and older men participate in the ultimate fantasy camp while raising money for the Emily K. Center and other Duke related charities. This is also a homecoming for ex players and many will be on hand to participate in the event which is fun for all. BDN will be interviewing some of the ex players, catching up with them on the latest happenings in their lives starting Wednesday, so you can look forward to that. We also have a member and occasional employee participating in the event and he’ll share some of the happenings.

Football is right around the corner

Duke Football is about to embark on its fifth season under Coach David Cutcliffe and the chatter starts to increase in June. Recent publications ranked Duke as the 10th best team in the ACC but the Blue Devils hope that all come full circle this season and they can surprise a few teams on a very demanding schedule. BDN analyst Partick Cacchio and myself will start to bring you more and more coverage leading right up until kickoff in home opener against FIU, a team that is loaded and coming off another bowl season. Make no mistake, the opener is tough and pretty much a must win game for the Blue Devils.

Other Duke Athletes earning honors

While the men’s LAX team fell short of playing for the national title today, they had a great season and nothing should take away from that. Duke athletics has become very competitive in many sports. Duke junior Lindy Duncan was named the winner of the Ping National Player of the Year in women’s tennis, so congrats to her on a fine season. Kim Wenger and Emma Ham earned All Americans honors as well for their work with the Duke Womens’ LAX team.

More recruiting

The warm months means BDN Premium will bring you our usual broad range of coverage during all the major recruiting events.  We  covered the Nike EYBL this past weekend and will take in Pango’s which is another star-studded event this weekend. BDN sends our staff to events to give you in person scouting reports and coverage with the focus on the prospects you want to hear from. Neither stringers nor national types, but actual staff members who concentrate on the news you covet represent the Nation giving you a lot of bang for your buck as a subscriber. And in June our coverage will continue with the NBAPA Top 100 Camp and a few more surprised sure to please. The off season is one of the busiest times of year around here, so if you like recruiting and desire up to the minute information join BDN Premium for a month and check us out for yourself. Or go ahead and join for a year which is the best value.

Props to Vets

Many have served in the military for their country and many have fought for the freedom of all who live in this country. I once participated in a march in the United Kingdom celebrating the fallen and there are more than you will ever know who sacrificed their all. Vets are often under appreciated, so if you know one take some time out of your holiday fun and wish them well. I am proud to have served my country straight out of school and I would do it again for the many are always more important than myself. War is a horrible thing but we will always need those who are willing to defend our rights and continue to make America the best country to live in.

Changes are coming

BDN will unveil a facelift down the road and we are at work on the process. We’ll also be adding new features and some new blood. We are excited about serving the entire Blue Devil Nation for years to come. Thanks for the continued support and I promise next weeks Monday Musings will return to the information that you have come to love.

Kyrie2

BDN Monday Musings – Jefferson decision, Irving Rookie of the Year and more

Here is another edition, albeit a brief one of Monday Musings.  BDN takes a look at Kyrie Irving, the Amile Jefferson recruitment, Matt Daniels and more.

Amile Jefferson Decision

It’s taken Philly product Amile Jefferson, a consensus top 35 prospect a long time to decide where he will play his college basketball but a decision will be made tomorrow at his high school. As of now, three hats will be in place, those being Duke, Kentucky and N.C. State but some still say Villanova is alive as well. Jefferson has played this one really close to the vest and its rare nothing has leaked out in today’s recruiting environment. Duke has had good feedback but the delay in a decision has effected them as well as the other schools. Kentucky has made a strong late run and they’ve already pulled one kid high on academics in Alex Poythress. On paper, Duke is a good fit for Jefferson on and off the court with his educational acumen but it is N.C. State that seems to be a late favorite. Those who cover Wolfpack recruiting have been supremely confident on this one for a good while and here is a tweet from the Wolfpacker this morning, “We’ll have some Amile Jefferson stories lined up Tuesday, and then coverage of the press conference live at the school.” Sound like they;re pretty confident and it would not surprise me if his decision leaks soon if he is indeed Raleigh bound. Jefferson is the last prospect on the table for Duke in the 2013 season.

Kyrie Irving set to be NBA Rookie of the Year

Kyrie Irving is the real deal and the whole world knows that now. The number one pick in last seasons rookie class and is set to be named NBA Rookie of the Year. And to Duke fans credit, you do not hear a lot of “what could have been.” like comments, but one has to wonder what kind of season he would have had past a few games. Austin Rivers will join Irving as a first round pick in this years NBA Draft and that will keep Duke in the limelight. Irving averaged 18.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 51 games.

Duke LAX success

What a great weekend for Duke LAX as the men and women took care of business.  The Blue Devils Men defeated Syracuse 12-9 and the Duke Women ousted Virginia 11-9.  Both teams move to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.  And it’s the last day to vote for C.J. Constabile, so go here and support his career efforts Vote here

Team USA

Coach K will host his annual Coach K Academy at the end of this month and then it is off to training camp for Team USA.  Krzyzewski has logged quite a bit of frequent flier miles and has rarely been in Durham.   Coach is currently in Dallas and was recently on the road for ten days after the Nike EYBL Boo Williams event.  Press conferences will start any day now and BDN will as always support Team USA efforts.

Matt Daniels nabbed by the Rams

Former Duke Safety Matt Daniels has signed a free agent contract with the St. Louis Rams and he’s earned a lot of praise as a player who is most likely to latch on from undrafted player.  He is the infamous Gil Brandt from NFL.com on Daniels in this link.  BDN will follow Daniels as he tries to fulfill his dreams.

BDN Moday Musings – Parker, Prospects, Recruiting, Offer, Men’s LAX discussed

Will Parker announce today at 4:00? He says he will and his recruitment has been quite a ride for those following the process. BDN Photo

There is a lot to talk about in this weeks Monday Musings column with concern to Duke Basketball, especially on the recruiting front.  As you already know, Duke made an offer to 6-10 forward Austin Nichols and that kicks off the AAU season.

Speaking of the AAU season, Blue Devil Nation Recruiting Analyst, Andrew Slater covered the Nike EYBL and showed his prowess on the beat.  Slaters’ twitter site blew up this weekend with premium like information as it happened.  Our premium members know that Slater is the best at what he does and now the secret is out that Team BDN is as good as it gets.  My side kick is a protege of the infamous Tom Knochalski, a legend and pioneer  on  prospect evaluation and his in depth interviews and analysis on the front is unmatched.

Slater will unveil an interview with Marcus Lee who plays for California Supreme, a prospect who caught the Blue Devils staff eyes this past weekend.  BDN tipped the nation off last night that there is a new kid firmly on the radar.  But Slater also spoke with Jabari Parker and a dozen more true Duke prospects, so BDN Premium is the place to be this week, so join today and see just how awesome our AAU coverage is.  You will love the value and knowledge we bring to the table, I guarantee it.

Is today the day Tony Parker decides?  Well, if it is, it will put an end to one of the more bizarre recruitment’s of the season.  Parker has frustrated some national recruiting analyst to the point where they will not even give him the time of day with coverage.  This talented young man would fit well with Duke next season but whether the golden opportunity dawns on him before his 4:00 scheduled decision remains to be seen.  Parker has had a bit too much fun with the media and there will be a collective and anxiously awaited sigh from the schools still in the running for him in that the roller coaster will finally come to a halt.

There is still no word on when Philly product Amile Jefferson will decide but many feel it is down to Duke and N.C. State.  I would think his choice would come this week, so lot’s going on this week beyond the pending NFL Draft.  Yep!  Basketball recruiting is in bloom and Duke fans anxiously await the Jefferson decision to see if he will be added to the roster next season.

Congratulations to the Duke Men’s LAX team for downing arch rival North Carolina to win the ACC Championship.  The boys in royal blue scored 10 second half goals in a furious comeback for the victory and now it is on to the NCAA’s.

Now that the Andre Dawkins news forced it’s way out, there should be no more happenings around the team in that manner.  I didn’t say there would not be rumors, but hopefully people will learn to follow those sources with long time proven track records and not some poster who tells you he’s the man and he said, she said the neighbors dog groomer, cuts Skippys’ coat and Skip belongs to the guy that runs the cleaners where a player goes and a player told that player that another player said that so and so was unhappy at Duke .  Silly, isn’t it?  Still, many would fall for it hook, line and sinker in the steadily growing and unstable world of web based reporting.

In ending, again, consider joining BDN Premium and see for yourself what you are missing.  Duke will be on the trail this weekend at two events and we’ll be out there just like this past weekend.  And be sure to follow Andrew Slater  on his twitter site and our resident football analyst Patrick Cacchio here and then there is of course my BDN site here.

Have a good week Blue Devil Nation and visit often for there will be a lot to talk about in the coming days.

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.