Category Archives: Monday Musings

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.

 

BDN’s Monday Musings – Quinn Cook, Ryan Kelly, the Plums, Rasheed Sualimon, Julius Randle

Most people are adjusting back to a normal routine after the holidays, but I found myself quite busy covering two Duke Basketball games and three days worth of high school prospects.  In fact, I’ll finally make it back to the gym today, but only after another edition of Monday Musings.

17 assists, 0 turnovers

During last evening’s post game press conference with Duke Coach Mike Krzyzweski, he quipped, “Quinn Cook has 17 assists and no turnovers in his last two games.”  I tweeted that and within a few minutes noticed there were a bevy of retweets.  For those counting, Cook has played 62 minutes without a turnover.  The freshman point guard wasn’t quite the same after his injury  last season, but after surgery and rest, he’s just now getting back to form.  I’m seeing flashes of what he did before the injury when I covered him on the AAU circuit and that means you will see it as well as the season progresses.  But the true test for Cook will be how does he handle hostile environments like he will in the next two road games with Temple and the ACC opener with Georgia Tech.  Cook is the only true PG on the Blue Devils roster and if he can continue to adjust to the college game and improve his defense, he’ll get plenty of burn.  One must remember a PG eight miles down the road named Kendall Marshall burst onto the scene last year, but in his case, he had to.  Duke has a steady, calm leader in Tyler Thornton, a swing guard, who was making three point shots look like a three inch putt in his last two outings, but that is an area he needs to be consistent in to keep opposing defenses honest.  My thinking is that there will remain a combination of the two in some manner all season long

Austin Rivers is the ACC Rookie of the Year

Rivers had trouble finishing off his moves in his last outing, but the freshman is destined to break out before seasons end.  With Duke seeking chemistry going into ACC play, he’s finding his spot and once again adjusting.  The keyword though is adjusting for he has had a huge transformation with his game since he was in high school.  His willingness to do so has proven that he is all about team first.  Rivers, provided he stays healthy is a lock for ACC Rookie of the Year and he leads the 12-1 Blue Devils in scoring as a freshman for a reason, that being he’s pretty darn good.

The Plums

There was one possession Mason past up an easy shot to dish to his brother Miles who was maybe a foot closer to the rim.  The play didn’t set well with the bench but it showed that Mason is looking to get Miles going in his senior year and how close these guys and family really are.  Next time, take the shot but don’t worry with that play too much for Mason has been a rebounding machine and a very consistent option for Duke.  He’s definitely struggling from the free throw line for sure, but he also leads the team in FG%.  And FWIW, his four blocks last evening tied his career high at Duke.  Meanwhile, Miles had solid back to back games and it seems as if the senior is finding more consistency in his last season as a Blue Devil.  And, for one, think that he will continue to improve.

Ryan Kelly getting aggressive

If you watch the videos we provided from last evenings game, you’ll hear junior forward, Ryan Kelly, state that he sought to play more aggressively.  Kelly recorded hi first double-double at Duke with 18 points and 12 rebounds and his 26 minutes played in the 85-55 blowout of Penn was tops on the team.  Kelly had struggled a little bit of late but it always seems like you can count on him to come back.  Duke will need Kelly to be a presence in upcoming road tests and the ACC season.

Covering Rasheed Sulaimon

I am as impressed as ever with Rasheed Sulaimon.  The future Blue Devil will join Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee who are both red shirting provided there are no injuries in next seasons class.  Sulaimon was flat out sick as a dog during the Holiday Invitational but he reached deep and helped his team, Strake Jesuit, win their last two games to go back to Texas 2-1.  Sulaimon visited Duke with his father and brother for the win over Western Michigan and he continues to recruit for the Blue Devils hoping to add players to his class.

Julius Randle visits

While the students were gone, Randle still got the “Julius Randle come to Duke,” chant which he smiled about.  Randle is a flat out stud in the post and a player the Blue Devils staff covets.  Randle visited UNC yesterday and then caught the entire Duke game.  It’ll be a good while before Randle, a junior in high school this season, decides, but there is already panic at every turn.  If you do not believe me take a look at the message boards.

BDN Premium

We are still offering the special rate of 80.00 bucks for one year of Blue Devil Nation Premium, which is 20% off the regular rate.  No other site covers s many AAU and high school events than do we and it’s time for you to see what you’re missing.  We’ve put together and amazing staff and correspondents that you have to see their reporting to get a feel for how timely and accurate it is.  We have two exclusive interviews up with Rasheed Sulaimon, a bevy of interviews with stud prospects from the City of Palms already waiting and wait until you see our original, yet copied Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Updates. We also spoke with Brick Oettinger of Prep Stars, a long time analyst about prospects and up next are ESPN’s Jason Jordan and Dave Telep telling our members their thoughts on the Tony Parker situation and more.  By being an independent, we can speak with many analysts and are not limited to the ones in our network and we think that is unique on to itself.  And changes are coming as well which are sure to please in 2012, so take advantage of this offer and stay connected and join in the on the discussions and see for yourself the quality we bring to the table.  A quick not on the offer, when joining select the yearly rate of 100.00 through paypal and we’ll send you 20 bucks back.  That’s pennies a day for non stop behind the scenes Duke reporting.

 

 

Holiday Musings – Duke in the NBA, High School prospects in action and more

Duke is Family! JWill, CWell and Cdu

Firstly, here is to hoping all of the Blue Devil Nations is having a fabulous Holiday Season!  For me, it’s right back to work as I head out to the former Glaxo Tournament now called 2011 HighSchool​OT.com Holiday Invitation​al to check out future Dukie Rasheed Sulaimon in person.  I will also take in two budding prospects from the class of 2014.  In the morning, the plan is to head for Myrtle Beach for the Beach Ball Classic which is loaded and I will be back for the Duke vs Western Michigan game on Friday.  In short, while many of you are hitting the after Christmas sales and stuffing leftovers, I’ll be hitting the recruiting trail hard.

Most of the Duke players went home for the holidays and judging from what I saw on social media, all had a great time.  You know Quinn Cook had to be smiling after being named ACC Rookie of the Week and he’ll likely get more burn in the next two games against Western Michigan and Penn,  But, he’ll have to show up large to for that to continue as the schedule goes into overdrive with a tough road game at Temple before the ACC slate begins.

It may be early in the season, but Austin Rivers looks like a lock for ACC Rookie of the Year.  Another player who is proving he belongs with the ACC’s elite is Mason Plumlee.  During ACC media day, I picked three Tar Heels to make the first team, but if I were to vote again today, Plumlee would take Tyler Zeller’s spot.  For the record, I voted the exact way the results turned out with Seth Curry on first team, but he will have to pick it up a little to get that vote at seasons end.  Curry is  by no means having a bad year, but he needs to become consistent and take on more of a leadership role after the break.  When a kid makes 1st team All ACC, you have to hold him to a higher standard.

A lot of people did not like the ACC expanding, but knowing the landscape of the future, I was all for it.  The conference currently had three ranked teams in Duke, North Carolina and Virginia, but new members, Syracuse and Pitt would make it five.  The Cuse is ranked number one in the nation and they’re about as deep a team as you will see.  Also, Duke is 5th in the coaches poll and 7th in the A.P.

The  NBA season is under way and the Blue Devils have more players on the opening day rosters than any other school.  Of course, you will still hear the negative nellies of the world try and explain that one away.  Still, that is quite a fact you can offer future prospects.  And for the record, Kyle Singler would have been on that list as well but decided to finish the season out in Spain.

JJ Redick went for 20 points last evening helping Orlando even their record up at 1-1. and Chris Duhon added 6 points as well.  Kyrie Irving did not have a stellar debut going just 2 of 12 from the field for 6 points but he did have 7 assists as Cleveland dropped their home opener to Toronto.  Mike Dunleavy tallied 13 points for Milwaukee and Shaun Livingston who verballed to Duke and then decided to go to the NBA had 14, but they fell short to Charlotte where Gerald Henderson had an outstanding opening game dropping 18 points while Corey Maggette added 12.  The 39 year old Grant Hill scored 6 points for the Phoenix Suns but they lost by a point to New Orleans.  Josh McRobert’s had just 2 points in 20 plus minutes for the Lakers as they dropped their second game to start the season 0-2.  Meanwhile, Shelden Williams played but did not scratch the scoring column for New Jersey.  Finally the Bulls lost on the road to Golden State as Carlos Boozer tossed in 6 points and Luol Deng added 20 points where he seemed to be the only Bull to show up.  Whew!  A lot of Dukies were playing last night and with a shortened schedule where teams play on what use to be off days due to the lock out, this will be common place as the season progresses.  We’ll give last nights game ball to Redick with 20 in his teams win and he can share it with Henderson who showed he wants to be a factor helping a not so good Bobcat’s team to an opening victory.  And Kris Humpheries was vote the NBA’s most hated player.  For those who do not remember, Humpheries signed with Duke and was then granted a release when he demanded immediate playing time for a good team, taking his game to Minnesota.

That’s it for this week Blue Devil Nation and we’ll return to our regular Monday Musings feature next week.  And we are extending our yearly membership special rate of 20% off 100 bucks for a few days, so take advantage of our lowest price ever and come on in and see what is going on behind the scenes and catch all the latest recruiting news.  And for new members, you must sign up for the message board separately and will be approved after we see you’ve joined through paypal.  Go Duke!