Tag Archives: Alex Murphy

Monday Musings looks at the Duke Men’s Basketball Team

In this weeks addition of Monday Musings, we take a look at each player on the men’s basketball team and share our thoughts on their performances during Countdown to Craziness.  We are more than aware it is hard to tell much from a partial Blue-White game but having watched the Blue Devils as much as we do, there are some trends developingWe are working on BDN highlight videos, so look for those today and a photo gallery as well.  As for the Cheerleader of the week, it will return in the next edition of Monday Musings.

Miles Plumlee – Miles looked like the senior leader we are all hoping for scoring 15 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the game.  Miles is a great run jump athlete and he seems to have found the groove of bringing that athleticism in a consistent manner.  He is a clear starter for this seasons team and the guy Duke can turn to for toughness.

Mason Plumlee – Mason dropped in 9 points and grabbed  5 rebounds in an underwhelming performance but he played well down the stretch for the Blue team.  I have such high hopes for Mason that I hold him to a different level of expectations.  His numbers still translated to around 15 points and 9 rebounds if he had played a full game.  Mason is in the rotation of the top six Duke players and a likely starter.

Seth Curry - I told everybody that would listen over the summer that Seth Curry would take a tremendous leap in his junior season and he made me look like a prophet scoring a game high 28 points with his smooth style of play and he led the team in assists with 4.  We called  your attention early on that we felt he would get a look at the PG spot and folks, he is the starter there which Coach K said in a clear manner with his post game comments.  I will vote for Curry to be first team All ACC on Wednesday at ACC Operation Basketball, something I told other sports writer friends who paused at the notion when first mentioned.  I will bet he has their vote now.

Austin Rivers – Rivers had his Cameron debut after walking out to Frank Sinatra’s “My way,” scoring 14 points and pulling down 5 rebounds from the wing guard spot.  I was the first to get to him in the locker room and the entire herd soon followed my lead.  Such is the nature of things when you are one of the most hyped players in the country.  Rivers six turnovers to a single assist was a bit disturbing but fans will need to wait it out a bit to see his best.  I see Rivers going down a road similar to Harrison Barnes last season where he gets better and suddenly the light goes off.  Coach K warned of lofty expectations with concern to Rivers, saying comparing him to Kyrie Irving would be a mistake in that the PG spot is easier to step into.  As usual, I agree with Coach.

Ryan Kelly – There was much talk abut the off season improvement of the bearded one known as  Ryan Kelly,  His numbers of 12 points, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks are numbers  I feel he will put up on a consistent basis,  Kelly simply plays withing the teams framework and I think he will be one of the top for scorers for Duke this season.

Andre Dawkins – Dawkins did not shoot the ball well and ended the game with 7 points and 1 board.  Still, I know Coach K wants him to keep shooting.  Dawkins is currently in the top six players rotation and there is no reason to think this will change.

Josh Hairston – Hairston put up 6 points and pulled down 5 rebounds showing that he can produce at the forward spot.  It’ll be interesting to watch his development this season and see if he can crack the rotation.

Quinn Cook – Cook dropped in 7 points, grabbed  2 rebounds and dished 2 assists in 17 minutes of play.  I heard some say, he’s better than they thought he would be.  Look folks, Cook has a lot of potential and he simply needs to make a grab at the leadership reigns by getting his teammates involved.  I liked Quinn Cook the first time I saw him and he does have the ability to develop into a leader with more confidence on the court.  There is no shortage of confidence off the court as he admits in our recent video interview with him.

Alex Murphy - During the Blue teams rally to win, Murphy played a key role down the stretch.  He took a baseline drive with authority with the game on the line, was fouled and sank both free throws.  That was his only 2 points to go with a rebound, 2 key steals at crunch time and a team high and pleasantly surprising 3 blocks.   Murphy is getting adjusted to the speed of the game and the physicality but he is a smart basketball player that coach K praised.

Tyler Thornton -  “We’ve got another good guard,” stated Mike Krzzyzewski when questioned about the play of Quinn Cook and he is talking about Tyler Thornton a steady performer with good on ball defensive skills.  Thornton has played and can play with the ACC’s best point guards for he did so all through high school.  Nice depth at the guard spot for Duke this season.  Thornton had 3 rebounds from the guard spoit to go with a bucket and an assist.

Michael Gbinije – Silent G scored 3 points grabbed  1 rebound and had 1 assist as the first man off then bench.  He will need to be more aggressive to earn minutes but he does a lot fo things that doesn’t  show up in the box scores and has potential to leap into the top ten quickly.

Marshall Plumlee - Having followed Marshall for several years on the AAU circuit, I can say that he gets bigger and better each time I see him.  The third Plumlee plays with a revved up motor and enthusiasm and that over time will translate into him being a factor.

Cameron Crazies - Leading up to the game, I will give them an A-, during the game a grade of C is at hand for they were very average.  Okay, it’s early and some tradition needs to be learned.  The Crazies went silent when the game started with disjointed cheers.  Part of that is understandable, but that performance  was in no way acceptable behavior if a game was at hand.  I feel certain they’ll improve their game just like the team will in that we are all connected here in some way,.

The event itself – It’s always a feel good time and that will nevr change.  There is a genuine love affair between Duke and their fans, both being faithful to each other.  May the Countdown to Craziness event live forever.

 

 

What Did We Learn Over Summer Vacation?

Participation in the Friendship Games provided an early look at the 2011-12 edition of the Duke Blue Devils. In three games against the China Junior National Team and one game against the United Arab Emirates National Team, Coach Krzyzewski was able to get an early jump on melding the individual Blue Devils into a cohesive team.

The dog days of summer are usually spent watching the pennant races heat up and preparing for the upcoming football season, while plenty of time was still devoted to those meaningful activities, Duke Basketball fans were treated to competitive international basketball in August. For diehard college basketball fans, those games were a sweet appetizer for the upcoming season.

So, what did we learn during the four games? In no particular order, we learned the following:

Ryan Kelly is looking really good

Ryan Kelly led the Blue Devils in scoring with 60 points over the four games. He also collected 33 rebounds for an impressive 15 points and 8.2 rebounds per game stat line. But the story isn’t Kelly’s stat line, but rather his calm, collected attitude on the court. The story is how smooth and confident Kelly looked knocking down a jump shot, collecting a rebound or delivering a pass to an open teammate.

If Kelly can build off his play in the Friendship Games, and continue to improve his all around game, he could be a player who gives opponents match-up fits and develops into an All ACC performer in 2012.

Starting Rotation

Over the four games, the same five players started: Miles Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, Austin Rivers and Seth Curry. While I am sure Coach Krzyzewski will still mix and match line-ups in the early season games, with some fluctuation in the starting line-up based upon practice intensity and previous game performance, the fact the same five guys started all four summer games is indicative that a solid pecking order has been established.

The perimeter is deep and talented

Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins and Austin Rivers combine to be a formidable three guard back court. Curry and Rivers can both handle the ball even though they are not true point guards, while Dawkins, who has always been a very dangerous shooter, appears ready to be a threat to attack the rim via back door cuts and by working the baseline.

Dawkins and Rivers each scored 57 points in the four games with Curry right behind them at 54 points. Dawkins sank a blistering 48.3 percent of his 3-point attempts, while Curry led the team with nine steals.

Rivers has the ability to create his own shot and drive to the rim; however, these international games demonstrated he still has a lot to learn. There will be further discussion on Rivers in a bit.

Turning to the bench players, Tyler Thornton is a pest and I mean that in the best possible way. His tenacious approach to playing defense will continue to earn him significant playing time.

Alex Murphy has length and the ability to run the court. While he struggled early on, he improved every game and was impressive in the United Arab Emirates game. Murphy should see time on the wing in relief of Dawkins and at power forward when Coach Krzyzewski decides to go with a small line-up.

Post game is in good hands

Led by senior Miles Plumlee, and including juniors Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee, this year’s Duke Blue Devils are as talented and experienced in the front court as they have been in a number of years.

The three upperclassmen combined for 134 points and 96 rebounds, which averages to 33.5 points and 24 rebounds per game, from the center and power forward positions, against legitimate competition. We are not talking summer pick-up games here. Last season, those three players combined for 18.6 points and 17 rebounds per game.

I realize the comparison is apples to oranges, four international games to an entire NCAA season, but I’m just throwing it out there as food for thought. It is data points fanatic fans can chew on.

To take the apples to oranges comparison one giant leap further, on the 2004 team, Luol Deng, Shelden Williams and Shavlik Randolph combined for 34.7 points and 19.9 rebounds per game.

While I am not trying to suggest this year’s front court will be as formidable as the 2004 front court, I am suggesting this front court has the potential to be very, very good and perhaps the best front court we’ve had since 2004. And that is saying something seeing as the 2006 front court of Shelden Williams and Josh McRoberts was not shabby.

To maneuver this section back into the here and now, before this year’s trio of front court players can reach their maximum potential, they must prove themselves in two areas: consistency of play and foul management. If those prerequisites are achieved, the sky is the limit.

Austin Rivers is ready to start as a freshman

Rivers was simultaneously impressive and inconsistent. He scored 57 points, but he led the team in turnovers with 15 and only connected on 5 of 21 3-point attempts.

The poor 3-point shooting can easily be explained away by the deeper arc on an international court. The turnovers are more a result of poor decision making and playing out of control. On multiple occasions Rivers drove too deep into the teeth of the opponent’s defense and was left without an option other than to throw the ball toward a teammate on the perimeter.

So, should Duke Fans Worldwide go into a panic and chew their finger nails until they bleed? No! Rivers is a freshman so those type plays should be expected. Like every other freshman, Rivers must adjust to the speed of the game and the increased talent level on the court.

Rivers’ decision making will improve and he will rapidly learn to play within himself and once that happens, which I expect will take place sooner rather than later, he will be a force to contend with on the hardwood.

During the Friendship Games, we learned Austin Rivers is ready to immediately start and be an impact player.

Monday Musings – Duke Photo Day, China Trip, Murphy Interview

Needless to say, it’s an exciting, yet busy time for Duke Athletics with the men’s basketball team in China and the football team deep into their pre season practice.  That means it’s a busy time for Blue Devil Nation and our hands on coverage as well, but hey, that’s us!  We’ll lead off this edition of Monday Musings talking about the Duke Football team.  BDN participated in the annual team photo day on Sunday and you’ll see those pictures trickle out in the coming days.  There is a good atmosphere surrounding the program, one that features a ton of freshman and sophomore players.  The guys had fun with us yesterday and that has become a tradition of sorts in that we like to on occasion loosen things up.  We’ll take in a scrimmage this week, so stay tuned to BDN for unmatched coverage of Coach Cutcliffe and his troops exploits.

The men’s basketball team left yesterday morning for China and we urge all to pray for their safe return.  What an opportunity for Krzyzewski to grow his team.  There is no better experience than travel to broaden ones mind and the players will come back older and wiser from their journey.  Back to back games take place this Wednesday and Thursday before they take a break and pick it back up the following Monday and Thursday.  The latter three of these games will be televised by ESPNU and ESPN 3.

BDN had a chance to speak with Duke freshman Alex Murphy before the trip and here is what he had to say -

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BDN will have some player comments from China in the coming week and we’ll stay locked in on football practice.  We are still working on some changes as well and those will surely please the minions.  Lastly, thanks for being a BDN follower as we shut down this abbreviated version of Monday Musings.

 

BDN Video – Alex Murphy checks in

 

Alex Murphy checked in with BDN Video - Photo copyright Rick Crank and BDN

The word out of the Duke Camp is that freshman Alex Murphy has been a pleasant surprise in practice to date.  Murphy had a bit of a growth spurt in the past year and his skill set makes him a serious threat to earn playing time.  BDN Video caught up with Murphy before he heads to China and Dubai with his teammates -

 

Alex Murphy prepares for his Duke arrrival

Photo copyright by Rick Crank and Blue Devil Nation

It wasn’t that long ago that Alex Murphy was a part of the 2012 class where he joined Rasheed Sulaimon as two of the Blue Devils to be.  Since that time, Murphy, who had the credits, decided to graduate early and attend Duke University this coming season.

Murphy will have graduated from school by the start of next week and, after spending a bit more time with his family, he will be in Durham no later than July 1st to enroll.

The first two calls to Murphy went unanswered in that he was in the gym getting his shots up with his Dad or working out with Chris Herron.  I worked around his schedule in order to bring you the latest on the soon to be freshman basketball player at Duke University.

Murphy will join a five man freshman class and the group will hit the road running once on campus in an effort to crash course the newcomers on the intricacies of the Duke system.  One month after their arrival, they will head to China with ten practices under their belt.

You’ve been working out a lot in the off season while finishing up at St. Mark’s.  Can you describe an average workout for Duke fans?

The things I try to do? I get a lot of shots up right now.  There are a lot of guys I work with around here, sometimes my brother and a few other guys.  We go one on one and work on some skill stuff and conditioning.

What is your current height and weight?

I’m about 6-8 and 215 pounds.

What position do you envision for yourself at Duke?  Would you consider yourself a hybrid forward, a wing?

Yeah, I mean, anywhere.  Kind of a hybrid forward or wing.  I think I am most comfortable on the wing especially in transition and in the half court as well.  That’s where I envision myself.

When will you arrive on campus?

I am not sure of the exact date but probably July 1st or 2nd.

Once there, you will be going on a trip to China and Dubai with the team.  Are you looking forward to that?

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I am not sure the exact date we’ll leave for that either but it will be some time in early August.  So, we’ll have a period of time together before go and hopefully will be on the same page when we get over there.

Duke recently added Jeff Capel to an already solid and stable staff.  And Nate James will still be in the fold as well.  What do you think of the Capel addition and have you had a chance to talk with him?

I haven’t spoken to him yet but obviously he has a great reputation having coached at Oklahoma, I think for five years.  Any time you have a guy with head coaching experience and wants to come back, especially to his alma mater you want the guy there.  I think we have the best, one of the best coaching staff in the country now.  As you said, with Coach James still being there and around, he’s a great guy too.

Was Nate James involved with your recruitment?  I know Chris Collins was the lead assistant, but anything from James?

Um, yeah, a little, he definitely watched us play a few times and I talked with him when I was down there and he’s a great guy and all the players get along with him really well.  He’s got a great personality, so …

Is there a part of you that second guesses your decision to graduate a year earlier than planned? 

No, not at all.  Before I made the decision, it was tough because I didn’t know whether or not I wanted to do it.  But once I made the decision I haven’t looked back once thinking maybe I shouldn’t have done it.  I knew it was what I want to do, so ..

Are you a bit nervous about the situation?  Is there extra pressure or a sense of urgency to prepare?

Yeah, a little bit.  I am excited, anxious, nervous, a lot of different things.  Coming in your freshman year I think it’s a good thing if you are a little nervous.  I will just come in and do the best I can.

Have you had a chance to speak with the staff of late?  Have they spoken to you about how they might use you and what to prepare for?

Not as much about how they are going to use me.  They sort of mentioned that throughout the recruiting process, so not too much of that recently.  I talk to Collins a lot.  In fact, I’m going to call him a little bit later today.  They’ve been great in this.

Do you talk to the players much or have you been staying in touch with any of them?

Yeah, a little bit.  Here and there we talk a bit.  I know all the guys I am coming in with, Marshall, Mike, Quinn and Austin.  I talk to them a bit but obviously when I get down there the whole team will be together and we’ll spend a lot of time together, so that will be good.

What is the one thing you look most forward to when getting to Duke?

I don’t think there is one thing, I am just excited about the whole experience.  Just to be with the team all the time, working out, meeting new people, seeing more of the school, just everything.

Many have talked about certain players who might redshirt this season, but my understanding is that no plans have been made and the staff wants all to compete and go from there.

Yeah, that’s the idea right now.  I’m going to come down … there is no plan to redshirt right now, so I am going to go down there with the mentality I am not going to and try and earn a spot.  There is no plan and it will not be decided until the season comes.

Alright man, I appreciate your time Alex, have a good day.

Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Murphy to Duke

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Duke Prospects and Commitments Viewing Guide

Quinn Cook, copyright BDN Photo

BDN’s Andrew Slater breaks down Duke Hoops commitments and prospects you can view over the next few days.  For more analogies on future Blue Devils future players and their key targets, join BDN Premium for full site access as we prepare for the upcoming AAU Basketball season.

3/31

ESPNU:

Austin Rivers and Winter Park take on  Boys & Girls at 6 EST

Quinn Cook and Oak Hill take on United Faith of North Carolina at 8 EST

 

4/1

ESPN2:

National High School Invitational Semi-final between the winners of the aforementioned games at 5:30

 

4/3

At the inaugural Next All-American Classic in Chicago, DeAndre Daniels will be playing on CBS College Sports at 3 PM EST.

 

At the inaugural All-American Championship in Houston,

Tony Parker and Robert Carter will be playing for the South team (Coached by I$aac Pitts of QEA) at 9 EST on ESPNU.

Alex Murphy and Mike Gbinije (Coached by Jason Smith of Brewster Academy) will be playing for the East team against Rasheed Sulaimon and Shabazz Muhammad for the West (Coached by Greg Wise of Yates) at 10:30 EST on ESPNU.