Tag Archives: Amile Jefferson

Duke Basketball Friday Notebook

Here are a few more notes on Duke Basketball for your Friday –

Next up, Maryland

Nobody is ready to let go of the Duke_UNC game just yet including me as you will see as you read on below.  But Duke has to put that game behind them and prepare to defend the home turf.  Duke should handle Maryland in that they have but so much fire power but overlook any team beyond the bottom dwellers and an upset can occur.  The Terps feature the leading scorer in the ACC in Terrell  Stoglin, but they’re thin up front.  With a much improved N.C. State coming in next week, getting this game into the win column is a must to remain atop the conference and in the ACC race.

Has Duke found their go to guy?

The last question asked in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s press conference was about Austin Rivers and his ability to step up.  I know because I posed the question and I’d been seeing signs of young Rivers starting to get the college game.  Coach Krzyzewski basically said he needed his juniors and senior to step up but in the back of his mind, I am certain he saw exactly what I had.  Well, everybody saw it when he drilled a three point shot over Zeller as time ran out securing a win over arch rival North Carolina.  What you saw offensively is exactly what Rivers did on a regular basis on the AAU level but now he had one of those patented performances on the biggest stage possible.  Duke has found their go to guy and you can bet that the ball will be in his hands a lot as the season wears on.  The bottom line is that Austin Rivers blew up last night showing the kind of confidence that cannot be taught.  If Seth Curry and Rivers get on the same page, Duke will be much improved and last night was a good start towards that mix.   The key here is that Rivers wants to step up and he’s become tougher each game out.  Much like I mentioned early on this season, at some point the light would go off for Rivers and that’s exactly what happened against North Carolina.   Check out Duke Blue Planet’s Comeback Video by clicking this link.

Good job Coach

Coach Krzyzewski kept his team confident and playing hard against North Carolina and they kept playing hard and the end result is the epitome of why you do so.  Krzyzewski shrewdly brought his team in without calling a timeout where he made the move to Tyler Thornton to guard Tyler Zeller.  The reason was that Zeller was the player he wanted fouled and the perceived mismatch caused North Carolina to play right into his hands.  Just before that, Roy Williams called a full timeout for strategy and his team totally came apart being outscored 10-0 down the stretch, struggling to get a shot off during the Blue Devils run.

Streaks

The Blue Devils win will keep their streak of remaining in the top ten in the polls in tact at 88 straight.  Duke also ended the Tar Heels 31 home court winning streak, the longest in their history.  Coach Krzyzewski also kept the edge over his rival 37-36  and one must remember the arly lean years when taking those numbers in when he was building his program.  Krzyzewaki is 13-9 against Coach Williams.

Rasheed Sulaimon named to McDonald’s All American Team

Coming in next season for Duke is a slick guard out of Texas, Rasheed Sulaimon and he’s made the McDonald’s All American team.  Sulaimon is potentially a lock down defender and he can slash about in a way I think you’ll like for he brings the energy.  Duke has a bevy of prospects on the team as well starting with Shabazz Muhammad, a sky walker and complete player for his age.  Tony Parker also made the squad as did Amile Jefferson, a Philly kid Duke recently offered.  Jordan Jones, the sister of Duke verbal, Matt Jones made the girls team.

Amile Jefferson nears his decision

Duke prospect and top 20 rated Amile Jefferson is about to make his collegiate choice.  Here is a recent article link.  For more on this recruitment, join Blue Devil Nation Premium and discuss the matter with other members.  BDN Premium is an extended subscription service where you get the inside scoop on all things Duke Hoops.

Duke and Carolina

Here in the Triangle, the two teams have always been referred to as Duke and Carolina and not Duke and North Carolina.  And you have to understand some of the localese pronunciations.  Duke is “Deeyewk” and Carolina is “Carelina.”  So, you add a bit of a “w” when you say Duke and lose the “r” when you say Carolina.   Also, if you’re a Blue Devil fan never use the spelling “Dook” for it is derogatory like a gangsta slurring his rivals.  And “Dookie” is a no-no, but “Dukies,” is okay.  What?

How big was Rivers shot and or where does it rank?

You see a lot of newspapers running stories on this and research is required for most, but ole Watzone was there is in person for Gene Banks shot in Cameron as well as Jeff Capel and his launched three.  I’ve seen most all of the famous shots but there is a separation point.  In this case, buzzer beaters to win games instead of great shots.  Rivers shot ranks third behind Christian Laettner’s two shots.  The first is his shot heard round the world to beat Kentucky to go to the Final Four where Duke won. The second was a Laettner shot as well, versus UConn the year before, again in the NCAA’s.  But Rivers shot will live for years to come and to me, it was the biggest shot in the lone Duke-UNC history.

In depth interview with Duke prospect Amile Jefferson

Amile Jefferson is a versatile, cerebral Philadelphia forward with a decision that is day-to-day. That decision has been heightened by the fact that the current accelerated recruiting process leaves, as early as mid-January, a very limited number of high-caliber forwards currently available.

At 6’7″ and blessed with enough athleticism, skill, and quality grades that he can legitimately be recruited by any college in the nation, Jefferson has been on Duke’s radar for several years. Before his sophomore year at Friends’ Central, a Quaker school in Wynnewood, PA, Amile was one of two rising sophomores who attended Duke’s Elite Camp. In the autumn of his junior year, Amile watched Duke unveil its fourth National Championship banner at the Countdown to Craziness. Recently, Blue Devils Coaches Krzyzewski and Collins have heated up their recruiting level from a courtship to a passionate pursuit, flying up to watch him play in person this past week.

After a tough triple-overtime loss to the Westtown School, Amile tried to lead his undersized Friends’ Central team to a victory over Saint Mark’s, a Massachusetts boarding school featuring 7′ Kaleb Tarczewski, an Arizona commitment, and 6’5″ wing Nik Stauskas, a Michigan signee. The normally efficient Jefferson was effected by getting routinely double and triple-teamed as soon as he caught the ball, primarily by the help defense of Tarczewski. Amile finished 6 of 14 from the field for fourteen points, grabbed five defensive rebounds, and had two assists in the 67-57 defeat at the hands of St. Mark’s.

Following the game, amongst other things, Amile talked about how the team will look to rebound for its playoff run as he seeks his fourth consecutive state title, his imminent decision of college matriculation, the word “potential,” the Blue Devils’ pursuit, and the commonality between Friends and Duke University.

What are most schools recruiting you as? A pure four or one that can play both the four and the three?

I think most schools are recruiting me for my versatility of being able to play the three and the four. I don’t mind banging inside, but, at the same time, I feel like I have the skill set to be able to step out and either hit that mid-range jump shot or take a player off of the dribble.

How (in depth one on one interview with Amile ahead for members!  Join BDN Premium today and be in the know.) [private] has your senior year gone overall so far?

My senior season has been pretty good. At this point, I don’t think we’re quite where we want to be, but…we’re 9 and 4 so far.

Well, you’ve played a competitive schedule.

We have played a tough schedule and we’ve lost our last three, which has really been tough on us. Guys, who have there since freshman year, aren’t used to it. We usually end the season 21-3 or 22-3 or something like that and, so, to drop three straight has been tough, but we’ve got to fight through this. This is what makes or brakes seasons. These next couple of games are going to be big.

What have you and your teammates gained out of playing in these showcase events like this and the City of Palms?

Oh, I think they’ve been great experiences. We’ve been able to measure ourselves against some of the best teams in the country and they’ve been learning experiences too. We’ve been able to face huge, powerhouse schools that..

You can use these experiences down the stretch in the playoffs.

Absolutely, you know we can translate that directly into our league and league play. When you come out of a game like this, you have to able to use it in a Friends League game, where it’ll definitely be easier.

We’ve touched on the timeline, but what are some of things that you are looking for or have been looking for in your recruiting process?

Just somewhere where I’m going to be comfortable on and off the court, where I can develop my skill set, and, you know, where I trust the coaches and the environment. Things like that.

Can you describe your game for those that haven’t seen you play or haven’t seen you play lately?

I’m real wiry right now. I can do a lot of things with the ball, but really whatever the team needs me to do. I can rebound, pass, you know, I just try to be an all-around basketball player.

What would you say is your greatest strength? Your versatility?

Definitely. I try to be multifaceted so that I can do different things at different times.

One of the words that I think is appropriate or fair to use to describe you is cerebral. What advantages are there in, for lack of a better phrase, being able to outthink your opponent?

Yeah, there are definitely advantages because it is definitely a mental game too. You know being able to know when to make reads or make cuts…to know if your guy wants to go left or right, and like you said before, you know the angles of the game. It’s important to know where to be or think about where is the shot going to come from off the rim. Things like that are definitely big parts of the game.

Those are definitely advantages for you. Another word often in articles used to describe you is “potential.” What do you feel they mean and what are your thoughts when you read that?

I definitely have a lot of things to work on and, I mean, I definitely have to get bigger and stronger. That’s what I’m really looking forward to when my body fills out. You know being able to get that muscle to be able to protect or be able to play at that high level for a longer period of time. You know also getting more explosive and things like that.

Speaking about your strength and conditioning, I’ve seen you play since you were a freshmen and you have gotten bigger, but can you talk about what you’ve done so far and what you hope to get out of having access to a full, college-level strength and conditioning program and facilities.

Absolutely, I mean I do pretty much no lifting right now and haven’t ever done much lifting. So, for me, to start lifting is going to be a big adjustment and I think a big step up in my game.

That’s where I think you’re going to take your game to the next level.

Yeah, I think the biggest aspect of me developing as a player is right after I get out of school in June me getting down, I mean, going to whatever school I go to and just putting two-a-days in and getting bigger and refining my body for whatever way it needs to be.

How about Muscle Milk or protein drinks? Do you take any of that stuff right now?

No, I do not now.

What are the most difficult guys for you to guard? Athletic? Strong? This guy was huge (7′ Kaleb Tarczewski).

Yeah, I guess bigger, stronger guys are definitely a tough guard just because my body isn’t really there yet, but seven footers are always going to be tough to guard.

And when he’s actually hitting his baby hook, you’re dead.

Yeah, that was just frustrating to try to defend. That’s a killer.

Do you work more on your low post moves or on your face-up game?

Right now, I’ve been working on my face-up game. I’m really trying to work on attacking the basket, working on shooting off of one dribble…then off of two dribbles…and just taking it to the cup.

That’s one area that you looked much more comfortable in. You look much more comfortable dribbling the ball in either the open court or the half-court.

It’s been tough, but I feel like I have to learn how to be more efficient with my dribbles and things like that with the ball.

Can you talk about Duke’s recent involvement and speaking with Coach K and Coach Collins?

Duke is definitely a great school and so I definitely have to take a close look at them. Coach K is a great guy and Coach Collins is a great guy. I’ve enjoyed talking with both of them and it’s just been great and I look forward to learning more about the school.

You had gone to the Countdown to Craziness last year and to their Elite Camp two years ago.

Yeah, absolutely, I went down there two years ago and I got to see the school pretty good. I’m real eager and excited to learn more about the program.

How does it compare to Friends Central? Is it similar in terms of academics, campus, etc.?

I guess you could see some similarities, you know. Both being schools that are academically challenging and athletically challenging. Really good in all walks of life.

I saw that the average SAT score for kids coming out of Friends is north of 1300 these days.

Yeah, we’re definitely a rough academic school, but it prepares you for college and so that’s important.

Absolutely, college might be even easier by comparison.  Did you visit the Hall of Fame and, if so, what were your impressions?

We did and I had visited the Hall of Fame before..so this is actually my second time seeing it. It was good to see some of the additions and also things I missed before.

Who are some of your favorites, either in the past or currently playing?

I love Kobe Bryant and, so to see that new USA part was just great.

I haven’t had to chance to see it yet.

Oh, it’s just great. It’s very well done. I love to see all the old legends. You know they’ve got this great picture of Wilt Chamberlain when he was in Philadelphia.

That’s a classic picture.  What about your goals, team-wise and individually, the rest of the way? Do you want to be a McDonald’s All-American? I assume win a state title.

I just want to concentrate on first winning our league and then states again. We’ve won states for the last three years. I mean it’s literally been every year that I’ve been in high school so we want to keep fighting to keep that streak alive.

Who was that massive guy that you had when you were younger, Dom Morris? Didn’t he wind up going to BU?

Yeah, he was massive, a really wide, big guy, and made my job a lot easier (laughs). He did wind up going to BU.

You were actually like the second or even third option on those earlier teams.

Yeah, I know. It was good, though, because now guys just frankly kind of key on me, but if we could win states this year that would be all I’d need. I just want to go out with a state title.

Thank you very much, Amile.

Oh, no problem.

Pool Questions (multiple media free for all):

What happened out there today?

It’s our third loss in a row. We’ve got to bounce back and just keep fighting. They’re a very good team. We tried to go small and outrun them, but it unfortunately didn’t work. All credit to them. You know, Kaleb is a big body and he’s tough to fight with. The kid number twenty-one was very good too. They played tremendously as a team and it’s a tough loss.

You’ve played against a lot of good big guys. How does Kaleb rank against those guys?

Oh, he ranks up there with all of them. Especially with me being a little bit undersized against him and, you know, playing centers, it’s tough to really fight with them. You know with Kaleb…he’s got great hands and he uses his body well to post deep and he’s just definitely a quality big guy.

Defensively, is he in Nerlens (Noel)’s league? Probably not, right?

Not, well, I mean they both played me similarly. They guarded one of our other players and then helped off a lot. They put a smaller player on me so that anytime I drove, they could help ball. So, it was tough to get past a small one and then deal with an athletic seven footer every time you try to put up a shot. We needed our guys to get shots and I think we did a good job out there, but they just beat us out there and their size was a real factor.

Talk to us about the recruiting process. How is that going for you?

It’s going good. It’s getting close. I’m still looking at Nova, Ohio State, NC State, Kentucky, and Duke. We’re going to see how that goes and how that turns out. I can tell you that I’m ready to get this over with.

Is it wearing on you?

Yeah, a little bit, definitely. You get pressure on you from fans and, you know, the time for being courted is really over now. You know everyone wants you to make a decision. There’s a lot of pressure, but you’ve gotta just keep getting better everyday and keep fighting.

How about Duke’s recruitment? It seems like they’re the new school in your recruitment. It seems like they kinda just jumped in.

No, well, actually Duke was always a school that I was looking at and had interest in, but they felt that they had some players at my position and, next year, they don’t have them. It’s been great talking to Coach K and, with a program like that, you always give them a good look and get a closer look. You need to take a very close look at a program like that because you know that they are going to be able to compete for national championships and you’ll be able to play alongside some of the top players.

Do you have a timeline for when you want to make a decision by?

I don’t, but I’m hoping that it’s soon. You know I think it’s day to-day. I’m waiting to have big talk with my father. You know I’ve been traveling a lot and he’s been working a lot. So, once we really sit down and give all of those coaches one last call, I think we’ll be able to come to some type of a decision.

Do you think that you’ll be taking any more visits?

I don’t think so.

How many of your officials did you take?

I took all five.

So, have you been down to Duke unofficially?

I’ve been down to Duke twice unofficially, but not my junior year. My last time I went down there was during my sophomore year.

So, like two years?

Yeah, I think so.

Does that hurt them at all?

No, I don’t think so. I’ve been down there twice. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve been talking to Coach K and Coach Collins a lot so I’m not really worried.  [/private]

Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

We just posted our latest team and recruiting update on  the Blue Devil Nation Premium message board which is a members only forum.  For accurate and timely updates, BDN will always be a go to site.  There is movement on the recruiting front and we break that down for you and let you know what to expect.  We’ll also tell you which players we’ve been positive on for almost a year while others are just jumping on the bandwagon.  Our staff has background on Amile Jefferson with information you will only find here and we were on prospects like Tyus Jones before many realized the Blue Devils interest on him.  Whether you’re a former member or one on the fence, don’t wonder what you are missing, join today.  We have had a monthly option for a while now, but the yearly deal is by far the best value.

Amile Jefferson Interview

Pictured here is Amile Jefferson while on his visit to a game in Cameron Indoor Stadium last season. Copyright BDN Photo

Jefferson was the leading scorer of the NBAPA Top 100 event this past weekend and BDN caught up to him for his thoughts on his play and the recruiting process. Talk about this BDN Video interview with other Duke fans on BDN’ s private message board by becoming a member today. We have lots of new information and interviews to share with those who want to go behind the scenes.[private]

More to come … [/private]

Prospect Amile Jefferson talks of his visit to Duke

Amile Jefferson opens up to BDN talking his CTC experience and more - Rick Crank BDN Photo

The 2012 class is filled with talented forward prospects and 6’8 Amile Jefferson is no different.  Making his second trip down to Duke University the talented forward was able to take in a great night of college hoops fun.  Jefferson was in line to watch the unveiling of the Blue Devils 2010 National Championship banner and ring ceremony.  BDN got a chance to catch up with Amile and hear his thoughts on his visit to Durham.

BDN: Can you talk about your visit to Duke this past weekend? What did you do from the beginning til end? And how long did you stay?

AJ: I stayed there for about a day, about a full 24hours.  It was really hectic down there being the Midnight Madness and all.  We got in around 2pm on Friday.  Basically right when we got there we went right to the gym.  There was just so many people there you had to park really far away from campus (laughs).  When we finally got there on to the campus everything was set and everything was going.  I just thought it was a great atmosphere and great fans and everything; these fans really love their team. Duke is really a great [private] school and a great program. I just loved the opportunity to go visit down there and watch them unveil the banner and just to see how welcoming the people are was just incredible. We got to talk to the coaches for a little while and then the next day we watched them practice.  Watching them practice was just amazing.  Just to see how everything was run at a high pace.  They do some things that I’ve seen my high school do, but they do it in such a manner that I just couldn’t even believe that could be done. Everything was just done so quick, fast and tight.  There really wasn’t any waiting in line you were just doing something at all times.  Either you’re getting up shots or you’re expecting the ball to get passed back to you.  All the situations were just done at high speeds and I just thought that was great for a practice because that’s definitely how you prepare yourself for a game.

BDN: Which coaches did you speak to? Coach K?

AJ: I only got to speak with Coach K very briefly individually.  It was really him welcoming me down there and letting me know the gist of the night.  He’s really a great guy to talk to.  You know he’s just a basketball genius I believe.  His coaching is just like a movie. It’s incredible how he motivates the guys to play.  We talked a little bit about his USA team and how great they did this past summer and how great the young guys played and also how he got those guys to play great defense.

BDN: Did you tour the facilities?

AJ: No unfortunately not, the only facilities I got to see were the practice facility a little bit and Cameron.

BDN: Who did you take your visit with?

AJ: It was me and my father.

BDN: What were his impressions of the trip?

AJ: I believe he really liked it. Dukes atmosphere is just amazing you can’t do anything but like it. Like I said earlier the people are very welcoming and enthusiastic and they just bring energy to you.  Me and him just couldn’t help but stand up and clap and cheer for the players like we were a part of the school. They were just so riled up it was amazing.

BDN: What were your overall impressions of the staff?

AJ: I think they have a great staff.  Especially since all of those guys are Duke alums, it really brings a close-knit bond to the school and to the players. I thought that is probably a great idea for your staff.  These guys have been through and can speak on what you’re going through because they actually were there and did play at that school.

BDN: I noticed during the game Coach K was talking to some of the recruits, what type of things was he talking about?

AJ: He really is a basketball genius.  When you just watch how he coaches he is constantly taking notes in his head and watching the game with a close eye. While I was sitting there next to him he was pointing out things like cuts and how guys make them and how it makes the game much easier. He talked about how the players rebound and box out, how they shot fake, it was just really little small important things that make such a big difference.  Things like making the right pass, not only making the right pass but making it at the right time and not holding the ball so to keep the guys moving.  He just hit on so many different points, he just sees everything on that floor and he would just let us know everything he sees.

BDN: Did you get to spend any time with any extensive time with any of the players?

AJ: I did for a little but not too long.  I got to speak with guys like Nolan Smith and some recruits like Quinn Cook.  I’m actually pretty good friends with Quinn so I definitely got to talk with him for a little bit. Some of those guys were staying on campus while I had a hotel and a lot of us had different hotels.

BDN: Are you planning on a return visit, perhaps with your parents this time?

AJ: We didn’t get to talk about that because my dad and I kind of shot out of there.  We just said our goodbyes because we had an early flight.  I didn’t get to watch the whole practice because I had to leave. Hopefully I can get down there for a game though.  I would love to see that atmosphere again.

BDN: Did the staff talk about an offer?

AJ: No, not really. We didn’t really even talk a lot about the recruiting process.  Most of the things we talked about were the USA team or that night in general.

BDN: Thanks a lot Amile, appreciate your time.

AJ: No problem, thank you. [/private]

Duke Basketball Recruiting Update

As many of you know recruiting has been red hot around the basketball program of late and the Blue Devils entertained a bevy of prospects this past weekend.  Of those visiting, Quin Cook was the biggest priority in that Duke is looking to close on the PG prospect and they [private] will likely do so sooner rather than later.  I cannot give you an exact timeline but I feel from information gleaned from top notch sources close to the situation, that he could pull the trigger to become the newest Blue Devil very soon.  We’ll keep you posted.

There were a few names have not been discussed here that often visiting as well, but for now I will focus on the kids which have the Blue Devils utmost interest.  Amile Jefferson will continue to be evaluated by Duke, but no offer is expected any time soon, meaning Krzyzewski wants some more views as he progresses.  Quite simply, Jefferson needs to put some meat on his frame to be effective at Duke and only time will tell if he can fill that criteria.

Quin Cook and Austin Rivers take in the action at Countdown to Craziness - BDN Photo, Rick Crank

On the other hand, Duke is solidly involved with Rasheed Sulaimon, who we interviewed last evening.  There is no offer but that could change down the road as Coach familiarizes himself with the prospects ability to keep improving.  If he shows the desire to get better and he progresses, he will land an offer and with him being a Duke fan, if that happens consider him a done deal.

Duke will also continue to recruit Rodney Purvis who from all accounts had a good time on his visit.  Purivs recruitment will go on for quite a while IMO, so don’t look for too much going on here in the near future.

Still major priorities are Alex Murphy and Shabazz Muhammad.  In fact, consider them the top two kids on the radar past Cook and or count them all as equally important.  The Blue Devils will hang in there as long as it takes with Muhammad and they appear to be in good shape with Murphy.  Visits are being firmed up as I type, more on that down the road.

Duke is still quite interested in J.P. Tokoto as well and expect some things to start happening in the next six months on this front.  And let’s not forget Tony Parker for he is starting to get a lot more interest and could well have an offer shortly down the road.

Finally on Tyler Adams … Duke is still committed to him and as of now all is fine and they were aware of the visit.  Adams is keeping his options open a bit as is Duke, but this could all work out provided he does the work.  In fact, until further notice, I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

I appreciate members patience in what has turned out to be the busiest time I can remember for me in a decade or so.  It makes it tough to get to many articles I have planned and get CTC pictures up.  I head to Charlotte tomorrow for ACC Operation Basketball, so keep in mind that I will check in when I can.  Remember that BDN covers the Duke Beat in person and we strive to bring you constant in person update with our own questions to players and coaches.[/private]