Tag Archives: BDN Monday Musings

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.

 

 

BDN Monday Musings – Football is on a roll, Basketball season is upon us, recruiting news

In this week’s Monday Musings column I speak of the Blue Devils going to 3-2 on the gridiron entering the bye week.  And then there is basketball as the season is here once again.  We also share a couple of links with concerns to two big hoops recruits in Mitch McGary and Shabazz Muhammad and then talk of the character of the players in both basketball and football.

Duke Football goes into the bye week 3-2

The Blue Devils were quite resilient coming back 10 points down in the fourth quarter to defeat Florida International on the road.  The last few minutes of the game featured a forced fumble and recovery, followed by a six yard romp into the end zone.  The Blue Devils defense would then bend again, only to tighten up in the red zone where they took over on downs and allowed the offense to run out the clock.  Going into the bye week on a three game winning streak should help this young football team as they continue to gain confidence in their abilities.  If Duke played Richmond tomorrow, they’d win by three touchdowns.  Thankfully, Duke has opened up the offense since then and it is paying off.  Wins is what the program needs and Cutcliffe is starting to deliver them.  The remainder of the schedule is tough, but with a few breaks, maybe, just maybe … okay, let’s take it one game at a time.  For exclusive post game interviews, check out our coverage from Miami.

Basketball is upon us!

Hoops casts a huge shadow over the Duke Campus year round and in less than two weeks I will attend media day at Duke which opens the season for our full throttle coverage.  A few days after that, it’s off to ACC Operation Basketball in Charlotte.  We got a glimpse of the Blue Devils early on during the Friendship Games, but we’ll have to wait and see how Coach Krzyzewski has decided to use his team.  Duke in no way showed their hand on the trip and it’s always fun to see what Coach comes up with in that he always uses his team’s strengths to their benefit.

Countdown to Craziness

Tickets are sold out for this yearly event and if you’re a Duke fan this is an experience that should be on your bucket list.  The evening is a celebration of the Duke Basketball program that features much more than play on the court.  The dunk contests are always fun, but the video skits are also a riot.  Then there are the introductions of each player to the roar of hoop-starved Duke fans and of course, Coach K addresses the Crazies.  It’s a royal blue rush of an evening that is sure to leave you flushed with energy.  And a hint to those who don’t have tickets, look for some released at the last moment, and most people outside seem to get in.  In short, come on out and you will probably get in.

Mitch McGary and Shabazz Muhammad

Here are two links, the first being a diary offering from Mitch McGary where he shares the latest on his recruitment.  After a read, you will realize that Duke is battling Michigan for his services.  But before many freak out, my suggestion is to let it play out.  Unfortunately, McGary addresses the rumor about a silent verbal to Duke.  Thanks to some irresponsible twitter types, this bad rumor spread like wildfire.  It’s more of a testament to listen to people that have been around for a long time and have a track record.  While I’m at it, I hope fan bases realize they can hurt recruiting efforts with over the top contact to these young men.  And here is the latest interview from Shabazz Muhammad from my pals at a UCLA site.

Captains Ryan Kelly and Miles Plumlee

During last seasons untimely loss to Arizona, I spoke with Doreen Kelly about her son, Ryan.  She referred to Ryan as wine in that he gets better with age. Well, she is on to something for Kelly is looking like he’s ready to make the leap to possibly being a star this season.  His work ethic and willingness to do what it takes for the team to win made him a perfect choice for captain.  And then there is Miles Plumlee, a senior poised to have a monster final season.  Plumlee will show off his physical maturity this season and I can see games where he will be the rock for a young team.  I’m excited and happy for both of these young men for earning the honor.  And I almost forgot, Miles senior day game will be the last game of the regular season verus North Carolina in Cameron.

True Blue Character

As most of you know, I cover the Duke beat both in basketball and football.  I can tell you from experience that the kids in both programs possess high character and that is something to be celebrated.   It’s a whole lot easier to root your guys on when you know they are truly good young men.  This also speaks to the way both programs recruit, so if you’re a young prospect that wants to come to Duke, you know what they’re looking for.

Next up, Florida State

The Noles will roll into Wallace Wade Stadium in two weeks eager to put two early season losses behind them.  It’s always a show when the big programs come to town and this game will be a good measuring stick for Duke.  With a week more to prepare, Duke could come up with a few new wrinkles and they will most certainly need them against this team.  But they also need a good turnout.  After winning three straight games, fans hanging on the fence or laying on the couch need to turnout.  This is a young team that played their hearts out lately and they deserve some noise.  Besides, it is the day after Countdown for Craziness, so why not make the trek to Durham for a Duke double header!

Monday Musings – Football, Hoops and more

Good Morning Blue Devil Nation!  Monday Musings has returned as have I after a few days of vacation which helped recharge my batteries.  As it turns out I left  the Triangle just before the earthquake and then Wilmington, North Carolina before the hurricane but I now must face the storm ahead.

The coming storm is not necessarily a bad one mind you for I am talking about wall to wall coverage of Duke Football and Basketball which begins this week and ends around April before I recharge again for recruiting.  It’s time for football and Duke takes on Richmond at 7:00 in Wallace Wade Stadium this Saturday.

Duke opens with Richmond

Duke has dropped two consecutive games to the Spiders and that has left a bad taste in the mouths of fans.  Richmond is not a game you schedule when you want a gimme and they come in 7.5 underdogs according to Vegas Insider.  While it is true they lost their coach this past week due to a DUI, teams sometimes rally during times of adversity.

The Blue Devils simply need to win.  They are an ACC school and this is the first season we’ll see all of Coach David Cutcliffes players since his arrival.  Coach Cut has been able to redshirt kids,  something that hasn’t happened in the past at Duke unless there was an injury.  As a program, Duke has made some much needed facility improvements, but the improvement most care about is on the field itself each Saturday afternoon or evening.

Basketball team returns

Duke went 4-0 during their China-Dubai trip but reading too much into anything is a mistake.  The games in China were disjointed due to officiating and that never allowed for a game flow.  In short, the experience itself was a big deal in that these trips grow young men off the court.  Duke has yet to harness team chemistry but they got an idea of what it will take for that to come about.  Duke ran a total of three offensive sets, so to think you have an idea of what the offense will look like could prove inaccurate.  In fact, Duke held back a lot during the trip and the staff will sit down and break down film before deciding how they’ll attack on offense this season.

Visits being set

The Blue Devils are in the process of setting up visits from their key basketball prospects and we’ll be taking a look at those in our Premium section.

BDN Premium represented at the Elite 24

If you have followed Blue Devil Nation over the years, it is clear that we cover the recruiting trail like no other site.  It’s one of our calling cards in our premium section.  This past week we covered the Elite 24 in Venice Beach, California where live updates from the four days appeared on our private (members only) message board.  This week, we’ll hear from Duke prospects and verbals and we’ll start it off with a Rasheed Sulaimon interview.

BDN Premium Special, one week left!

We are currently running a special for new members of BDN Premium and this is the last week to save.  A yearly membership is an all time low 85.00, 15% off our regular price and the other rates are discounted as well.  Just go to the join page to see the prices and come on in for full site access.  You’ll be glad you did.

Changes are coming!

We’ve been flirting a bit with networks but have yet to make a decision on anything as of today.  I can assure you that even if we remain independent [and we’re more than okay with that] that site changes are in the works.  Blue Devil Nation has set a new standard for other Duke sites to follow with our coverage and in turn made all of them better.  Our ideas will continue to set the pace due to the best staff of any Duke site.  Others can copy our ideas, format and style but they will never duplicate the genuine passion this site has for Duke Athletics.

Monday Musings – Duke goes 3-0 in China, football gearing up

Duke finished up their three game tour of China with a 93-78 victory over the Junior Olympic team.  Fans have to love the intensity Miles Plumlee has brought in the contests.  The senior has an obvious early role as the starter in the middle and the Blue Devils seem to be looking for him more.  His brother, Mason had a nice performance as well.  It is also nice that Ryan Kelly has been very consistent with his play.  And remember, Duke is not near showing their hand or how they’ll attack opposing defenses this coming season.

Seth Curry ran the point guard position well in the Blue Devils victory.  It is pretty clear that Curry is option number one early on in the pre season on the offensive end.  If there are any doubts Curry cannot run the point, they’ve been dispelled.

Coach K has started the process of breaking down talented freshman Austin Rivers game.  In high school, Rivers always had the ball in his hands but at Duke, that will be Curry’s role in that he’ll run the point.  Rivers struggled most of today but he’ll be fine now that he knows the battle that lies ahead.  That battle will be to as so many have said, let the game come to him and dribble less, never pulling up his dribble until he has a good option.  I’m not too worried about Austin, and can assure you that there will be games he takes over this coming season.

Richmond is ranked 16th in the preseason and have won the last two games with Duke.  Make no mistake that Blue Devil fans are ready to defeat the Spiders for both previous losses were devastating in that they were season opening games.  We’ll have a pre season camp review coming tomorrow, so be sure to check back by and see the latest.

The Duke Women’s Soccer team gained their consecutive 2-0 victory to go 2-0 on the season.

And here, you can view game notes for Duke versus Richmond game, which is less than two weeks away.  Be sure to check out the David Cutcliffe radio show which is held at the Washington-Duke Inn and golf club every Monday evening.  You can stop by and watch the show live or tune into 620 the Buzz.

In closing this weeks abbreviated column, here is a link to China Daily where Coach K was asked about his return to where Team USA won Gold.

 

 

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 –

Our premium section never sleeps and it’s a great time to join BDN’s extended subscription coverage in that we’re running s limited time special.  One year memberships have been chopped 15% and there are discounts on the 1,  3 and 6 month options as well.  Simply go to our join page and you’ll find the discounts designed to let you sample our offerings.  You will then have access to our members only message board and all of our outstanding premium offerings which have come in droves the past two months.  This offer is for first time members and will not last long, so act today and come on inside just in time for our latest recruiting updates.

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.

 

Monday Musings – News about news that is not newsworthy

Coach K monitors Plumlee-Kelly matchup in practice - BDN Photo

Welcome to an afternoon edition of Monday Musings. While I try to make this a weekly column, BDN can at times get too busy to run the article. To kick off the week for members, we have a new Jabari Parker interview posted and one with another recent Duke offer, Bronson Koenig. Okay, enough on BDN Premium, our subscription service for all the inside information you can handle and on to this weeks musings –

Much ado about nothing and our let’s focus on the pin hole and create news

If you listen carefully enough, you can hear a snicker coming from Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio. Jones is an infamous Duke hater who actually went to law school in Durham, yet he bleeds Kentucky blue. Over the past several years, he has taken more than one passing shot at the Duke program and can often be found arguing with other Kentucky sites when taking a break. During a past recruiting event, Jones came in with more radio related equipment than anyone has ever seen. So much so, that one of  recruiting analysts said it looked as if you took a step back in time for a session of the Grand Ole Opry.  Another said his original set up was “clunky and clownish.”

Anyhow, Matt knows how to run with a blurb and make folks uncomfortable in the process.  He like all parties involved or who we have taken subtle shots at are good at what they do.  Duke fans overreact on the message boards, just like many other fans who believe anything they read on the web, and this latest mess is no different.  The problem is most of what you see on the web today lacks credibility.  There has been a serious lack of control, and recruiting media is probably the worst of the bunch. Most of them not adhering to any kind of protocol, but that’s a story for another day.

In today’s media, anything seems to be fair game. Perhaps it is the influence of TMZ or one of those magazines on the checkout that feature “inside” information. Just the other evening, a WRAL reporter, who happens to be a UNC grad, stated that “This could mean serious trouble for Duke.” Then there is the, yawn, local sports show radio shock jocks baiting the likes of TSN’s Mike DeCourcy and ESPN running the news, er, kind of, sort of news on it’s ticker. To his credit DeCourcy didn’t bite nor has anyone else with a rational mind.

What we are talking about is that some think Coach K offered a prospect, Alex Poythress before he was allowed to. A couple of hours we’re talking here, and something that was going to happen be it a few hours later or maybe even today. Yeah, that legendary Coach K is such a cheater. Having been around the program from a coverage standpoint, I can tell you that I have never seen the coaches go places others seem to. In fact, Duke should be celebrated as a team that runs a clean and tight ship.

Don’t get me wrong here. Duke is not perfect for the staff is human. They can get a date mixed up, possibly even the time with all of their flight schedules, but knowingly cheating? Really? They need to do that? Come on folks, let’s get real here! Does anyone think Coach K would need to sneak in that offer for a kid who has one coming regardless of the time?

Duke called Alex Poythress between events, yet the events just happened to be in the same facility in Orlando. Having gone to said events in the past, I can tell you that while there is a little break in the action between events, they are definitely different. Coaches are allowed to call prospects between events as has happened all year long and that’s what happened.

So, Krzyzewski called after the Super Showcase but before the AAU Nationals, both which take place on Disney property. Since the other day, the story has died down quite a bit but some feel Duke is still a victim of perception. We’re not talking Big Blue handshakes or changing of license plates folks. Nope. Krzyzewski simply offered Alex Poythress. If it were a few hours too soon, then we’ll hear of it. It has gone through the proper channels of compliance now and Duke as most of you know, always complies.

Meanwhile, fifteen minutes down the road, UNC Football has blown up the nation with a list of violations that rocks the senses. But for a day or two, the media would have you think that Coach K and Duke were almost on equal ground. It’s time for a reality check. Still, shock jocks are looking for a story and they often create one from anything they desire. In fairness, I suppose it’s their job and I am sure they are tired of talking about the UNC Football fiasco. Even before this article was finished, I was contacted by a beat writer asking me what I have heard.  Come on guys, this is not that big of a story and like fishing for gold plated bass in the local Eno River. If you want to bait the hooks, be my guest, but if you’re looking for something shiny and new to pop out of the water, aka the supposed Blue Devils dirty deeds, put on some sun screen, for you’ll be in the boat for a bit.

Queen Elizabeth

Elizabeth Williams is an incoming freshman and a prized recruit for Coach G and her program. Williams, a former native of Virginia Beach, Va., knocked down 6-of-8 shots from the field as she helped lead Team USA to a Gold Medal. For the tournament, Williams averaged 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and hit 52.3 percent from the field. Williams has now been a part of three gold medals, after winning gold at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship and 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.

Duke Football Practice

Football is here! Duke starts practice this time next week and BDN will be bringing you updates from the practices leading into the season. BDN has quickly become the top site for news surrounding the program, be it recruiting or weekly features and that will continue. Duke will place a veteran offense on the field but there is still work to be done. Duke must come away with more touchdowns than field goals in the red zone this season and continue to establish a ground attack. The defensive side of the ball is more uncertain with the new 4-2-5 scheme. We’ll look to see how the defensive front develops and if the young linebackers can come around in short time. The secondary is the strength but there is room for improvement. Duke will have a solid kicking game and the focus will be on preparing for a win in the opener over Richmond, a game that is indeed a must win right out of the gate. The media picked Duke last during the ACC Kickoff gathering and that should be posted on the locker room wall as a sign of disrespect. Duke is not going to wow you into a second place vote on paper but they can play with and defeat division rivals Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia on a given day. It is simply a matter of believing at this point and Cut and company will try and adjust the players attitude to fill the bill.  Individual tickets are now on sale, get yours today.  The most popular one will be the Stanford game featuring Heisman Trophy winner Andrew Luck, a player the NFL is drooling over.

China trip

Talk about one busy August! Duke Basketball will share time with Cut’s football team until September as they embark on their China trip. Krzyzewski will meet with the media before the event and BDN will be there to bring you his comments. As for the trip itself, this is one we won’t make. BDN is pretty much anywhere Duke Athletics happenings are taking place but we aren’t in the spare twelve grand club. For those who are, it’ll be a trip to remember and if you go, send us your photos and such and we’ll post them.