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BDN’s Duke Basketball Notebook – the season is upon us

It’s time for this season fourth edition of BDN’s Duke Basketball notebook as the Blue Devils are set for tip off.  On to the yapping -

Duke has a tough opener vs Belmont, Maui Invitational bits

It’s been a long time since Duke opened with an opponent as dangerous as Belmont, who they play Friday at 9:00 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  You have to go back to the 2001-02 season when Duke came away with a 1 point victory over Seton Hall.  Normally, teams schedule a walk through game in their opener but not Coach Kryzewski, at least not this season.  Belmont returns everybody of significance from a 30 win team a season ago and they have veterans at key positions.  Meanwhile Duke is young, really young and they will have their hands full in that Belmont is much better than the opponents they faced in their two exhibition wins.  This game is actually a part of the Maui Invitational, an event the Blue Devils have never lost a game in, but Duke will advance win or lose, while Belmont then plays at Memphis, a team the Duke could meet if they defeat Tennessee which is  expected in the opening round.  Former Wake Forest Coach David Odom set up these games and Duke could have probably backed out but Krzyzewski knew this game would offer a chance to prepare his team for the likes of Kansas, Memphis, Michigan or UCLA, all top rated teams in the Maui Invitational.  Duke will see a well drilled team in fundamentals in Belmont and while I think the Blue Devils will win, the game could be a lot closer than people think.

Duke turns around to play in mere hours against Presbyterian on Saturday

Duke will turn around after some time for sleep and face Presbyterian at home.  This game will be a walk through and a test for the young Blue Devils legs.  They will need to bounce back quickly in Maui so this game too is somewhat by design.  The reason I say somewhat is that Duke thought this would be a 7:00 game but instead it is a 9:05 tip off.  Interestingly, the 4:30 tip off on Saturday will be about the time the first half is ending for the football team who travels to Virginia for a 3:00 start.

The word is Defense

In talking to the players on media day, the word all of them mentioned is a Duke staple, that being “defense.” Be it Seth Curry or Austin Rivers, all the Blue Devils said that what they were working on after the two exhibition games was getting it together on the defensive end of the court.  Duke and defense … so what’s new?  Speaking of Seth Curry, we’ll have a video interview with him up in shor

Krzyzewski approaches all time wins mark and there is lots of media attention

If you are not behind the scenes covering Duke, you may not realize how much media pull Krzyzewski has been handling.  Everybody, every outlet from here to Asia wants a piece of Coach who is approaching the all time wins mark.  If Duke wins their two home openers, he can break the record at Madison Square Garden in New York versus Michigan State.  If the Blue Devils slip, that home ticket against Davidson will likely triple in value.  Regardless, Krzyzewski will be honored upon his return.  There are a bevy of specials on, starting tomorrow on ESPNU and speaking of ESPNU, both of the Blue Devils home opener will be televised by that network.  Mike Breen and Doris Burke will be doing the opener, no word on the following evening but likely the same team.  Anyhow, back to the demand on Coach K’s time … there will be several newspaper specials and shows in the works and we’ll keep you posted on them either here or through one of our social network outlets.

BDN Social Networks, join now!

Speaking of our social networks, we have a new Facebook group, called Blue Devil Nation and it is an open group, meaning all can participate.  Just follow the link to your right and I will approve you in short time.  There you will find some great photo galleries from the games as well as off beat fun pics.  And you definitely want to follow us on our popular and informative twitter site.

Duke-UNC Alumni Game Update

The promoters had little time to assemble the Duke-UNC Alumni game and as we mentioned on twitter, the game has been postponed.  They are still trying to bring it together but if the NBA and players reach an agreement, it will be a pipe dream.  None of these events which you are hearing of around the nation are sanctioned by the NBA, so players take the risk of injury.  That fact has kept the event from being held at Cameron Indoor Stadium or the Dean Dome in that they want no part of possible injuries.  Of course, players want to play and earn a little coin during the lockout, so it may very well happen yet and it will be at N.C. Central University and it does, don’t be shocked if there are two games, you heard that here first.

A salute to the military on Veterans Day

In recognition of Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 11, Duke Athletics will show its support of our servicemen and servicewomen by inviting over 250 armed forces personnel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to attend the Duke Men’s Basketball season opener against Belmont at 9 p.m.  The soldiers from the Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point, Marine Corp Air Station Cherry Point Single Marine Outing, Camp Johnson and Camp Lejeune will attend the game free of charge and standing amongst the Cameron Crazies in the student section on Friday night.  If you know somebody that fought for oyur country, thank them on this day. Prior to the game, there will also be a moment of silence as we remember all those who have been lost while defending our freedom.

Clash In Cameron, there will be both boo birds and cheers

Now that Mitch McGary has singed with Michigan, the boo birds will likely be out in Cameron on December 17th during the Clash in Cameron which features the nations top high school players.  McGary and his Brewster Academy will play the 7:00 game, while the nations top rated player and major Duke prospect, Jabari Parker will take to the court at 9:00.  Stay tuned foe more details.

Rasheed Sulaimon is a Duke Blue Devil

Rasheed Sulaimon put pen to paper on signing date and he is now an official Duke Blue Devil.  Welcome to Duke, Rasheed!  In case you are wondering the early signing period began on November the 9th and runs until the 16th.  The next signing period will be from April 11th to May 16th.

BDN will be on the scene all season long

BDN coverage will be top notch again this season.  We are scheduled to be at every game with the exception of #2 ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge,at Georgia Tech,  at Clemson.  That’s all but three games that we’ll be at live and in person via our wonderful staff.  Terry Rains will be in Maui reporting for us and we look forward to that and Andrew Slater will be in New York when Coach K hopefully sets the all time wins mark.  And as always, the original press row tweets from Cameron will continue all season long.  It all started in the national championship season when we were right their in the middle of it all be it on the court for the celebration or in the locker rooms.  BDN gets out there to bring you the best possible coverage we can and that’s why this is the most Duke-centric no official site out there!  We can’t wait for the season to start!

BDN’s Duke Hoops Recruiting Update

Shabazz Muhammad, BDN Photo BDN's latest recruting update tells you who is getting a look before the ball is tipped at the ACC Tournament. It's the perfect time to join BDN Premium for we will be on the scene during Duke's run to March Madness to take our members behind the scenes. Be it recruiting news or team coverage, there is no place quite like Blue Devil Nation Premium when it comes to maximum coverage! So, if you are on the fence, come on in and join in the discussion of the latest happenings with our members.

With the ACC tornament at hand and the NCAA following, we are in the stretch run of the season and that means it will soon be one and done.  Despite their intense focus at the task at hand, Duke is still hitting the recruiting trail and BDN Premium brings you our latest update telling you who is getting the attention.

The [private] carnivorous one, the bad ass, Nate “Dogg” James was on the road again for the Blue Devils turning up the heat on key targets while trying to dig up new names along the way. James took in Jabari Parker’s game yesterday evening and Duke is keeping in touch with the young budding star on a regular basis. Parker is a 6-7 and growing big forward from Chicago where he plays for Simeon High School and he is on every top ten list for 2013.

Duke is currently looking at a bevy of big forward type of players and they are determined to turn up a couple in an effort to fill their roster with player types they do not have. That brings us to Tony Parker, a kid who move to the top of Prep Stars rankings for the class of 2012. Parker is a 6-8 center, forward from Lithonia, Georgia where he balls for Miller Grove High School. Parker is a dominant post player who is a paint eater and the prototype player Duke covets to feel the middle.

It’s no secret Duke loves having a Boozer, Brand, Williams type of center but they are few and far between. Some of the prospects out there just cannot do the work to be at Duke. Tyler Adams didn’t want to do what it took to prepare for Duke – he was not willing to transfer to a prep school in his final season – so he ended up at Georgetown instead. Anyhow, that is water under the bridge, so let’s go back to Parker.

Coach James will be earning more frequent flyer miles as he watches Parker tonight. Parker has shut down the media of late not taking calls and you can bet that now that we’ve printed this, somebody will violate our contractual member agreement and bring this news to other sites, resulting in Parker getting aggressively called on second hand information. Please don’t be complicit in violating this agreement!

Other names that have popped up for a look are Robert Carter, Ricardo Gathers, Gabin Ware and a few other Georgia kids. James is working the Georgia area hard, which traditionally sends kids to SEC schools and/or Georgia Tech. For whatever reason, few kids seem to travel far from Georgia and that could be a part of their AAU system and where coaches suggest they go, but who knows for sure?

Coach Wojciechowski, yes I know how to spell the long version of Wojo, is keeping tabs on Shabazz Muhammad and recently took in his last game. The season is now over for Muhammad who most recently visited Kentucky. The two big names at the top of the 2012 list are Muhammad and the aforementioned Parker. There are some other names in the class of 2012 and we’ll unveil one who has been getting interest when we catch up to him after a week of phone tag. Stay tuned!

Duke is also staying in close touch with their verbal commitments as well but once the ball is thrown up in the ACC Tournament, recruiting will take a backseat.

Andrew took in Andre Drummond’s recent game and scoped some other talent and he will likely chime in soon as well.

Having followed Duke every step of the way last season, I can tell you that Coach Krzyzewski’s focus is tunnel vision and the team blocks everybody and everything out until the business at hand is finished. The media was allowed to be up close and personal in practices, but when I saw Coach with his focused scowl on coming my way, I would clear out, almost feeling as if I shouldn’t be that close and or giving him is space.

I am still in awe of my seat directly behind the Duke bench in the Final Four where during the West Virginia game I was peering into the huddle for a second while an intense Coach K was making sure his team did not let up. For a brief time, less than a second, he looked up and caught me eye to eye. Needless to say I looked down for the truth is that Duke wants privacy in the huddle and I know that but could not help myself for a glimpse.

In my minds eye, I was thinking of how surreal it was to be in a packed and quite lovely Lucas Oil Arena at the Final Four with Duke about to move to the title game. Anyhow, during each timeout of the national championship game I kept my eyes on the keyboard during timeouts, respecting the wishes I knew the team had.

The next day was an off day, but we were of course in full interview mode. The next morning the day of the game we were inside Lucas Oil when the doors opened and I took time to go to the very top of the arena and found myself sitting alone looking out over the again, beautiful facility [best I have ever seen] reflecting, pinching myself and realizing how lucky I was to be so close to the program, one which was about to make history with their fourth national title.

There was complete silence as I sat there for a good thirty minutes thinking of how CBS would explode the living rooms of fans later in the day and the place would soon be bustling with Duke fans and those from Butler a school just down the road. During the game itself, I was in awe of when Coach Wojo stood up barking orders knowing exactly where Butler players were going and trying to relay that to the team.

Coach K was perched in his chair above the arena bench dugout area and that scene of the packed backdrop lives with me today. As the buzzer sounded after that amazing close shot, I saw the Duke family break out into celebration and would later be on the court to bring you the post game action BDN style. I saw Coach K come over to throw love to his family. I saw the joy in the eyes of the coaches and players. I saw how CBS would orchestrate the Blue Devils for their post game bit and then I watched as they cut down the nets.

But the most cherished memory for me was after the post game had finally ended for the team. In the locker room, I posed with the national champions trophy and I was able to see the kids I have grown to care about celebrate. Zoubek, Thomas and Scheyer made up an amazing senior class and it was their moment as it was for Kyle, Nolan and the rest. Nobody wanted it to end that was close to the team.

Everybody was running on adrenaline for we were all as they say in the deep south “Dead dog tired.” I finally left the locker room even though I wanted to just lay in the floor, LOL. And that is when the amazing journey was capped off in a most fitting way.

As I strolled down the corridor, here came Coach K in his golf cart having just finished talking with CBS and addressing the media on the podium and the time was well after midnight. The vision of him returning to the locker room made me just smile, look down and shake my head back and forth in a manner in which I was asking myself is all of this real.

By the time I looked up as the driver of the golf cart had slowed down, a smiling Mike Krzyzewski with no words spoken held his closed fist out meeting mine in a gesture that meant the world to me. And even though no words were spoken by either of us at that time, a whole lot was said. I have a lot of stories I will one day get to, but I can only hope this year is as fruitful. All I can tell you is that BDN is and will be on the scene. Thanks for suporting Blue Devil Nation with your membership and Go Duke! [/private]

The BDN Post Game Report – Duke Runs Past St. Aug’s 141-68, Krzyzewski Post Game

Dawkins throws down a dunk on his way to 20 points Sarturday evening as Duke defeats St. Aug's 141-68

DURHAM – The Duke Blue Devils looked like a bunch of roadrunners on Saturday evening on their way to a whopping 141-68 exhibition victory over the defending CIAA Champions, St. Augustine’s. No matter who Duke went to on a ten player deep bench they didn’t lose a thing no matter who was on the court.

Kyle Singler led Duke with 31 points and 8 boards, while six of his teammates scored in double figures. “I thought Kyle played great tonight. He’s been shooting the ball like that,” said Krzyzewski in his post game press conference.

Dawkins dropped 20, Irving 17, Curry and Smith had 15 apiece while Kelly added 12. Duke shot 65.7% from the field and the most impressive stat were their 39-0 edge in fast break points. Duke held a 34-13 edge in points off turnovers as well.

Duke doubled St. Augustine’s in the paint 40-20 and six Blue Devils had multiple three point buckets and that will obviously be a major strength of this seasons team.

“This is a good shooting team and we want a lot of possessions because we can space the court. The thing we have to do is play defense and rebound and if we do that we can be very, very good,” said Krzyzewski.

BDN Sidebar – Duke will have 12 days before they take to the court again against Cal Poly-Pomona in their final exhibition game and they open the season on November 14th for real against Princeton in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic. Duke scrimmaged with ACC officials this past week and Coach praised the guards assist-turnover ratio, but mentioned that the bigs were not as effective. Coach told me that the big men needed to be effective with fewer shots this season during Operation Basketball and he had to like Mason Plumlees total of 6-6 from the field to go with a 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks which epitomizes what he is looking for.  Check back in for more on Sunday and bookmark Blue Devil Nation for some of the best Duke Hoops coverage you’ll find.

Coach K post season press conference -

Just press play -

Here we go Blue Devil Nation!

INDIANAPOLIS – The sun is now out in Indy and we are less than one hour away from tip off of the Michigan State-Butler game.  In about four hours, Duke will take on West Virginia and what a huge opportunity the Blue Devils have earned.  You have to take them one at a time when you get to this point and the Dukies are not looking ahead.  There is no reason to think that this game will not go down to the wire much like the Baylor game and the Blue Devil Nation  will be tweeting live from our site during the Duke-WVU game and part of the Butler-MSU game.  This place is packed guys and gals.  See you on BlueDevilNation Twitter!

Duke at UNC coverage, BDN style

The big day is upon us and the Blue Devil Nation invites you to follow us on our Twitter page as I blog from courtside during the ‘Battle of the Blues’ this evening.  We can promise that you will hear some cool things as the game progresses for we will be your eyes for what is not shown by the cameras.  After the game, we will be on the scene to bring you interviews with the Duke players and coaches as part of our BDN Duke Locker Room Report, which is just one of the many features our site offers.  So, tweet and retweet your friends and join me as I give you a view from someone who knows the program in and out.  It’s going to be a busy week, starting with Coach K’s press conference with Team USA which we will bring you in its entirety via BDN Audio.  We are also sponsoring a contest for a free month of premium access to Blue Devil Nation Premium, our extended coverage subscription site, which brings you information about the team you follow before you read it in the normal media outlets.  If recruiting is your thing, then join BDN Premium for it’s about to really heat up around here and there is no doubt that BDN’s AAU coverage is by far the best available, concentrating on the real recruiting targets.  Anyhow, to enter the contest simply send us your pick direct through our Twitter page.  Thanks for your support and spread the word, that coverage BDN style is a Dukecentric experience.  Oh!  And be sure to sign up for our new Blue Devil Nation Facebook Page.