Tag Archives: Blue Devil Nation

Vegas links buffet – Boynton wows many!

Here is your daily platter of links from Las Vegas where the nation's top basketball prospects are gathered.   Let's start with the local paper the Las Vegas Journal Live.  Then there is this link at NBADraft.net followed by one of the better blogs around in Zags Blog.       

Let's not forget Jeff Goodman of Fox and then there is the LATimes-Thompson says tournaments not so good  for prospect's inflated egos.   Lastly, Jody Demling of the Louisville Courier has as a good report up.

Andre Dawkins talks of his dream coming true and more

One of the highlights for Duke fans during the Peach Jam was a chance to view Andre Dawkins, the first commitment in the class of 2010.  DeMarcus Nelson still holds the distinction of being the youngest player Duke has signed, but Dawkins is not far behind.

[private]Dawkins is one of three 2010 kids that plays for Boo Williams U-17 team.  IOW, he is playing with the older guys.  Boo Williams is loaded as well with the likes of Deshawn Painter, Steve Pledger, Kendall Marshall,  Marshawn Powell, Ricardo Ratliffe and Tristan Spurlock.  This means, Dawkins comes off then bench and is depended on for his scoring ability.

In this past weeks games, Dawkins wasted little time showing why he is such a component off the pine.  Immediately upon enetering the game, he dribbled to the right of the key and drained a three.  Just seconds later he hit another.  Yes, outside shooting is his strength and he's clearly the best at this on a talented team.

There are games which his minutes are cut, but next year, he'll be one of if not the go to guy on a team that will still have Marshall at the PG and Travis McKie and James MacAdoo among others.  When he gets more minutes, he will be scoring around 18 ppg during the AAU season and will still have another year left.

Dawkins is still very much a youngster.  He has a baby face and his body is still developing.  Development will be the key for Dawkins and he knows it.  "I think I need to work on getting to the basket more and not being known as a one trick pony.  To be just a shooter ... eventually you can be stopped, so I have to add more than just one dimension.  The Duke coaches have told me to be more aggressive," said Dawkins.

During the high school season, Dawkins takes to the court with teammate Oklahoma bound Steve Pledger from the class of 2009.  Having played together on Boo Williams helps.  Dawkins had this to say about Pledger, "He can see the floor very well.  He's definitely a pass first guy.  To be that good of a scorer and passer makes him easy to play with."

I then asked him what it was like to be a Duke Blue Devil and he stated, "It's cool.  I can say I'm a Blue Devil and that I've accomplished a goal."  He went on, "Once you commit, you get a little ribbing.  Kendall Marshall and I go into our Duke-UNC mode, but we're still alright."  He went on to say that he looked forward to carrying the new found rivalry to the college court in the future.

Dawkins attended a couple of games this past season and plans on getting down for more.  I asked if he envisioned himself dropping a three as the Cameron Crazies erupting ... "Oh yeah!  That's the stuff you dream about."  Dream was the keyword throughout the conversation.  There were four instances where he said being offered by Duke was a dream come true.

Finally, the world wants to know about his fiend Josh Hairston, so I asked about him and Dawkins responded, "I like playing with Josh.  He's a good guy and we stay in touch.  I would love to play with him.  I thought he would have already committed,  It's a big decision for him, so you don't want to rush it."

Blue Devil Nation will have a complete scouting report on his game later this week.  I have now seen him play in seven times and have a pretty good feel for his game.  We will also have an extended, in depth interview with Andre coming next week.[/private]

Nike Peach Jam Day One (afternoon)

The Nike Peach Jam kicked off this morning with several of the nations top prospects trying to impress college coaches.  Daniel Orton and Xavier Henry led their team to a win over California Supreme, who was without star center Jeremy Tyler, a no show.

UNC prospect Leslie McDonald was also missing with his duties with the national U-18 team.  Still, there are many stars from John Wall to Josh Selby and more.  The majority of the prospects are unsigned and some have even opened their recruitment back up after committing.  One of those players is Marshawn Powell who had originally said Arkansas was his choice.

Powell plays for AAU power Boo Williams, but even with the help of eight Division I futures, the tournament favorite went down to defeat in their first game.  In fact, it took a three point shot at the buzzer to knock them out 67-64 after blowing a sizable lead.

The winner, Team Texas was led by Gary Franklin.  Of course, Boo Williams features Duke's first 2010 commitment Andre Dawkins.  Dawkins didn't disappoint.  He came into the game with 8:33 left in the second half and immediately drained two jumpers.  He has 12 of his 14 points in the first half in the aforementioned allotted time.  He was 5 of 9 from the field and 4 of 8 from the three point stripe.

Duke Assistant Steve Wojciechowski watched from the sidelines.  Also watching the game were Roy Williams, Billy Donovan, Seth Greenberg and a multitude of assistant coaches.  All watched as a cast of Tristan Spurlock, Steven Pledger, Kendall Marshall, Deshawn Painter and the aforementioned Powell and Dawkins couldn't will their team to victory.  An aside, Marshall and Dawkins are the only 2010 players on this veteran team.

Peach Jam Alum include - Amare Stoudamire, Carmelo Anthony, Shelden Williams, Kevin Durant, Brendan Wright, JJ Redick, Dwayne Wade, Greg Oden, Baron Davis, Elton Brand and Dirk Nowitkzi.

Blue Devil Nation Premium will take in Jamil Wilson's 6:00 game and and Boo Williams following that.  John Wall and others are on tomorrow's schedule and we'll try to make a later afternoon game where Nate Lubick and Jason Morris are in action in Aiken, S.C.

Blue Devil Nation Premium members will continue to receive updates as the weekend goes on.  Members will also get to hear interviews with the prospects and in depth scouting reports.  You can subscribe by going to the paypal links in the left menu in this link.

Interview with 2010 prospect Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes (6-6, 182) Class of 2010, HS _ Ames Senior, Ames, IA AAU Team - All Iowa Attack

Barnes is the real deal.  He has a great overall package on the court.  He slashes to the rim, can take his man inside or out and is a capable rebounder.  His defense is really good for a young kid and he spaces and moves about the court well.  Plays within himself and is selfless.  He's bright, well mannered and attentive.  As a soph, he averaged 16.8 PPG.  He is in nearly everybodies 2010 Top Ten Prospects list.  He is being evaluated by Duke this week.
[private]

If someone had never seen you play, how would you describe your game?

I would just say that I can do anything I need for the team to win.  I can post up, go out to the perimeter, take the ball in, play defense.  I would sacrifice my time and stay on the bench or do whatever to help my team win.

Where are you in the recruiting process at this time?

Iowa State and Iowa have been on me for a long time being that I play in state.  Indiana, VCU, Maryland, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, USC have all offered.

Wow!  That's quite a list.  Are you open for anybody else to come in?

Oh yeah.

Are you hearing from other schools?  Who have you heard from of late?

LSU, Georgetown and Duke

What about Georgetown?

They just say that they want to talk to me.  They've called and expressed that they have interest in me.

What about Duke?

One of the coaches called recently.

Being from the Midwest, are you opposed to possibly going east?

Right now, I'm just waiting it out.  I haven't ruled out going far yet.  I am open to anyone.

What about your family, how would they feel about you leaving the area?

My Mom is okay with it.  She has always said it was my decision to make, so she will support me anywhere I go.

Do you come from a big family?

Just me and my Mom and my sister.

Where does education come into play?

It's top of the list.  It's ahead of basketball.  You can only play basketball for so long.

Have you thought about what you might want to take in college?

Business

Give me three words that best describes you as a person?

I'd say I'm personable, I'm a talker, I can talk ... communicate and I'm humble.

So, is there a timeline?  Will you take all five officials or will you make a choice when it feels right?

I'm just taking my time right now.  I am in no rush.

Who do you pattern your game after?

The skills?  Somebody like Durrant.

How tall are you right now?

I'm 6-6 ... 6-7

And you are how old?

I just turned 16.

So, you have a long ways to go ... a lot of big schools are coming at you now.  How do you stay grounded?

(At this time Travis McKie walked up and messed with Barnes)  I said, "Hey, you got your time," as he walked off.  Barnes stayed focused)

You just take it all in stride, one level at a time.

Do you go to a public school or a private school?

I go to a public school.

Do you have a preference in college?

As long as I get a good education ... that's all that matters.

Have you thought about being in classrooms that had like 130 as opposed to say 40?

I'd kind of like a small classroom.

Can you see yourself in the future and how you might use a business degree?

I just want to learn some managing skills and how money works in certain settings.  I'd just like to start my own business.  I would be willing to work in a larger firm until I figured out what I wanted.

What do you need to work on?

My dribbling so that I can play the 2 or 3 better in college.

Tell me one thing about Travis McKie that nobody knows?

(Looking at McKie who appeared again, laughing) Travis McKie, he's a punk.  Seriously, I have had a chance to meet a lot of people at the camps and it has been enlightening.

Thanks for your time!

Thank you.[/private]

Staying healthy is step one

The health and skill set development of 7-1 260 pound Brian Zoubek have the potential to impact the 2008-09 Duke Blue Devils. If Zoubek overcomes the roadblocks experienced his first two seasons in Durham, he has the potential to breakout and have a very good season. The rap on Duke last year was the lack of a serious post presence. Zoubek has the size to develop into a solid post player, but he needs to stay healthy in order to develop the skills necessary to accomplish the job.

As a freshman, Zoubek struggled with turnovers. He turned the ball over 37 times in 235 minutes of action. At times, it seemed as if the refs blew the whistle and indicated traveling before Zoubek even caught the ball. Injuries derailed his sophomore season as he incurred a fifth metatarsal fracture in his left foot, during a pick-up game, on July 9, 2007, and then re-injured it in early January 2008. Zoubek underwent surgery on the foot twice and is currently finishing rehabilitation.

Being outrebounded 45 - 19 in the season ending loss to West Virginia lends credibility to the "lack of a serious post presence" rap. The single most important skill Zoubek needs to develop is the ability to control the boards. He grabbed 13 rebounds against St. John's on February 23, 2008, and nine rebounds against NCCU on November 9, 2007. As a junior, Duke needs him to consistently pull down rebounds, especially offensive rebounds that can be converted into points. Zoubek's career high for offensive rebounds is five, which is a respectable number. A couple of stick backs a game could be vital.

Another required skill development is knocking down free throws. Zoubek must improve on his career FT average of 58.4 percent. As a big guy, battling inside, he is going to get fouled and it is imperative that Zoubek develop the ability to go to the line and knock down the free ones. Two or three extra points a game can make a big difference. Zoubek's best game from the free throw line was against Columbia on November 12, 2006, when he went 10 - 13 from the charity stripe.

Duke does not need Brian Zoubek to develop into a dominating post player, but of course that would be nice. The Blue Devils need Zoubek to develop into a consistent player who can average 20 minutes a game and produce eight points and eight rebounds per contest. Maintaining a clean bill of health is the first and most important step for Brian Zoubek to develop into the anchor in the middle.