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5 Questions with Duke Prospect Robert Carter

Robert Carter, Mark Watson, BDN Photo

BDN Premium has been very active on the recruiting trail of late and one of the kids we talked to was Robert Carter.  The front court propsect made for a good interview and with that said we share a portion of our complete interview which appeared in our subscription section last week.  Without firther ado, five questions with Robert Carter.

I’m from ACC Country.  Are any of those schools involved with you?

Yeah, yeah, all of them.  I’ve always liked the ACC and it’s one of the best conferences in college basketball.  If you really want to get to the next level it’s a league you want to play in.

I suppose some feel Miami has the inside track since your Dad played there?

I like Miami and they have been on me for a long time.  But we’ll see how things go and all.

What about Duke?

They’re good.  I mean they’re one of the best schools in history and anytime they start recruiting you, you have to take a look at them, even … even if you don;t like them.  I like them but …

Yeah, they’re sort of like the Yankees in that some like them or hate them.

Even if you do, you have to look into them because they’re Duke University and one for the best and it may be the best situation.  I’m looking into them.  I mean, Nate James, he called me and we talk about it and they said they were going to be out there watching me this spring.

They just added Jeff Capel to the staff …

Oh yeah.  He’s been calling me.  You see he was recruiting me at Oklahoma and when he came over to Duke he started or told them how much he liked me and they or he is now recruiting me for them too.

Duke has 2013 stud Julius Randle on their radar

The advent of the internet and social media has  created a more level playing field where information is dissipated in terms of seconds and minutes rather than days or months. It’s helped accelerate the potential boom and bust cycle of recruit’s reputations. A player needs to continue to improve and stave off of his chasing peers. News spreads quickly when a player has a good game or weekend at a high school tournament or an AAU event.

Some young men shrink under the scrutiny, while others find comfort in the spotlight and excel. Julius Randle is a 6’8″ 242 lb forward for Prestonwood Christian Academy, a private school located less than an hour’s drive north of downtown Dallas. As a well-publicized freshman, he led the Plano-based school to a 35-3 record, including a TAPPS 5A state title win over Trinity Christian Academy 50-45, averaging 15 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

This past season, the Prestonwood Lions looked to play an even more challenging national schedule and competed on both coasts in the National Prep Classic in Santa Maria, California and the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, SC, where the young  squad, led by sophomores Julius Randle and Marquan Botley as well as Kansas-bound junior Zach Peters, finished fourth and third, respectively. The Lions entered the state playoffs expecting to repeat as champions and were well on their way, but, in the championship game, dealt with foul trouble to both Peters and Randle and a 19-5 third quarter run to ultimately fall to St. Thomas of Houston, 76-57. In a season where he led the 26-11 Lions in scoring (24 ppg) and rebounding (12 rpg), the versatile Randle led his Lions with 14 points in the title game. For his efforts, he was [private] named to the national first-team MaxPreps all-sophomore team.

After the season, Brad Greenwood, the team’s head coach, moved into an administrative capacity at PCA. Earlier this month, 36 year-old Chris Mayberry was hired from First Academy in Orlando, FL to be the head coach for next season. Next season, Prestonwood will look to make it back to the championship game for a fourth consecutive season and have agreed to participate in two strong national high school events, the City of Palms in Fort Myers, FL and once again in the Beach Ball Classic.

On the AAU circuit, he competes with the Texas Titans, where he has formed an inside-outside tandem with three-point marksman, Matt Jones. At the Boo Williams leg of Nike’s EYBL, Randle played through an ankle injury, which limited his available time to just over 20 minutes per game, to average 15.6 ppg and 9.4 rpg, while leading his Titans to a 3-2 record. He was unable to play at the recent Dallas edition of the EYBL, due to the aforementioned short-term injury.

Can you talk about your injury and what happened?

Oh, yeah, it was probably about a month ago. I hurt my ankle pretty bad.

At Boo Williams?

No, before Boo Williams, but then I re-injured it at Boo Williams. Then, I saw some doctors and they said to stay off of it for a bit.

Like as a precautionary measure?

Yeah.

When will you be ready to play again?

I should be able to start working out again next weekend.

Will you be fully healthy by July?

Yeah, I’ll be healthy then.

People are always interested in recruiting. Which teams are after you hardest right now?

A lot of schools and I’ll probably forget a lot, but..North Carolina, Duke, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Baylor, Arkansas, everywhere..NC State and Kentucky, too.

The list goes on, does it, show-off? (laughs)

(Laughs)

Which teams came to see you during the open period and will that play a factor in your decision?

Oh, yeah, it’s always good for a coach to come see you.  I really appreciate everything.  Coach K and Coach Williams came to see me, the coach at Baylor, Ohio State…Texas came to see me, Arkansas came to see me… a lot of schools. It’s always good to see them and see who’s interested.

Do you have a timeline for when you’d like to decide by?

Yeah, I’ll probably make a decision my senior year. I want to take all five of my officials. There’s no pressure or anything.

Can you describe your game to an audience who hasn’t seen you play yet? Something, perhaps, beyond what a YouTube video could tell you?

(Laughs) I’d probably just say versatility, you know, I have an inside-out game. On the inside, I’m a post presence. I have a lot of post moves. Outside, I just try to use my quickness to my advantage and take them off of the dribble. Also, on defense, I try to play hard and block shots. I bring an intensity to the place.

In terms of things you’d like to improve on, what are some things you’re concentrating on this summer?

Just work on every facet of my game down. As far as perimeters skills, off-the-dribble, pull-ups, working on pick-and-rolls, and anything else on I can work on on the offensive end. On the defensive end, concentrating on guarding everybody and playing hard all of the time.

What position do you think of yourself as and what are schools recruiting you to play?

Just a combo forward. And the schools who are interested in me or have seen me play think of me as more of a 3/4 guy than in the past, when some people were recruiting me as a center. A combo forward type of player.

I know from following you Twitter that you’re a big Kobe guy…

Yeah, definitely.
(Vince Compton, Nike’s director of scouting, comes over to thank him for coming.)

..but who are some guys that you try to emulate?

As far as perimeter skills, I’d see Melo or LeBron or someone like that. As far as inside, someone more like Blake or Amar’e.

Those are some pretty good guys to model your game after.

Yeah, definitely.

Who’s the toughest player you’ve played thus far?

Probably the best player I’ve played against in this EYBL thing is Kyle Anderson.  He’s very good.

Yeah, he’s very versatile, with good court vision and an advanced basketball IQ, too. He sometimes goes by the name “Slo-Mo.”

(laughs) Yeah, very versatile and the other guy that’s pretty good is Rodney Purvis.

Sure, the North Carolina kid. What are you looking for ideally in a program whenever you do decide?

Academics, a coach who I can trust..

By the way, I can’t believe how articulate you are. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve been dealing with that give me three-word answers.

(laughs) Thanks.

Sorry, fire away. It’s just a pleasure.

(laughs) A coach that I can trust and one that’s going to push me..one that’s simply going to try to make me the best player that I can be.

Will distance be a factor for you at all?

No, not at all, my mom wants me to go wherever’s best for me.

He (Vince Compton) pointed her out in the crowd to me before. What would you like the audience to know about you off of the court?

I’m a laid-back kid, nothing special. I’m just trying to enjoy the time I have with my family and friends because I know that there’s not going to be much time before I head off to college, so I want to enjoy them as much as possible in the time that I have left. Spending time with family and friends. Hanging out and stuff.

That’s good to hear.  Speaking of family, I know your mother’s here.  Can you tell the audience a little about your family?

I have an older sister, she was in college and now she works.  It’s me, my sister, and my mom in the house.  I love ‘em to death. I’m a pretty big mama’s boy. I guess you could say that. (laughs)

No, no, that’s fine. (laughs) That’s good to hear. Who will be some people you turn to for guidance. I assume your mother will be number one on the list..will there be anyone else you turn to for guidance?

Oh, yeah, my mom…she’ll be number one, definitely, and another person that’s a big person in my life is Jeff Webster, he’s like my skills coach and also like my mentor.

Is he here?

(laughs) Yeah, he’s here. He’s one of the assistant coaches on this year’s team.  He plays a big part in everything that I do. 

What are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

Just establish myself as the best player on the floor every time that I play. 

Game in and game out?

Yeah, just be the dominant player that I can be. 

Is it difficult for you to work on your skills with so many AAU events? You’re playing almost every weekend.

Yeah, but I’m not too worried about it.  I need to just keep playing my game.

Physically, what would you like to do with your body? Would you like to get bigger? Leaner? What are your hopes or goals?

I’d like to improve my flexibility, I’ve got to get more flexible.  We’ve been starting to work on that a lot, lately with my strength trainer.

What’s your current height and weight at this point?

I’m like 6’8″ and 242.

And what would you like to be by next season?

That’s a tough one (laughs). I want to get bigger, but I don’t want to lose any explosiveness. I want to add explosiveness.

Right, right. There’s a fine line. I saw where D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera looked a lot more explosive this season because he cut down on his body fat, but he’s still kept most of that strength that helps him power past other guards.

Yeah, so just get bigger, but not lose any of that explosiveness.

What are some of your favorite movies and music?

Any old sports movies, action.. I love comedies also.

I can definitely tell you like to laugh.

Yeah, and in terms of music, probably say a lot of Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Wayne, a lot of things. I like to listen to J. Cole.

Jay-Z?

Yeah, Jay-Z, of course.

Can you talk about playing with Zach Peters (Peters is his 6’9″AAU and HS teammate, who is verbally committed to Kansas)?

He’s a great player and he helps because you can’t really double-team both of us. It makes a lot easier on the court. You get a lot of easier baskets than if there was just one guy. 

How did you choose Prestonwood?

My AAU team, we all went there in 7th grade, I was say..and then a lot of us split up in high school. They said we had to split up. There was some kind of rule.

That’s a strange rule.

(laughs)Yeah, I’m not sure what it was, but there was some type of rule and I ended up staying and that’s okay.

One of the people you mentioned before that came to visit you was Coach K. Can you talk about that and what you know about the program?

Yeah, that was the first time I met Coach K. It was a really cool experience.

Did you speak with him?

Yeah, I spoke with him and it was really cool. He’s a funny guy.

Yeah, he’s got a Chicago accent, too.

Yeah, and he’s a lot bigger in person than he looks like on TV. He’s a really cool guy. I enjoyed it. It was a neat experience being able to meet him.

In terms of visits, what schools have you visited and what schools do you have planned?

So far, I’ve visited North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Baylor, and Kentucky is all that I can think of right now.

And lastly, getting back to Duke for a moment, what do you know about the University and the program?

They win. They win and they put out great players. Winning is always something I love to be a part of. So, the winning is definitely a big priority for me in my decision and also, they’ve got great academics and that’s also a great help for them.

Thank you very much for your time.

No problem. [/private]

Duke at Virginia Tech Official Game Notes

•  Game 29  •
[7 AP/7 Coaches] Duke (23-5, 9-4 ACC) vs. Virginia Tech (17-10, 7-6 ACC)
Saturday, February 28, 2009  •  3:30 PM ET  •  ABC
Cassell Coliseum (9,847)  •  Blacksburg, Va.
 
Blue Devil Bits

Duke is 23-5 on the year, including a 9-4 mark in Atlantic Coast Conference play. 5The Blue Devils have won three straight games, including a 78-67 road victory over Maryland on Wednesday.

The Blue Devils are ranked seventh in the AP poll and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. Duke has now been ranked in the top 10 in 33 consecutive AP polls.

Duke is rated fourth in the RPI according to CollegeRPI.com. The Blue Devils’ strength of schedule is ranked sixth in the country by the site as well.

Junior Gerald Henderson led the Blue Devils in scoring for the third straight game with 19 points on Wednesday. He also had eight rebounds, three assists and a career-high four blocks in the win.

Elliot Williams scored a career-high 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting against the Terrapins. Williams has set a new career high in scoring in each of the past three games for the Blue Devils.

Sophomore Kyle Singler recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds versus Maryland. He was 4-of-7 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range in the win.

Jon Scheyer added 12 points and a team-high five assists in 37 minutes of play on Wednesday. He has now scored in double figures 21 times this season.

Duke went 20-of-28 (.714) from the foul line in the win over Maryland. The Blue Devils have made 20 or more free throws in three straight games.
 
Numbers Game

Duke has won two straight meetings in the series with Virginia Tech and four of the last five games against the Hokies. The Blue Devils posted an 69-44 victory over Virginia Tech at Cameron Indoor Stadium earlier this season.

Duke is 9-4 in ACC action, marking the 14th straight year the Blue Devils have won at least eight games in league play. Duke has posted 10 or more wins in ACC regular season contests in 11 of the last 12 seasons.

Gerald Henderson is the only player to rank in the top five in league play in scoring, field goal percentage and steals. Henderson is fifth in scoring at 20.1 ppg., fourth in steals at 1.9 spg. and fifth in field goal percentage at .513 in 13 ACC contests.

Kyle Singler is one of two players in the ACC averaging at least 16.0 ppg. and 7.5 rpg. this season. Cherokee Parks (1994-95), Elton Brand (1998-99), Carlos Boozer (2001-02) and Shelden Williams (2005-06) are the only Duke players to accomplish that feat in the last 15 years.

Freshman Elliot Williams is averaging 12.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game, while shooting 16-of-21 (.727) from the floor since joining the starting lineup prior to the St. John’s game. Williams had a career-best 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting in Wednesday’s win over Maryland.

Junior Gerald Henderson is averaging 20.1 points per game in league play. He has raised his ACC scoring average by 7.7 ppg. from a year ago, the second-largest improvement in the conference.

Jon Scheyer has nine assists and just two turnovers since taking over point guard duties three games ago. The Northbrook, Ill., native is averaging 20.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game with a 4.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in that stretch.

Gerald Henderson has scored in double figures in 20 straight games, which is the fourth-longest streak in the ACC. He is averaging 18.9 points per game and shooting 51.1 percent (140-of-274) from the field in the last 20 contests.

Kyle Singler ranks first or second on the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals. He leads the team in rebounds (7.9 rpg.) and steals (46), while ranking second in scoring (16.0 ppg.) and assists (73). He is also third on the team in blocks (23).

Sophomore Nolan Smith is out indefinitely after suffering a mild concussion in the second half of Wednesday’s 78-67 win over Maryland. Smith is averaging 8.5 points with 14 double figure scoring games on the year.

Duke leads the ACC in turnover margin at +4.1. The Blue Devils have committed less than 10 turnovers in a game four times in the month of February and have a +6.7 turnover margin in the last seven games.

Q & A with Duke commitment Ryan Kelly

In our latest interview, Ryan Kelly covered many interesting subjects.  Among those subjects were, John Wall’s recruitment, Cameron Indoor Stadium, his upcoming game versus Christ School and Mason Plumlee,  Coach K  and his progression as a player.

It was a big win, beating Greensboro Day who came into the game 10-0 …

It was a big step for us as a team.  Our first seven games were … I don;t want to say they were pre season but that was a big step in our schedule to come out with a win as we go into Christmas tournaments.

You were a bit off from the outside tonight, but you took it inside in the second half …

Yes (acknowledged)

Is that something you did on your own?

You’ve got to find where you can score with the ball.  For me the shots weren’t hitting early on outside and in the second half I took it inside and after some success there I moved outside a game.  The versatility of my game … that’s something I’ve worked on as I continue to be able to knock those shots down consistently I’ll get better.

Coach Billerman said he talks to the Duke coaches once a week.  Have you been or do you stay in contact with the Duke staff? [private]

Yeah, I will talk to them after the games.  I’ll let them know about my season and talk of how theirs is going.  They’re doing pretty well … it was a tough loss (Michigan).

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

Well, one is to win a state championship and we are going to try as hard as we can to win every game.  But we are going to try and win a state championship and hopefully in these Christmas tournaments, we’ll come out with some championships there.  We need to keep out confidence up.

Talking about state champions, there is a team you might run into that you play on the 20th (December) in Christ School.  Of course, you will be going up against Mason Plumlee which will be a big thrill for Duke fans.  Are you looking forward to the match up?

Yeah.  I can’t wait, they’re considered the best team in 3-A.  Hopefully some will consider us to be right there too.  They are obviously a heck of a team and we need to show some people something.  We have the ability to do that, so I’m looking forward to it.  Obviously Mason is a great player and I look forward to matching up against him and his team.  So, I can’t wait.

Is there a lot of pressure off of you now that you have committed to Duke?  Is it cool that you’re a Blue Devil and are you glad the process is over?

Yeah, it’s really cool.  The pressure is off and I don’t have people wondering where I will be.  At the same time there is pressure to succeed.  I need to keep getting better to play at Duke as any high school senior needs to play over at Duke.

Has the staff told you to work on any part of your game?

Yeah … continue to work on my defense.  Tonight I had a big man, but they want me to be able to guard smaller guys out front a guy smaller, a guard.  That’s what Kyle Singler does well.   To continue to get stronger.  I need to obviously get stronger in the weight room, but to get stronger with rebounding.  I think it’s important to keep getting better with what you are good at.  You can’t just level off.

So, it’s safe to say you feel comfortable in most every aspect of the game?

Yes sir.

You came out on defense and looked really good in doing so.  You play defense really well out front for your size.  I was surprised to see how you blanketed some of those guys out front.

I continue to work on it and lateral quickness is something that doesn’t come very natural for me.  A lot of that comes in thee weight room and working on zig zag drills in practice and we work pretty hard on that.  We held them to 40 points and they’re an 80 point per game team.  So, we did a pretty good job.

You’ve played with John Wall before in the AAU circuit and heads up during the season.   He’s a kid Duke is recruiting real hard.  Do you ever talk to him or put a bug in his ear?

I haven’t talked to him in a little while.  I was planning on going to see him, but I have talked to him in a little while.  Obviously. he’s a heck of a player.  He made summer ball so much better for me.  He’s a great guy and a good athlete and I wish the best for him where he goes.

It’s safe to say that you would want to play with him?

Yeah, for sure.

I guess in the end he’ll be a tough get …

He’s got a decision to make like I had to make and it’s not easy.  He’s taking his time which is really great for him.

Do you ever talk to some of the prospects who have committed?

I’m focusing a lot on what I’m doing here.  Obviously, I ha a lot of time to talk to Mason.  That was with USA Basketball.  I’m looking forward to playing against him.  They are undefeated to, so I will see how it is going for him.  I know they are all great guys and I’m looking forward to seeing him there.  I get over to Duke as much as I can.  It’s … the bright lights come on when you go to Cameron Indoor Stadium whether it’s Duke or you are playing for somebody else.  You have top get as comfortable as you can there and going in as much as you can is the best way to do that.

What do you think about Coach K?

Aw, I can’t wait.  He’s a great coach, one of the best ever.

Do you want to play in the NBA?

Sure, it’s my goal.  I think any basketball player should have that goal.

I appreciate your time and we’ll see you agains as the season goes on.

Okay!  Thanks for coming.

[/private]

Duke rips Duquense 95-72 behind Lance Thomas’ career high effort

[private]Duke finished off the month of November 7-0 with a convincing 95-72 victory over Duquesne.  It was

Thomas takes aim after intentional foul.  Copyright BDNP
Thomas takes aim after intentional foul. Copyright BDNP

perhaps Duke’s best performance of the young season in that the team played balanced team ball.  Look no further for evidence than the  box score where they had 21 assists on 35 field goals.

With the exception of the last one eighth of the game where Duquense cut the lead down 16 points, it was a complete effort.  “We’re not trying to win by 30 or 40 points.  We’re trying to develop as a team,” said Kryzyzewski.

That’s been obvious to atuned Blue Devil fans, for there have been many line ups in the early going.  Afterall, Coach doesn’t want his team peaking in 2008, but in 2009 when you’re eventually one and done.

One of the key reason Duke won it’s 64th consecutive non conference game in Cameron was the play of Lance Thomas.  This was a day when the junior would garner a career high 21 points with his hustling play.  There were several occasions where he ignited the home crowd with three point plays or goading the opponent into an intentional foul.

“In our offense, a lot of opponents like to stop what we’re doing on the perimeter, and Lance just plays off what we’re doing. A lot of times, our bigs are going to be open, and with his ability to run and beat his man down the court, he was able to get a few open layups. He embraces that role; he knows that’s how he’s going to score, and he does that every night,” said Gerald Henderson.

Kyle Singler was as steady as always with a stat line of 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.  Singler has scored in double figures in all seven wins.

“I think Singler is playing great. I’m not sure there’s a kid playing in the country who loves to play more than that kid. He has so much fun playing, and he made a play at the start of the second half that was one of the

Zoubs breaks to basket after stealing the ball.  BDNP
Zoubs breaks to basket after stealing the ball. BDNP

best plays I’ve seen in years. There was a scrum of a few rebounds, and all of a sudden he came in there with two hands, got the rebound and was fouled. It was a big-time play. You don’t see a play like that. And the kid loves to play. It’s such an honor to coach that kid,” said Coach K

Nolan Smith was the only other double figure scorer with 11 points, but one must consider that Duke had 46 points off the bench in a balanced offensive attack.  Duke also continued it’s nice shooting from the free throw stripe going 80%.

But the biggest difference was the Blue Devils defense, which suffocated the Duke’s early in the contest which they never trailed.  The Duke’s managed just 39% from the field and most onf those connections came in the last ten minutes of the game.

There is little doubt that the staff has let the team know it’s time to come together for December and beyond.  While there will still be a learning curve with concerns to chemistry, the early onslaught of games prepared the team for some tough road games.

That first road game will be against a Purdue team which is known for their home court edge as evidenced by the few teams that are willing to travel there.  Pardon the pun, but Purdue will be boiling after a close overtime loss to Oklahoma which sent them to 5-1.

Shortly after that Duke visits Ann Arbor to take on a Michigan team they’ve already faced once in the Coaches for Cancer Classic.  In short, December will be yet another month where Krzyzewski will gauge his team.  And if that month is as successful as November was, then Duke will be in good shape going into the meat of their ACC schedule.

“It’s a great week for us, to go to two established programs on their home courts,” said Coach K.

He continued, “Purdue is, I think, the best in the Big Ten, and probably one of the five or six top teams in the country. You know their crowd will make a great setting for us. We have such an opportunity to grow. Michigan – the same thing, John [Beilein] has his team playing comfortable in their style, so I think it’s another great chance for us to grow. Again, when we play Xavier in December, I like the schedule we have because it’s very challenging. That’s how you become a good team, by playing games like that.”

[/private]

Quick Hitter – Michael Tauiliili talks exams, moving forward

[private]How did you treat the off week?

I’m taking six classes right now.  So, I had a take home mid term that is due tomorrow.  It wasn’t really a week off.

Did you get distracted by football on TV?

No, I tried to stay on it.  I try to go to the library for at least a couple of hours.  I did find some time to relax and the off week helped me get my legs back under.

What was your routine or thoughts in the off week?

It’s a lot of fun knowing we are getting ready to hit this last seven game stretch. Especially for me in that it is my senior season.  Any time you have a bye week, you are anxious to get back out there.  As a team we are ready to get back out there and compete.  We want to get that bitter taste out.  Once we looked at film we started immediately looking toward the future.[/private]