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Josh Hairston talks of his visit and commitment to Duke

Duke hosted two prospects over the weekend and turned them into commitments before they left.  One of those commitments was talented front liner Josh Hairston.  “It feels great to be a Blue Devil,” said Hairston.  He continued, “I’ve been down here a couple of times and I feel comfortable and excited about my decision to become a Blue Devil.”

[private] Duke fans think it’s great that Hairston is a Blue Devil too.  In fact, many were caught off guard when both Thornton and Hairston announced their decisions yesterday afternoon.  Of course, you as members saw this coming from my comments, but it always feels better when the decision is official.

“I told Coach K around three or four o’clock.  I was talking to him individually and told him of my decision,” said Hairston.  “My family was real happy about it.  My Mom and Dad were real happy and my sister was too.  This is where they wanted me to go, so I’m close to them and it’s a good thing.”

As I continued the talk with Hairston, you could hear some others in the background.  “I’m in the room with Andre, Tyler, Mason and Elliot,” said Hairston.  I then asked if Thornton and his decision was based on playing with one another and if they talked it over.  “Yes sir, we did talk.  I’ve played with Andre and Tyler and this was the place we wanted to be.”

Hairtson said that he and the rest of the players gathered together around 11:00 for lunch and then played some pick up games.  They went to the football game in the second half before they returned and relaxed in the lounge.  “After that, Tyler and me made our decisions,” said Hairston.  “I am glad it’s over because I can now concentrate on my high schools season.”

When asked what the best part of the visit was, he responded, “All of it was good, talking to the players, talking to Coach K … that was probably the best part of the visit, but I had a good time doing everything.”

Josh admitted that it was a little tired and that he would return home with his family sometime tomorrow.  Tired or not, he was probably headed out to hang out with his new friends and future teammates.[/private]

BDN’s jam packed behind the scenes update – the real deal!

[private]Let’s start off with  Kenny Boynton.   Duke feels pretty good about their recent visit.  Now, the waiting game begins.  At this time I still feel it is Duke and Florida.  This one is too close to call and I have elected to contact him after his visit to USC this weekend in order to get the big picture after two more in home visits.  Kenny has maintained all along, he will almost assuredly take his visits and decide in late October or early November.

As you already know, Duke will entertain commitments Mason Plumlee and Andre Dawkins this weekend.  Mason will be the first to arrive tomorrow evening.  He’ll make his way to Durham with his brother Marshall.   Mason is looking forward to playing with the team.  In fact all four visitors will play with the team.  His brother Miles is playing well in his workouts and really likes Kyle Singler.  He is adapting to the campus life and is happy.

One of the players which will not play is Gerald Henderson.  It has been confirmed that he has returned home and has a case of mono.  The severity of the illness is unknown.  While I am on injuries, no current Devils have major ailments and Brian Zoubek is coming along fine.  In short, the team is healthy.

Speaking of the team, they are currently allowed to participate in drills and are working very, very hard.  They lift weights in the morning, run in the afternoon and play in the evenings.  All of the aforementioned is laced with one coach on three player drills.

Coach K and Wojo went to see Harrison Barnes at an open gym in Iowa today or last night.  Speaking of Barnes, Duke will attempt to get him to visit the same weekend as Boynton on an unofficial.  Barnes has shown Duke interest.  Trust me, that feeling is mutual.  They cannot make contact during todays practice. 

Tomorrow, they check out Ryan Kelly for an in home visit.  Kelly was recently offered and on campus.  Notre Dame and others are very much involved with the Raleigh Ravenscroft star.

Okay, on to Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton.  I told you awhile back I thought Hairston was in the bag.  I feel the two will commit over the weekend or shortly thereafter.   There have been positive vibes coming from both camps.  Stay tuned.

Duke will visit Andre Dawkins, Josh Hairston, Tyler Thornton, Brandon Knight and Josh Smith in the near future for open gym. All of these prospects have been offered and of course, Dawkins committed.  Duke has interest in other 2010 kids and will get out to see many of them as well.  Among those are Nate Lubick and Jason Morris.  There are a couple of new names I will discuss in the near future.

Dawkins has done a great job recruiting for the Blue Devils and if all works as I expect it will, he will have help;)  For those of you who subscribe to Blue Devil Weekly, check out my latest recruitng article featuring Andre.

I hope you enjoyed the update.  Welcome to the new and improved Blue Devil Nation.[/private]

Quick Hitter #5 – OG, Rob Schirmann talks fundamentals and appreciation for the Wade Crazies

[private]The Duke offensive line played very well in the opening day win over James Madison last Saturday. They will test themselves against the Northwestern defense this weekend in a battle of two 1-0 teams. Rob Schirmann is an offensive guard and leader who is part of a senior core for Duke. Schirmann’s 25 career starts is tops among the interior lineman.

It took Duke its first four games last season to gain as many yards on the ground as you all did this past Saturday. What do you attribute the improvement to?

We’ve been working pretty hard on our run game. We’ve been working on all of our skills. We’ve practicing pad level, our steps and all the fundamentals. We’ve just been working hard on that and you can see it in a game.

Are you part of the Cutcliffe weight loss plan? What did you weigh last year?

I was about 285 and I’m about 275 now. I lost more in the off season, but tried to gain a little bit more. It’s increased my strength and I’ve lost a couple of percentages of body fat and I’ve gotten a little quicker in the off season. It’s all been very positive.

It’s been awhile since you’ve won a game, how do you think you will react to that this week?

We will not focus on that this week. There’s no big heads around here and there’s no big ego’s. Nothing from last week will effect how we focus and prepare this week, how we go into this game. We’re strictly focused on Northwestern.

What is your reaction on the crowd this past Saturday and the Blue Devil Walk?

Personally, I thought that was great. And the Blue Devil Walk pretty much amazed me. I was extremely excited and pumped up to see all the students out there on that and in the stadium, seeing them all out there through the rain delay … I’m real happy we had that kind of support.

What did you do after the victory?

The first thing I did was smile. Then I looked over at the student section and not a single person had left. It was unlike anything I had seen in the past during the four years I had been here. It was a good feeling and was pretty exciting.[/private]

Blue Devils continue play in the NC Pro Am

As I stated in my last Pro Am report, more stars would start to come out during the final weeks.  The mere addition of JJ Hickson, gave winless E-Net another force down low to go with Josh Powell which carried them to a 71-46 win over the RDU Barnstormers.

The Barnstormers feature three Dukies in Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and incoming freshman Olek Czyz.  Singler got little help from Czyz in defending Powell and Hickson, which shows that work lies ahead for one of the most popular players in the tournament.  Czyz did drain a three and positioned himself better on the court than on Tuesday.  And he of course had a sweeping one handed dunk which brought about many looking at one another as if to say, did you see that?

Still, for all the tremendous athleticism Czyz possesses, his defense is a work in progress.  Czyz plays hard all the time and is in excellent game shape and Coach K will certainly tweak his game to a desired effect.  Czyz finished the evening with 15 points.

Kyle Singler (12 points) was steady, but tired after working overtime on the glass which took a toll on his shot.  I mean, he never comes out of the game and I have yet to see any other player not get a little rest in the event.  Unfortunately, some sloppy guard play which accounted for four straight turnovers at one point, helped send the Barnstormers to their second loss.

Nolan Smith came off the bench for the Barnstormers and had a stretch in the first half which I have yet to see anyone recognize.  I mean all he did was wreck havoc in the passing lanes, slash to the rim on his ways to 13 consecutive points.  That’s right, 13 straight points!  The second half was a different story for Smith who scored but 2 points giving him a total of 15.  Smith struggled from the free throw stripe and this was a classic case of a tale of two half’s.

Another Duke freshman, Elliot Williams played on the winning team and he would on some occasions match up with Nolan.  Williams cored just 11 points tonight but continued to show the ability to make his team better with his passing.  The fact that he can take his man off the dribble, allowed him to draw multiple defenders which allowed him to make the pass to a teammate for the open shot, if not a dunk.  One thing is certain, that being Williams has the ability to contribute in a big way as a freshman.

One thing about sitting as close as I do to the action is that you see a lot more than just the game.  Nolan is still not 100% and favored his knee down the stretch.  While I normally do not talk of how the games are called, I must admit that this one was sloppy.  Hey, no homer-ism though!  The entire body of games on this night were called in an inconsistent manner, in my opinion.

In fact, the first game had a controversial foul on tournament sponsor Jerry Stackhouse (11 points) as less than second was left on the clock.  Miles Plumlee would later be called for an iffy foul with 3.2 seconds on the clock with his team up a single digit.  Ironically, he fouled a soon to be teammate that he was playing against on this night.  Lance Thomas missed hit one of two and the game went to overtime.

Thomas played a bigger role in the extra period, flushing a hard dunk and connecting on two free throws at a critical juncture of the game.  Thomas moved well and played good position defense scoring his tournament high of 17 points. 

This was the first time I got to see Miles Plumlee (10 points) and he showed me that he is pretty good with his decision making and that he plays hard.  He drew UNC freshman Ed Davis (16 points) and had to play a lot of help defense which would leave a man open where teammate’s didn’t shift.  He plays smart and has indeed gained some weight to a body that is still a work in progress.  I look forward to seeing him more.

In the end Stacks Regulators  team remained undefeated, but they got help from two obvious makeup calls which somewhat tainted the game for this fan.  It was a really tight game that was full of intensity down the stretch and it should have been decided by the players and not the whistle.

Despite the lackluster officiating on this night, there was still great entertainment value in that the event is absolutely free and the crowd was the the biggest yet.  They will throw the rock up again this coming Tuesday and if you are a Triangle resident, there is little reason not to go.  Read other reviews and in depth analysis on the BDN Premium Message Board by becoming a member.

Standings Link

Photos – (1) Miles Plumlee and Ed Davis, (2) Kyle Singler*, (3) Elliot Williams*, Olek Czyz*

*Rick Crank (All Photos on BDN are original unless otherwise marked and they are copyrighted.  IOW, no reproductions without prior permission)