Tag Archives: Dave McClure

The Duke Blue Devils men’s team celebrate their 2009 accomplishments

poaulussThe Duke Men’s Basketball Awards Banquet was held this past Friday evening in Cameron Indoor Stadium and serves as a season ending celebration.  For those in attendance there is that feeling of being a part of the team as you listen the seniors give emotional and personal speeches.  The voice of the Blue Devils, Bob Harris, got the evening started and he soon gave way to Athletic Director Kevin White.

White made it quite clear that Mike Krzyzewski had been a big factor when he interviewed for the job and ultimately left Notre Dame.   It was clear that White realized K’s accomplishments as he presented him with the Amos Alonzo Stagg trophy.

Krzyzewski took to the podium, where he acknowledged appreciation for the crowd that gathered and looked out adoringly to his family, introducing each and every one in one fell swoop.  His family has always played a big role in the awards banquets, coming up with themes and video highlights features for the seniors and assigning each their own individual song.

Just in front of Krzyzewski’s table sat the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Champions trophy and he let everybody know of how proud he was of that accomplishment.  We should all recognize that Duke won thirty games against a schedule ranked number one in the RPI and that, when the chips were down after a loss to Boston College, masterful adjustments led to the ACC crown and a number two seed in the NCAA Tournament.

This was, after all, a new staff with the addition of Nate James and the departure of Johnny Dawkins to Stanford.  Not only did Dawkins leave, but so did Mike Scragge, the head of basketball operations.  K’s son-in-law, Chris Spatola, took over that job and Chris Carrawell came aboard as well and both may be in line to coach one day.

The point is that Duke persevered by making changes before and after the season.  With a team that had no dominant center and a point guard by committee, this w,as in my opinion, one of Coach K and his staff’s finer jobs.  Had the average fan been given the opportunity to take the aforementioned thirty wins, ACC title and Sweet 16 going into this season, I’m pretty sure they would have said, fine by me.

But Krzyzewski knows that it takes players to perform and he was quick to thank them for the experience of coaching them and this was genuine adoration, not just coach-speak.  He then gave way to his assistant coaches who handed out individual awards where Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Gerald Henderson were named MVP’s.

Coach Collins was his perpetually exuberant self as he handed out each award, and Wojo limped to the stage on a crutch due to recently suffering an ACL injury in a pick-up game.  Nate James made his first appearance and some of the players mentioned how good it was to have a guy like him around.  Heck, Coach K even called him “Nate Dogg,” as the crowd let out laughter.

But despite funny cracks all the way around, it may have been Marty Pocius who stole the show.  He alluded to the fact that his first roommate left for Arizona State and then his second to California and wondered out loud, is it me?  He then mentioned that both went a long way west to get away.   Pocius then stated that he was assigned a walk-on for a roommate the next season.

Marty also joked of his language curve and how hard it was for a Lithuanian to learn English.  “I’d be sitting around in the locker room and be listening to a joke and everybody would start laughing.  By the time I caught up with it and laughed they had moved on to the next joke.”

After each senior spoke, Krzyzewski would finish up with some comments and introduce the next one in line.  When he came to Dave McClure, he stated that he just got a text from Matt Christensen with his well wishes.  This again brought a laugh from the crowd for Christensen had a longer stint at Duke than, well, anybody.  McClure’s injuries made it seem like he was here for almost as long.  Even Pocius jokingly referred to him as “Uncle McClure.”

But when Dave was at the podium flashbacks of one of the most selfless players in Duke history filled my head.  They, of course, showed that awesome shot to win the game versus Clemson a bit later in his tribute video.

When it was time for Greg Paulus to have his turn, Krzyzewski showed the highest admiration, reminiscing on when he recruited him and how tough he was.  While he certainly didn’t mention some of his detractors, he made sure that all knew that during Greg’s four years that Duke went 112-28, which averaged out to 28 wins a season.

Paulus was grateful for the comments and walked off the round stage with the dignity of a champion, an ACC Champion.   It’s not often that a three year starter can accept a new role for the betterment of his team, and Paulus gave his heart and soul to Duke during his four years.

During some of the awards, a hoot or holler if you will, rang out for Gerald Henderson to stay.  But those in the know realized that the talented “G” or Hendo was just hours before he was to announce that he would be entering the NBA Draft.

I suppose some would have liked to hear a farewell speech from Gerald, but this night is traditionally set aside for seniors.  While I certainly hope Henderson will return, my sources say he is likely gone and Duke fans should not hold that against him for he served the royal blue well.

Maybe that’s why Krzyzewski didn’t really talk as much about next season as he has in past events, but maybe he just wanted these kids to enjoy their championship.  Before the hall of fame coach made his final trip to the podium, the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Champions banner fell from above and K stood under it to applause from the diehard fans who were there.

He then called his team up and, once they settled together, the championship trophy was hoisted high by Brian Zoubek as the circular stage turned so all the crowd could see.  It was a proud moment for all and the smiling faces of the players, the fans and family alike is what makes this event special.  Quite simply, it was a celebration of accomplishments, and the history books will always have Duke crowned the 2009 ACC Champs.

Men’s Banquet Photo Gallery is located in the menu to your right.
2008-09 Duke Men’s Basketball Award Winners (courtesy GoDuke.com)

Swett-Baylin Award (Most Valuable Player): Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler
Dr. Deryl Hart Award (Top Scholar-Athlete): Greg Paulus
Glenn E. “Ted” Mann, Jr., Award (Reserve Contributing Most to Team Morale): Elliot Williams
Coach’s Award (Player Exemplifying the Commitment and Values of Duke Basketball): Lance Thomas
Iron Dukes Award (Most Minutes Played): Jon Scheyer
Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Awards: Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer
Best Field Goal Percentage Award: Gerald Henderson
Best Rebounding Average Award: Kyle Singler
Best Free Throw Percentage Award: Jon Scheyer
Most Assists Award: Jon Scheyer
Best Defensive Player Award: Gerald Henderson
Gopal Varadhan Senior Manager Award: Joey McMahon, Griffin Tormey
Harry Rainey Spirit Award: Elise Rose
Charles Hogan Memorial Band Award: John Roelofs

Tri MVP’s named during the Duke Basketball Awards Banquet

Team celebrated the 2009 ACC Championship
Team celebrated the 2009 ACC Championship

DURHAM, N.C. – The trio of Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler shared the Swett-Baylin Award for Most Valuable Player at the annual Duke Men’s Basketball banquet on Friday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Henderson, a Wooden Award All-America and first team All-ACC choice, also received the Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Award, True Blue Award for most charges drawn (20), the Best Field Goal Percentage (.450) and Best Defensive Player.

Scheyer, the ACC Tournament MVP, also received the Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Award, the Iron Duke Award for most minutes played (1,214), the Best Free Throw Percentage (.836) and the Most Assists (102). He has recorded the best free throw percentage in all three of his seasons at Duke.

Singler, a second team All-ACC selection and 2K Sports Classic MVP, had the Best Rebounding Average with 7.7 rebounds per game. It is the second straight season he has posted the top rebounding average.

Senior Greg Paulus was named an Academic All-America for the second straight year and received the Dr. Deryl Hart Award as the top scholar-athlete. He has been named the top scholar athlete in each of the last two seasons. He also received the Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Award for the second time in his career.

The Glenn E. “Ted” Mann, Jr., Award, which is given to a reserve who contributes the most to team morale, was delivered to freshman Elliot Williams. The Coach’s Award for a player exemplifying the commitment and values of Duke Basketball was given to Lance Thomas.

Three other awards were handed out Friday night. Joey McMahon and Griffin Tormey received the Gopal Varadhan Senior Manager Award, Elise Rose was given the Harry Rainey Spirit Award and John Roelofs was the recipient of the Charles Hogan Memorial Band Award.

2008-09 Duke Men’s Basketball Award Winners

Swett-Baylin Award (Most Valuable Player): Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler
Dr. Deryl Hart Award (Top Scholar-Athlete): Greg Paulus
Glenn E. “Ted” Mann, Jr., Award (Reserve Contributing Most to Team Morale): Elliot Williams
Coach’s Award (Player Exemplifying the Commitment and Values of Duke Basketball): Lance Thomas
Iron Dukes Award (Most Minutes Played): Jon Scheyer
Bill Krzyzewski Captains’ Awards: Gerald Henderson, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer
Best Field Goal Percentage Award: Gerald Henderson
Best Rebounding Average Award: Kyle Singler
Best Free Throw Percentage Award: Jon Scheyer
Most Assists Award: Jon Scheyer
Best Defensive Player Award: Gerald Henderson
Gopal Varadhan Senior Manager Award: Joey McMahon, Griffin Tormey
Harry Rainey Spirit Award: Elise Rose

Duke drops the Seminoles 81-78 on Senior Night

Greg Paulus said farewell to Cameron - BDN-Photo
Greg Paulus said farewell to Cameron - BDN-Photo

Duke remained in the hunt for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season championship by defeating a pesky Florida State team 84-81 in their last home game of the 2008-09 season.

Once again, Gerald Henderson stepped up big during a key stretch to help his team win.  With Florida State up 76-74 after a Toney Douglas three point shot, “G” drained a three point shot from the corner with 1:41 left in the game to give Duke a one point lead.

After a Toney Douglass miss, Henderson drove into the lane, drew the foul and hit two free throws with 57 ticks left on the clock.

Down three, Douglas missed a three on the other end.  Henderson grabbed a long rebound, drove the length of the court ahead of the Noles defense and hit a layup while fouled.

Henderson hit the free throw giving Duke a five point lead with 29 seconds left.  Duke rode out the final seconds for a 84-81 win, pushing their conference record to 11-4 setting up the regular season championship game against rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill this coming Sunday.

Florida State was scorching hot from the field, hitting 47.1% of their three point attempts and 50% from the field.  Toney Douglas lead all scorers with 27 points to go with his 7 assists.  The Noles also got double-doubles from Uche Echefu and Soloman Alabi.

Singler and Williams battle for a rebound - BDN Photo
Singler and Williams battle for a rebound - BDN Photo

After going into half time trailing 40-34, the Blue Devils erupted for 50 second half points, lead by Henderson with 21 points, 10 rebounds and a team high 5 assists.  Kyle Singler had a good game as well scoring 20 points to go with 7 rebounds.

The Blue Devils had to go to their bench early in this game, with Lance Thomas going to the sidelines with a high ankle sprain in less than a minute of play.  The Dukies were already playing without Nolan Smith who suffered a concussion and missed his second consecutive game.

The Duke bench responded by outscoring the visitors bench 33-9.  Of course, Duke started seniors Marty Pocius, Dave McClure and Greg Paulus.  Still, the continued solid play of Elliot Williams provided Duke with some spark.  Williams ended the game with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

The most telling stat is one which has become a mainstay of late.  Duke committed just 7 turnovers, half that of their opponent.  Duke was able to hang on the boards with a tall Florida State team as well as grabbing 36 rebounds to Noles 39.

In a game that had the Cameron Crazies nervous for a good while, Duke protected their turf to go 16-0 in Cameron for the season, tying the 90-91 team for the most wins without a loss in a season.

Duke begins to celebrate as FSU tried in vain to draw a foul - BDN Photo
Duke begins to celebrate as FSU tried in vain to draw a foul - BDN Photo

Duke has now won 256 games in the decade, which is more than any other college program in America.  And to think, many media types want to tell you Duke is down.

Another interesting note is that Duke is 11-1 when scoring 80 points or more, with the only loss being to, you guessed it, the team eight miles down the road who they’ll play on Sunday.

Krzyzewski’s emotion - Coach K continued his emotion of late, encouraging the crowd to chant and firing up his team.  The entire Duke staff looked as if they would run to the scorers table at any minute to go in.  The upper deck stood on several occasions where emotions were running high.  Some were flipping their hats around in rally cap mode, others were screaming in a way that is only appropriate for the team they love.  It was nice to see how so many fans ride right along with the team, grimacing or becoming elated on every little thing.    Anyhow, make no mistake that the staff’s emotion has been critical during the stretch run.

Seniors say their farewells - Duke honored Greg Paulus, Dave McClure and Marty Pocius before and after the game.  For the first time in four years, the seniors came back on the court after a win to give their emotional farewells.  It was a night when one could see Cameron Crazies linger after the game, taking pictures to preserve memories of their four years.  A look around showed one cheerleader sitting on the baseline by herself reflecting on all that she had seen.  Another cheerleader was visibly emotional, fighting back tears as if to say, this has been great and I don’t want to leave.  In the end, all worked out well and the team sent the seniors off in style.  It is worth noting that Nolan Smith, always the clown, had a box of tissues in his hand.  There were plenty of hugs and lots of smiles for all.  It’s hard to believe that the next home game is about eight months away.  BDN will have more on the game later, including a photo gallery if all works out.  So, please check back in.

A quibble- It seems that many season ticket holders have sold their tickets to brokers and some of the locals are not too happy about it.  There have been several sections where opponents have sat near the faithful all season long.  Many season ticket holders have voiced their displeasure.  Not sure what can be done, but I am thankful I don’t have to sit beside the more hostile fans as some do.  I understand fans from other schools want to come in, but generally they are confined to being behind the visitors bench.  The fact that some season ticket holders don’t make sure a homer is in their seats will continue to be a problem if nothing is done.

Duke fights through the funk and gets a key win

This photo is courtesy of Duke Photography
This photo is courtesy of Duke Photography

Anybody who has watched a lot of basketball will tell you teams play in cycles.  Sometimes a made shot, key steal or more importantly a win will get you back on track.

Well, Duke hopes today’s hard fought victory over a game Miami team will pull them out of a funk.  It certainly looked as if the Blue Devils were on their way to a second straight loss after one of the worst half’s of offensive basketball I have seen them play.

Coming off the Clemson debacle, fans hoped to see a well oiled machine, but it became evident that Duke was in a mental funk and by intermission even the most positive fans were wondering if Duke could find any way to score.

While the first half was seriously ugly, the end result was beautiful for Duke.  Wise men will tell you that win you win a game like this, you let the first half go.  In fact, Duke should let the Clemson game as well.

Ironically, it was the much maligned Greg Paulus who was a key catalyst.  He made some mistakes but he played through them and continued to hustle forcing many miscues you don’t get credit for in the stat sheet.

Paulus three pointers and 18 points were especially vital considering sophomore Nolan Smith has all of a sudden got the look of a deer in headlights about him when on the court.

Singler struggled mightily from the outside and took a few rushed shots, but his toughness on the boards was vital as well.  The super soph hit just 5 of his 23 shots, but he had the presence of mind to keep shooting and that is what was needed.

Like Paulus, senior Dave McClure reached deep down to help his fellow Devils.  McCluers defense was stellar and his game high 14 rebounds were incredible for many of them were created by pure desire.  One needs to not that half of them were on the offensive boards.

And then there is Gerald Henderson.  After a single point before the half, he asserted himself to score 19 points and many of those were in one key stretch run.

The bottom line is if you look at individual stats and the Duke shooting percentage, you would think they lost.  But they didn’t and much of that can be attributed to half time adjustments where Coach K tinkered with his defense.

During the second half, Krzyzewski made another good move, calling a timeout after his team hit a stretch where they missed five shot in a row, all beyond the stripe.  He obviously told them to attack more and when they did it payed off.

You can certainly point to a lot of areas Duke needs work on, be it attacking a zone defense or getting players other than the big three to step up.  Actually, two did step up today and they were both seniors.  Duke could not have won this game without their spirited play.

In the end, there was one key thing which happened today and that was Duke got the win.  The way they had to fight back to take that win is something which cannot be measured with concerns to confidence.

Duke is now realizing how hard teams will come at them and they are seeing defenses designed to give them trouble.  Despite how bad some feel Duke is playing, they are tied atop the conference at 7-2 and won their 20th game of the season against three losses.

You see, it’s better to struggle or see those defenses now for those are the kind of lessons that prepare you for March.  Duke will now prepare for rival North Carolina.  The two teams will battle for sole possession of first place in the ACC and you can be sure that the lessons learned by Duke will benefit them in this game.

GAME LINKS -

Miami Journal 

Winston Salem Journal

Star Journal

Charlotte Observer

A.P.

850 the Buzz

Scrappy Dave McClure has a nose for the ball

The signature moment to date in Dave McClure’s tenure as a Duke Blue Devil is his game winning basket against Clemson on January 25, 2007.  McClure caught a pass from Jon Scheyer and sank a basket over K.C. Rivers as time expired giving Duke a 68-66 victory.  It was vintage McClure – hustling to the right place at the right time.  In describing McClure, Coach Krzyzewski stated, “He makes simple, terrific plays.”  Three nights later, against Boston College, Dave McClure hyper extended his left knee.

 

His career at Duke has been hampered by injuries.  He has had surgery on both knees while a Blue Devil.  McClure missed the entire 2005-2006 season after having left knee surgery on February 1, 2005.  Surgery on his right knee was performed on August 21, 2007.  McClure has played in 88 games for the Blue Devils and averaged 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game.  McClure was most productive as a sophomore, in the 2006-2007 season, when he averaged 4.2 points and 4.9 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game.  He started 11 games in his sophomore season.

 

The 6-6 205 pound redshirt senior was ranked as the # 57 player in the high school Class of 2004 by Scout.com and arrived at Duke with a reputation as not being the most athletic player, but a guy with high basketball IQ.  Dave attended high school at Trinity Catholic in Ridgefield, CT and helped the Crusaders win three state championships.  At Duke, McClure has demonstrated he has a nose for the ball and is willing to do whatever it takes – dive on the floor – jump into the stands – battle bigger opponents – to gain possession.

 

What will McClure’s role be in his senior season?  It is a given that Coach Krzyzewski will look to McClure for leadership, but it is less clear how much of that leadership will actually take place on the court.  With the arrival of two freshman front court players, Olek Czyz and Miles Plumlee, and the possibility of a healthy Brian Zoubek, McClure will face tough competition for playing time.  His new teammates are bigger and have two healthy knees each, but Dave McClure has the advantage of experience in the Duke system and understanding Coach Krzyzewski’s desires in given situations.  That is a big advantage but in and of itself will not be enough to secure playing time.  Dave McClure is going to have to out perform his teammates in practice to see the court come game time.  The jury is out and only time will tell the results, but scrappy Dave McClure will surely be hustling for every rebound and diving for every loose ball once practice starts.