Tag Archives: Duke Basketball News

This week in Duke Basketball

With the summer heat upon us, many are vacationing at favorite destinations or kicking back in their air-conditioned homes, trying to stay cool.  But if you are a Duke fan, it's hard to relax for too long without turning on your computer or smart phone for the latest updates.  When you have a basketball program like Duke to follow, things are always hot, and this summer has been a constant sizzle.

Viva Las Vegas

Along with assistants Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, Duke Head Coach Mike Krzzyewski is hard at work in the dry Vegas heat, and they've settled on who will represent Team USA in the fast approaching Summer Olympics in London, England.  In case you missed it, here is the roster that was announced over the weekend.  While there is an admitted shortage at the center spot, this team is athletic, long, and quick.  While there are a number of high-profile players unavailable due to injury or other reasons, Coach K has nevertheless assembled a team of men who badly want to represent the Red, White and Blue, and that is extremely important.  BDN's Andrew Slater is on the scene in Las Vegas bringing you the latest; he will pay a visit to camp tomorrow and will provide his insights for members of BDN Premium, our extended subscription service.

USA U-17 dominates

The U-17 team representing our country rolled past all its competition in a display which truly reflected what teams can do when they play together.  Of all the American international teams in the past decade that I've personally seen, this team had perhaps the best chemistry.  No less than five players on the team have caught Duke's recruiting interest, including PG sensation Tyus Jones.  The kid will not wow you with his athleticism or with his frame.  But this stat sheet stuffer always gets it done on the court while playing with a cool beyond his years.  Jabari Parker also returned from an injury to help Team USA cruise to an easy win, and Jahlil Okafor was named MVP of the event after the team walloped Australia 95-62 yesterday to win the gold medal.   For more on Team USA's U-17 victory, go here.

Speaking of recruiting interest

BDN Basketball Recruiting Analyst Andrew Slater is battling the Vegas heat to cover the Lebron James Skills Academy, which is just loaded with prospects.  Julius Randle tops the list of interest for Blue Devil fans, but there are many more kids showing off their skill sets in front of the nation's top NBA and college scouts, in an event that winds down today.  Among the players who have the Blue Devils' interest are SF Semi Ojeleye, who told Slater his list would soon be trimmed to a more manageable number.  We are also taking another look at Marcus Lee, Andrew Wiggins, Austin Nichols, and the already committed Matt Jones.  Live reports from Vegas are on our Premium Message Board (for BDN Premium members) and more interviews are on the way.  As always, BDN pays close attention to the national recruiting scene as well, and we'll be sharing all the latest we've gathered from our extended network of sources.

Rodney Hood

For Duke fans, the Lebron James Skills Academy has been a debut of sorts for recent Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood.  The sleek 6'8" newcomer has been impressive.  He gave Slater a wonderful in-depth interview, in which he shed light on many issues, including the one-and-done rumors that circulated after a former Mississippi State teammate's comments suggested the possibility.  Want to learn all the latest on Hood?  Join BDN Premium and you will get just that, with this detailed and informative interview.  Here is the Welcome to the Hood piece from Slater.

Other Dukies shining in Vegas as well

Duke got a major shot in the arm when Mason Plumlee decided to return for his senior season, and the big man has been working all summer long on his game.  Plumlee seems more focussed, and we have the latest reports from firsthand views of him going up against the nation's best in Las Vegas.  And then there is Ryan Kelly, who has been working just as hard as Mason; we will unveil a revealing interview with the rising senior captain later this week.

N.C. Pro-Am starts back on Tuesday

The Pro-Am will kick back into gear this week, and several Duke players are expected to play, though it will be hit-and-miss for a bit.  With three players in Vegas and others committed elsewhere, it may be the end of this week or even into next week before Duke is represented in a big way.  Still, it will be nice for local fans to get a shot at seeing off-season improvements, and BDN will be in the house to bring you all the updates.  We have a long relationship with the promoters of this fine event, and we encourage everyone to head over for some serious summertime fun in one of the nation's top events of its kind.  Here is a link to the official site.

Alex Murphy to London

If you have read our past reports, you know that redshirt freshman Alex Murphy has  been having his way against the competition while playing for the Finnish National team.  Murphy has a good sense of humor and always jokes with BDN about our traditional lead-in, "This is .... with Blue Devil Nation."  I can tell you firsthand that Murphy is both excited and confident about this coming season, and that gives us reason to feel good right along with him as the summer unfolds and we look forward to Fall.

Austin Nichols invited to Nike Hoops Summit

Okay, so a lot of players are invited here but we thought we would mention that Austin Nichols, a key Duke prospect, has confirmed that he will be in Washington. D.C. for the event.  We have a nice interview with Nichols on the way and, for the record, he earned high praise this weekend from our pal Dave Telep, who raved about his skills.

Andrew Wiggins a Kentucky lock?

Not according to our own Andrew Slater, who was told by the ridiculously talented Canadian that he did not understand where those rumors came from, and that he was still wide open.  Wiggins also mentioned that the Duke staff had been calling his coaches.  Of course, you can learn more by becoming a member of our site.

Less than 100 days

We are under the century mark in the countdown to the start of the college basketball season.  Just sayin'.

Kyle Singler dunk impresses

In case you missed the news, former Duke star Kyle Singler is coming back from Spain and will ball with the Detroit Pistions this season.  He had one heck of a dunk recently.

More to come

We took a few days off last week recharging the batteries.  With renewed energy, BDN will soon be reporting live from a number of basketball recruiting events, and football will start to come into focus as well, with ACC Operation Football kicking off in Greensboro later this month.

In closing, we ask for your continued prayers for injured Duke football player Blair Holliday, who remains in a coma at UNC Hospital after a tragic boating accident.  We will let you know of any changes in Blair's status, and hope all continue to send their best wishes and positive thoughts to his family, while respecting their privacy.  Thanks.

 

BDN Recap – Coach K shares the latest on Duke Basketball

Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed the media today and, as usual, his summer session provided a lot of information.  The biggest news to some was that it is now official that Andre Dawkins will redshirt this coming season.  But there was so much more.  In fact, there was so much information that I decided to just share several interesting notes from today, so read on and enjoy.

-Andre Dawkins will redshirt this coming season.  Details were not given, out of respect for Andre's personal privacy.

 

- Coach K said that last season's team was not good defensively out front.  The perimeter players were not big enough or long enough to effectively pressure the ball.  However, he expects they will be better able to apply that pressure this season with improved size and length on the perimeter.   Improving the team's on-ball pressure will be addressed in the off-season, as will reinforcing defensive concepts out front.

- Coach K said this year's team would be more versatile and would benefit from having three senior leaders in Mason, Ryan and Seth.

- Ryan Kelly has fully recovered from his injury and is currently working out in Las Vegas.

-  In fact, all the Duke players are currently in good health.

- Mason Plumlee is on an internship and is working out in Chicago.

-- Alex Murphy left two days ago for Finland to play on the Finnish National Team. His Mom played for Finland's national team as well.  Coach said that Murphy would get a lot of playing time. Duke will use the 6'8" Murphy on the perimeter or in the SF role.  K said having him on the wing would stretch the court and allow Duke to do some different things.

- Seth Curry will play off the ball more in order to hunt his shot.  Thornton, Cook and Sulaimon would be the primary ballhandlers if the season were to start today.

- K did not mention anything about Josh Hairston losing weight in the off-season, but did say that Josh could play more on the perimeter than he has in the past.

- Marshall Plumlee is up to 240 pounds, and K believes last year's redshirt season would help him. He likes his work ethic and enthusiasm, and mentioned his toughness as well.

- Incoming freshman Rasheed Sulaimon has played well and K believes that he, like all players do, will grow from the experience of playing international basketball.

- One peeve that Coach K mentioned was the transfer rate in college basketball.  He thinks it's just out of control, as more than 450 kids are moving to different schools. As the NCAA is not doing much about the problem, K believes that college hoops needs a governing body to address issues like this.

- Coach said the one-and-done mentality has always existed but that players now leave more quickly when facing controversy or any type of difficult situation.  He noted as well that sometimes kids leave before the book is written, and referenced 2010, where Duke's senior-laden team blossomed into champions.

- Also on transfers, K believes that transfers are being recruited harder than high school prospects now, and he implied the battles were vicious.  Again, he recommends that studies needed to be done to support controlling this trend.

- He mentioned some teams trying to improve their APR as well, as that measure will have UConn on the sidelines of the NCAA tournament this year.

- Coach was aked if in the future he would recruit differently in light of having lost Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers back to back, after only one year apiece at Duke.  He said there are no real recruiting philosophies that he could describe in the current climate.

- He also said that Rivers and Miles Plumlee were expected to do well in the upcoming NBA Draft, and that the success of former Duke players in the league enhances perceptions of Duke and helps Duke's image with new prospects.

- Coach said that he faces challenges with Team USA from both the effects of the condensed NBA season as well as injuries.  They have yet to finalize a roster. He glowed when talking about the play of Russell Westbrook, and scoffed at so many analysts who examine his game under the microscope, noting that Westbrook is just 24 years old. He said LeBron James would play for Team USA for sure.  In discussing LeBron, Coach K stated that some kids learn in different ways and that while James has had to learn some tough lessons, he is a special and gifted player.

- When questioned whether it bothered him that N.C. State and North Carolina seemed to be getting more love, he quipped, "I like what we've done" and preferred to talk about that.  He gave a bit of a sly smile at that moment, and there is good reason for that. My take is that K was saying, in effect, "let people overlook us.  That's exactly what we want them to do."  And if you truly know hoops, then you realize Duke will be just fine this coming season and when it's all said and done, the Blue Devils will sit in their customary position at the top of the league.

For more of my take on the event and to discuss the latest of other BDN Premium members, join today!

Philadelphia Express: Amile Jefferson To Duke

Future Blue Devil Forward Amile Jefferson, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

 Duke landed its second commitment of the 2012 class when Friends Central forward Amile Jefferson pledged to the Blue Devils. Jefferson, who was a McDonald's All-American this March, will bring length, skill around the basket, a good basketball IQ, and versatility to the Duke frontline. Although the courtship was quite lengthy, it heated up this January when Coach Krzyzewski extended a scholarship offer to the cerebral big man.

 

6'8" Amile Jefferson, Photo by Adidas/Getty

Jefferson, who recently won his fourth consecutive Pennsylvania Independent Schools State Title for his suburban Philadelphia school, visited Duke for a third time on March 3 and 4 with his dad, Malcolm Musgrove. Jefferson has been on Duke's radar for several years. Before his sophomore year at Friends' Central, an academically challenging Quaker school in Wynnewood,  PA, Amile was one of two rising sophomores who attended Duke's Elite Camp. In the autumn of his junior year, Amile watched Duke unveil its fourth National Championship banner at the Countdown to Craziness.

 

The forward with a seven foot wingspan also considered N.C. State, Villanova, Ohio State, Kentucky, and Temple. Amile Jefferson was recruited by Duke Coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Chris Collins. Jefferson is Duke's first Philadelphia player since current Charlotte Bobcat Gerald Henderson suited up for the Blue Devils.

On March 28, he joined fellow Blue Devil incoming freshman Rasheed Sulaimon at the United Center in Chicago for the McDonald's All-American game. In fourteen minutes, Jefferon tallied eight points, three rebounds, two steals, and an assist for the East team. This April, the Philadelphian scored twenty-six points and grabbed five rebounds, earning the MVP of the Derby Classic at Freedom Hall in Louisville, KY.

For the second consecutive year, Jefferson won Pennsylvania's Gatorade Player of the Year and was named Pennsylvania's Class AA Player of the Year. Over the course of his career with the Phoenix of Friends' Central, alma mater of former Syracuse All-American Hakeem Warrick, Amile Jefferson scored over fifteen hundred points, grabbed over eight hundred rebounds, and swatted away nearly two hundred shots.

6'8" Amile Jefferson averaged twenty points, ten rebounds, and three blocks this year en route to a 21-5 record for his Wynnewood, Pennsylvania school. Jefferson provides Duke with a coveted second multi-year player with long-term pro potential in the 2012 class. To this point, Jefferson, the second highest-rated senior in the class of 2012 by HoopScoop,  has largely been able to overcome having no strength regimen, but in a prior interview with me, Amile has said he's anxious to start a college strength and conditioning program in order to make his game more college-ready.

 

Amile Jefferson, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

McDonald's All-American voter and veteran scout Tom Konchalski of HSBI said of Amile Jefferson, "He's a young colt who's waiting for his body to blossom, but he has a really good feel for the game. Right now, he's probably more of a 4/3 and, obviously, he's going to have get stronger, but, in the ACC, it's not as if he's going to the Big Ten or the Big East, which is even more of a physical conference. In terms of style of play, if he were to go to Duke, that would be a good pick, but he's still got to get stronger in order to be able to play both sides of the court. He's a guy who has some perimeter skills..not an explosive athlete, but, when he starts to working to improve himself physically, his legs will get stronger. He will get quicker and he'll get more lift off the ground. He's a guy who has a good feel for the lane and the baseline. He's almost like an old-time player around the lane. He knows how to finish without going above the rim or jumping over people. He knows how to use his body to get between the defender and the ball. He knows how to shield the ball and reverse it. He has a really good feel for the game and he's a really good kid. He's also a good student."

Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee named Duke Team Captains for 2012-13

DURHAM, N.C. – Rising seniors Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee have been named team captains for the 2012-13 season, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced on Thursday. Kelly was a captain a year ago, while Plumlee is a first-time team captain.

“Ryan and Mason have done a terrific job on and off the court at Duke,” said Krzyzewski. ”Both men have grown steadily within our program and have put themselves in position to lead our team next season. We look forward to watching their continued development as leaders on the court, in the locker room and in the Duke community.”

Kelly, a 2011 Academic All-ACC selection, averaged 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game while playing in 31 contests (19 starts). He missed the final three games of the season due to a foot injury. Kelly scored in double figures 18 times on the year with a career-high 23 points in a 79-71 win over Wake Forest on Feb. 28. He shot 40.8 percent (40-of-98) from three-point range and 80.7 percent (113-of-140) from the free throw line. The Raleigh, N.C., native earned EA Sports Maui Invitational MVP honors in November after averaging 17.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.3 steals as Duke topped Tennessee, Michigan and eventual NCAA Tournament runner-up Kansas to claim the tournament title for the fifth time in school history.

Kelly, who underwent successful surgery to repair damage in his right foot on March 20, enters his senior campaign with 653 points and has raised his scoring average by at least five points per game in each of the last two seasons. The 6-11 forward also ranks 17th in the Duke record books with 96 career blocks. Kelly has helped Duke to a 90-13 (.874) record in his 103 games played, including a 39-7 mark in 46 career starts.

“Last year was an incredible learning experience as a basketball player, but even more so as a leader,” said Kelly. “I grew as a leader, but it wasn’t to the point I felt like it should be. With this being my senior year and my last opportunity to step up for the Duke program, I want it to be a special year. For it to be a special year, Mason and I have to be great leaders.”

Plumlee, a 2012 CoSIDA Academic All-America selection, averaged 11.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game en route to earning third team All-ACC accolades last season. He ranked second on the team in field goal percentage (.572, 143-of-250), while registering a Duke single-season record 60 dunks in 2011-12. Plumlee was one of four players in the NCAA to average at least 10.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game a year ago and also finished third in the ACC in rebounding, double-doubles (12) and double-figure rebounding games (16).

Plumlee currently ranks 20th in the Duke record books in career rebounds (726), 13th in offensive rebounds (229), fifth in blocks (147) and fourth in dunks (130). He is 231 points shy of becoming the 61st player in Duke history to score 1,000 career points and 275 rebounds shy of becoming just the eighth Blue Devil to grab 1,000 rebounds. The Blue Devils are 88-17 (.838) with Plumlee on the court, including a 54-10 (.844) mark with him in the starting lineup.

“It is an honor to be named team captain. We have had great leaders each year I have been at Duke and it is role I am going to embrace,” said Plumlee. “I am looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role with this team. We have a strong group of players returning and we are excited about next season.”

Kelly and Plumlee are the third senior tandem of captains in the last four years at Duke.