Tag Archives: Duke Basketball News

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.

The Final Courtship of Bazz

Duke's #1 Target, Shabazz Muhammad, Photo by David Becker/Getty for Adidas

Players dream of going out on top. In his final high school game, 6’6″ Shabazz “Bazz” Muhammad finished in dominating fashion, making thirteen of his fifteen shots to finish with thirty-six points in the Nevada state title game for the Gaels of Bishop Gorman last Friday night. The chiseled Las Vegas native won three state titles in his four years, averaged thirty points, ten rebounds, and three assists this season, and will go down as the greatest high school basketball player in Nevada history.

6'6" Shabazz Muhammad, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

Muhammad, a born scorer who plays with the relentless effort that coaches dream about and opponents fear, has been the number one target for Duke in the 2012 class for the past three years and first visited Duke for the Carolina game in Duke’s 2010 Championship season. He came back to visit unofficially again for the Virginia game last season with Chicago’s Jabari Parker. On Saturday night, Shabazz will use his final official visit to fly to Duke University to catch them play their arch-rival UNC Tar Heels. He’ll be joined by his dad, Ron, a former high-flyer from USC in the mid-80s, and fellow McDonald’s All-Americans, Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson, his Adidas Nations teammate.

Last month, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski brought coaches Jeff Capel and Steve “Wojo” Wojciechowski to join him at the HoopHall Classic in front of a packed house in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the left-handed Shabazz Muhammad displayed his full arsenal of offensive weapons, unleashing everything from a windmill dunk to a step-back three pointer. Muhammad finished with thirty-seven points that night in a win against a very solid DeMatha team featuring multiple high-major caliber players.  In December, Coach K headed down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to watch Bazz play eighteen minutes and score twenty-two points in a blowout win against Lakota East at the Beach Ball Classic.

Shabazz Muhammad, Ron Holmes, & Rashad Muhammad, Photo by BDN

Throughout the AAU season, Duke coaches were a consistent presence at Shabazz’ DreamVision games, including not missing a single game of his Super 64 run to close out the summer on his Vegas home turf. The prior summer, Duke coaches watched Shabazz as a rising junior and Muhammad, a die-hard Kobe Bryant fan, watched Coach K work with his Team USA Basketball hopefuls at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Duke Coaches Mike Krzyzewski, Steve Wojciechowski, and Jeff Capel, Stanford Coach Johnny Dawkins, and Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

After an AAU season where Shabazz led DreamVision to three tournament titles and a HS season where he led Bishop Gorman to a 28-4 record, competing from Florida to California in big national showcases, and a third state title, Bazz Muhammad will spend forty-eight hours starting Friday in the Gothic Wonderland in Durham, NC on Duke’s campus. For the Duke coaches, this will be the culmination of their three-year courtship of this high-scoring power wing with a team-first mentality. For the Cameron Crazies, it will be their last shot to convince Shabazz Muhammad, the statuesque young man with a movie star smile and a violent dunking streak, to choose to spend his college year in the mecca of college basketball.

 

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BDN Post Game – Tyler Thornton talks the win over Virginia Tech

 “Yeah, well we also just needed him. The really good teams that we have here, and we have had a lot of them. There are players on those teams that will fight whether they are fresh, medium or completely exhausted, and if you have a few of them or a team of them, then you might win a National Championship. We had five of them in 2010. Tyler is like that as long as Tyler is on the court. He just gives it to you. I really thought out of all of our players. He won’t show up stat wise, but just attitude wise, toughness wise, just what he was saying in huddles, on the court understanding game situations and encouraging his teammates. It was like a ‘Wojo’ type of performance. You don’t recognize the true value of player by his stats but by what he has done. I could talk a long time about that kid. Those things are what I think I value the most in coaching when a kid has that type of will and attitude. It is just beautiful.”  – Mike Krzyzewski on Tyler Thornton.  BDN brings you a one on one with Tyler -