BDN Video brings you two Duke Basketball practice clips from earlier today. We want Duke fans to get a glimpse at their 2011-12 Duke Basketball Blue Devils as Coach K and his assistants stop and offer advice. For more practice videos join Blue Devil Nation Premium for full site access and go behind the scenes.
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[private]The Blue Devil Nation talked basketball with Wojo this afternoon –
Steve Wojciechowski on his coaching role -
My role hasn’t changed a great deal. Coach allows his assistants to do a lot of things. Whether game preparation or on court coaching. That’s one of the best things about working as an assistant on Duke.
On playing Purdue on the road -
It was a great opportunity and a great time for a test and our team to go play in an environment which was sold out and hostile It’s always good to see how your team will react in that kind of environment, because until you do it you don’t know. We are happy that our kids defended and rebounded the ball very well, which have been big keys to our success this year.
Has the atmosphere changed since your playing days?
Not really. We get every team’s best shot – the arena and fans as well. I can’t remember a game where we’ve gone on the road and you felt like there was no atmosphere.
You seem to have more athleticism as a team and better front court play -
We’re a different team than what you saw last year. We are growing into men’s bodies. We have older kids and better depth. And knock on wood we are healthy. Our big guys have played very well defensively. For one we are healthy. Brian has played two years with a broken foot. Our guys are a year wiser, bigger and stronger, and the front court kids are doing real well for our team.
Kyle Singler is having a really nice season. Can you comment on him?
I think Kyle is one of the best players in the country. He really sets a tone for our team with his competitiveness and his will to win. I think those are his greatest attributes and he has a number of them. He plays the game the way it should be played and there is nobody on our team that has more fun than Kyle. You see that when he is out on the floor and the rest of our team should try to emulate that.
Duke must now play Michigan for a second time on their floor. What are your thoughts on the Wolverines?
I think the atmosphere will be much the same as Purdue. We’ve already gotten the word that it’s a sell out. As a team they run a great system. Tremendous spacing offensively with really great shooters. They are very dangerous from behind the three point line. They play a very unique defense in the 1-3-1. You don’t see that often. Having played them already we hope that works to our advantage. We are really looking forward to going up there and competing against a really good team.
Have you seen UNC play yet?
We were out recruiting last night, but I watched them when I got home. I had to make sure I (smiling) wasn’t on the NBA channel after seeing them play. They’re outstanding.
How is Greg Paulus doing with concerns to his injuries?
We’ll be glad to get him back to 100%. I think it feels pretty good. What some people is that he was out most of the summer. As a player when you miss those large chunks of time – it’s not easy. He continues to work himself back and for the most part I think he feels good. He’s anxious to do whatever it takes to help our team win.
Blue Devil Nation was on hand for today’s practice. Premium members have Q & A’s with the likes of Coach K, Kyle Singler and Chris Collins. As you can see, Reggie Love was in town and enjoying himself as well. Blue Devil Nation Premium is a subscription service which focuses on Duke Athletics as well as recruiting information.[/private]
K-ments - During some recent practices, Coach K shared some thoughts about his team. He stated that Marty Pocius was one of the teams better three point shooters and that they would try to get him the ball in good position when he entered the game. Marty has been playing surprisingly well, especially on the offensive end of the court. He’s still not the best defensive player, but he should provide some good depth in the back court. The biggest plus is that Pocius has learned the system and knows where to be on the court. [private] Now, if he can only drop Olek some hints.
He said that he hoped Elliot Williams could fill some of the roles that DeMarcus Nelson did this past season. He likes Williams versatility and his ability to play good on ball defense on the perimeter. He also mentioned that Williams was a good spot up shooter. Williams played very well against Virginia Union and we’ll see how he does this evening against Lenoir Rhyne. However, in my views, he has a ways to go to get use to the size and speed of the college game. When I talk of speed, in Williams case he needs to slow down a bit and let the game come to him. This will come in time as will his strength, but expect K to bring him along at well, K’s pace.
Coach also said that Duke would get out and run. With their depth, he plans on pushing the ball and he seems as if he will go to the bench early and often. He once again mentioned how important it was to keep Kyle Singler fresh and how having a deeper front line wold help.
He also said his team was healthy overall and that he hoped that would carry through the season. “We have 14 healthy guys ready to go,” said Krzyzewski.
“Do it, hear it, see it!” K barked that out as he stopped practice on several occasions. He meant for his team to talk a play through, see it later on film or at a half speed walk through and to then “do it.”
K worked his team very hard with ACC Officials last week. He then carried that over into more work, knowing and saying his team was tired. He had a no contact practice after that, wanting to see how his team responded the next day when they went through two full practices in one day. He was pleased with the results.
The Big Three- “Gerald, Kyle and Jon are the guys we will build around. They are our best players. That doesn’t mean a Nolan Smith or Greg Paulus couldn’t lead the team in scoring. It simply means that these are the guys we feel comfortable building around, much like what we did in the Olympic. We feel if the rest of the team can fit in around them, then we’ll have a chance to be really good. Don’t get me wrong, we have some good players, but these three are our best.” – Coach K
Jon Scheyer has played wonderfully in practice and worked his butt off all summer. When prospects came to visit, they all mentioned Scheyer. When teams are picked by individuals, he goes first or to the next guy with the second and third picks. He has shown more leadership and his defense on the ball has vastly improved.
Kyle Singler is the smartest player on the court when he’s out there and that is often. Expect a fresh Singler to really blossom as the season progresses. He has worked with Miles Plumlee to make him a better player and the two get along on and off the court.
Gerald Henderson is becoming a man among boys. He is physically better than he’s ever been and he looks like a future NBA player with his ability to go inside and out. He is capable of making the jump to All American.
No secret anymore- Miles Plumlee has proved that he has a very well rounded game. He plays smart, runs the floor well, has good hands and nice ball handling to go with a mid range offense game. He also finishes nicley and has good hops. His Dad told me he was under appreciated and you know what? That won’t last much longer. I do expect he will struggle at times with veteran big men, but this kid has earned the starting nod as a freshman and that’s a heck of an accomplishment.
The latest on John Wall- Wall will get together sometime soon with Coach K and the Duke staff. At that time both will figure out how they will proceed. Wall canceled his weekend visit with Memphis and I expect we will know whether Duke has offered no later than Monday.
Sorry for the delays in reporting of late due to computer attack. It happens. I lost two informative articles, but some of the info is a bit old now. I will still go back over some practice notes and dig up the pertinent information in the coming week. It looks like the Josh Smith interview will come next week, due to and overload in covering Duke vs NCSU in football, tonight’s game, preparing player profiles and Monday and Tuesday’s opener. Thanks for your patience during this time.[/private]
[private]Communication plays a big role for Duke Basketball. During last weeks Coaches Clinic, Coach K told the audience that his team is instructed to talk to the ball, and see the ball. He expects his team to look him in the eyes, and that goes for their interactions with the other coaches and teammates as well. “There is no fooling around,” said Coach K when telling of a recent team meeting where he asked his troops to contribute in a meeting after a film session.
During practice, all of the players are vocal and if they do not call for the ball or the switch, they will be told to do so. In my years of coaching, I can attest that the tight knit team which plays together via communication is almost always in the game even when less talented. Fortunately, Duke is supremely talented, so the learned skills could make the difference in making the Sweet 16 or the Final Four. Check back for a complete report on the Coach K Coaches Basketball Clinic tomorrow.[/private]
The Duke Blue Devils held practice #12 today in the Mike Krzyzewski Center for Athletic Excellence Practice Facility. The Blue Devils were coming off a hard fought scrimmage where they had ACC refs come in the previous days.
Since the start [private] of the season, Duke has had just two days off. So today they decided to run no contact drills, working on several aspects of their shooting. Coach K and the staff watched on as his team went through free throw drills, where Marty Pocius beat Jon Scheyer to face off with Elliot Williams for the most accurate of the day.
Despite those two ending up the drills, Miles Plumlee hit more than 18 in a row in one stretch. Plumlee looks as good in the drills as he did in the season opening exhibition games and he is a pleasant surprise for those unfamiliar with his game.
Coach K said that his team had been getting better all preseason, but they had plateaued of late. He stressed the importance of backing off at times like this, but said they will go full throttle tomorrow and that he wanted to see how his team responded. He also mentioned that his team was nursing some minor injuries from going at it so hard of late. Despite that, nobody looked but so hobbled to the naked eye.
The HOF Coach said it should be obvious that his team would be deep and that was easy to see. He mentioned that Duke would have a chance to win against anybody, anytime, anywhere if they played to their abilities.
David McClure looked healthier than ever and showed some solid hops which I hadn’t seen before. In fact, the whole team is athletic and all can dunk with authority with the exception of Paulus. Before you get on Paulus, he showed tremendous leadership, egging on his teammates, saying to Olek with fire, “Come on, you have to finish that off, after he missed a dunk on a drill.
Singler looks solid and Henderson is primed to fulfill his potential. Miles Plumlee continues to impress with his athletic ability. All in all, this is as K said, a very deep and talented team. After tomorrow, I will have seen 5 practices, the Blue-White game and the Virginia Union game. Now that I have had several viewings of the 08-09 team, I will begin to tell you my thoughts on each player.
Josh Hairston’s father also attended today’s practices with AAU coaches from his daughter’s team. Coach K’s family was also present, or at least his wife, two of his daughters and five grandchildren. The kids were dressed in their Halloween outfits and there was as always a family atmosphere.
I will report on two practices tomorrow and you are sure to hear something you like. Check back in tomorrow night.[/private]