Tag Archives: Duke Basketball Prospects

Luke Kennard is a name to watch

kinnardNorth Augusta, SC - Keep the name Luke Kennard in mind for you will be hearing more of the 2015 SG from Franklin, Ohio in the coming days.  Kennard is a major target for the Ohio State Buckeyes and he was recently offered by North Carolina and yes, it looks as if Duke will get involved as well.  Coach Mike Kryzewski joined Tom Izzo, Roy Williams and many other coaches just moments ago for his game and Blue Devil Nation caught up to the rising star and obtained this one on one interview with Kennard last evening.  So join BDN Premium and get to know a new prospect on the radar. [private]

More to come!  Discuss this article as a member on the BDN Premium message board. [/private]

Theo Pinson is firmly on the Duke radar despite his young age.

Duke prospect Theo Pinson continues to improve

Theo Pinson is on the Duke radar.

Swoosh!  That was the sound of the nets heard during the Carolina Challenge as Theo Pinson showed off his three point range knocking down three straight in the first game.  And that was a good sign for many analyst have questioned Pinson and his outside shot.  But Pinson is more than that and it was clear by the end of the Challenge that he was clearly in the top tier of players, many feeling he was the best prospect at the event.  No matter how you cut it, he would have made the all tournament team had one been named.  BDN caught up to Pinson and we first share this video interview with members and will later follow up with another interview and have experts break down his game.  Our Carolina Challenge coverage is just getting started, so enjoy this video and check back in for much more. [private]

More to come …. [/private]

BDN catches up with Rasheed Sulaimon in L.A.

Pictured here is Rasheed Sulaimon and you can hear the latest on the future Blue Devil by joining BDN Premium, our extended subscription service. A ton of interviews and information awaits you inside! BDN Photo

LOS ANGELES – Duke started off hot with their 2012 recruiting class in February, picking up two five star commitments in Rasheed Sulaimon and Alex Murphy all in a week’s span. Since then, Alex has graduated early and is now coming to Duke with the 2011 class leaving Rasheed as the sole 2012 commit. Rasheed showed off great defense this past weekend at the Nike EYBL in Los Angeles despite hurting his ankle after a made 3 point shot. He displayed a quality shooting touch as well as a solid handle that allowed him to get to the basket on more than one occasion. BDN was able to catch up briefly with the 2012 commit and pick his brain on a few things.

BDN: Can you describe the play that you hurt your ankle?

RS: Oh, well, L.J (L.J Rose, 2012 guard) drove and kicked the ball out to me because the guy helped, and two people rushed at me but I still could get the shot off, so I just elevated and I stroked it, and when I came down my foot landed on Archie Goodwin’s foot and my ankle kind of twisted and I heard a pop.

Ouch, that hurts my ankle just hearing about it. You went back in for a little bit and got some good run in.

Yea you know I don’t think it’s severe, it was just in the moment, it hurts a lot now but I think it’ll be good.

Well it was good you were able to get back in and test it out.

Yea, yea. So right now it’s [private] swelled up a little bit on me and it’s kind of paining me right now but I’ll be fine, I’m just going to ice it down and take some Advil and I’ll be ready for the next game.

Now you mentioned Archie earlier (Archie Goodwin, 2012 wing), what’s it like to play against him?

Me and him are actually really good friends so we’ve been talking about this matchup for awhile. He’s just a very explosive player ya know. Out on the open court he can finish above the rim, he’s very strong going both ways, so you know it was a real challenge. But I just kind of read his moves and relied on my help to help me out if he got past me.

I noticed you were on him a lot and were really locking him down, but once you left with the injury he got kind of wide eyed and figured he could start attacking the hoop now.

(laughs) Yea yea!

Something a little different here: When you’re bringing the ball down the court tell me what you’re looking for, what’s going through your mind?

Well when I’m coming down the court honestly I’m looking for weak spots in the defense ya know. I’m looking at where I can attack or where I can make the pass to get someone or myself an open look. If they’re playing zone you try and swing the ball very quickly to try and get an open look and maybe attack the middle. And when they are on man you try and look for the gaps so you can get the ball there and shoot from the gaps. I’m just always looking for the weaknesses in the defenses.

You’ve got a big matchup later today against Rodney Purvis and CP3. I know you’re close with Rodney, have you spoken with him about the matchup?

Oh yea man, same thing with Archie. We both knew we were going to play each other when we got down here so we texted a lot back and forth and talked about this game. He hurt his ankle before L.A so I was just telling him to get ready for L.A. and I got a text back from him telling me to be ready for L.A too. Ya know it’ll be real fun, going against Rodney he’s a great player, great finisher and real strong so I’m really looking forward to it.

He’s got a young teammate named Theo Pinson, have you ever played against him?

Na I haven’t, but I’ve definitely heard of him. One of my teammates Justin Jackson was talking about him cause he’s rated really high. He’ll probably get to match up against him.

Will you be attending any camps after this event?

Yea I’ll be going to the NBA Top 100 Camp, the Deron Williams Skills Academy, and the Lebron James Skills Academy.

I always see you talking to some of the 2012 recruits, have you had a chance to talk to Tony Parker this weekend?

Oh yea, I’ve texted him and seen him here quite a bit. I still talk to him about it. From the looks of it Duke still has a good chance and they are on his list. I’m just going to keep pushing it and messaging him about Duke so he’ll keep thinking about it and hopefully he’ll make that move.

Last question here: What’s your role like on Houston Hoops? I know you’ve got a lot of talented guards so are they asking you to be a scorer more or a facilitator? Both?

Well yea since we have such great guards in myself, L.J Rose, and J-Mychal Reese, the scoring is kind of spread out. Ya know anyone of us can score and we have some other players that can score as well so my role is just to bring energy, lock up the best perimeter guy on the opposite team and to score when it’s there. I try to do that every game to try and help us win.

Thanks for your time. Good luck the rest of the summer.

Thanks a lot. [/private]

BDN Premium checks in with prospect Peter Jok

Childhood years can be a tumultuous time for a lot of kids. At 3, Peter Jok lost his father to violence in war-ravaged Sudan. At nine, his mother ultimately moved the family to Des Moines, Iowa to begin a new life. Two years later, the young man put away his soccer ball and began playing basketball. At a reported 6’6,” he’s now successfully playing the sport that has helped several of his relatives achieve a college education and, in two instances (Manute Bol and Luol Deng), an NBA career.

After a season in which he didn’t enjoy his prior explosiveness, Jok underwent an MRI, which revealed a torn patellar tendon. In June, he’s expecting to undergo surgery to repair it and the rehab will take several months. Recently, Jok and his guardian Mike Dixon’s son, Pete, transferred high schools from Roosevelt HS in Des Moines to Valley HS in West Des Moines, where he will be coached by former Iowa guard, Jeff Horner. On the AAU circuit, the sophomore Jok is averaging 8 points and 4 rebounds per game in limited action for the All-Iowa Attack, who are 7-3 in Nike’s EYBL.

His older brother, Dau, was a freshman guard at the University of Pennsylvania this past season and is currently on a trip that will take him through Rwanda and Southern Sudan, distributing soccer and basketballs to young girls and boys. Dau Jok, who set up a foundation in their slain father’s name, Dut Jok, is looking to ultimately empower the Southern Sudanese youth through athletics and education.

Recently, the more laconic Peter Jok spoke with Blue Devil Nation.

How do you feel you’ve played so far over this AAU season? [private]

Well, I tore my patellar tendon. So, I’m really not supposed to be playing. I’m just waiting to have surgery.

And when are you scheduled to have surgery?

June. Well, the middle of June.

How long will it take you to recover from that?

Several months.

Wow, I’m sorry to hear that, but, hopefully, you’ll feel a lot better afterwards.

Yeah, I hope so.

In terms of a position, what do you view yourself as, long-term?

Probably, realistically, as a small forward.

For those that haven’t had an opportunity to see you yet, can you describe your game for the audience?

Well, I just like to play inside-out and my weakness, right now, is attacking the basket.  I feel like I have weak knees. Until I get my strength back, I don’t see any chance of it improving.

When did the injury occur or was it a gradual issue?

It happened last year in a Nike camp. I played through the season, but, when I finally got an MRI, they said I must’ve torn my patellar tendon.

I can’t believe you could play at this level with that issue.

Yeah, I know. (laughs)

In terms of your strengths, what do you feel are some of them?

On the court?

Yes, I’m sorry. On the court..

Probably my shot. My mid-range has gotten a lot better. I feel a lot more comfortable shooting  and hitting it.

Which teams are after you right now?

Yeah, but  I have a guardian take care of that. He handles all of that and so I don’t have to think about that.

Sure. Did you have a favorite team growing up?

No, not really. I watched a lot of Oklahoma growing up because my cousin was on the team.

Which cousin was that?

Oh, Longar Longar.

Sure.

Yeah, I used to watch him play.

 

Now, is it true that you’re related to both Manute Bol and Luol Deng as well?

Yeah, it’s true. When we first came here, I remember I spoke to Manute Bol at a family reunion.

 

In Iowa or elsewhere?

No, in Kansas actually. We have a lot of family there. So, yeah, he was very encouraging.

I know your older brother was a freshman this year at Penn.

Yeah, he is.
 

Have you ever spoken with Luol Deng?

No, but my older brother has. I don’t really, like, know him that well.

Is there a player that you try to model your game after?

Kevin Durant.

A very skilled forward. Maybe we can touch on your journey from Sudan to ultimately Iowa. It’s a unique story… coming out of a war ravaged area to Des Moines.

Oh, well, I came here when I was nine so I don’t really remember much.

Perhaps, that’s for the best.

Yeah, I guess and my mom doesn’t really like to talk about it that much.

Sure, nevertheless, you arrived in 2003.

Yeah, exactly, I arrived in ’03 and I started playing in ’05. I actually used to play a lot of soccer.

 

Now, do you still play that in the fall?

No, not anymore.

 

Concentrating on basketball?

Yeah, exactly, concentrating.

Who will you turn to for guidance whenever you do decide?

Longar Longar, my big brother, and then another cousin named Jok Jok…and then my uncles. They all look after me and guide me in life.

Are your uncles in Kansas?

My main uncle is in Minnesota and then my guardian…he guides me too.

His name’s Mike Nixon.

Yes, Mike Nixon.
 
Although it’ll only be until June, what are you hoping to accomplish this summer?

Not much. Just trying to wait until this knee gets healed.

Will you be able to work on your upper-body when you’re in rehab?

Yes, when I get to rehab, I will.
 

So, it won’t be wasted time?

Yeah, hopefully not.

What will you be looking for ideally in the program that you ultimately decide upon?

Just a team that runs and a good coaching staff.

So, you prefer an up-tempo system.

Yeah, definitely.

 

You’ve come a long way already and your brother’s in Philadelphia, but will distance be a factor for you?

I really don’t know. I’m not sure.

Do you have a time when you’d like to decide by?

To be honest, I’m not really thinking at all about recruiting.

What are some of your outside interests, outside of school and basketball?

I like hanging out with my girl.

Well, that’s a first, but probably a good use of your time.
(laughs)

 

Now, does she play too?

Yeah, she played a little bit at my old school.
 

I know that’s a touchy issue in your area and, perhaps, you’d rather not talk about it, but was it difficult for you to leave your prior school in the middle of the year?

Yeah, it was difficult, but…I don’t know.

 

In doing my research, I was surprised at how much discussion or contention there was over you leaving your prior school and joining a new one. Were you surprised  by that?

Yeah, I tried not to pay too much attention to it at the time.

 

Well, good luck at the new school. Was transferring a big deal to you?

Yeah, no, I was surprised by all of that.

Is it difficult for you to be separated from your mother so often?

Yeah, well, you get used to it. She came back last night. She goes back and forth a lot.

I’ve been there many times, but how did you land in Des Moines  or the greater Des Moines area, of all places?

My grandma was there.

Oh, your grandmother. That makes sense.

Yeah, she was living there.

What has your brother, Dau (freshman at Penn), told you so far about college basketball and the adjustments that he’s had to make, as he’s stepped up in competition? Has he offered you advice?

He’s talked about the need to tighten your ball-handling as much as possible and concentrate on defense a lot more in high school. Play as hard on that end as you can.

Do you guys plan on playing with or against each other this summer?

No, but we used to play all of the time when he was in high school.

Are you a good student as well? I figure, with your brother at Penn, you’ve got to be a pretty good student.

Oh, yeah, my mom’s all about that. My mother would never let me or my brothers get away without studying or putting in a good effort. She values an education.

That’s good to hear.Do you have a favorite NBA team?

Oh, the Lakers. The Lakers are my team. I love Kobe Bryant.

You mentioned before that Duke had called your house recently.

Yeah, they called my guardian.

 

Do you know which coach called?

No, I have no idea.

Would you be interested in them, if they decided to pursue you?
In Duke?

Sure, I would.

What’s your current height and weight? What height are you projected to be?

They say I’l be somewhere between 6’8 and 6’10.” I currently 6’6″ and 194.

 

What would you like to weigh by next high school season? You mentioned before that you were planning on working on your upper-body while you’re rehabbing.

Yeah, I’d like to weigh somewhere between 210 and 215 by the start of the season.

How are you going to try to keep the mid-range and three-point shot that you’ve been working on, while going through all of that rehab?

They said, after a couple of months, that I’ll be able to shoot on it. It shouldn’t hurt my shot that bad.

I would think this would be the case, but has it dramatically affected your leaping ability?

Oh, yeah, it has. It’s been terrible.

Yeah, in the past, I though you were frankly more explosive than you’ve demonstrated recently, but your shot is a lot more consistent.

Yeah, I was a lot more explosive

 

Hopefully, after this surgery, we’ll see you skying through the air again.

Yeah, I hope so.

 

Do you feel that you’re a better a shooter as well now?

Yeah, I think so.

In terms of next year in high school, what are you hoping to accomplish?

Win the state. Last year, we got knocked out way too early, but, next year, we should be really good.

Thank you very much for your time.

Oh, sure. [/private]

Alex Murphy – “The visit to Duke went great!”

Alex Murphy takes in the action while visiting Duke. BDN Premium has Murph's thoughts on the visit in our latest premium subscriber offering. LKI Images for BDN

The Duke Blue Devils may be in the midst of their basketball season but recruiting never ends and there has been a lot going on around the program of late.  Several  key recruits are in the process of or have already made the journey to Cameron Indoor Stadium to see the Blue Devils in person.  This weekend Duke entertains Shabazz Muhammad and Austin Rivers and that list may not be done just yet.

Last weekend Duke entertained young but talented 2013 prospect Jabari Parker and key target Alex Murphy.  BDN Premium caught up to Murphy before his game this afternoon at Middlesex and got his thoughts on his visit to Cameron and Duke.  Murphy not only has a game tonight but tomorrow as well and then they turn around and play in the Hoop Hall Classic on Sunday in another event BDN Premium will cover live.

The one word which best describes Murphy’s visit to Duke is great as you can see.  “Oh, the visit went great.  It was a great weekend down there.  I got there on Saturday night and stayed until Sunday, got to see the game” said Murphy.

Alex had taken some time off with his [private] Father to check out the Blue Devils win over Maryland in an ACC battle.  While he was originally supposed to stay a bit longer and wanted to, inclement weather force them to leave earlier than expected.  “Due to some weather conflicts we had to head out early Monday morning, but like I said the visit was great and while I got to see a little bit of campus during the Tournament of Champions, this time I got to see a game as well,” said the St. Mark’s marksmen.

Murphy has some familiarity with Duke in that they’ve zeroed in on the star as a priority need.  When asked if he knew any of the current players Murphy responded, “I know Nolan Smith real well, having met him at the Adidas Nations Camp in Chicago this summer.  And then I got to spend some time with the guys this weekend like Kyrie.  Of course, he is hurt but I did  get to spend some time with him which was cool.”

While Murphy may not know a lot of the current players he is getting to know some of the players in Duke’s incoming class.  “I know some of the guys coming in next year.  The one I know the most is Quinn Cook and then a couple of other guys too.  I know Marshall Plumlee real well and Austin Rivers too.”

Muprhy elaborated more by saying,  “I think it helps when other players going into a program recruit because they already have a feel for the school and the coaches they’ll play for.  Just knowing them before you get down there helps.  It’s like having a sense of familiarity with them before you get down there.  Of course, Nolan will not be there when I would but getting to know some of the guys I could be teammates with is definitely important.”

While his visit was a bit shorter than he wanted, Murphy was still able to get a look around.  “I saw a lot of the stuff that surrounds the game and of course the game itself.  I didn’t tour campus or see dorms unfortunately and if the time was there I would have probably stayed on Monday and met with the academic advisers down there.  But for the most part I got to see a lot of basketball related things around campus.  It was really good,” stated Murphy.

When asked of his reaction to the Cameron Crazies chanting his name, Murphy said, “In the pre game I was standing right under the basket with Kyrie Irving and the guys behind me were chanting come to Duke and as soon as the game was over, they continued to show love.  I kind of kept my head down but when they cheered my name I looked up and it was kind of cool.”

As for his future plans pertaining to Duke and other schools, Alex said, “Yeah, I will return.  Right now I have no set plans for getting back down there or any other school but I will definitely take my chances and go to some other schools but I will be back there at some point and time.”

Recap – We kept the conversation brief and to the point in that Andre Slater will cover Murphy during the Hoop Hall this weekend.  Murphy was kind enough to give BDN his initial thoughts on the visit despite his upcoming game.  He seemed genuinely happy with how the visit went and it is no secret Duke is one of, if not the leader for his services. This was of course and unofficial visit in that he is just a junior.  It’s getting hot around BDN Premium, so stay tuned for more information coming your way in droves over the next several days.[/private]

Tony Parker tells BDN Duke has offered

Tony Parker is claiming a Duke offer. Read more on BDN Premium

From Elton Brand to Carlos Boozer to perhaps maybe Tony Parker? The 6’9 278 lbs big man from Georgia is as talented as they come.  Major programs all over the country are recruiting him for his services and one lucky program will land not only a fine player but a fine young man as well. 

It was a big recruiting weekend in Durham, North Carolina and Tony was on hand to enjoy the kick-off festivities of the 2010-2011 season.  The four-star big man had a chance to take in the raising of the National Championship banner as well as the atmosphere of one of the most historic sites in college basketball, Cameron Indoor Stadium.  BDN got a chance to speak with the talented big man and get his thoughts on his visit.

BDN: Can you talk about your overall visit and what you did from when you arrived until when you left?

TP: It was a great visit I really enjoyed it.  It’s a great school and it has a really good basketball atmosphere. We got there kind of late but I still got to see quite a bit of the campus. I got to watch the blue and white game; I really enjoyed seeing how they play and how everything works.  Afterwards I went to the locker room and [private] met the coaches.  I got a chance to look at the rings, they were really nice.

BDN: What players or recruits did you hang out with during your visit? Did you know any of them from before?

TP: Of course I got to spend time with Quinn Cook.  I got to play with him on Team USA.  I also got to talk with Austin, Rodney Purvis.  There were a lot of great players there.

BDN: Did you get to tour the facilities?

TP: I saw a little but I didn’t get to see them all because I got there so late.  I’ve seen them before, I’ll probably take a longer tour next time.

BDN: Did you speak with Coach K in a one on one setting? What did you talk about?

TP: Yes sir I did.  They talked about me going there.  I got to meet his wife she was really nice.  I got to talk with Coach James for awhile.

BDN: What is your impression of the staff overall?

TP: They are a great staff, they really do a great job there.  They really push the tempo and they really love defense which is a big part of winning.

BDN: What was your impression of Countdown to Craziness?

TP: I had a really great time.  I thought it was very well organized and really enjoyed seeing them play.  I really liked it.

BDN: Did the staff talk to you about an offer?

TP: Yes they did.  They offered me.

BDN: Wow that’s great to hear.  What do you think about that?

TP: I just think it’s great.  The history of Duke is just, man its great period.

BDN: Does this change things for you with them?

TP:  Yea it does, they will definitely be in contention.

BDN: Did they talk about a return visit perhaps for a game?

TP: Yes we did but I don’t know when right now, it’s still in the works.

BDN: Thanks for your time Tony.

TP: No problem.(Note to members – I have yet to verify the offer but know one was likely to come – watzone)  [/private]