Tag Archives: Duke Basketball

Q & A with Duke co-captain Jon Scheyer

[private]How will this year's team have a deeper tournament run?

Last year we questioned ourselves a little bit and had an up and down season.  This year we realize how good we can be.

What happened last season?

We did have a great year last season until we lost our confidence in the tournament.  As a team some of us believed we were good in the press ... we are not missing any pieces this year.

What do you and the other captains bring to this season's team?

We can all work off each other.  Gerald does so much on the court and he's a great guy.  He's somebody we can look up to because he's so good.  He's a competitor and we play off that.  Greg being a captain before - his experience is so valuable.  Myself?  I'm just going to use my instincts.  These last few years I feel I've learned a lot and just being able to share that with the team.

What's the process one goes through to be a captain?

The team voted on it and the coaches made the ultimate decision.  Your teammates have your back and support you, so that's good.

How is this season's team different from last year?

I think the biggest thing for us is that we are a different team this year.  We're going into it fresh, with a lot of confidence.  You have to be confident and believe in yourself as an individual and as a team.  This summer, just looking around in the locker room we realize how good we are.  The freshman add some athleticism - we just feel confident.[/private]

A more confident Nolan Smith is ready to roll in 08-09

[private]I caught up to  Nolan Smith on Media Day while he was goofing around with Lance Thomas.  Lance was filming Nolan as he walked about the media interviews for the team website Blue Planet. They were there to have a good time and lighten the mood.

How was your summer?

It was great.  I really worked hard to improve my game and get better.

So, what's going on here?  You have Lance filming every move you make in the background.

Lance?  (smiling) This is um, the Nolan Smith Report.  I am kind of playing player, slash reporter going around and interviewing the guys.  I'm just seeing if they are ready to head into practice today and start the season.

So, what have you learned since walking around and filming these guys?

I learned that this team is ready to kick some butt!  Everybody is ready to go and excited.  It should be a lot of fun.  I'm having fun with the camera - players are smiling when I slip in over the media's shoulders.

What did you do in the off season?

In the off season, I went to Philadelphia and stayed there all summer.  I worked out with Michael Beasley and DeAndre Jordon who is with the Clippers.  We did four or five workouts a day getting stronger and quicker and just getting the ego.  Coach K really speaks about ego a lot with our team and I gained my ego back and I'm just ready to come here and lead this team and do what I can.

So you're going to play with a little bit of an edge this season?

I will play with a nice edge.

A little bit of intensity ...

Yes, yes a whole lot of that and now that DeMarcus is gone I feel that's my spot - picking it up on defense and guarding the best player on the floor on the other team.

Do you feel like you have to step up and show a little leadership this season after having a year under your belt?

Oh definitely.  As you get older, you've got to get more wisdom and leadership.  I'm definitely looking to do that - talk more, last year I was definitely quiet, and that's all freshman.  Now, with a year under my belt, I know what to tell these guys. I know how to save coaches voice.

Can you tell me a little bit about the freshman?

Elliot is just athletic and he can play.  He can jump, score and defensively he can really get after it.  He's long and he's really going to help us a lot.

Miles Plumlee is going to give us some size.  He has great hands and he really knows the game.  We need a big 6-11 guy inside to help Kyle, Zoubs and Lance with the rebounds.

And then Olek, he can jump out of the gym.

How do you pronounce his last name?  Is it Chiz?"  I know  when you were playing over at NC Central during the NC Pro Am it was pronounced different on occasion.  It sounded different each time he said it as well ...

(laughing) Yeah!  Olek ...  He might pronounce it different each day, but I'm going to stick with "Chiz."

Okay, I think we'll adopt that.  They called him OC over there ...

Yeah, Olek Chizzzz.  He'll be an exciting player to watch.

You guys are really deep this year.  In your opinion will that allow you to play more people?

It's definitely going to allow us to save our bodies, play more people at every position - stay fresh and wear people down.

Is there a team motto or a key word going into the season?

Well, one would be don't be soft.  We've been working hard all summer to get strong and we don't want teams to push us around at all.  That's one of our (team) main focuses.  The other would be to have fun and win.  Everybody o n this team knows how to win.  We don't want to win by one or two.  We want to whip teams this year and have fun doing it.

You mentioned that edge ... will you take that into the Blue and White game?

Of course, of course.  You have to have that edge at all times.  Everybody on this team loves each other but when we practice, we've got to have that edge.[/private]

Brian Zoubek talks about the freshmen, his healing process and the coming season

[private]Brian Zoubek shares his thoughts on the freshmen and more importantly the status of his health after off season surgery.

How much have you been playing since the injury?

I haven't played in terms of organized basketball in a long time because I had surgery after the season.  We've been going at it as a team in pick ups since mid summer.

Can you give me a synopsis on how the healing process has or is going?

I feel great right now, I got an x-ray the other day and it's perfectly healed and I'm ready to go.  I feel strong and I hope I don't have any problems this year, it doesn't look like I'm going to.  So, if I'm smart about it all will work out. 

Being smart - can you elaborate a bit more on that?

I have some customized plans for workouts - agility and all that kind of stuff.  It's a little different when you are 7-1.  You can't always do what the guards do, especially with that injury.

You have been having a lot of fun in the Quad before football games with Jon.  You guys battle a bit in the various events -

Me and Jon are great friends and we just have to have fun.  That's what the whole attitude is with the team, we just try to have fun.

So, you are going at it pretty hard?

Yeah!  I've been doing everything.   My leg strength and conditioning isn't 100% back yet, but it's coming.

Might Coach play you with, say a Miles Plumlee?

It's possible.  We'll have to see what works.  I feel like I can work with anybody on the team.  We'll see what we see in the first couple of games.

What are your thoughts on Plumlee and Czyz thus far?

I think Miles is doing a great job.  He's really going to be able to come in and give us a lot of strength and a lot of size.  He knows how to play.  I think Olek is doing well and we  will have a lot more depth.

Can you tell me the differences in Miles and Olek?

What is Miles is obviously a little bit more of a five.  He protects the basket and plays off people really well.  Olek plays more outside, but he's really explosive and can get to the rim and rebound.  So, they both do very different things.

Is having a guy close to your height in Plumlee a good thing?

Yeah!  It's a great thing.  We can sub for each other in the game and help each other out.  Playing against each other in practice every day is huge.

Any personal goals for the coming season?

Most of it's team, but we all have some personal things we'd like to do, so I will have to see where I am.

Thanks for your time and good luck!

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Singler is rested and ready for the upcoming season

[private]What more can a coach want than a player who can pretty much do it all?  That versatility is what rising sophomore Kyle Singler brought to the table last season on his way to being named the ACC Rookie of the Year.

It's no secret that Kyle wore down a bit last year, so he took the off season to reflect and address what he could do to prevent that from happening again.  "I took some time off and rested a bit, spending a lot of my time in the weight room and playing a lot with the guys too," said Singler.

A lot of the rest and relaxation time was spent at his home in Medford, Oregon.  "It's always good to go back home but some things change.  There were times when I just wanted to be back here, but it allowed me to get fresh and finally eat some good food."  Kyle looks bigger and certainly more defined, currently weighing 235 pounds which is a 20 pound gain.

When Singler mentioned good food, he was referring to his Mom's home cooking.  "I just packed it (weight) on but I didn't work out as much.  When I got back to campus I started lifting," said Singler, who then quickly said that he monitored the process closely in order to not lose any speed or agility.

When I asked how he might keep himself fresh during the season, he replied, "Last season was just really different for me.  Playing college is just totally different than what you would expect.  A lot of things I did last year were new to me, but now I have that experience and know what to expect.  I'm excited for this season.   You get a fresh start and I know what to expect.

There were occasions when Singler had to take on the big man for the opposing team.  If that is the case again this season, he will be up for the challenge but he does expect some help.  "I will be playing the same position as I did last year, but I won't have to be guarding the "five" as much as did last year.  We are deeper and have a lot of guys that can play down low this year if we stay healthy."

If Singler continues to improve upon his already solid game, the NBA questions will become more frequent.  "It's not something I think about day in and day out and I have to leave this year or something like that.  It's been one of my goals and one of my dreams.  I've just got to keep working hard and I'm in college right now and I'm here to win a Nation Championship," said Singler.

Much speculation has centered around the fact that the top of his class of 2008 has already moved on and that this might pressure the budding star to do the same, but Kyle seems to be running his own race for preparation.  "I would definitely look into it, but right now I'm here in college and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Side Bar - Singler played a few games in the NC Prom Am at NCCU over the summer.  The game reports can be found in our archives.  Singler is very actice in the "Read with the Blue Devils" program which serves the Durham Community.  Singler's three blocks in last season's opener tied him with the most in a collegiate debut with Mike Gminski, Cherokee Parks and Cameron Hall.[/private]

50 Minutes to Success

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The success of the 2008 - 2009 Duke basketball season will be dependent upon 50 minutes. That is 50 minutes per game as in 40 minutes per game at the Center position and 10 minutes per game at the Power Forward position. Duke is solid on the perimeter and perimeter players will pace the team with an emphasis on pressure defense, transition basketball, and 3-point shooting. If the front court can consistently contribute with points, solid interior defense, rebounding, and shot blocking, this Duke team has the potential to be special.

Kyle Singler will play 30 minutes per game at Power Forward, but the other 10 minutes per game will be up for grabs. All 40 minutes of playing time at Center are available. There are five players competing for those 50 minutes: Lance Thomas (6-8, 220), Brian Zoubek (7-1, 260), Dave McClure (6-6, 200), Olek Czyz (6-7 240), and Miles Plumlee (6-10, 230). The competition for playing time should be fierce.

Last season, front court players, Lance Thomas, Brian Zoubek, Taylor King, and Dave McClure combined to contribute 14.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 47.6 minutes per game. Starting Power Forward Kyle Singler averaged 13.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and .7 blocks in 28.6 minutes per game.  All together, Duke's front court contributed 27.9 points, 16.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 76.2 minutes per game.

In contrast, out in Lawrence, Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Sasha Kaun, and Cole Aldrich combined for 33.9 points, 19.9 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks in 75 minutes per game for national champion Kansas.  Over in Chapel Hill, Tyler Hansbrough, Deon Thompson, and Alex Stepheson combined for 35.3 points, 19.5 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks in 68.9 minutes per game.

This season's team must achieve more production, from those approximately 50 minutes of playing time, to complement Kyle Singler's efforts. The key to success is having consistent production across all five positions. For the last two years, Duke has at times played four on five on the offensive end of the court. For the first two years of their careers, Lance Thomas (63 games) has averaged 4.15 points and 2.9 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game, while Brian Zoubek (57 games) has averaged 3.45 points and 2.8 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game. Rising Senior Dave McClure's numbers are 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game over 88 games.

The efforts of the aforementioned three players have been hampered by injury and sickness. Brian Zoubek has had surgery on his foot twice, Dave McClure has undergone surgery on both knees, and Lance Thomas has suffered from severe ankle sprains and a respiratory infection. If they can achieve and maintain good health, these three veterans have the potential to be much improved this season.

Two new front court players will suit up for the Blue Devils this season. Miles Plumlee and Olek Czyz are arriving in Durham as the # 40 and # 92 ranked players, respectively, in the Class of 2008, according to Scout.com. Plumlee, at 6-10 230, is noted to be a skilled player on both ends of the court, while Olek Czyz, 6-7 240, is a raw talent with very good athleticism including a 40" vertical. Adjusting to Duke's defensive scheme will be the major obstacle to playing time for these two freshmen. If they can learn to play Duke Defense, they should challenge their upper class teammates for playing time.  Unquestionably, they will add depth to Duke's front court.

With five players competing for those 50 minutes of available playing time, Duke is in good shape to see more points, rebounds, and blocked shots produced. With added production to a team that averaged 83.2 points per game and achieved a 28-6 record last season, the Duke Blue Devils will achieve much more success in the 2008 - 2009 season.[/private]

Ryan Kelly will play his collegiate basketball for Duke

[private]Ryan Kelly has decided that he wants to play his college basketball for Coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils.  Kelly is a 6-9, 210 forward who plays his high school basketball for Raleigh Ravenscroft, under former Duke player, Kevin Billerman.

Kelly took his time with the process, making visits with all of the teams on his final list while analyzing his ability to fit in and be comfortable.  Kelly chose Duke over  Georgetown, rival North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia and Wake Forest.

"From the beginning, my family made it clear to me that this was going to be my decision. To that end, after gathering a great deal of information, thinking through things clearly, I am ready to announce with confidence that I will look forward to attending Duke University," said Kelly.

Kelly went to the ESPNU Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina today to announce his decision on the Recruiting Insider.

“Although I have enjoyed meeting so many terrific coaches and players at each of the schools I have considered, I am ready to move forward and focus all my efforts on finishing out my senior year at Ravenscroft,” said Kelly.

During his junior campaign at Ravenscroft, Kelly averaged 23.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG to go with 4.0 blocks.  He played for Team USA U-18 team which won the silver medal this past summer and he started most of the games.  Kelly also played his AAU basketball for D-One Sports where he was teammates with one of the nations top uncommitted prospects, John Wall.  Kelly was also invited to the NBA Top 100 Camp last July.

Kelly fits the mold of past Duke big men like Danny Ferry in that he has the ability to go inside and out.  The Blue Devil Nation saw several of Kelly's games over the past two summers and he consistently improved his game during that time.  Kelly is the 12th rated  player in his class according to ESPN Scouts Inc.

The strength of his game is his face up offense, where he is a very capable perimeter shooter.  His ability to draw his man out will likely loosen traffic in the paint in college.  Kelly has a cool demeanor on the court, never getting too high or low during contests.  He has a drop back fade in close making it difficult for opponents to defend him.  Kelly is also a very good ball handler for a big man and if described on one word, "versatile" would fit.

Kelly will have to work on his strength and his ability to be a force in the paint, but that should come with natural maturity.  Kelly joins Mason Plumlee as the second player in the Blue Devils class of 2009.  You can look forward to the match ups between their opposing schools Ravenscroft and Christ School of Arden the defending state champions.

Kelly has some basketball lineage in the family, where his Dad, Chris played his career at Yale.  His family is big on education as well.  In fact, Kellys Mom, Doreen is the head of his high school.  Kelly is slated to attend next weekends Blue-White game where other Duke commitments will join him. 

Coach Krzyzewski continues to reap the benefits of leading Team USA to the Gold Medal in Beijeng, China.  Duke will now  focus on Kenny Boynton, a scoring machine from South Florida.

To read more about Ryan's commitment and Duke recruiting efforts, subscribe to BDN Premium.  You can then discuss this great news with other members in a private forum.

There is also an amazing thread at Duke Basketball Report with 28,000 plus hits and counting.

Ravenscroft Accomplishments:
·         -4.1 grade point average
·         -2,150 score on the SAT
·         -Starter for the USA Men’s U18 National Team which won a silver medal in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Formosa, Argentina in July
·         -Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference Player of the Year (2007)
·         -North Carolina Association of Independent Schools 3-A All-State Selection (2007)
·        - Led team to second-straight TISAC Conference Championship
·         -Averaged 23.7 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks per game as a junior
·         -2007 GlaxoSmithKline All-Tournament team selection (led the tournament scoring with 78 points in three games)
·        

 Records at Ravenscroft:
-  Fourth all-time in scoring with 1,183 points (on pace to become school’s all-time leading scorer)
-   Career blocks (267)
-   Made field goals, season (239)
-   Field-goal percentage, season (297-479, 62%)
-   Points, season (712)
-   Scoring average, season (23.7 ppg

All photos are property of BDN Premium.  They were taken at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp this past Summer.  In the first picture, Ryan was originally on the baseline, but made a move and used the rim to his advantage as three defenders looked on.

BDN Premium is a subscription service which covers Duke Athletics and recruiting, offering behind the scenes tips and information on current and future players.  Our members can get an idea of today's daily recruiting news before it happens.[/private]