Tag Archives: Duke Basketball

Team USA spanks Germany — on to the medal round!

[private]Dwight Howard put on a show missing a single shot on his way to scoring a team high 22 points (9 of 10 FG's) while grabbing 10 rebounds.   Twelve American players played double figure minutes as the Coach K led Team USA demolished Germany 105-59.  The romp was from start to finish, starting with a Anthony lay up and ending with Paul assisting Redd for slam dunk.  James chipped in with 18, Bryant 14 and Wade and Paul had 10 points apiece.  Team USA is now 5-0 and continues their quest to bring the Gold home.

USA Today ESPN Recap Box Score

Next up - Australia on Wednesday[/private]

SJC Pro Am gearing up for the stretch run (corrected)

[private]Elliot Williams helped his E-Net team to it's third victory scoring 19 points in the process.  Williams had a fabulous first half where he at times seemed to be posturing for a highlight reel.  There was one sequence where he showed of his athletic ability.  He slashed to the basket finishing with an authoritative dunk which brought ooh's and ahh's from the crowd.  He then created a break after a turnover as he slithered through the defense only to be found with the pass where he finished by using the basket to his advantage for a reverse lay in.  IOW, he played a huge role for his team tonight and shows he is not afraid to play against anybody at this level.

He didn't do it all by himself though.  He was aided by Brandon Costner whose presence has helped E-Net win consecutive games.  Costner was strong in the paint, an area that had plagued his team in early losses.  E-Net was down by 10 points early, but stormed back to go up by 11 and hung on for a victory over.  Former Pack player Anthony Grundy led all scorers and has showed significant improvement since his days in Raleigh.

Three Dukies took to the court for the RDU Barnstormers in a game that would prove a defensive struggle.  The more talented Barnstomrers eventually won 48-47.  This team is guard heavy and guard dominated.  In fact, there is way too much dribbling and forced shots where they try to make the big play instead of finding the open man.  Sometimes the efficient plays bode better for the team than forcing the issue.

For the first time, SIngler was able to get a breather, alternating with Czyz.  I am not too sure how effective this was for the four guard lineup hurt in my humble opinion.  Singler struggled a bit on offense, possibly because last seasons ACC Rookie of the Year got five whole shots, making a deuce and a three.  He got to the line often, going 6 of 10 for a total of 12 points.  What many missed is that he is willing to do the dirty work and little things which equate to 5 blocked shots and 8 rebounds.

Low and behold, Olek Czyz didn't get a dunk tonight.  That's because he was used as a hacking dummy in an effort to keep the crowd favorite grounded.  Olek was 10 for 16 from the free throw stripe and that was all of his points.  He added 3 boards to go with 2 steals.

Nolan Smith is saddled on a team with many guards and it keeps the ball out of the hands of the talented player.  Nolan tossed in 15 points going 4 of 6 from the field and 3 of 3 from the line.  You would think with that kind of efficiency his teammates might get the rock in his hands more often.  He was smooth in his movement and his first half performance kept his team in the game.  Smith had 3 steals and a couple of assists as his team went to 6-3 which is still good enough for second place.

Lance Thomas was the man tonight and had to be for there was no Jerry Stackhouse, Green nor Davis for the Regulators.  After two consecutive dunks, LT helped his team to an early 29-12 lead.  During one sequence, LT dunked, rushed back to play the passing lanes, made the steal, dished to a teammate to start the break and finished it off with a reverse dunk.  Lance is a hustle guy who goes 100%  while he  in the game.  The wheels came off for the Regulators in the second half as they went down to a one point defeat, 57-56 blowing a 20 point lead.  Thomas had 17 points and a bevy of boards in the Regulators only loss thus far.  My report from the scorers table says LT was hacked hard as time ran out, but no whistle was heard.  Hopefully, a bit more consistency will ensue with the playoffs looming.

I didn't catch the nightcap, but got a call from the statistician who told me Gerald Henderson has 12 points with his team winning a 54-51 game over   There was no doubt that the overall play was hurt by physical foul-fests and forced shots on this evening.  Still, that's to be expected in basketball where o n a given night many things can happen.

The tournament will continue on Tuesday night with the final regular games and they will be hard fought in that they are jockeying for play off position.  They will then start the playoffs where the team are one and done.  So, get out there and support your favorite players!  The crowds have been consistent and again, there is an accommodating atmosphere at McDougald Gymnasium.

Standings going into the last regular game - Regulators (Lance Thomas) 8-1, RDU Barnstormers (Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Olek Czyz)  6-3, Team Williams 5-4, Team KG (Gerald Henderson) 5-4, Team Noel 4-5, Black Magic 3-6, E-Net (Elliot Williams, Steve Johnson) 3-6,  Team Felton 2-7 (Duke players in parentheses)

Official Pro Am Site Link

Pictures - (1) Elliot taking a three, (2) Elliot and Steve Johnson with Ridge and Corey (two of the kids our members sent to Carrawell James Basketball Camp), (3) LT readies to dunk[/private]

Olek Czyz: Athletic and Aggressive


For someone who has yet to even break a sweat in a Duke practice jersey, Olek Czyz has amassed quite a following among those in the Blue Devil fan base. Whether it is the traditional excitement and intrigue associated with a new recruit or the tales of internet lore spawned from his breath-taking dunks, Olek’s fandom expands more and more each day. The message board scuttlebutt regarding Olek’s recent aerial assaults during and after a particular game in the Greater N.C. Pro-Am has helped fuel the Olek hysteria. While Olek’s actual in-game contributions as a Blue Devil remains to be seen, Duke fans are understandably excited.

For the majority of Duke fans, Olek Czyz was considered somewhat of an enigma during his recruitment. While Duke fans collectively knew little about the Poland native, we all shared Coach K’s hope that Olek would commit to Duke. Although Olek is not highly ranked in the class of 2009, there was an intense recruiting battle for his services between Duke, Florida and Louisville. Despite standing at roughly 6’7”, supremely athletic and said to have a 40” vertical, Olek is considered to be unpolished and a developing prospect. What is not a mystery, however, is what college basketball’s coaching heavyweights saw in Olek: a tremendous upside and potential to explode at the collegiate level.

After formally committing to Duke on Nov. 14, 2007, Olek’s struggles in his game against Luke Babbitt were well-documented and discussed ad nauseam. His play on the court since that game, however, has been anything but a struggle: Olek scored 25 points in a state tournament semifinal win, scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds leading his team to the state 4A championship title, and then won the MVP award in the Capital Classic all-star game. While Olek has continued to progress each day, he remains relatively new to the game of basketball and far from refined. That is not to say that he cannot contribute immediately but just don’t expect an All-ACC Freshman Team campaign. Duke fans, therefore, should be cautioned to temper their expectations accordingly. Being a combo-forward in the Duke system, Olek’s minutes will be limited as Duke’s veterans will occupy the majority of the playing time at the small forward and power forward positions.

Olek’s recent performances in the summer league games against tougher competition demonstrate some of the shortcomings and deficiencies in his overall game. Fans that have attended the games routinely state that while Olek relentlessly attacks the basket when he has the ball in his hands, at times he appears to get lost in the offense. While he can explode vertically, Olek’s overall skill set needs to be improved upon: positioning, shooting, defense, footwork and rebounding.

As with any Coach K recruit, the fantastic part about Olek is that he recognizes his weaknesses and is more than willing to put forth the necessary effort to maximize his potential. While many players with Olek’s physical prowess choose to ignore their limitations and try to mask them by relying on innate athleticism to get by, Olek recognizes he needs to work on his overall skill set. In a recent Reno Gazette-Journal article Olek stated, "Different people develop differently and, you know, I never reached my top notch yet. I have more up in my sleeve than I showed in my senior year. I have a lot of things to work on still, and once I get those things right I can turn out to be a really good player. Duke is a program that can do that for me. They have the best training in the nation; that's what I think.”

With his size and athleticism coupled with his desire improve, Olek will only get better and better every year he is at Duke. Just remember that while Olek may not set the ACC on fire his first year, there is a bright future ahead at Duke for him. As fellow BDN premium member HWAC42DEVIL told me, “At the end of the day, OC will be a solid contributor who will have a high FG %, can shoot FTs (he had some very clutch makes) and will get the crazies on their feet will his amazing repertoire of power dunks. I fully expect that OC will only get better practicing against, Hendo, LT, Singler, Zoubek, and Plumlee in practice. With a little polishing, the Polish Thunder will be a very special Duke player.”

By the time Olek is a veteran of the Duke system and earning All-ACC honors along the way hopefully we will all recognize what Coach K, Pitino and Billy Donovan envisioned when they were recruiting Olek.

This article is courtesy of Blue Devil Nation Premium member John Hayne.

Scrappy Dave McClure has a nose for the ball

The signature moment to date in Dave McClure's tenure as a Duke Blue Devil is his game winning basket against Clemson on January 25, 2007.  McClure caught a pass from Jon Scheyer and sank a basket over K.C. Rivers as time expired giving Duke a 68-66 victory.  It was vintage McClure - hustling to the right place at the right time.  In describing McClure, Coach Krzyzewski stated, "He makes simple, terrific plays."  Three nights later, against Boston College, Dave McClure hyper extended his left knee.

 

His career at Duke has been hampered by injuries.  He has had surgery on both knees while a Blue Devil.  McClure missed the entire 2005-2006 season after having left knee surgery on February 1, 2005.  Surgery on his right knee was performed on August 21, 2007.  McClure has played in 88 games for the Blue Devils and averaged 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game.  McClure was most productive as a sophomore, in the 2006-2007 season, when he averaged 4.2 points and 4.9 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per game.  He started 11 games in his sophomore season.

 

The 6-6 205 pound redshirt senior was ranked as the # 57 player in the high school Class of 2004 by Scout.com and arrived at Duke with a reputation as not being the most athletic player, but a guy with high basketball IQ.  Dave attended high school at Trinity Catholic in Ridgefield, CT and helped the Crusaders win three state championships.  At Duke, McClure has demonstrated he has a nose for the ball and is willing to do whatever it takes – dive on the floor – jump into the stands – battle bigger opponents – to gain possession.

 

What will McClure’s role be in his senior season?  It is a given that Coach Krzyzewski will look to McClure for leadership, but it is less clear how much of that leadership will actually take place on the court.  With the arrival of two freshman front court players, Olek Czyz and Miles Plumlee, and the possibility of a healthy Brian Zoubek, McClure will face tough competition for playing time.  His new teammates are bigger and have two healthy knees each, but Dave McClure has the advantage of experience in the Duke system and understanding Coach Krzyzewski's desires in given situations.  That is a big advantage but in and of itself will not be enough to secure playing time.  Dave McClure is going to have to out perform his teammates in practice to see the court come game time.  The jury is out and only time will tell the results, but scrappy Dave McClure will surely be hustling for every rebound and diving for every loose ball once practice starts.

Singler, Williams, Czyz and Johnson shine at SJG NC Pro Am

The SJG Greater North Carolina Pro Am is in its first year of existence and is holding the event at McDougald Gym on the campus of North Carolina Central University.  The event features players past and present from the likes of Duke, UNC and pretty much every area school you can name.

Former UNC player Jerry Stackhouse came up with the event with the help of two childhood friends.  In fact the "SJC" initials stands for the names of their Fathers.  The friends have know each other since elementary school in Kinston, N.C., thus the local flavor.  "We have four hours each Tuesday and Thursday where we are keeping some kids off the streets ... adults too for that matter," said Donyell Bryant.

Bryant acts as the commissioner, overseeing the event and making sure all runs smoothly.  "We don't charge people a thing to come in and watch the games, thanks to our sponsors."  He continued, "It's a great opportunity to get kids involved.  Parents can come here at a time when their is a tough economy and spend some quality time with their children for free."

The plans are for the event to grow and it surely will.  There was a fan friendly atmosphere during Tuesday evenings games.  If you are anywhere near the Triangle area, be sure to stop in on Thursday.  The games begin at 6:00 and last through early August every Tuesday and Thursday evening.  Groups, churches and even entire neighborhoods are invited by the promoters, so get some folks together and come see some good ballin.

Now, I am sure you want to hear about future and current Blue Devils, so here we go.  The first game of the evening pitted against.  Freshman to be, Elliot Williams and Steve Johnson played for E-Net.

Elliot was late to arrive, but it didn't take long for his coach to get him into the game.  Williams wasted little time making his presence felt, scoring on dunks, three point shots and getting to the line.  Williams has put on a bit more size since I last saw him.  The strength of his game is the ability to beat his man off the dribble and create plays.

Williams drained a couple of threes, showed knack to make some tantalizing passes and when left free for even a second, he easily dunked the ball on slashing drives.  In fact, he was doubled as the game got into the final minutes.  Williams showed a lot of confidence and no player on the other team had an answer for him.  Williams ended the game with 22 points.

Williams teammate, Duke walk on Steve Johnson added 4 points.  Their team lost the game 65-59 to Black Magic.

The next game featured last season's ACC Rookie of the Year, Kyle Singler and incoming freshman Olek Czyz.  Neither of these players disappointed the fans. In fact, Olek Czyz was referred to as O.C. in that there was a lot of trouble pronouncing his name.  As you may have read, his ability to get off the floor and dunk anything near the rim is a crowd pleaser.  In fact, the opposing players often cleared out in fear that they would be posterized by a photographer who might catch them on the receiving end of a dunk.

Czyz (pronounced "Chiz") threw down five crowd pleasing dunks, many from unusual angles.  On this night, he showed a consistent outside shot from around the free throw line and drained a three.  While he certainly needs work in some areas of the game, Czyz proved that he can electrify the crowd in that he has plenty of athleticism.  More importantly, he plays hard all the time and seems to be in excellent shape.  Czyz ended the game with 22 points.

Teammate Kyle Singler like many have said has put on some size.  Some of that size is from his off season workouts, but most may be from natural maturity of his body.  In the first half, there was no doubt Kyle was the best player on the court.  He does so many things that goes unnoticed, be it playing the passing lanes, getting out on a man his teammates missed or making the pass or big play during critical moments.

Singler put the ball on the floor with ease, shot well from the outside, grabbed 11 rebounds and had 4 blocks to go with 16 points.  Not being a homer here, but the refs took him out of the game late in the second half, making three calls which drew disapproval from the 1000 plus fans in attendance.  But that was after his teams amazing comeback.

I looked up and the Barnstormers were trailing Team Noel by 11 points, just minutes later the tide turned and both Singler and Czyz played big roles in making plays, be it altering shots, grabbing boards, dunking, making a steal ... you name it, they helped spark a comeback.

Kyle Singler drained a key three point dagger at the end of a 12-0 run to put his team ahead for good 58-57 at the 4:03 mark.  How good was his team's defense?  Well, they held the opponent to just two points the rest of the way, winning 66-59 on an amazing 18-2 run to close the game.

Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Gerald Henderson were in the crowd to watch their teammates as was Chris Carrawell.  There is more coverage and details of the event on the BDN Premium Message Board.  Here is the link official link for scores, schedules and results.

Andre Dawkins talks of his dream coming true and more

One of the highlights for Duke fans during the Peach Jam was a chance to view Andre Dawkins, the first commitment in the class of 2010.  DeMarcus Nelson still holds the distinction of being the youngest player Duke has signed, but Dawkins is not far behind.

[private]Dawkins is one of three 2010 kids that plays for Boo Williams U-17 team.  IOW, he is playing with the older guys.  Boo Williams is loaded as well with the likes of Deshawn Painter, Steve Pledger, Kendall Marshall,  Marshawn Powell, Ricardo Ratliffe and Tristan Spurlock.  This means, Dawkins comes off then bench and is depended on for his scoring ability.

In this past weeks games, Dawkins wasted little time showing why he is such a component off the pine.  Immediately upon enetering the game, he dribbled to the right of the key and drained a three.  Just seconds later he hit another.  Yes, outside shooting is his strength and he's clearly the best at this on a talented team.

There are games which his minutes are cut, but next year, he'll be one of if not the go to guy on a team that will still have Marshall at the PG and Travis McKie and James MacAdoo among others.  When he gets more minutes, he will be scoring around 18 ppg during the AAU season and will still have another year left.

Dawkins is still very much a youngster.  He has a baby face and his body is still developing.  Development will be the key for Dawkins and he knows it.  "I think I need to work on getting to the basket more and not being known as a one trick pony.  To be just a shooter ... eventually you can be stopped, so I have to add more than just one dimension.  The Duke coaches have told me to be more aggressive," said Dawkins.

During the high school season, Dawkins takes to the court with teammate Oklahoma bound Steve Pledger from the class of 2009.  Having played together on Boo Williams helps.  Dawkins had this to say about Pledger, "He can see the floor very well.  He's definitely a pass first guy.  To be that good of a scorer and passer makes him easy to play with."

I then asked him what it was like to be a Duke Blue Devil and he stated, "It's cool.  I can say I'm a Blue Devil and that I've accomplished a goal."  He went on, "Once you commit, you get a little ribbing.  Kendall Marshall and I go into our Duke-UNC mode, but we're still alright."  He went on to say that he looked forward to carrying the new found rivalry to the college court in the future.

Dawkins attended a couple of games this past season and plans on getting down for more.  I asked if he envisioned himself dropping a three as the Cameron Crazies erupting ... "Oh yeah!  That's the stuff you dream about."  Dream was the keyword throughout the conversation.  There were four instances where he said being offered by Duke was a dream come true.

Finally, the world wants to know about his fiend Josh Hairston, so I asked about him and Dawkins responded, "I like playing with Josh.  He's a good guy and we stay in touch.  I would love to play with him.  I thought he would have already committed,  It's a big decision for him, so you don't want to rush it."

Blue Devil Nation will have a complete scouting report on his game later this week.  I have now seen him play in seven times and have a pretty good feel for his game.  We will also have an extended, in depth interview with Andre coming next week.[/private]