Tag Archives: Duke Basketball

50 Minutes to Success


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]

Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton commit to Duke

[private]Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton have committed to Duke University!  The BDN has learned from sources close to the situation that the two standout prospects from the class of 2010 made their selection today.  Welcome aboard guys!  Good job staff! 

Josh Hairston - (2010) 6-7, 200, Spotsylvania, Va.  Courtland HS

Josh continues to improve his game, having developed more and more over the AAU summer.  He has a nice inside-outside game and Duke will use him much like they did Roshown McLeod.  Josh picked Duke over Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Georgetown.

Tyler Thornton - (2010) 6-2, 180, Gonzaga HS  Washington, DC - Tyler is a true PG ranked hin the top fifty players in the class of 2010.  He is a hard nosed leader who loves to win.  He is Josh Hairstons teammate for DC Assault on the AAU circuit.  Thornton chose Duke over Georgetown, Stanford and Wake Forest.

"We got them," said Duke commitment Andre Dawkins.

"We're very happy to have them aboard," said a source close to the team.

The members of BDN Premium get reliable information and are often tipped off long before the real deal goes down.  I will have interviews with Hairston, Thornton, Dawkins and Plumlee up starting late tonight.  Why not join us on the inside by becoming a member of BDN Premium today![/private]

In Depth Interview With 2010 Prospect Harrison Barnes

As you already know, Duke has made five offers in the class of 2010.  This is a departure from the way they have done things in the past, meaning they have adjusted to the times.  While the offers are firm, Duke is still keeping eyes on some other kids, but we’ll talk about that later.

[private]Harrison Barnes holds one of those offers and the Blue Devil Nation got the latest from him last evening.  The interview was approached from a national stand point to ensure accurate answers.  As you will see, this one will go on for awhile and there are no true leaders at this time.  So, enjoy the interview and don’t read too much into anything.  FWIW, he really seemed to enjoy the conversation, so I hope that translates in this long and in depth interview.  Needless to day, we will not need to talk to him anytime soon for he was very open.

You were in Orlando recently for the AAU Nationals.  How did you play there?  Was it a good tournament for you?

Yes it was. We played well as a team and I also played well.  We made it to the Elite  before bowing out.

You play for All Iowa Attack Black, right?

Yes sir.

Let me make sure I have the general background information correct.  You play for Ames Senior High and are 6-6, 195?

I do play for Ames High and the figures are close enough.  I am around 190 now.

And you averaged about 17 ppg and 8 rebounds as a sophomore?


(Jokingly) Okay, I’m doing pretty good here so far.

Yes.  (while laughing)

Okay, back to Orlando.  I suppose you saw a lot of coaches in the stands?

Yes there was.  There were a lot of coaches which offered me a scholarship out there along with other schools that are showing interest.

So, there has been a lot of new schools come in of late?


The last time I checked, I think you had eleven offers?  Is there more than that?

Right now it is bumped up to like twenty.  Do you want me to read them off to you?

Sure, that’d be great.

Off the top of my head.  I think I have a list right here.  (seemed as if someone were handing or writing a list for him for he spoke the teams slowly).  DePaul, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma, USC, Tennessee, Texas, TCU, UCLA … umh.  I think that’s it.

Okay.  I think I had seen somewhere where UNC and Duke were looking at you. They haven’t offered?

Oh!  Duke!  They have offered.  North Carolina has shown interest but they have not offered.

With such a list of schools with deep traditions, do you think the local schools might be a little upset wanting to keep you in state?

(Laughs)  I don’t think they’re upset, but happy for me.  (meaning Iowa State)  You get pressure.  Some of the fans will say you should go to school “A” or school “B.”  I think in the end I picked another school they’d be okay with that and would understood I was doing what’s best for me.

Are you from Iowa your whole life?

Born and raised in Ames.

Being in the backyard of Iowa State, were they your favorite team?

Actually I grew up watching the NBA.

Speaking of the NBA, do you have aspirations to go to the league one day?

Yes.  (emphatic)

You are just 16 and have two years of high school ball left.  Have you thought how long you might stay in college?  Would you be a one and done guy?

Right now that’s so far off because the league is such a different animal than high school.  I mean I haven’t done anything at the college level yet, so ….

How do you keep yourself grounded.  Scout has you number three in your class, Rivals five, ESPN seven … That’s a lot of hype.  Is it hard to keep your mind grounded despite soaring in the rankings?

Not number one! (laughing)

(Laughing back) Okay, so number one is the deal now, if you hit that we will have to go back to that question one day.

Well, what I find that keeps me grounded is that there is always good basketball players no matter where you go,  Whether it’s the gym down the street or at the national level.  And I want to be the best, so I work hard every day trying to be the best I can be.

So, your goal is to be the best, number one?

Ah, in high school … yes, I would like to be number one.

Let’s get into recruiting a little bit.  I understand you will make your decision after your junior year?  Does that still hold true?

I will take my official visits and will decide shortly after that.

Have you been on or set up any unofficial visits?

At this point in time, I have not been on any unofficial(s).  I’ve been to Iowa of course.  I’ve been to the USC Elite Camp.

Have any schools talked to you about setting up unoffcials?  I don’t think you can take officials, until what, your rising senior year?

Yes, that is correct.  My Mom and I are discussing when we might can go out and see some schools.  We’re discussing that.

When will you narrow down the list?

(spoke carefully)  That is not a priority right now.  There are so many things that need  to be done, like finding out more about the schools.

You talk a lot of your Mom, so your parents will play a big role in your decision?

It’s mostly just family, my Mom and I.  She says no matter where I go she will support me 100%.

You have offers from as far west as UCLA and as far southeast as Florida.  Would she ever consider moving to follow you or is she entrenched in Iowa due to family and having lived there her entire life?

She will stay in Iowa no matter where I choose to go.  That fact that my sister (I will keep her name to myself) will be in middle school going into high school.  So she doesn’t feel like she would want to interrupt her education.

During the LeBron James Skills Academy, you sort of blew up and got a lot of eyes turning your way.  What was the experience like there?  Did you get to meet LeBron?

It was a good experience. I got to meet LeBron and Chris Paul and (emphatic) I got to go out and play against some of the nations best.  It was an opportunity to go against great players and measure yourself against them.

You will be playing in the Nike Global Challenge, right?

I will and it runs the 7th through the 11th.  It’s supposedly the top thirty players that were at the LaBron Camp and we will be divided into four teams.  We are the United States and we will play against foreign teams.

Would it interest you one day in playing for the USA?  The Olympics are getting ready to start … Duke is recruiting you, is it kind of cool watching Coach K?

(laughs) Yes, it is, it is.  It’s a great honor just to have known him let alone have him recruit me.

So you guys have talked before?

Yes I have.

Would that interest you playing for Team USA one day?

Yes it would.  Getting to the league is my goal, but playing for Team USA, that would be a great honor.

You speak of getting to the league,  Would that mean you would look for a team with a coach that has a track record of getting players prepared or have success in numbers?

Yes and no.  I would like to go to a school that sets me up for the NBA, but that wouldn’t be one of my main issues.  My priorities are academics and fitting in well with the basketball team.

Have you given any thought as to what you might like to take in college at your young age?  Is there anything that interests you?

Business Administration and Finance.

You were on the track team, competing in the high jump, long jump … ?

(laughing) You know your stuff.  I have been into track before basketball.

Okay, so that’s kind of when you started your athletic endeavors, huh?

That’s correct.  I started track in about the third grade.  I didn’t really get involved in basketball until aboutthe fifth grade.  If I had to choose, it would be basketball.  I do run track.  I did so this past season and will likely continue to through high school.

How did you get your start in basketball?  Is it something that just happened?  Was there a mentor who said something like I think you will do well in hoops?

My Father played at Iowa State.  His name was Ron Harris.

Okay!   (jokingly) So there are really some Iowa State ties, huh?  You have your Dad there, grew up in the backyard, your little sister is probably saying, brother don’t leave me …  I mean you have to be the pride of Iowa.

My sister is okay with where ever I go.(Laughing)

What Head Coaches have you talked to?

Head Coaches would be, Coach K, Coach Donovan, Coach Self, Coach Floyd, Coach Williams at Maryland, Coach Wainwright, Coach Gillespie, Coach Webber …

Wow! That’s a who’s who.  Kentucky has really been pushing hard from what I’ve heard.  I think I heard that Jeff Berstrom??? had some ties to Iowa State?

Yes, he was working with the aerotech program for one year at Iowa State and then went to Kentucky.

(I then asked about some assistants who were supposedly lead recruiters which he confirmed.)  So, what will you do the rest of the summer?

When I am home I just rest my body and hang out with friends.  It’s been a long season and I haven’t had a lot of time here with my family.

I can only imagine.  I’m sure your Mom is happy to finally see you.

Actually, she travels to all my tournaments with me.

Oh she does?  That’s fantastic she is able to do that.  Is it nice having her on the road with you?

Yes, she is always there for me.

So both of you are well traveled for the AAU circuit is all over the place.  Were there any pars of the country you really liked?

Yes we have. (laughing)  We have been on the road constantly, so we’ve had little time to sit back and reflect.

How are your academics?  Every thing I have heard about you says that you are very well rounded not just on the court but off.

I have a 4.39. (laughing)

That’s pretty good!

It’s okay.

Oh, so you want to be number one in academics to?

I would strive for the perfect score, but I came up way short.

How are you dealing with the media end of the process.  I am sure you are getting a lot of calls.  Does it become tiresome?  I know sometimes they can pound the phone lines.

Not yet.  Right now it’s something I can manage.  My Mom is okay with it so far.  She wants what’s best for me.  I get about two or three calls a day.

What position do you actually  play in high school?

Actually, I play everywhere.

That’s what I thought.  That’s often what goes on at the high school level.

Yes!  I play a forward to kind of a wing to bringing the ball up the floor, just where ever.

What do you envision yourself playing in college?

The two or the three.

You are sixteen and 6-6.  Do you still feel as if you are growing?

I think I might grow about two or three more inches.  I have grown about two or three inches in a little over a year.

You have a bright future and I greatly appreciate your time and have enjoyed talking to you.  I will be following your progress throughout your career.  Tell your Mom thank you for letting me talk with you and the best of luck to you throughout your career.

Thank you!  I enjoyed talking to you as well.[/private]

Lewis and Paulus are selfless leaders who are enjoying the Duke experience


It's always nice when Duke Student Athletes support one another.  Just ask Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis who recently told BDN, "When you sign on the dotted line to attend Duke University you are embracing a family whether you are a student or student athlete."

He went onto say, "I want them (athletes) to support me, so I go out and support them."  Lewis could be seen at the Coach K Academy this summer checking out all of the former Duke players while stopping to talk to a couple of current players like Greg Paulus.  "I wish I could get out there on the court," said Lewis during that event.  He went on to say he played basketball in high school.

Almost all athletes at Duke played multiple sports at one time.  The aforementioned Paulus was one of the top rated quarterbacks in the nation out of high school.  In a twist of irony, Paulus could be found at a recent football practice peering on much like Lewis did in Cameron, wondering what if.

Lewis and Paulus are two perfect examples of the kind of special athlete Duke produces both on and off the court or field respectively.  Both could be seen at various Duke sporting events last year and both are willing to put in the work for their university of choice.

I mean, talk about being selfless!  Lewis could be field on the field handing out water to prospects during the Duke Football Camps.  Paulus could be found  atop the hill in the new practice facility waiting to give attendees to the Coach K Academy rides to and from their motel.  Just take a second and imagine Lewis handing you a gatorade and Paulus saying "where to," as his van loads.

"Greg Paulus is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.  He'll do anything for his school," said recently retired Frank Dascenzo of the Herald Sun while the two of us sat in the new practice facility during the K Academy.

Lewis also supported the basketball Blue Devils at the recent SJC Pro Am event at NC Central University.  It's kind of nice when Singler, Williams or Smith can look up and see Duke's starting quaterback in the stands.

There is one bond that ties the two together besides being the engine to their respective teams.  That being each one is throughly enjoying their Duke experience.  "Duke is somewhere you can be comfortable at.  It's somewhere where you want to be and it's somewhere where they want you," said Lewis.  He went on, "It's family oriented around here and I'm enjoying every mintue of every day.

So, if you happen upon Paulus or Lewis around campus or in any environment, you will see two Duke student athletes who strive to not only give their best, but to support one another.  Perhaps more importantly, they are enjoying their Duke experience.[/private]

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]