Tag Archives: Duke Basketball

Rumors about Dawkins forces a press release

Dre throws down a slam! BDN Photo

How bad were the web based rumors surrounding Andre Dawkins?  So bad that the Duke Sports Information Department released a brief statement saying he will remain at Duke but could redshirt this coming season.  It’s a shame that we live in a world where some feel compelled to break something like this once they get wind of it.

But whether there is smoke or a blaze want-to-be insiders who are self appointed experts via an anonymous posting name or a twitter account force the issue to light before it’s time.  This has been the case with Andre Dawkins this off season and there seems to be no end in sight of fans that clamor to know all the details be they private or not and hang on every false and outlandish rumor.

While it is certainly natural for fans to show concern and want to know why a possible redshirt could take place, you can bet there are personal reasons.  And personal reasons mean just that and are sensitive in nature.  Unfortunately that leads to more speculation and people have a tendency to think the worst.

Dawkins came to Duke a year early out of high school and he is attending his dream school.  And it is also a well known fact that he lost his sister to an very unfortunate automobile accident in season not that long ago.  In short, he’s been through a lot.  But what I just said may or may not have something to do with what is going on, so you can see the danger of speculation which will lead to yet another probable release.

So while many of you are curious I encourage you to not speculate and be a part of the ridiculous rumors that surround the program these days.  Allow the process to work it’s way out for I can assure you it is a bit liquid in nature.  Give Andre and the team for that matter a modicum of privacy.

And support Andre with well wishes instead of questions.  Just act the way you want others to if you were in his place.  Athletes are under a red hot light where almost everything they do is scrutinized and it’s sad that every time you turn around, some fan wants to play insider on a message board and speculate so much it becomes real to many.

Just give Andre a break yall and if you want to come in out of the Wild Wild West of reporting, join BDN Premium and get accurate and timely info you can depend on.  I’m unsaddling my high horse now and hope I at least made some of you think before you participate in the next rumorfest.

 

Virginia Tech v Duke

Duke Basketball Monday Morning Notebook

The Duke Men’s Basketball team headed back to Durham yesterday morning where they turned their attention to the announcement of the 2012 NCAA Tournament pairings.  As expected, Duke landed in Greensboro where they’ll take on Lehigh around 7:10 on Friday and should they advance, they take on the winner of the Notre Dame vs Xavier game.  The Blue Devils have been one of the top eight seeds in 14 of the last 16 NCAA Tournaments.

Taking a quick look back at the ACC Tournament

I can assure you the team is already focused on Lehigh but let’s take a quick look back at what happened in the tournament.  First off, it was clear that the Duke offense missed Ryan Kelly and that they were adjusting to his absence.  The Blue Devils managed just 59.5 ppg while shooting 37% in the two games.  The Blue Devils got 17 ppg from Austin Rivers and 12.5 from Seth Curry but the rest of the team struggled to score.  Of course, that was partly due to playing some really hungry teams and the Duke defense played as well as it had all season, thus the close games.  The loss to Florida State certainly hurt, but the Seminoles then beat North Carolina proving that they were the best team in Atlanta.  Had Duke got another stop or had a made bucket here or there, they would have been in the final game.  The Blue Devils have dominated the tournament in recent years winning 10 out of the last 14 and the experienced Seminoles won their first tournament ever.   The Blue Devils played with effort but a few mental lapses proved their undoing but in the end, there is no shame in losing to a red hot FSU team that earned a 3rd seed in the NCAA Tournament with their play. The one thing which Duke will need to control going forward are their turnovers if they want to advance.  The Blue Devils had but 8 against Virginia Tech but that number doubled against Florida State with a total of 16.

The seeding

Duke was selected as the #2 seed in the South Region which means they will head to Greensboro and if they survive two games, they will head right back to Atlanta.  One might call me biased, but the Blue Devils got one heck of a Road to the Final Four.  The South Region features the #1 overall seed in Kentucky who will play on familiar turf.  Then there are three of the last four teams from last seasons Final Four in the field not to mention the last two national champions.  Duke faces a pesky Lehigh team in their opener and could run into Mike Brey and Notre Dame in the next game should they advance or an Xavier team that started the season ranked 14th in the A.P. poll.  And then there is an ultra long and athletic Baylor team should they advance to Atlanta.  It is clearly one of the two toughest regions and as I said, I think it’s the toughest of them all.

Battled tested Blue Devils

Duke is battled tested due to playing one of the toughest schedules in the land.  With wins over Kansas, Michigan State, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida State they can play with anybody, so don’t think this team cannot make a run.  This team now has some tough skin and they know what it is like to play in close games, be they high scoring or defensive stand offs.  When the games get tight in the tournament and they will, Duke has been there before and that will certainly help.

Duke finishes 8th in the Coaches Poll

Rankings mean little right now, but unlike the A.P., the coaches poll comes out again after the conference tournaments and Duke is ranked 8th in the final poll.  Duke started the season as the 6th rated team in the country.

Getting Andre going

Dawkins is in a shooting slump as teams have learned to play him for the three point shot and the Blue Devils could sure use one of his explosive 20 point efforts in the NCAA Tournament.  Not a single point from Dawkins in the ACC Tournament is a red flag indeed and Dawkins is vital to the Blue Devils long term efforts.  Sometimes a player just needs to do all the other things on the court, such as crashing the boards, a pass for an assist or a defensive play and let his offense come at it’s on pace.  If Dawkins plays well off ball or without touches, his offense will come back.

Austin Rivers

Rivers has scored in double figures in 29 games this season and he’s been the Blue Devils most consistent scorer but his defense impressed me this weekend as did his hustle.  If there was a loose ball on the floor, Rivers was there and his overall game is catching up to his offense.  Rivers probably should have just pulled up for his missed three pointer against Florida State and that only proves that the freshman still has a few lessons to learn but perhaps the lessons to date will prove vital in the NCAA Tournament. 

Day to day for Kelly

Ryan Kelly has made progress with his foot injury but it’s be slow going for the Duke junior in an attempt to fend of reinjury.  Kelly is the 3rd leading scorer for Duke and his points were missed in Atlanta as was his ability to stretch a defense with this outside stroke.  Here is to a quick recovery for a key player in the Duke rotation.

 

Duke NCAA Tournament Factoids

Duke is 12-0 when playing NCAA Tournament games in Greensboro, N.C. Duke won the 2001 NCAA Championship after playing its first two games in Greensboro.  Duke has beaten a No. 1 seed eight times, the most No. 1 upsets in NCAA history. From 1991-93, the Blue Devils won 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament games which ranks as the second longest streak in NCAA history behind only John Wooden’s 38-game run at UCLA from 1964-74.  As the No. 2 seed in the tournament, Duke owns a 23-7 record. Duke won the 1991 NCAA Championship as the No. 2 seed.  Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is 79-23 (.775) in the NCAA Tournament and is college basketball’s all-time leader in NCAA Tournament wins. North Carolina’s Roy Williams is the next closest active coach with 58 NCAA wins.  Duke is 96-31 (756) all-time in the NCAA Tournament, ranked as the highest NCAA Tournament winning percentage of any program. Duke’s 96 wins are the third most behind Kentucky (105) and North Carolina (105) per Duke Sports Information.

A look at Lehigh

Lehigh gained an automatic NCAA bid as the Patriot League Champion and they ride an eight-game winning streak into tournament play. Lehigh has played NCAA Tournament teams Michigan State, losing 90-81 and Iowa State, losing  86-77  all on the road. Lehigh’s roster boasts the nation’s 5th leading score,  C.J. McCollum (21.9 ppg.)  This is the 5th NCAA Tournament for Lehigh.

 And tickets remain for Greensboro at Ticketmaster for face value, so hustle up and support the Blue Devils!

 

 

Duke Hoping That The Third Time Is A Charm

Duke Recruit Amile Jefferson, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

“Duke is definitely a great school and so I definitely have to take a close look at them. Coach K is a great guy and Coach Collins is a great guy. I’ve enjoyed talking with both of them and it’s just been great and I look forward to learning more about the school.”

-McDonald’s All-American  Amile Jefferson

 

Amile Jefferson, Photo Courtesy of Getty/Adidas

This weekend will be the third time that 6’9″ forward Amile Jefferson, who is HoopScoop’s #2 senior in the country, visits Duke. The versatile big man with a seven-foot wingspan first came to Duke as one of two sophomores invited Duke’s Elite Camp over two years ago and came back as a junior to the Countdown to Craziness for the unveiling of Duke’s fourth National Championship banner, but this will be his first Carolina game, which takes the passion of the Duke fan base to another level. This will be his first time visiting Duke University since receiving an offer from Coach Mike Krzyzewski in January.

 

Ten days ago, the cerebral Philadelphia area forward won his fourth consecutive Pennsylvania Independent Schools State Title for the Friends School. Despite tweaking his ankle, Amile out-dueled future Villanova big man 6’10″ Daniel Ochefu to go out with a state title, finishing with fourteen points, ten rebounds, and two assists in the Title game. Jefferson averaged twenty-one points, ten rebounds, and three blocks, while playing against the most competitive schedule of his high school career, including playing in the City of Palms and the HoopHall Classic.

On Saturday, Amile Jefferson will be joined at the UNC game by fellow McDonald’s All-Americans Rasheed Sulaimon, a Duke commitment and vocal supporter, and Shabazz Muhammad, who was his teammate this summer for Adidas Nations. It will be a big opportunity for the staff to close out its 2012 class and for the blessed recruits to take in college basketball’s greatest rivalry.

Amile Jefferson at the HAX, Photo by Getty/Adidas

 

The Final Courtship of Bazz

Duke's #1 Target, Shabazz Muhammad, Photo by David Becker/Getty for Adidas

Players dream of going out on top. In his final high school game, 6’6″ Shabazz “Bazz” Muhammad finished in dominating fashion, making thirteen of his fifteen shots to finish with thirty-six points in the Nevada state title game for the Gaels of Bishop Gorman last Friday night. The chiseled Las Vegas native won three state titles in his four years, averaged thirty points, ten rebounds, and three assists this season, and will go down as the greatest high school basketball player in Nevada history.

6'6" Shabazz Muhammad, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

Muhammad, a born scorer who plays with the relentless effort that coaches dream about and opponents fear, has been the number one target for Duke in the 2012 class for the past three years and first visited Duke for the Carolina game in Duke’s 2010 Championship season. He came back to visit unofficially again for the Virginia game last season with Chicago’s Jabari Parker. On Saturday night, Shabazz will use his final official visit to fly to Duke University to catch them play their arch-rival UNC Tar Heels. He’ll be joined by his dad, Ron, a former high-flyer from USC in the mid-80s, and fellow McDonald’s All-Americans, Rasheed Sulaimon and Amile Jefferson, his Adidas Nations teammate.

Last month, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski brought coaches Jeff Capel and Steve “Wojo” Wojciechowski to join him at the HoopHall Classic in front of a packed house in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the left-handed Shabazz Muhammad displayed his full arsenal of offensive weapons, unleashing everything from a windmill dunk to a step-back three pointer. Muhammad finished with thirty-seven points that night in a win against a very solid DeMatha team featuring multiple high-major caliber players.  In December, Coach K headed down to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to watch Bazz play eighteen minutes and score twenty-two points in a blowout win against Lakota East at the Beach Ball Classic.

Shabazz Muhammad, Ron Holmes, & Rashad Muhammad, Photo by BDN

Throughout the AAU season, Duke coaches were a consistent presence at Shabazz’ DreamVision games, including not missing a single game of his Super 64 run to close out the summer on his Vegas home turf. The prior summer, Duke coaches watched Shabazz as a rising junior and Muhammad, a die-hard Kobe Bryant fan, watched Coach K work with his Team USA Basketball hopefuls at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Duke Coaches Mike Krzyzewski, Steve Wojciechowski, and Jeff Capel, Stanford Coach Johnny Dawkins, and Harvard Coach Tommy Amaker, Photo by Andrew Slater/BDN

After an AAU season where Shabazz led DreamVision to three tournament titles and a HS season where he led Bishop Gorman to a 28-4 record, competing from Florida to California in big national showcases, and a third state title, Bazz Muhammad will spend forty-eight hours starting Friday in the Gothic Wonderland in Durham, NC on Duke’s campus. For the Duke coaches, this will be the culmination of their three-year courtship of this high-scoring power wing with a team-first mentality. For the Cameron Crazies, it will be their last shot to convince Shabazz Muhammad, the statuesque young man with a movie star smile and a violent dunking streak, to choose to spend his college year in the mecca of college basketball.

 

Duke Maryland 2012 296

Duke should handle the Hokies

The Duke Blue Devils had little time to celebrate another great road win over Florida State for Virginia Tech is on the horizon at noon tomorrow. The first thing that comes to mind is possible fatigue, but I doubt Krzyzewski will let the Hokies slip up on his Blue Devils nor will the team. You don’t earn your way to a tie for first with North Carolina and then blow a winnable game at home.

But the Hokies are not without talent and should Duke be sluggish, they’ll hang in the game. I’m expecting a big outing from the brothers Plumlee in this one. Mason who was saddled with early foul trouble should be fresh and Miles is playing like he has something to prove of late.

The danger with the Hokies is that they have nothing to lose and they’re fighting to stay out of the bottom three teams as the season winds down. They have a solid guard in Erick Green and Dorenzo Hudson, Victor Davila and Jarell Eddie are all ACC caliber players. The Hokies have a fair amount of depth as well albeit young.

The Hokies want a game in the 60′s at best and if Duke allows them to control the early tempo, then this will be one of those ugly games, In ugly, I mean a grinder of a game which is somewhat sloppy and slow. The Blue Devils will try to run at every opportunity in an attempt to break the Hokies spirit early on but considering the fatigue factor for Duke, I feel this will be a somewhat close game. The pick here is Duke 75 Virginia Tech 62