Tag Archives: Duke Hoops in China

In Depth Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

Duke will face a lot of key questions this off season and we bring you the skinny on several key issues - BDN Photo by Lance King

The Duke Blue Devils will head to China this summer and BDN Premium has some details of interest for our members.  We also take a look at the latest on the basketball recruiting front, and we break down several key issues and questions the team will face in the coming months in our latest team and recruiting update.

The season just ended but it won’t be long before a bevy of freshman prospects become true Blue Devils.  Duke will have all of the freshmen come in early in order to get acclimated with campus life.  While the [private] times may vary for each player, Marshall Plumlee, Alex Murphy, Austin Rivers, Michael Gbinije, Quin Cook and maybe another young man will all be on campus no later than mid-June.

Getting on campus early has always been a good thing for kids in order to play pick up ball and participate in local events like the NC Pro Am at N.C. Central University.  This year however, will carry extra off season significance in that the men’s team will be heading to China and Dubai where they are expected to play either four or five games.

Talk about timely!  Coach Krzyzewski and his staff saw this season coming and planned this long before any of us could have possibly realized the positive ramifications it would have  on a young, reloading team.  You see, Duke will be able to hold ten full throttle practices at their discretion before the trip takes place.  With 13-14 players expected at those sessions, Duke will have a jump on the process of  building team chemistry.

And there are many off season questions to be answered.  One we’ve brought up before is, who will run the PG position for the 2011-12 team? Quin Cook has all the tools but must adjust to the system and blend with the core returnees.  Tyler Thornton is tough as nails, played against Cook on many occasions in high school and he will certainly not roll over and give the position up to the freshman.  Then there is the possibility of Seth Curry getting time at the point in that it would be his position at the next level.  That would also allow for more firepower and combinations on the court.  And don’t think for one second that Austin Rivers will not be handling the ball or have it in his hands during key moments on the offensive end.

Another key question is who will be the captain(s) of this team? This question has puzzled some in the off season for there is no one name that simply jumps out at you when pondering the roster.  Can Seth become more vocal?  Will a Plumlee take a lead role?  How about the outgoing Josh Hairston?  Many questions lay in wait and that is why the summer excursion will be so vital to next year’s team.  Few “rah-rah” guys are on the team but it is not unusual for Duke to have quiet leaders, just look back at Kyle Singler.  A name we think might surface is junior Ryan Kelly in that he is a low maintenance, hard working player who does what he is told, but we’ll see and it will be fun to watch it all shake out.  “There is no timetable in naming Captains. We want to see who steps up and accepts that role,” stated a source as close to the team as one gets.

Some other questions answered will be what kind of offense will the Duke staff settle on this season?  Will they press more?  Will they run their offense through three or more players?  Can Austin Rivers be the go to guy as a freshman?  Will Mason Plumlee have the breakout season everybody thinks he can?  Will the ball go into him more?  Will Duke get out and run?  Can Duke develop more than the usual 7 or 8 players for the rotation with a deep team?  Will Miles step up as the lone senior?  The questions are endless and each will take on a life of its own.

Another key issue that many on our board and others talk about is who will redshirt?  First of all, a poster on the board asked how many redshirts can a team have and the answer to that is as many as they want each season.  “There is no limit on # of redshirts you can have. The only limit is the 13 scholarships we are allowed to give. Right now, there is no definite plan to redshirt anyone.  We want all of our guys to come in competing for spots and those decisions would not need to be made until next fall before our 1st game,” a source told BDN.  That means there are no set plans to redshirt Marshall Plumlee or say Alex Murphy.  Duke will allow and expect players to compete at their highest level and then they’ll take a look at their roster, season needs and depth at various positions.  And be sure to pay attention to the last part of the quote which stated it will be later rather than sooner before we know of the Blue Devils definite plans.

I have already stated that Duke will have ten practices before games but that is just part of the good news for team development.  Once Duke hits the road their is no limit to the amount of practices they can have.  That’s right! Duke can work the heck out of the guys and that will bode well come the early season in that it gives the staff a good idea of what they have to work with.

While pondering the journey ahead, it dawned on me that this would likely limit the amount of players that would participate in the N.C. Pro Am, the summer event we cover from end to end at NCCU.  I asked about it and was told they were uncertain how many players would participate in the event but that their time would be cut shorter than in the past. In short, expect some Duke players to participate in some of the games but at this time no firm plans have been made one way or another.

Who will wear #0? I don’t know.  In fact, Duke doesn’t even know what numbers the freshmen will wear yet.  I can, however, tell you that the numbers will be assigned before Duke heads to China.

Rasheed Sulaimon agreed to do a diary on the coming AAU and high school season for BDN.  He is working on his first entry.

What is up with DeAndre Daniels? All I can say is that the process of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s is taking place.  Daniels has in no way cooled on Duke, but he is taking his time and the staff is okay with that.  Several teams have turned up the heat of late, so there is fierce competition, but until I hear otherwise, I still feel Duke is right where they are supposed to be at this point in time.

What is up with recruiting in general? Not a lot of major changes since my last update on the subject.  The coaches cannot get out there again until the July period is over, meaning no open gyms, events and such.  But we can get out there and we will for you know you can count on BDN Premium to go to most of the major events, as well as covering the guys from a regional perspective. In fact, the irrepressible Andrew Slater is in the “D” known as Dallas for the Nike EYBL this weekend and you all know what that means!  In-depth interviews and superior board updates are Slater traits.  Quite often when one thinks of BDN, they come up with Watzone, a long time nickname I have had although I have never really gone by it.  I have been asked if it were italian, wat-zon-ne before but the best one was whether it was code for “what-zone.”  Anyhow, we have been introducing some new faces and we have plenty more to come but the staff will not zero in on those names until they can get out and see them in person.  Shabazz Muhammad and Tony Parker top the list still but others are being watched, evaluated and studied and we’ll let you know who the real prospects are and give you in person views.  Andrew and myself see the kids in person playing several games, mingle with sources and such.  Not to brag, but BDN has a pretty good one-two punch team not to mention tuned in posters and contributors. Add in our regional guys like Varand Kachadouri and others and you have the most unique premium site out there.

BDN Football Recruiting coverage needs more hype!  Those of you who follow football know just how good of a  job true Dukie Patrick Cacchio does with his tremendously informative Football Friday articles.  It hasn’t taken long for this site to set itself up as a true player in football recruiting and I will stack our dedication up there with anyone.  Spread the word that if you want to be a Duke Football Insider, this has fast become the place to be.

Changes and such. The season was overwhelming enough but then recruiting kicked in with little or no break.  I have mentioned that a few folks have inquired about bringing BDN in under their flag but as of now we have chosen to remain the best independent site out there.  Talks are ongoing but slow for we care about how content is presented and want to make sure if we ever join a group it is for the right reasons and it shares in our vision of bringing about the most intense, home-centric fan experience one can have.  I would also like to address site changes which are still in the works.  Our staff has had a hard time getting together on this due to unexpected events.  Susan Rego who holds the ship together will be headed for a long three week vacation in the coming days but once she is back and settled in, we will be tweaking the site and finally bringing you the database for prospects we’ve long promised.  I can assure you that a lot of thought has and will go into positive changes, making the site not just better but more user-friendly.  I am open to suggestions and you can e-mail me any thoughts concerning the site at watzonebdp@gmail.com.  Look for one change in the next week or so if all goes as planned where we have partnered with Duke Athletics.

Lastly, thanks for being a member of BDN Premium.  I feel BDN is bringing you the perfect balance of youth and wisdom these days.  Both Andrew and Patrick are in the under 30 club and they are true go-getters.  I bring experience from being around the program even before Coach K came in.  We have all forged genuine relations with top notch sources to bring you accurate, straightforward information you can bank on.  The site is steady as ever and the future is promising and we are glad you are a part of it.  Keep in mind that any member who refers new members of one year still gets their choice of Duke memorabilia or extended time on their membership.  We will clarify the program when changes come about.   Thanks for reading and Go Duke!

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