We'll have the BDN Chat Room open for premium subscribers from 9:30 to 10:00 eastern time this evening. I wonder what we'll talk about? LOL! Well, it's open for any topic but Harrison Barnes will likely dominate the conversation. It's a great time to join Blue Devil Nation Premium where you'll recieve full site access. **New members, keep in mind that you must register for the message board separately. Also, our message boards are private, meaning you must be a paying subscriber to participate or read any of the posts.
Well, if you have followed this or any other Duke site closely, you know that the nation's top rated prospect Harrison Barnes will make his collegiate choice this Friday. In this week's Monday Musings we take a look at his pending decision, Duke Football and the start of the regular basketball season -
Devils no match for Tar Heels - Make no mistake that Duke Football has been a pleasant surprise this season, but losing to your rival is always painful. Despite paltry offensive production, Duke was in the game in the fourth quarter against UNC and a couple of better thrown passes and a stop or two late in the game and Duke could have stole a win.
It's really tough to see any positives from the 19-6 loss to the team eight miles down the road. On the way to the game, the Duke buses came in just behind me on US 15-501 and got stalled in traffic. The irony is that Duke's offense stalled as well just over two hours later and the hopes of going to 4-1 in the conference were suddenly gone.
It does't get any easier for Duke Football - After getting beat up in the game, Duke must regroup in order to face the nation's seventh ranked team in the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Last season, Duke's offense looked just as bad against the Jacket's front, so all eyes will be looking to see if they can move the ball. Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson turned down the Duke job despite being offered more money, but Duke got the right fit in David Cutcliffe. Still, there is no secret that Johnson has little respect for the Duke program and that he will turn his wishbone loose in an effort to squash Duke's hopes of a post season invitation.
The basketball season officially gets under way - The countdown to tip off ends this Friday as the Duke Men's Basketball team will open their season against UNC-Greensboro in Cameron Indoor Stadium. This is without a doubt one of the most curious teams Krzyzewski has had in his thirty years. There is little guard depth, yet lots of front court bodies to work with and yes, take it to the bank, you'll see some zone defense this season.
Duke will be led by senior Jon Scheyer and All American selection, junior Kyle Singler this season. But it's the production they receive elsewhere that will be watched. You can certainly depend on Nolan Smith to have his best season in a Duke uniform, but there are some questions as to who will be fourth, fifth and sixth offensive options.
Harrison Barnes set to make his collegiate choice - BDN has been following the Harrison Barnes recruitment closer than any other Duke site on the Internet. We were there from the start when Barnes first received his offer shortly after the 2008 NBAPA Top 100 Camp. This past season alone our staff has seen Harrison Barnes play in 23 games, so we have more than just a little grip on what he can do.
All this week, we'll recap Barnes past and bring it up to the day of his decision. We'll kick it all off with a detailed scouting report and will of course re-visit our many interviews we've had with Barnes. Our premium boards have been hopping and rumors about his recruitment are a dime a dozen.
So, stay tuned to BDN for the latest on Barnes and the best analysis available.
This has been a huge week for Duke Basketball Recruiting and it all started when they got a commitment from Kyrie Irving on Thursday evening. Blue Devil fans are still celebrating and holding their breath until Harrison Barnes makes his decision. Barnes of course, is on campus this weekend.
The Barnes family arrived at 9:00 today and will spend 48 hours on campus. In fact, today's open practice featured Barnes and his mom and sister. BDN was on hand to check out our current players and naturally, take a look at what was going on around Barnes. We have also included a few photo's from the event below.
Anyhow, here's what happened - [private] Barnes came into the practice after it started and got a large applause from the many fans on hand. He initially sat with his family, but later moved to the bench area, where he unzipped his navy blue Nike sweat suit to reveal a Duke T-Shirt.
Just before that, a single yell of, "Harrison Barnes come to Duke," rang out and Barnes immediately smiled and waved in the direction of the fan.
The Barnes family seemed relaxed and likely a little tired after arriving early this morning. Duke Assistant coaches Nate James and Chris Collins each talked with Barnes as the practice went on.
Krzyzewski talked to Barnes on three occasions, but the last twenty five minutes of the practice, he had a one on one discussion with an attentive Barnes.
At the two hour mark much of the crowd had left, but Barnes got another ovation as he left Cameron and headed for the locker room.
For the record, my understanding is that smoke and mirror or speculation articles are out there on other sites. Barnes is not allowed to play pick up games after practice has started per NCAA guidelines. So, be careful who you listen to.
It's also worth noting, that no web site or media outlet is allowed to contact or talk to Barnes in any way while on campus. These rules apply for boosters too, so please be careful if you see him out and about. A passing comment of encouragement is okay, just don't engage him in conversation.
Don't look for too much information to come out on this one other than sightings. Duke has a full schedule for Barnes and he'll likely take in some of the football game tomorrow, which is a big one for Duke. Hopefully the weather holds up as it did today. With the leaves changing colors on campus, it makes for a nice backdrop. [/private]
There are a lot of special surprises in the works for this Friday's Countdown to Craziness, so be sure to either attend or tune in to this event. More details are forthcoming, but they want to keep some of the entertainment and activities under wraps. The promotions for this event are listed at GoDuke.com or the Countdown for Craziness site.
In a recent talk with an assistant coach, I was told that every single player had come back better than they were before. As always Duke will adjust their team to the personnel at hand. All three freshman are expected to play key roles in their first season. Andre Dawkins will be asked to feel some big shoes which formerly belonged to Gerald Henderson. Ryan Kelly will add versatility and Mason Plumlee will almost certainly start in the post. Kyle Singler will be allowed more freedom which may mean we'll see what he can do at his natural position. We've hinted that Nolan Smith could have a breakout year and they will give him more of a leadership role as well. Jon Scheyer has them excited and there are no worries that he cannot thrive once again as a dual point with Smith. BDN will bring members the news from Wednesday's season opening press conference with Coach Krzyzewski in a live blog and will have audio up shortly after the gathering.
So far, there are four visitors slated to attend Countdown for Craziness. [private] Marshall Plumlee leads the pack of prospects and he'll be joined by Quin Cook. Duke verbals Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston will also be there. We will tell you if any others join the frey as the week goes on, so there is no reason to ask about this on the message board.
Now, let's talk about Kyrie Irving. As some of you have already seen, any calls to Irving will only result in what you already know. The date for his official announcement is October 22nd and that will be televised by ESPNU. As we've told you, Irving will visit Kentucky's Midnight Madness, but there is little reason for worry despite anything you are apt to hear. Irving will be a Dukie so let's just be patient and wait it out.
That said I would like to address recent issues on the message boards where some posters go into a tailspin at what they hear from other sites message boards. Our policy has long been to deal in facts, not rumors. Neither myself or the BDN staff will answer all of the rumors for what we tell you is factual and informed. Please do not send me the "He said, she said," stuff for I can assure you I hear pretty much everything that goes on. Our sources are as good as they get and our network grows daily. If you hear something here, you can count on it and our track record speaks for itself. If there is anything going on, I will tell you what I can, so it isn't always necessary to ask about every little whimper. We have created a rumor forum for the purpose of containing rumors, propaganda and paranoia. I will not answer a lot of questions in that forum. I have also instructed moderators to take a firmer approach in an effort to keep this the best board out there.
Now, back to recruiting news. Many close to the situation feel that Harrison Barnes is a two team race with Duke and North Carolina. The Tar Heels have made up some ground and negative vibes have been sent out through various channels in the most heated battle between the two schools since Shane Battier. No matter what cards the Heels play, Duke can counter and the relationship between Krzyzewski and Barnes has been solid from the start. UNC is playing catch up and they have done a good job of impressing Barnes, but I cannot see them as being the leader as some suggest. Maybe there is no leader, but that could change with Barnes official visit to Durham on October 23rd. Expect Barnes to come in knowing that his friend Kyrie Irving committed the night before and expect Duke to be real and put their best foot forward during the visit.
Speaking of this site blowing up on October 22nd, let me set the scenario for you. We expect Kyrie Irving to verbal to Duke on Friday and then there is the Pfeiffer exhibition game which we'll cover. Of course, Harrison Barnes is in town and Duke plays Maryland at home in football, where we will again cover the event. The next morning I will head to Greensboro, North Carolina for ACC Operation Basketball which kicks off the season with all of the ACC coaches and players from each team. In short, articles, news and information will be all over the place. You can bet I will be taking my vitamins in the coming days. As we have said before, there are times when this site explodes so be prepared for the fireworks.
Duke is still recruiting and staying in contact with Roscoe Smith, but will only turn their attention to him after Harrison Barnes makes his decision. Of course, Barnes to Duke would like cause Duke to move on to 2011.
Duke is still working on getting Brad Beal to visit Durham, but if Irving and Rivers fall into place, they would likely have enough players at his position. They really like Beal though, as does most everyone who has seen him play.
The Blue Devils also stay in close contact with Quincy Miller [offered] who they feel is a Duke kid through and through, but with advisers in his ear, this one will almost assuredly go on for a while.
On a football note, recruits have responded very well to Dukes 49-28 win over NCSU and this one is already paying dividends in the class of 2011, especially in state. Duke is expecting to be healthy for Maryland on the aforementioned super weekend and Cutcliffe will emphasize how to enjoy a win yet still know you have to work hard to earn victories. Of course, this is new for many Blue Devils and it will be important for them to get a proper mind set for the coming ACC season.
Lastly, we'll talk of Austin Rivers. Rivers has officially opened his recruitment up for Duke and it is Duke and Florida for his services. Expect Rivers to concentrate on his coming high school season and then make his decision. You all know by now that I am calling Duke in this one and yes I feel very confident about that. I am very excited having watched Rivers adoringly on the AAU circuit in about 15 games. [/private]
Needless to say there is a lot of chaos on the Duke and UNC message boards after Harrison Barnes had Roy Williams in home after Coach K's one and only visit. Speculation is running rampant for there are few facts out there other than the obvious. That said, we'll take a look at what is really going on or will at least do so to the best of our ability. [private]
Much like many of you, I was caught off guard by Roy Williams managing to come in on the same day. In fact, the Duke staff didn't find out until that morning. This is a bit disturbing in that one would think Barnes might want to let what Coach K had to say in before he turned his attention to another school.
Williams had saved a visit and few knew about it for Barnes doesn't talk to anyone about what happens during the in homes and for that matter when visits are to take place. This policy is the same for coaches as it is media. Prior to this situation, Barnes had stuck to his word during his entire recruitment. He didn't exactly sway from what he has said, but not offering up information to the schools in the heat of the battle could be seen by some as deceptive.
I'm not going to judge Barnes in any way, but surely he knew the college basketball recruiting fanatics would blow up once the word was out that the coaches from the most intense rivalry were in home back to back. If by chance, they were looking for more hype, they certainly attained that status.
The Blue Devil Nation made every effort to contact the Barnes family and I was told he would return the call. That hasn't happened yet and this site is one which deals in facts not speculation unless it is stated as such. BDN will never pound a prospects phone lines which is the case with some sites desperate to get the story.
That said, we, like everyone else are forced to take a wait and see approach. On the surface, it has seemed that Coach K has a wonderful personal relationship with Barnes and from my vantage this is certainly true. Look for the Devils to remain steadfast and consistent down the stretch run in what has suddenly and obviously become a heated race.
There is no need for a crystal ball nor special sources to see that the Barnes family is enjoying this process immensely. In several interviews with Barnes, he has always been extremely analytical in everything he does. His answers are consistent but have shed little on his thought process. He never says anything negative about any school, coach or program and each word that comes out of his mouth has been thought out.
During AAU events, I have seen other sites from all schools approaching his Mom, but we chose not to take that road. Barnes is extremely close to his Mom and younger sister and he has acted as the man of the house at a very early age. Few people come away after talking with him not noticing his maturity.
Another factor worth bringing up again is that Barnes did not grow up a college basketball fan but he did follow the NBA. He honestly didn't understand the rivalries, but there is little doubt he has an idea after last weeks dual visit. That brings us to the message boards and the ridiculous nature of them at times.
Some fans cannot help but hang on every word from everybody. If someone has a year running track record of accuracy, then their take must be true in the wacky world of internet recruitniks. Oh, if it were only that simple, folks! In a recruitment as intense as this one, there is a lot of bull out there. Don't think for one minute that schools do not have supporters that act as spin machines by intentionally planting information.
During my days in the Air Force, I was selected to train for a para military unit. The first test we had dealt with how we would handle sudden adversity. The TI had us all in the room and acted as if a tragic accident had just taken a fellow comrade. His voice was mono tone throughout, but he watched the reaction of us and some became emotional, high voiced brow raised, pacing, etc.
Well, he was pulling our legs, but several cadets were booted on the spot for they acted with hyper emotion which would not reflect well in the field. That event reminds me a lot of people on the message boards in that once one chicken little freaks out, it sends a vibe to others and a pile on effect is in place. It was a lesson to keep your head for people are watching and that emotion is something which needs to be harnessed on our board as well as others.
Anyhow, there will be a lot more twists and turns in the Barnes recruitment. Just today, word is out that UCLA will now get the last visit and like anything else that has happened, one can twist this fifty different ways. Knowing that, as fans we should handle ourselves in a way that makes the whole look good for again, for people are watching.
Lashing out or thinking out loud on a message board is a poor choice for more often than not you will regret your actions. Way too many people are pointing to Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson or the players Duke missed, but to heck with those we have in the wagon.
If it makes you feel any better or worse, opponents are pointing to these kids as well. It's called negative recruiting and it is a vicious and deceptive way of battle. This doesn't always appear to come from coaches, but they are in charge and some are not above having their current players suggest recruit "A," call former player "B," or another kid to see why they spurned team X.
The propaganda machines are hard at work on the Barnes trail and there are goals involved. It's not hard to see that Barnes to Duke would shift the balance of power for Duke is in great shape with the pieces coming together for another national title run. Make no mistake, keeping Barnes away from Duke is just as important as getting him to their school.
There are so many things in which I cannot tell you or elaborate on at this time and yes Barnes is no longer favoring Duke like he seemingly once did. Still, we need to let time take care of this and hope that his relationship with K proves to be the major factor in the end.
Let's face some facts, Barnes is a Duke like kid and Krzyzewski is more than a little in touch with those who can help him get to where he wants to be. There are way too may positives still in Duke's favor but nobody knows if it will be enough. So sit back and relax for this one will go the distance which is currently slated on November the 12th of 2009. [/private]
The Duke Men's Basketball staff has been very busy during the most recent open recruiting period and they hope that the hard work pays off by months end. This should prove to be an eventful week for Duke in that they have in homes and official visits in place.
Let's start out talking about Austin Rivers. As some of you may know by now, Rivers had a great visit, so much so that many feel Duke made more than just a good impression. It's up to Rivers now [private] in that he must first de-commit from Florida before Duke can actively recruit him. The Duke staff told Rivers and his Mom to go home and discuss the matter with Doc. There is a lot going on behind the scenes these days in Florida and Donovan is learning that building on those two titles is not so easy. It is not out of the realm of thinking to see that a player sees how the Gators treated Jai Lucas and that they are still going after Brandon Knight. So, all eyes are now on the Rivers camp to see when they make an announcement. Rivers is a Duke player through and through and he got along with the players very well during his visit. We'll have more on this hot issue later.
Duke has cooled on the aforementioned Knight, only because Kyrie Irving is their first choice and they feel very good about the New Jersey native becoming one of their own. Coach K and Chris Collins will be in Jersey today to visit with Irving and he will then visit Duke. I think Irving will be a Dukie, it's just a matter of time. Irving fits the Duke system well and the team has defined his role already.
Duke is taking no breaks with Harrison Barnes. In fact, Coach K and Wojo visited Barnes during an open gym in Ames yesterday. The Blue Devils are in very good shape with Barnes and in my opinion are the leader for his services. UNC came in hard but they were late in doing so. While I am not counting them out, I think the visit is more than wearing off. The Heels gave it their best shot and followed up with a Roy Williams visit, but they now realize it is going to be tough to swoop him away and they are running out of bullets. Barnes is still considering Kansas and Oklahoma.
The Blue Devils had their in home visits with Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton on Sunday as we mentioned earlier.
Not much out there on Roscoe Smith due to trying to get in touch with him at Oak Hill Academy. Here is the deal, Nate James visited Roscoe at his school this past week. Duke is working on setting up an in home with his parents and that will likely take place in the next couple of weeks.
In the class of 2011, Duke has seen Quincy Miller, Marshall Plumlee, Brad Beal, Adonis Thomas, Michael Gilchrist and Trevor Cooney during this open period.
Duke took in2012 prospect Amile Jefferson, and JP Tokoto has also been seen this month. So needless to say, the Duke staff has been working their butts off.
Here is a list of standing offers - Kyrie Irving, Harrison Barnes, Brandon Knight and Roscoe Smith from 2010. Quincy Miller, Marshall Plumlee, Brad Beal and soon to be Michael Gilchrist in 2011. In 2012, only JP Tokoto has been offered. [/private]