Austin Rivers will visit campus this coming weekend with [private] his Mom. The Rivers family contacted Duke last week to set up the visit. There are positive vibes surrounding his visit, meaning that the staff feels they can make a great impression.
The men’s staff was out in force a week ago seeing Brad Beal, Kyrie Irving,J.P. Tokoto and Quincy Miller in open gym sessions. Duke will concentrate on Beal after the Rivers and Kyrie Irving official visits.
The visit went very well with Kyrie Irving this past week. How good? Well, Duke canceled their in home visit with Brandon Knight which was scheduled for tomorrow. Duke is hoping that Irving pulls the trigger in the next month or earlier. Duke will stay on Irving big time, so much so that they will visit an open gym on Tuesday of this week.
There are good feeling surrounding Quincy Miller, but with Brian Clifton involved there could be a long delay before he is ready or allowed to verbal anywhere. When Duke offered Miller, he wasn’t even near the top ten in the rankings. He soared in the next go round of ratings showing that the Devils do have a good eye for talent.
Harrison Barnes was in a similar situation as well. Duke offered Barnes shortly after the NBAPA Top 100 Camp in 2008. He climbed the rankings steadily since that time. Barnes is still slated to take all of his visits, but there was some reason for optimism on the recent visit to see Barnes.
Duke will be visiting Marshall Plumlee at Christ School this week as well.
So, breaking it down, I feel good about our chances with Irving, Barnes and Rivers. Yes, Rivers. Duke is a great fit for this young man and he’ll certainly get a good look with his Mom. If all goes well, Duke will set up an official visit and in homes. Duke will go after Beal once the dust clears on a busy September. They are in the process of setting up visits.
Duke will continue to set up plans on a week to week basis going forward. Ideally, they get verbals from Miller and Tokoto early so they can concentrate on other areas.
The men’s basketball staff is looking forward to the season and working with players as a whole instead of small groups. There are no serious or nagging injuries being reported, meaning the team is in good health. [/private]
As you know by now Roscoe Smith is slated to visit Duke this coming week. The visit [private] caught Duke off guard because it was not planned until recently. Despite that, Duke is elated to have him visit, especially Nate James one of the lead recruiters with Smith. After his visit to Durham, Smith will head to Oak Hill Academy where he will ready for the start of the school year. Our understanding is that Duke will set up an in home visit with Smith in the near future. Smith still has a standing offer but nobody expects him to pull the trigger soon.
Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston’s official in home visits will take place September the 20th. Hairston, of course, transferred to Montrosse Christian Academy. Duke is ironing out last minute details on “Countdown to Craziness,” an event that will take place on October the 16th. The event will kick off the fast approaching season and should be a lot of fun. The aforementioned Hairston and Thornton will attend the event. There are other visitors in the works for that day as well, more on that later.
While Brandon Knight expands his list of schools, it may interest you to know that Duke is working on an in home visit in September. One must remember that Duke has kept their name in there for a good while now. While they would like be happy with Kyrie Irving pulling the trigger quickly, they are covering the bases. In fact, Duke seems to still have some type of back-up plans should Irving and Barnes suddenly sour. Speaking of Kyrie Irving, Duke will be in-home with Kyrie on September the 9th. Harrison Barnes is slated for October the 5th. Please check past updates for the official visit dates. Duke is waiting for the Rivers camp to solidify a visit, but they are not pushing for it, instead allowing them to do on their time. Austin Rivers is still expected to visit in September. There is word that the visit will coincide with one to UNC as well.
Mason Plumlee will room with Ryan Kelly this season. Both players continue to work hard in the weight room under Williams Stephenson. Miles Plumlee has the highest measured vertical leap on the team. When standing side by side with Mason, their hands raised, Miles has about a four-inch reach advantage. Lance Thomas is the team’s strongest player in the weight room.
Recruiting analysis - With Barnes now saying he will take until spring to make a decision, Duke is covering the bases with Smith, a player who has shown a decent amount of interest in Duke. Duke was obviously hoping Barnes would decide in October. The same holds true with Kyrie Irving, who Duke will be all over this month. Duke feels really good about their chances with both kids, but they need one of them to go ahead and verbal no later than October so they can move on with plans for 2011 and 2012. Other prospects holding offers are Quincy Miller, Marshall Plumlee and J.P. Tokoto.
We’ll add an addendum to this post a bit later. Thanks for your patience while I took a mini break and sorry for the run-on post in that I am suddenly having format issues.[/private]
Harrison Barnes decided to trim his list of schools to Duke, Kansas, Iowa State, North Carolina, Oklahoma and UCLA. The announcement came upon the completion of the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event which he attended this past weekend. Barnes has said many times over the AAU summer that he would take his five official visits. Barnes has set up an official vist to UNC on September 3-4 and he is working on an October visit to Duke. Barnes is generally considered to be the creme de le creme of the deep class of 2010 preps.
BDN’s Andrew Slater was on the scene during the Boost Mobile Elite 24 this weekend, where he caught up with Blue Devil target Kyrie Irving for another in detailed depth interview. Join BDN Premium for full site access and be in the know.
After a morning of community service in the Bronx, the twenty-four players in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 were bussed to The Sports Club/LA on the east side of Manhattan, where they began what was referred to as a training and combine session.
The staff initially had the players separate into 24 various stations designed to work different aspects of strength and conditioning. The stations included boxing, pulling a tire with a rope, lateral platform jumping exercises, etc. After the players went through the various stations, they divided the kids into four groups and measured them, in terms of their standing and running vertical leap, the number of repetitions they could lift in a row with two dumbbells of moderate weight, and how fast they could run the entire court, both with and without dribbling a basketball.
The players then were taken to another gym in the same facility to have a Question and Answer session with a panel of Peter Vecsey , Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Kevin Love, Brandon Jennings, and Tyreke Evans. The Q and A was moderated by Chris Broussard.
Vecsey tried to lecture the kids on the history of the tournament and the players that had graced the court before them. Love talked about his experience at the inaugural game, the transition to both the college and pro game, and pointed out the number of players that have reached the NBA as well as the others that will follow from the initial game. Jennings talked about his year abroad in Italy, while making notice of his relative success, the difficulty of coming off of the bench, and the women. Evans attempted to communicate his thoughts on his transition from shooting guard to point guard at the University of Memphis. Rampage said he liked the WWF, while growing up in Memphis, and therefore tried to do wrestling in high school. He mentioned that he loved to fight as a kid, but cautioned the kids that you can’t always walk around looking for a fight as an adult.
Following this session, the kids broke into their two predetermined teams and began a competitive scrimmage, as a means of practicing for the following evening at Rucker Park in Harlem. Roscoe Smith, a Duke recruit from Baltimore, swished a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining to give his team the win, 99-98. Subsequently, the twenty-four prospects broke into separate areas of the court for individual interview sessions.
Kyrie Irving, the smooth and pensive New Jersey guard, spoke with Blue Devil Nation about a variety of issues, including his goals for the upcoming year, the decision process that went into his recent trimming of teams to a far more manageable six, his relationship with Harrison Barnes, what he will be looking for on his official visits, and the utility of Twitter, amongst others.
I’m going to assume that you already have decided upon your five schools… [private]
My six schools.
Six schools and you should save them for your ever growing Twitter audience, but can you talk about the decision process?
Yeah, yeah. I’m going to save them for tomorrow, even though some people around here have been pressuring me to get it.
No pressure here ..
I’m not talking about you, but others.
Can you talk about your decision process?
Yeah, sure. It took a while. Me and my father sat down, along with my uncle..
That was going to be another question.
Yeah, you know we sat down and we evaluated each school. We were going through, well, who had the best to offer. That’s what came down to my six schools that I’m going to announce tomorrow.
Sure, what were the factors that most contributed to your final six?
Family atmosphere, the academics, the academic stature
So, academics were actually important to you?
Oh, yeah, of course.
Because there are always a lot of people, fans included, that are skeptical when they read that kids are actually interested in academics. Personally, I always try to keep an open mind and treat everyone as an individual case. I assumed you were, but I didn’t know for sure.
No, no, no. Me, as a person, I have…
I knew you did well in school.
Exactly, I have a 3.5 GPA, but people don’t really know that because…
No, I knew that number because you mentioned in an earlier interview.
Yeah, I don’t really talk about it that much.
I guess they’re not that concerned with your off-the-court life.
(Player dunks over small publicist to our immediate right)
So… family atmosphere, academics
Yeah, family atmosphere, academics, and just how comfortable I am with the coaching staff and just everybody coach wise because when I see the school, it’s going to be where I’m not signing with them for four years, I’m signing with them for a long time.
A long lifetime, God willing. Who did you ultimately seek input from? Well, I guess you answered that one.
Yeah, my father and my uncle. They’ve been there throughout.
Was it a family/group decision or much more of a personal one?
It was more of a personal one I would say.
By the way, was your sister involved in the decision at all too?
No, no way. It was more of a personal decision because I talk to most of the schools. They call me all of the time. Yeah, it was more of a personal one.
Other than “a home away from home,” as you’ve mentioned in the past, what will you be looking for on your official visits?
I’m just going to be evaluating everything. Just when I step on the campus..
Anything specific or more of a feel?
It’ll be more of a feel. Just how comfortable I am, how the players interact with the coaches and how the players interact with themselves. Just everything about them. I’m going to evaluate.
But I’d say mainly with the coaching staff and the players. That’s it.
Well, they’re going to be the ones that you’re going to be spending most of your time with. Having been a kid that was under-recruited at Montclair Kimberley, how has the reality of the process or experience been, compared to what you expected a top-ranked player to have? Now that you’ve seen the other side, is it kind of what you expected or is it more?
Let’s say last summer versus now, when the “gurus” have discovered you and you’ve shot up the charts. I’ve got to say I’m really proud of you.
Thanks, man. I have to say it’s been great. Especially this time last summer, I was really barely even known. Having the opportunity, you know, to be a top ten or whatever they say I am now, I feel like I don’t want to let them take that away. I feel like I have to kind of step back and just..
Was it what you thought it would be like?
(laughing) It’s even a little bit more.
Yeah, it makes me really happy and I’m proud to be a top ten player because I worked hard all summer.
Yeah, you did. Is your family enjoying your success?
Yeah, no, they definitely are. My family has been there since I was just a little kid playing in my backyard. It’s just been great. I’ve just enjoyed this whole entire summer.
That’s great that you are all enjoying it. To clarify and potentially squash some concerns, there was a video interview that you did in Portland with Selby and he was strongly hinting that Indiana was going to be your choice. Did he know something or was he just purely speculating?
(laughing) No, no, he was just joking around.
Yeah, I wanted you to touch on that because a video like that can cause people to panic. (laughing)
No, that was nothing.
Of all things that you accomplished this year, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud of everything. I can’t name a specific thing because there have been so many moments, particularly this summer. It started off when, well, it actually started when I went to…well, it was a learning experience for me when I was at the NBA Camp. That was the first time I came to a camp and there were so many top players there. It wasn’t like there was one player that wasn’t any good. That was definitely an eye-opener. It made me even hungrier.
As you often write, “humble and hungry”
Yeah, exactly, the two “H”s that I live by. It just made me humble and hungry to just go out there and destroy the whole AAU circuit.
What’s your relationship like with Harrison Barnes? Can you provide a scouting report? I saw you two sitting together.
(laughing) Oh, yeah, well, I mean he calls me his “little brother,” but I..
Yeah, I don’t know, but I’m close with him. We developed a relationship over the summer. It started at NBA Camp. We don’t really discuss Duke to a large extent, but we do discuss it and we have a very good relationship.
So there’s definitely a connection between you two..
Oh, yeah, definitely.
What are your goals and hopes for the next twelve months? McDonald’s All-American? Repeat as state champions?
Those are personal goals, but, as a team, the national championship and the state championship. Before every season, well, you know, even before every summer, I always set goals. On a personal level, I want to make the Jordan Classic and do all of those all-star games. On a team level, I need to continue to develop my leadership and do the intangibles that my team needs, which will hopefully prepare me for college.
You apparently played very well in both Orlando and Portland for the USA team at the end of the summer. Do you feel that the workouts that you put in and endlessly write about are starting to pay the major dividends that you‘ve hoped for? When other guys are breaking down or getting worn out…
Yeah, well, my father had to like beg me to take a break. For some reason, it’s just a mental thing with me, but I just can’t take breaks. I just can’t. I still have that feeling that if and when I take a break, that’s when other people will start to work harder than me. So, I barely take breaks and it really takes a toll. My body is hurting right now.
In your writing, there’s always a series of cycles, where you initially do lengthy, intense workouts, then play in tournaments where you carry a heavy burden and play a lot of competitive games in a short period of time, and finally there are periods where you crash and “chill.” Is it a matter of trial and error with knowing when to push your body or is it more a matter of planning and scheduling?
No, I don’t schedule it. It got to a point, earlier in the summer, where I wouldn’t even know what or where games or tournaments were. I would just go. It really takes a toll on my body, but, after a while, you kind of get used to it. You know, towards the end of the summer, you start taking a lot of breaks and you get ready for the high school season.
Ideally, what would you like to do with your body to further enhance your overall game? Strength? Cardio?
My strength. My cardio is fine.
You can run all day.
Yeah, I can, but, when it gets to, like, that third or fourth game, then you have to deal with the players that are bigger and stronger than you…
Especially when you have to bear a heavy burden with Roadrunners.
Yeah, it is, but I really don’t want to talk about them or that right now (laughing)
Well, I mean people, who have watched you on that team, can judge for themselves.
Yeah, I don’t want to go there right now.
Being an articulate, consensus top ten recruit, can you shed some light as to what the mindset is like for an elite-level recruit, as you enter your senior year? What are some different things that are on your mind, when you have quiet moments? If you can allow the audience to live vicariously through you.. (Doron Lamb, a Queens guard that currently plays for Oak Hill, comes next to us and is looking for attention)
Well, I don’t really plan anything, you know, when I’m by myself, I’m kind of a laid-back kid. I like to joke around too, but, um, stop. No stop, man. (Lamb has his arm around Kyrie’s neck)
Hi, I’m Doron Lamb. (sticks out his hand for a shake)
Yeah, I know who you are. How’re you doing, Doron?
KI: I just trying to be a normal kid because you know coming to all of these events they, well, try to treat you like you’re a pro already. (Lamb slaps both of us on the rear end and moves along)
Can you talk about your mentality as you prepare to play at the Rucker and the GOAT? Are you definitely going to be at the GOAT on Saturday night?
Yep, I’m going to play in that. My mentality tomorrow night is going to be…
Are you looking to pick your spots? Showcase? Go in with an open mind and have fun?
Well, you can tell that people are going to be putting up shots and that there are no positions out here. People are going to be looking for theirs. I’m not going to stress out over it or anything.
No, no, don’t.
People are trying to, well, it’s a whole political thing.
Are people really stressing a little bit?
Yeah, behind the scenes, they are a little bit, but they shouldn’t.
Whether on the Roadrunners or the Celtics, do you ever look to try to help your teammates out, in terms of generating scholarships or offering advice?
On the Celtics?
Yeah, when I play with the NJ Celtics, I think it benefited some of the players on the team because, you know, I don’t want to sound arrogant, but a lot of college coaches came to see me play so..
That’s my point. There’s an opportunity to be generous and some guys, who already have all the scholarships they need, won’t.
Yeah, especially on the Roadrunners too.
Absolutely, but also on the Celtics, for example, I know towards the end of the high school season that Kevin Boyle’s son didn’t have any Division One scholarship offers.
No , he didn’t.
God knows if he does now, but..
Yeah, exactly, but then when we play Team Final,
Right, right, he goes for almost thirty.
Yeah, in front of everybody there that day
Can you talk about Twitter and its usefulness in trying to get your messages out there?
It’s just a way to update people on what’s going on in my life and in my mind.
It’s acting as a virtual megaphone to get your words to a mass audience that‘s interested in what you have to say.
Yeah, that’s exactly what it is.
This may be the last time I speak with you and I always try to be objective, but you’ve become my guy and I just wanted to thank you for your help with the interviews and wish you the best of luck in the future.
(For complete coverage, join BDN Premium for coming interviews with Irving and Rivers)
ESPN RISE held the fourth annual Boost Mobile Elite 24 game tonight at the Gaucho’s Gym, Bronx, N.Y., after a two-hour rain delay forced the game to its alternate site from the planned Rucker Park location (where the game was played its first three years). The game featured 24 of the nation’s top prep players, regardless of grade or shoe affiliation, from across the country; Boost Mobile Elite 24 players are selected by a committee of high school basketball experts: ESPN RISE Magazine, ESPN Scouts, Inc. and other leading talent evaluators.
Before a standing-room-only crowd of approximately 1,800, that included Celtics Coach Doc Rivers and New York Knicks’ Wilson Chandler, the Skip to My Lou/White Team, coached by Celtics’ Rajon Rondo and Kings’ Tyreke Evans, defeated The Goat/Orange Team coached by Timberwolves’ Kevin Love and Buck’s Brandon Jennings 133 to 120. Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris stood out on the winning team garnering co-MVP titles; Josh Selby and C.J. Leslie were co-MVPs for The Goat/Orange Team. Skip to My Lou’s Doron Lamb was the game’s high scorer with 23 points; he also had six total rebounds and five assists. The Goat’s C.J. Leslie had a double/double with 15 points and 11 total rebounds; he had two assists.
Winter Park (Winter Park, Fla.)
No. 2, ESPNU Super 60
Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.)
No. 9, ESPNU 100
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
No. 30, ESPNU 100
Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.)
No. 1, ESPNU Terrific 25
Life Center (Burlington, N.J.)
No. 14, ESPNU 100
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
No. 33, ESPNU 100
Ames (Ames, Iowa)
No. 1, ESPNU 100
Northland (Columbus, Ohio)
No. 2, ESPNU 100
White Station (Memphis, Tenn.)
No. 21, ESPNU 100
Lake Clifton (Baltimore, Md.)
No. 8, ESPNU 100
Kentwood (Covington, Wash.)
No. 10, ESPNU 100
Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.)
No. 19, ESPNU 100
St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.)
No. 6, ESPNU 100
St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.)
No. 14, ESPNU Super 60
Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
No. 2, ESPNU Terrific 25
Episcopal School (Dallas, Texas)
No. 31, ESPNU 100
Academy of the New Church (Bryn Athyn, Pa.)
No. 13, ESPNU Super 60
Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
No. 16, in ESPNU 100
Jefferson (Portland, Ore.)
No. 15, ESPNU 100
Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.)
No. 39, ESPNU 100
Half Hollow Hills West (Dix Hills, N.Y.)
No. 7, ESPNU 100
Tony Wroten Jr.
Garfield (Seattle, Wash.)
No. 5, ESPNU Super 60
Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
No. 11, ESPNU 100
Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.)
No. 5, ESPNU 100
**A complete Box Score is attached.
Due to the rain delay and change of venue, the tape delayed telecast of the game, scheduled to air on ESPNU today, Saturday, August, 22 was canceled. The ESPN RISE All-American Slam Dunk Contest was also canceled due to the weather.
FormerRucker player/coach and New York Post NBA columnist Peter Vecsey was a co-coach for The Goat and Brooklyn’s Lincoln High School coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton co-coach for winning team Skip to My Lou.
The Boost Mobile Elite 24 game was the culmination of a three-day event which featured a late-night run at Madison Square Garden, a community service project at the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club (Bronx N.Y.), media day: panel discussion, practice session and scrimmage, and game.
Eight of the players have committed to colleges: Dion Waiters to Syracuse, Terrence Ross to Maryland, Myck Kabongo to Texas, Austin Rivers to Florida, Jared Sullinger to Ohio State, Kendall Marshall to North Carolina, Tristan Thompson to Texas, and Will Barton to Memphis.
Five of the players in the 2009 game also played in the 2008 game: Dion Waiters, Doron Lamb, Josh Smith, Jared Sullinger and Tristan Thompson.
The 2009 Boost Mobile Elite 24 consists of players that represent 16 states: Florida – 1; Iowa – 1; Kansas – 1; Maryland – 2; Nevada – 2; New Hampshire – 1; New Jersey – 3; New York – 2; North Carolina – 1; Ohio – 1; Oregon – 1; Pennsylvania – 1; Tennessee – 1; Texas – 1; Virginia – 3; and Washington – 2.
About Boost Mobile Elite 24
Launched in 2006 by RISE Magazine, the Boost Mobile Elite 24 is the only basketball event in the country to feature the top 24 high school male basketball players regardless of class year or shoe affiliation. Played at New York’s famed Rucker Park, Boost Mobile Elite 24 touts alumni that include NBA players Michael Beasley, Jerryd Bayless and Kevin Love, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday and college bound Lance Stephenson, Derrick Favors and John Wall. The game has featured guest coaches that include current and former NBA stars Chauncey Billups, Kenny Anderson, Ben Gordon, Jason Kidd and Baron Davis; and its inaugural game was the subject of the documentary “Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot”, which debuted at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, and was produced by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and his production company Oscilloscope.
About ESPN RISE
ESPN RISE represents ESPN’s commitment to engage and elevate high school athletes by providing them with recognition, resources, information and inspiration that can motivate them to improve their skills and achieve their goals to be the best athletes they can. ESPN RISE assets include ESPN RISE, GIRL, Hardwood and Gridiron magazines; ESPNRISE.com, Hoopgurlz.com and DyeStat.com; and more than 160 high school events including Elite 11, Elite 24, ESPN RISE Games, ESPN RISE National High School Invitational, Faster to First, Area Code Baseball and Nike Combines/Nike SPARQ Mini Camps. ESPN RISE is uniquely positioned to provide high school athletes and the company’s core fans with compelling high school sports content across all ESPN platforms.
(Printed with permission from ESPN Rise, see web site links for further details)
BDN’s Andrew Slater is on the scene at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 in New York where he’ll cover the play of Harrison Barnes, Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers and Roscoe Smith throughout the event. His reports are already coming in as he posts on BDN Premium message board. More to come -