Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles Jr. opened their NBA careers in the summer league last evening by leading the Sacramento Kings to a win over the Lakers
Bagley went 6-11 for 19 points to go with 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots in 25 minutes of action. Giles went 6-10 for 13 points and also grabbed 3 rebounds and had 1 steal in 25 minutes of play as well.
The Kings play the Golden State Warriors at 11 tonight. Mike Stone will be covering the Duke rookies for Blue Devil Nation this week and into the season. Hear what Bagley and Giles had to say post game below.
I take a look back at the Nike EYBL Session 2 and give my thoughts on prospects and how they may have improved from a season ago. Here is my take on some of the key Duke prospects with some added tidbits -
Justise Winslow - The thing that most impressed me about Justise Winslow was his court vision which makes him a really good passing wing. Winslow plays on a very talented team which is interchangeable at some positions. There are times when he [private] brings the ball up the court which is a testament to his getting better with his overall handle since a season ago. Winslow is a team oriented player who seems well versed in what he can and cannot get away with in that he is in touch with his capabilities. He can take his man off the dribble an moves strong to the rack when he gets his man on his hip or a screen is set. Winslow can also battle inside due to his strength. I can certainly understand why Krzyzewski and the staff prefer him over Theo Pinson. IMO, Winslow has done a better job of harnessing his skill set and it certainly doesn't hurt that he's a high character kid on and off the court, valuing education and showing a wise mind when dealing with media and teammates alike. Duke is in sold shape here and Winslows' brother probably prefers the Blue Devils but he glows when talking of Arizona too, so there is work to be done and this one will likely come down to the wire.
Theo Pinson - The athletic wing has moments where he seems to lost his focus and that does not always allow for a consistent effort. But when he is on, he's a very talented young man who plays at a high level. Pinson still needs work on his stroke and finishing better on drive. Actually, he would be better served kicking out more often when he finds traffic on drives instead of trying to create a sensational shot. Duke is still recruiting Pinson but it is clear that he is their second choice to Winslow at this time but as we know in recruiting, things can change in a days time.
Tyus Jones - Jones is a flat-out competitor and a cool customer. I have said in the past that he's a silent killer at times and this season he demands the ball even more when the game is on the line. And his Howard Pulley teammates want the ball in his hands for he always seems to come through at crunch time. Pulley seems to always play in close games and they overachieve due to Jones play. I joked with him during an interview that he was "Jack Frost," in that he is so cool in the clutch, almost always coming through. In fact, it would be story worth and draw attention if he flopped when the game is on the line for it is so rare it happens. Jones has a shifty speed which is not jet like but is effective in that he changes speed well. His handle is solid and he can get shots off even when everybody in the gym knows a shot is coming often getting to the line. He's also a deadly three-point threat even when not open and he can find the seams in the defense making him a ridiculous stat stuff with concerns to assists. Jones maintains that he will be a package deal with Jahlil Okafor and Coach K and Izzo among others were at all of his games.
Devin Booker - Duke is still recruiting or staying in touch with Booker despite getting a verbal from Grayson Allen. Booker has good defensive footwork and likes playing on ball defense. He has a nice stroke from the outside or can break you off the dribble. He also hustles non stop or at least he did in my views. He seems well versed in the game of basketball and plays with a quiet, cool confidence.
Elijah Thomas - He is not a super flashy big man, just one who gets the job done, defends well and can throw down dunks with ease. Thomas is still getting use to his frame and he can intimidate opponents. He plays with enthusiasm and confidence and is alight hearted kind of kid off the court, whose Mom plays a huge role in his life. He is a big time prospect in next seasons class that likes Duke a lot but he has other schools who are right there as well. Thomas will draw more and more attention, so strap yourself in for a long recruitment on this one.
Harry Giles - Coach K really, really like this kid and was the first coach in the gym to see him in his opening game. Giles? He's a long, lean, sure-fire talent who is incredibly coordinated for his height and age. Potential. He's oozes in it and he was one of the few kids playing on the 16U teams which drew a bevy of major college coaches, Giles mentioned that he is already tiring of the media process, so stay tuned. He seems a bit shy off the court but not so much so on it. While he can not always be super vocal, he does talk on the court and directs teammates for he understands spacing well at his age. He took it the length of the court for slams, made sweeping hook moves where he kissed the ball off glass and attributes his handle to wanting to be a guard when he was growing up. Ridiculous upside. [/private]
I made my annual trip to Hampton, Virginia today for the Nike EYBL Session II event where most of the nation's top players gathered to play in front of what seems like every major college coach in the country. As always, Blue Devil Nation focuses in on the players you want to hear about, and also gives you a heads-up on some new names popping up. That said, let's get right into Day One.
Tyus Jones was Priority One for Coach K
If you have been living under a rock you might not realize that Duke is all in on Apple Valley (MN) High's Tyus Jones, a 6-1 PG generally ranked as the second best overall prospect in the Class of 2014. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski watched Jones' entire game, but of course so did other coaches vying for his services, including Michigan State's Tom Izzo. Jones scored five points down the stretch, including knocking down a key three-pointer to give his team a 62-61 lead with 1:30 left in the game. He then iced it by drawing a foul on another three-point shot, though he took a nasty fall in the process. Jones, like always, rose to the occasion and willed his team to a win and that is the mark of a winner. That is what Tyus Jones is all about, for his team is not always as talented as its opponents, yet they find ways to win. Jones had 20 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds the last time I checked but those numbers may be a little off.
Jones told Blue Devil Nation that at this time he is looking at a making a Fall decision, and he reiterated that he would likely be a package deal with 6'10" center Jahlil Okafor, who balls for Chicago's Whitney Young High and plays for the Mac Irvin Fire on the AAU circuit. If it's going to be a package, that likely means it comes down to Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky, but the Blue Devils and Spartans have long been considered the leaders in most circles. Check out this video [private] with Jones -
Wojo watched Okafor sit
Duke Assistant Coach Steve Wojciechowski left no doubt that Duke is interested in Jahlil Okafor by sitting through his game -- despite the fact that Okafor did not even play. Okafor is still nursing an injury and it's unknown at this time whether he suits up before the weekend is out. This game was going on at the same time Tyus Jones was playing, forcing the coaches to split up.
Coach K takes in Harry Giles
Coach K was the first and only coach in the gym for the first half of Class of 2016 Harry Giles' game. Giles is a talented young prospect with some skills. He attributes those skills to wanting to be a guard when he was growing up, but a growth spurt killed that. At one point, a Villianova assistant was overheard saying, "Coach K is down there too," to John Calipari, who peeked in from behind the curtains. By that time, eleven more coaches were watching. K and Calipari ended up exchanging pleasantries for about three minutes and then retreated back to their neutral corners. Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua, as always, was slithering around the gym as well. It's easy to forget sometimes, but Harry Giles is just 14!!!! He will be the real deal when he grows into his body. He likes to direct teammates where to go and how to space properly. Giles did get upset when his teammate turned the ball over, costing his team the game. Giles scored 16 in the loss. The 9th grader will also compete with Team USA on May 28th of this year. Check out his video below -
K takes in Justise Winslow
Forward Justise Winslow, the major Duke target out of Houston, dished 5 assists in his game but somehow was credited with zero ,which led to his voicing displeasure on Twitter late last evening. Coach K made it a point to watch Winslow, as did Rick Barnes of Texas, Steve Alford of UCLA and John Thompson Jr. of Georgetown. Interest is now lukewarm for Theo Pinson, who seems to want to be coddled, stating that he wants to play for a team that really wants him. That team could be N.C. State, who is turning up the pressure. K and company have also been watching 6'6" Stanley Johnson out of California, who I feel is a back up to Winslow now. Pinson is not totally out of the picture but he is not their player of choice at that position -- Winslow is. Winslow said Jones and Okafor would be a package deal, but for Justise it is no secret that Arizona has made an impression, leading me to believe it's a two team race -- Arizona and Duke. Winslow glowed when talking about Wildcat coach Sean Miller and he liked the atmosphere in Tucson as well. Justise also mentioned that it was closer to home, meaning his mom could attend more easily. While K watched Winslow, Wojo took in 6'9" PF Elijah Thomas, a 2015 prospect out of Texas.
I lost the previous update and this one is not nearly as good, but it should give you an idea of what happened yesterday. More to come. [/private]
There is never a shortage of feel good moments for Duke fans when Countdown to Craziness kicks off the basketball season and on Friday night a celebration of the program ensued. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his program had more than just this years team on display during the festivities. They also had a bevy of highly rated and key future prospects in attendance and they hope it will not be these young mens last visit to Durham.
It wasn't long after BDN began it's coverage of the event that all of the Duke Assistant Coaches, Jeff Capel, Chris Collins and Steve Wojociechowski came walking down the steps beside the Swartz-Butters Building which houses Coach K on the top floor with all of the visiting prospects. Among [private] those were a point guard who does nothing but make his team better and win, Tyus Jones.
Jones is believed to have Duke and Michigan State at the top of his list, so it was important that Duke made a good impression and from afar it appears that may have happened. Also attending was a 6-10 behemoth from Chicago Jahlil Okafor and a sleek wing in North Carolina native Theo Pinson. All three of these players played on one of the better Team USA Development Teams in recent memory and all know one another from the AAU circuit as well. Depending on how your perceive information, it is said that these guys along with Justise Winslow would not mind playing together in college.
Duke also had a visit from another stud prospect in Karl Towns and a junior high sensation and specimen in Harry Giles.
Anyhow, back to the walk through campus by the prospects. As they descended down the steps quite a few Duke fans took notice and trust me from the folks I met who follow or are members of BDN, a lot of them and others were well aware of these kids visits. Suddenly, there was a small mob of picture and autograph seekers and the guys took time out to accommodate the fans.
Several minutes past before the prospects made their way fully onto the concourse with K-Ville dead ahead. By that time, owrd had spread and more Duke fans were taking notice. I could not help but think how disappointed some kids would be after getting their Duke caps and such signed for these guys not to matriculate but the greeting is one the average fan would have hoped for and a positive thing.
As they got closer to K-Ville, several groups of students, mainly coeds, held signs up letting each player know they were wanted in Durham. All of them seemed touched if not a tad embarrassed by the moment but all were certainly impressed by the situation. The group then made their way towards the Chapel and campus and later appeared behind the bench in Cameron as the event took place.
All of them sat directly behind Coach Krzyzewski and he would often turn to them individually and collectively and chat of what was happening on the court or offering some nuggets of wisdom. Several times during the game you could hear their names shouted but there were never any orchestrated cheers which lasted long but each of these kids knew they were honored guests.
If body language is any indication, the group enjoyed themselves and the Duke atmosphere and there were several times where the group had collective laughs at various antics, such as Marshall Plumlee dancing with his crutches. No real information past that at this time but I sure more will come out at some point today and I will pass on what I can. Talk about it on the BDN Premium Message Board. [/private]