More interviews from the Duke locker room brought to you by Blue Devil Nation Video. In the first video, Miles Plumlee readies for the tournament and talks of experience just after he was trying to distract his brother Mason, while he was interviewing with the media swarm. In the second, Nolan is Nolan and he's always great as is guest Casey Peters. The two of them try to conjure up a nickname for Kyrie Irving. Then there is Josh Hairston having some fun as Duke Blue Planet's David Bradley films the guys. Enjoy -
What do we know about this year's team as 2011 quickly approaches? Well, for starters, we know Duke is deep with the ability to place a lot of top talent onto the court. Plus, we know Duke has all the different pieces required to be a champion commencing with senior leadership. Additionally, we know Kyrie Irving is the real deal. He has proven all the hype was warranted. Unfortunately, what we do not know is when Kyrie will be available and on the court for Duke due to his right big toe injury. We know the freshman to sophomore jump is alive and well in Durham. All one has to do is look at the improvements in the play of Mason Plumlee, Andre Dawkins and Ryan Kelly. Finally, we know the team still needs to develop and improve if they are to equal the accomplishments of last season's team.
There’s no real point in discussing Kyrie’s injury because there is too much we do not know so let's take a look at each of the "things we know" and break them down:
Duke has senior leadership.
The presence of senior leadership is not widespread in today’s college basketball landscape; however that does not make it any less valuable. In fact, it makes it more valuable as Duke has what few other teams have – two proven senior leaders in All American candidates Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith.
Coach Krzyzewski discussed Singler after the victory over Oregon in Portland: "I'm very proud of Kyle. Today was a special day for him. He is truly one of the special kids I've had the opportunity to coach at any level. He has a warrior's spirit. He's all about winning and playing hard and I love the way he performs. He's never nervous. He's the same all the time. He never has a play in a game or in practice when he's not working hard. He's what I call a no-maintenance guy."
Nolan Smith is currently number eight on statistics guru Ken Pomeroy’s list of contenders for the 2011 Player-of-the-Year Award.
During the St. Louis post game press conference, Associate Head Coach Chris Collins stated, “For Nolan to get back, I mean he didn’t have a field goal against Bradley the other night, but he played a good floor game. For him to come back today and have the six rebounds, five assists but also get 22 points at the point guard position, I thought was really good.”
Last season’s run to the national championship demonstrated the utility of senior leadership as Scheyer, Thomas and Zoubek combined to be a steadying influence upon the Blue Devils during the stretch run. In 2009, North Carolina won the championship with senior Tyler Hansbrough as their key player. Kansas started two seniors and two juniors in 2008 when they won the national championship, and when the Florida Gators repeated as national champions in 2007, they started a senior and four juniors.
There seems to be a pattern here and the pattern is experience is King come March and April. The experienced leadership on Duke’s roster in 2011 will provide the Blue Devils a decided advantage once the post season arrives. Singler and Smith are two of the best players in the nation.
Duke is deep and talented.
The roster contains five McDonald’s All Americans: Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Kyrie Irving. However, other players on the roster earned accolades prior to arriving in Durham.
Freshman Tyler Thornton was the Washington D.C. Gatorade Player-of-the-Year while fellow freshman Josh Hairston was the Maryland Gatorade Player-of-the-Year. After the St. Louis game, Associate Head Coach Chris Collins commented on the play of Thornton and Hairston, “I mean we felt great when the guys came off the bench. I mean Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton did a great job, especially in the second half. They hit us with a little run to start the half. We weren’t as happy with our energy coming out of halftime. We went to our bench and those guys played great.”
Prior to transferring to Duke, Seth Curry was the Big South Conference Freshman of the Year.
Andre Dawkins skipped his senior year of high school and enrolled at Duke early so he missed out on the opportunity to be named as a member of the various All American teams. However, he was a two-time first team NCSAA All-American.
Duke has all the requisite pieces required to be a champion.
It takes more than talented players to win a championship. It takes the right mix of players who complement each others game. A championship team needs perimeter players and inside players, jump shooters as well as players who can attack the rim, rebounding specialists and defensive specialists. Chemistry is vital to building a championship team.
Duke’s roster contains all of those individual pieces.
The freshman to sophomore jump is alive and well in Durham.
Andre Dawkins was inserted into the starting line-up for the Bradley game in response to Irving’s toe injury. Dawkins responded by scoring 28 points on 8-14 shooting on 3-pointers. After the game, Coach Krzyzewski stated, “It’s great; I hope it’s not a passing fancy. Andre has been, and I said it last week, Andre has been as consistent as anybody we’ve had this season including Kyle and Nolan and Kyrie. Andre has been solid, just really solid and was hitting with a limited amount of shots.”
Dawkins currently leads the ACC in 3-PT FG percentage at .536 and is averaging 12 points per game.
Mason Plumlee is averaging 8.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. Against Michigan State, in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Mason played 35 minutes, having five steals, to go along with a 10 points, 10 rebounds double-double. Coach Krzyzewski praised his performance, “Mason had to play 35 minutes with the foul trouble we had and they kept alternating bigs and Mason got a double-double and five steals. As obviously sensational as Kyrie was, quietly Mason was outstanding, he was outstanding.”
Mason’s high scoring game so far this season was against Marquette when the 6’10 big man exploded for 25 points on 12-16 shooting from the field. Additionally, he recorded 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Mason leads the team in blocked shots.
Ryan Kelly scored a career high 13 points in the most recent game against Elon. Kelly is a versatile player with advanced passing skills and solid shooting ability. He has demonstrated rebounding and shot blocking skills as well. As his playing time increases, his game will continue to develop. Kelly is much better now than he was as a freshman, and he will most likely be much better in March compared to December.
Seth Curry is the fourth sophomore but he is two years removed from his freshman season due to sitting out last season after his transfer to Duke from Liberty. Curry has been a little inconsistent at times this season but he has demonstrated a solid shooting stroke and excellent wing defense skills. Curry has second most steals on the team behind Singler.
This team still needs to develop in several areas.
Duke is 11-0 and the unanimous number one ranked team in the country. The ACC schedule kicks off next week when the Miami Hurricanes visit Cameron Indoor Stadium, and with the conference schedule comes games against teams, and perhaps more importantly coaches, who are intimately familiar with the Blue Devils. Things are going to get tougher in January and February before the real test of March and hopefully April arrives. This Duke team is deep and talented with the senior leadership that provides an unlimited upside, so 2011 has the potential to be another great year, but everyone knows there is a lot of work to be accomplished over the next three and a half months.
Every team has to develop their unique identity but this year’s team has been thrown a curve ball with the injury to Irving. Therefore, a need exists for the team to rediscover who they are specifically in regard to playing style. Will the team continue to apply maximum pressure on the perimeter with an emphasis on creating turnovers? Or will they revert to last season’s style, which focused upon rebounding? On offense, will they push the ball at every opportunity? Or will they look to become a dominant half court offensive team?
There are a lot of questions and the answers will be forthcoming over the next month, all one has to do is watch. Coach Krzyzewski is a master at transforming a team.
Free throw shooting is another area where the team could improve. Duke is shooting .743 as a team; however, Mason Plumlee (.417), Miles Plumlee (.611) and Josh Hairston (.538) all have room to improve. In a close game, the ability of these players to convert from the free throw line could the decisive factor.
With 2011 literally just around the corner, it is time for Duke fans to sit back and enjoy the ride as Coach Krzyzewski and the Staff lead the Blue Devils in their pursuit of excellence. No one knows how the season will end, but it is apparent the 2011 Duke Blue Devils have all the pieces in place to make a serious run toward Houston and another national championship.
The Kyrie Irving-less Duke Blue Devils coasted past St. Louis with a lockdown defensive effort and walked away with a 84-47 victory pushing their season record to 10-0. Duke was led by their senior duo of Kyle Singlerand Nolan Smith who combined for 43 points, 11 rebounds and 5 steals.
Nolan Smith findng his comfort zone at the PG position
Nolan Smith played his second full game at the point guard position and he told BDN he was much more comfortable in the role in the lockerroom which you can hear via BDN audio shortly. Smith tallied 22 points and a team high 5 assists to go withhis 2 steals. The senior Smith took it upon himself to rise to the occasion today with his play.
Kyle is Kyle
Singler played like a senior as well grabbing a board or nailing a jumper when Duke needed one. Singler told BDN he was really enjoying his senior season and that he looked forward to finishing it up with a bang. We have some good audio with Singler coming as well. Singler has now started 78 consecutive games at Duke and his 120 career starts ties him at 11th on the all time list. Klyle passed Shelden Williams and Grant Hill on Duke's All Time Leading Scorers list in today's win. His 3 steals were a season high.
Duke scored 31 points off turnovers and they continue withtheir emphasis on defense in the four December games. Remember, we told you not one single Duke opponent would score in the 60's this month and thanks to the Blue Devils, they're making me a prophet. Duke held the Billikens to 1 made three point field goal.
Great game for Josh Hairston
Duke freshman Josh Hairston scored his first career double figure scoring game at Duke with 12 points off the bench. Add 4 rebounds and 2 steals and he had his best game in a Duke uniform statistically. Interestingly, Josh was the program cover boy today and we'll have a nice one on one interview coming from the Virginia native tomorrow. Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins praised his effort in the post game press conference.
Speaking of Collins ...
Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins filled in for Coach K today who had family matters to attend to and he was a natural. Collins is never short for an answer and he bounces them back with little pondering. It is plain to see that he will one day be at the podium as a head coach.
On Kyrie ...
It's wait and see according to Collins and the powers that be will access his condition when the cast is removed. No firm timelines have been set as of yet. I still feel good about his return, call it a somewhat educated hunch, but it is nothing more than that. Irving cheered from the sideline on his crutches and laughed it up with teammates as the game became out of reach for the visitors.
Miles Plumlee just short of a double-double
Miles dropped 9 points and snagged 9 rebounds which was just shy of a double-double. We told you that Duke would take December to get Seth Curry and Miles going and so far, it is working out wonderfully for Miles. Let's not forget Miles 2 steals either. Meanwhile, his brother Mason got just 11 minutes of play and we look for him to get back in the groove when Duke takes on Elon nine days from now.
Next up, exams and Christmas break
Many students were studying for exams this week and it showed in the crowd, but the Crazies who were there did a good job of cheering. The Duke players will now concentrate fully on exams before they get back to action on December the 20th in a game which even fewer students will be in the stands. With the win over Elon, Coach K ties Dean Smith atop the All Time NCAA win list and that means he breaks Smith's record in Greensboro on December 29th which is quite a milestone. Have you got your tickets yet? They're still available.
Additional Notes - Today was the 200thtime Duke played as a number one ranked team. Duke now has 83 straight home wins over non conference opponents in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the longest such streak in the country. Duke has won 52 straight games int he month of December. Duke has scored 80 or more points in 8 straight games now. Without further ado, here are Coach Chris Collins post game comments vis BDN Audio -
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Game 2 • O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic
[1 AP / 1 Coaches] Duke (1-0) vs. Miami [Ohio] (1-0)
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 • 7:30 p.m.
The Opening TipDuke faces Miami [Ohio] on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Both teams are 1-0 on the season with Duke owning a 97-60 win over Princeton on Sunday, Nov. 14 and Miami [Ohio] topping Towson, 60-57, on Nov. 12. The game will be televised on ESPNU with Mike Patrick (play-by-play) and Len Elmore (analyst) calling the action.
Duke-Miami [Ohio] SeriesTuesday’s game marks the first meeting between the two schools.
Duke vs. The MACDuke is 6-1 all-time against teams currently in the Mid-American Conference. The Blue Devils have won four straight against MAC schools.
O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE ClassicDuke is now 4-1 in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic after topping Princeton, 97-60, on Sunday. The Blue Devils went 3-1 in 2006, losing to Marquette in the championship game, 73-62. The Blue Devils also play Marquette on Nov. 22 in Kansas City, Mo., followed by a game on Nov. 23 against either Kansas State or Gonzaga.
l The Blue Devils opened the season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll for the seventh time in school history. Duke has been ranked No. 1 in the AP poll in an NCAA-best 15 different season under Coach K.
l Including Tuesday's game, Duke has played more games (192) when ranked No. 1 in the AP poll than as an unranked team (141) under Coach K.l Duke has only lost two home games in the past three seasons, posting a record of 49-2 in Cameron Indoor Stadium during that span. The Blue Devils currently have a 20-game win streak at home.
l The Blue Devils have won an NCAA-best 78 consecutive non-conference home games. The last home loss against a non-conference opponent for the Blue Devils was on Feb. 26, 2000 against St. John’s, 83-82.
l Duke has won 23 consecutive games in November, dating back to a 73-62 loss to Marquette in the championship game of the 2006 CBE Classic. The Blue Devils are 103-10 all-time in the month of November under Coach K.
l Duke's backcourt players combined for 68 points, 19 assists and 11 three-point field goals in the win over Princeton. The starting guard tandem of Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving delivered 39 points and 15 assists.
l The Blue Devils recorded an assist on 72.2 percent of their made field goals (26-of-36) in the season opener against Princeton. Duke had 13 assists on 16 first half field goals. l Duke has won 32 consecutive games against teams outside the traditional power conferences (Big Ten, Big East, SEC, ACC, PAC 10, Big 12). Virginia Commonwealth’s 79-77 win over Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament was the Blue Devils’ last loss to a team from a non-power conference.
l Senior Nolan Smith leads the ACC with 11 straight double-figure scoring games. He has scored 10 or more points in 25 of the last 26 games for the Blue Devils.
l Nolan Smith (22), Kyrie Irving (17) and Kyle Singler (16) combined for 55 points in the season opener. Jon Scheyer, Singler and Smith comprised the highest-scoring trio in the NCAA a year ago at 53.3 points per game.
l Duke’s 97 points scored on Sunday were the most points allowed by Princeton since a 103-76 loss to North Carolina on Dec. 31, 1968.l All 10 Blue Devils that played on Sunday scored at least one basket with five players reaching double-figures in scoring for Duke.
l Duke’s reserves outscored the Princeton bench 35-16 in the season opener. Sophomore guards Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins paced the bench scoring attack with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
l The Blue Devils took four charges on Sunday against Princeton. Ryan Kelly, Miles Plumlee, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith each took a charge in Duke’s win over the Tigers.
l Senior Kyle Singler has made at least one three-point field goal in 67 of the last 77 games for the Blue Devils. He was 2-of-3 on Sunday and now has an ACC-high (among active players) 207 three-pointers.
l The Blue Devils forced 27 Princeton turnovers in the season opener, which marks the first time that Duke has forced over 25 or more turnovers in a game since Jan. 14, 2009 when they forced 28 against Georgia Tech. The Blue Devils scored 36 points off the turnovers on Sunday and had a +24 points edge that category.
DURHAM - Josh Hairston dropped 18 points in game two going 9 of 14 during last evenings Blue-White contest held during Countdown to Craziness. After going 0-4 in the first contest, Hairston's teammate Kyrie Irving got him involved early on when the teams redistributed their lineups at the half. BDN spoke to Hairston after the contest and his fellow freshman Tyler Thornton who tallied 10 points and 6 assists.
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DURHAM - The Duke Men's Basketball team addressed the media just moments ago and BDN was on the scene to bring you the players thoughts. Here is a brief chat with true Duke freshman Josh Hairston to get things started. Hairston has put on quite a bit of size since his AAU days and has been battling the Kelly and the Plumlee's for playing time in the paint. Check back in to BDN for more is coming.