Tag Archives: Josh Hairston

Breaking down the off season for Duke Basketball players

Several of the 2010-11 Duke Blue Devils participated in summer basketball events including the N.C. Pro Am and BDN breaks them down after multiple live views.  There is no doubt that this coming season will be more than just a little entertaining as Duke will almost certainly be tabbed number one in the nation in the pre season basketball polls.  While we realize you can tell but so much from summer basketball, after years of following the off season exploits of our players I have an idea of what to look for.  BDN had representatives at all the N.C Pro Am games and off season camps, so our take is from in person accounts.  Be sure to bookmark BDN for year round coverage of the Duke Beat and follow us on twitter and facebook for future updates.

Mason Plumlee flexes after a rebound at the N.C. Pro Am - Photo pixbyric and BDN

Mason Plumlee -Mason spent time in Chicago as a camp counselor in two events this summer.  The first event allowed Plumlee to train with Tim Grover of Attack Athletes, who is infamous for tutoring Michael Jordan.  Recently, Plumlee attended the Adidas Nations event where he was able to watch his brother Marshall who is Duke's most recent commitment.  Mason also participated in the N.C. Pro Am where BDN took in all of his games.  Plumlee showed off his athletic abilities and when talking with his teammates, they loved playing with him in that he often hit the open man with passes most big men cannot make.  Plumlee is physically more mature and he's stretching his outside shot to the three point stripe, but he will be counted on more in the middle for Duke this season.  Plumlee seems to be in great condition and had to play the whole game more often than not at the Pro Am.  Players use the tournament to work on certain things and while Plumlee will have his back to the basket more often than not this season, he chose to work on his face up game.  In short, he worked on the things he doesn't have a chance to as much in the system.  A key for Mason this season will be his defensive footwork and positioning on post defense and you have to love the fact that he has a little nastiness in his game.

Collins instructs Miles in practice - Mark Watson BDN Photo

Miles Plumlee- Like Mason, Miles attended Adidas Nations as a camp counselor.  This is an honor for they normally select the top college players for this role.  Plumlee showed of a one handed push hook and worked on his outside shot during the Pro Am more-so than his post game.  Still, Plumlee was depended upon for rebounding and there were several plays where he brought the crowd to their feet with his athleticism.  Plumlee had a nice perimeter shot in high school and he is trying to get that back on a more consistent basis.  He is most effective from twelve feet in and he doesn't have but maybe two pounds of body fat on his physique.  Like Mason, Miles will benefit by Duke pushing the ball in an up temp style this coming season and pressure is sure to come the brothers Plumlee's way for they will be depended upon to anchor the middle all season long.  The one thing which stood out to me in the Pro Am was the fact he never gave up despite having to play major minutes for a middle of the pack team.  The key for Miles will be to bring consistent intensity and for him to realize he can do things few other players can.

Dre heads up the court - pixbyric/BDN PhotoAndre Dawkins- It's almost as if you can count on Andre Dawkins to erupt every five games or so and he had one of those performances where he tossed in 36 points during the Pro Am.  A shooter keeps shooting and that fits Andre perfectly.  He still is dependent on the three ball to score more-so than moves to the basket and he has worked on his handle during the off season.  Ball handling is vital for Andre to have the ability to take players off the dribble which will loosen up the outside for him.  Dawkins role for the Blue Devils will again, a shooter but he has improved his footwork defensively and is capable of back side help.  He is also a good finisher when in the open court and a solid free throw shooter but his passing skills need more development.  He will be the recipient of a lot of kick out passes when Duke's deep backcourt drives to the lane.

Photo Courtesy of USA Basketball

Seth Curry- Silky smooth best defines Curry's game from my vantage.  He moves in a very paced way which makes it look like an altered speed or slow on the surface.  Or maybe I should say he weaves through defenders picking and choosing his spots?  Anyhow, Curry is a scorer and his three point shot is solid as is his mid range game.  He is a capable ball handler and he lulls his man to sleep as a defender allowing him to get in the passing lanes for steals.  While not physically intimidating, he is a player you have to be aware of when he is on the court.  Curry will not get as many shots as he did with Liberty with a talented Duke team and with that said, he could improve upon his passing skills in the open court.  Everybody sees that his offense is solid, but major minutes will depend upon how well he does when playing off ball.  The same can be said for the aforementioned Dawkins.  Curry is capable of knocking down double digits this season for Duke and his game will thrive in the running style Duke will employ.

Kelly improved in the off season - Photo-pixbyric/BDN

Ryan Kelly -No player gained more off season hype than did Ryan Kelly who at 6-11 is now Dukes tallest player.  What a difference a year can make with a young mans physical maturity and what you've heard about his weight gain is spot on accurate.  The additional strength is helping Kelly where he often got pushed off the blocks in his freshman campaign.  Kelly was named the winner of the Spirit Award given out by Rodney Rodgers.  Kelly is not a big rah-rah guy and I was told the award went to him for his consummate team play and the fact his teammates loved playing with him.  A more confident Kelly showed signs of a baby hook and he has a nice inside-out game going now and that will earn him significant minutes.  No player appears to have worked harder than Kelly in the off season and he is certainly Duke's most improved player, or is he?

BDN caufghtNolan funning about with the media during his sophomore season - BDN Photo

Nolan Smith-While Kelly has improved, Nolan Smith seems to have found a whole other level for his game.  Smith trained with the U.S. Select Team and that experience seems to have helped.  Smith seems to be wanting a leadership role for Duke and he could not be stopped during his games at the N.C. Pro Am.  He erupted for 43 points one evening and was essentially a human highlight reel when he was on the court.  He left a lot of empty sneakers when slashing through defenders as if they were standing still and his shot was good.  Really good.  This led to him being named the events most outstanding player despite the fact he missed the last three games. Smith epitomizes how a player can improve each year in the Duke system to achieve their goals and remember where you heard it if Kyle Singler is the choice for Player of the Year, then Smith should be listed as 1-A.   Quite simply, Smith is an All American in 2010-11.

High stepping Kyrie Irving - BDN/Rick Crank Photo

Kyrie Irving- It's as if we got a sneak peek at Kyrie during the Pro Am where he created quite the buzz with his effortless moves which dazzled the audience.  It was no surprise to me for I have seen him do some amazing things on the AAU trail where I witnessed at least 20 games he played in.  Go down the checklist ... ball handling, shooting, penetrating, playing the passing lanes, finishing and KI draws a straight A report card.  What he can get better at is defense and once K works on that a bit more there will be no stopping him from achieving his goals.  No if's ands or but's about the fact that a backcourt of Smith and Irving will be the nations best and Irving brings mad skills to the table.  He will make everybody on a talented team better with his ability to break people down off the dribble and he should dish for a lot of dunks to his teammates.  Irving didn't play down the stretch in the Pro Am and that is probably all by design but his 30 plus point efforts had Duke fans grinning and opposing fans looking forward to hearing his name be called one day by the NBA commish in New York.

Hairston flushes a dunk - Rick Crank/BDN Photo

Josh Hairston -During the opening night of the Pro Am, Hairston struggled against veterans Josh Powell and Courtney Fells but that is the kind of learning experience these games provide.  Some guys would have crawled in the corner but Hairston turned it around and averaged 14-15 ppg the rest of the way.  Hairston loves the drop step and the turn around fade away jumper.  He is not a real physical banger type but he is a well rounded front court player who could be depended upon in his first season with certain match ups Duke will face.  Hairston showed steady improvement during the N.C. Pro Am event and he adds depth to the roster.

Freshman Tyler Thornton is flying under the radar - Rick Crank BDN Photo

Tyler Thornton -It seems Thorntons play surprised everybody during the Pro Am, but not me.  I have known all along that Thornton is underrated and he plays completely within his own skill set making him a steady player who will not hurt his team with turnovers or forced shots.  The knock on Thornton was his outside shot but he improved upon that and showed it hitting three consecutive three pointers to open the event.  Thornton is a confident player who is a nice addition to the team.

BDN was in the middle of the celebration when Mark Watson shot Kyle cutting down the nets at the ACC Tournament

Kyle Singler -He was held out of the N.C. Pro Am and who could blame Duke in that he was the Final Four MVP and the odds on favorite to win national player of the year going into next season.  Singler attended several camps including the LeBron James skills academies and most recently practiced with the US Select Team coached by Krzyzewski.

Nolan Smith drops 43 points at the N.C. Pro Am

Ryan Kelly continues to show improvement. Photo copyright Rick Crank special to BDN

DURHAM, N.C. - There were some solid individual efforts during Tuesday evenings N.C. Pro Am but it was Nolan Smith who stole the buzz.  Smith looked over to his Dreamwork's coach and  bench with 5 seconds on the first half clock of his game, he then turned and left three pairs of sneakers on the court as he weaved through the defense to score at the buzzer as the crowd showed their approval.

Smith would go on to score 43 points and his moves dazzled the crowd bringing them to their feet or drawing multiple reactions.  In short, there was nobody who could stop Smith from invoking his will.  Smith told BDN after the game that he had been working non stop to improve and touched on his preparation to go to New York to be with the U.S. Select team.

Smith had help from two Plumlee brothers, no, not Miles and Mason, but Mason and Marshall.  The youngest Plumlee a rising senior at Christ School Arden started the game by jumping center and scored 6 points to go to go with 2 blocks.  His brother Mason brought about some of the evenings loudest roars of approval with his emphatic dunks and ability to handle the ball in the open court.

Plumlee [Mason] finished with 15 points, grabbing 7 boards and his most impressive stat was his team high 5 assists.  BDN also got word that Mason and Miles were selected as counselors at the Adidas Nations event and they will head to Minnesota where their brother Marshall will play in the event.

All of the Blue Devils had their moments in the win which included Nolan putting it off the backboard for Mason to throw down a dunk.  Mason matched up most of the evening with Jawad Williams.

The next game featured four Blue Devils where the three freshman faced off with Ryan Kelly's team.  On this night Kyrie coasted along with 13 points but he had moments where he showed I can do what I want when I want.  He dished several assists and his teammate Tyler Thornton added 4 points.

Josh Hairston scored 12 points and is averaging 15.0 ppg in his last two outings.  One might think that these Dukies played on the winning team but it was a gallant effort by Ryan Kelly which enabled his depth shy D-One team to defeat Hendrick 79-75.

A late Irving bucket cut the lead to two in a sea saw affair, but that was as close as they would come for Kelly answered by finishing off an alley-oop dunk.  Kelly finished the game with 21 points.

"We just got out in transition and played confident.  I've been working hard all summer and being able to showcase that work is great.  It was just our night," said Kelly.

In the night cap Miles Plumlee took to the court where he was greeted by former Los Angeles Laker and current Atlanta Hawk Josh Powell.  The current NBA star coming off a championship scored a game high 27 points and at times taught Plumlee a lesson.  But the eldest Plumlee never backed down and got his shot off with a variety of moves on his way to 19 points.

Plumlee had to play the whole way in the middle where his team had to add two players due to no-shows.  The athletic Plumlee can only benefit from playing tough competition.

Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry attended the games but did not play.  The N.C. State guys are preparing to go to the Bahama's while the UNC guys were once again no-shows.  BDN learned from a good source that the Heels would be there for the play offs.  The games continue this coming Tuesday as the event starts to wrap up.

Be sure to sign up for BDN Twitter for the latest updates from the Pro Am and the recruiting trail.  And we have more on Nolan Smith coming your way in the morning.  BDn's stats differ a bit from the official stats but we assure you they are accurate.


BDN goes 1 on 1 with Duke Freshman Josh Hairston

Josh Hairston throws down a dunk at the N.C. Pro Am - Photo Rick Crank for BDN

DURHAM, N.C. -Duke freshman Josh Hairston is starting to adjust to college life and the rigors of non stop basketball.  Hairston has joined fellow freshman Kyrie Irving and Tyler Thornton and their team is on display at the N.C Pro Am.  Hairston struggled in his first game out of the gate going against the likes of Josh Powell of the L.A. Lakers but he regrouped and bounced back with an 18 point effort in his last outing.  BDN caught up to Hairtson to get his thoughts -

Just press play -

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Kyrie Irving’s debut at the N.C. Pro Am thrills Duke fans

Kyrie Irving drives to the basket during is N.C. Pro Am debut - photo copyright Rick Crank, BDN Photo

Durham, N.C. - Fans from all across the Triangle packed North Carolina Central University's gym on Tuesday night, as a record-breaking crowd was on hand to see some of the ACC's best young incoming talent on display. Four Blue Devils took to the floor in Tuesday's round of games, including the much anticipated debut of incoming freshman point guard Kyrie Irving. Irving played in the first game where he scored a team high 36 points while dazzling the crowd with his ball handling and crafty finishes around the basket. While his 36-point debut was quite an impressive performance, it came up a little short for Irving as his team fell to Team Navy by 4 points. In the second match-up of the night, Seth Curry teamed up with Miles Plumlee and incoming freshman forward Josh Hairston for a balanced attack to defeat Team 212/Trianglegi.com. Curry led the way with 22 points, shooting 8-16 FG and 3-8 3pt. Curry showed off his array of scoring abilities, dialing in from NBA range while also taking the ball strong to the hoop for several solid finishes around the rim. Miles Plumlee used his athleticism and size around the rim to throw down 2 or 3 rim-rocking dunks, sending the crowd into frenzy on more than one occasion. He finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Hairston played good defense out on the perimeter and showed some touch on his turn-around jump shot. He finished the game 5-10 from the field for 10 points while also grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds. In the most anticipated match up of the night, the incoming Tar Heel freshmen alongside John Henson, Justin Watts and PJ Hairston took on the incoming freshmen from Raleigh, as it was an old fashioned UNC vs. NCST rivalry game. The game was heated from the beginning, with Harrison Barnes and CJ Leslie going head to head both making plays on both sides of the court. While Barnes led the team with a game-high 26 points, the real story of the game was UNC freshman Reggie Bullock. Bullock used his size and athleticism to consistently drive and shoot over Lorenzo Brown from NCST. The UNC freshmen took home the 10 point win.

As for the Duke players, many were excited to see their future point guard in action for the first time, and he did not disappoint. Coming into the game with virtually no warm up, Kyrie quietly began to assert himself in the first quarter before taking off before the end of the half. He missed on his first few 3-point attempts, however quickly recovered with a few fast break points and a huge one handed alley-oop on the fast break. Irving really shined with the ball in his hands as he used his amazing shift of pace to slice through the heart of the defense either finishing at the rim or dishing off to an open teammate. Irving draws many comparisons to former Wake Forest great Chris Paul, and they are not far off. If Tuesday night was any indication of the type of impact Irving could have at Duke, then Duke fans should buckle up, for it's going to be a fun season. Truly an elite level point guard who will have the ball in his hands early.

Seth Curry's feel for the game is so clear when watching him play. You can tell that he comes from a basketball family and that he knows how to play the game the right way. While a deadeye shooter from 3, Curry has no problem going into attack mode and getting to the rim. He will have no problem playing some point for Duke this season, as his ball handling and decision-making are superb. He showed off his array of scoring tools, getting points from virtually every spot on the floor. He will be a dangerous weapon to put on the floor along side players like Irving, Smith and Singler.

Miles Plumlee has completely reshaped his body and looks to be in the best shape of his life. He is extremely cut and moves as well as any big man you will see at his size. His lift off the floor is much quicker than it was in his previous two seasons as he has turned much of his bulk into pure solid muscle. He showed nice touch with a right handed hook shot and wowed the crowed with his thunderous dunks. While his shot was somewhat off tonight, he showed glimpses last season of hitting the mid range jumper. Rebounding will be a key area of focus for the Plumlee brothers this upcoming season as they look to replace key seniors Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas.

Incoming freshman forward Josh Hairston blended in well with Curry and Plumlee, quietly doing the little things to help his team. Hairston possesses an athletic frame that will be able to defend out on the perimeter very similar to the way Lance did last season. Hairston showed good form and touch from the outside, hitting two turn-around jumpers on the baseline.

Overall, this was one of the biggest nights in the N.C Pro Am history. With lines reaching over 200 people outside, many were turned away simply because of fire code. With the talent that is showing up, the Pro Am does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. Many suggest getting there up to an hour early in order to secure a parking spot and a comfortable seat in the house.

Will be on hand for Thursday's action and excitement. Tobacco road is showing what it's all about.

- article by Michael Mueller

Rivers leads USA past Canada

In a record-setting night, the USA U18 National Team (4-0) earned a berth in the gold medal game with a 122-89 semifinal victory over Canada (2-2) Tuesday night at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men at Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio, Texas.

“That’s the goal and that’s what we came here for,” said USA and University of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. “Not trying to sound conceited, but we expected to be in this position and this is what we’ve worked for. We’ve been together for three weeks and we’ve worked for this moment. Hopefully, we can come out and seize the opportunity tomorrow.”

Austin Rivers (Winter Park H.S. / Winter Park, Fla.) poured in a game-high 35 points for the USA, shooting 12-of-18 from the field and sinking 9-of-12 in 3-point range, establishing new U.S. records at the U18 tournament. His 35 points broke the former record of 34 set by Calbert Cheaney versus Brazil in 1990, the first FIBA Americas U18 Championship. His nine 3-pointers made surpassed three different players who had previously sunk five 3-pointers in a single game, Aaron Brooks (2002), Terry Dehere (1990) and Steve Lepore (1998).

“Sometimes I just get in grooves where I hit a couple shots,” said Rivers. “You feel like the basket’s real wide. I know I hit a couple shots and then everything started going from there. After that it felt like any shot I threw up would go in, so it’s kind of like a lot of adrenaline. It felt like I had ultimate energy. Everything was falling.”

Additionally, the team set a new single-game record at this event with 14 made 3-point field goals, breaking the previous record that was set in 2002, and tied in 2008 and again in the USA’s first contest this year.

“I thought we played well,” added Capel. “We did a good job defensively early. I thought our guys respected Canada and we knew they were a very good team. We came out and jumped on them early. I thought we did it with our defense. One of the things was a huge key for us was (Kyle) Wiltjer. He’s their leading scorer and we wanted to try to take him out of the game. We did a very, very good job of that. He was shooting about 68 percent from three coming into this game. One of our main goals was to not even let him get a 3-point attempt and our guys did a good job of following through on that.”

The U.S. squad will meet also undefeated Brazil (4-0) for the gold medal at 7:00 p.m. (all times CDT) Wednesday. Brazil upended defending gold medalist Argentina (2-2) 70-56 in the other semifinal game. Argentina and Canada will play for the bronze medal at 5:00 p.m. All four teams earlier qualified for the 2011 U19 World Championships in Latvia.

With the win, the U.S. upped its overall record to 37-2 at this event, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, and has won four gold medals (1990, 1994, 1998, 2006), one silver medal (2008) and one bronze medal (2002) at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Tony Mitchell (L.G. Pinkston H.S. / Dallas, Texas), who is headed to Missouri, added 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick’s H.S. / Elizabeth, N.J.), a Duke signee, contributed 12 points and seven assists. Jereme Richmond (Waukegan H.S. / Waukegan, Ill.), who will play for Illinois next year, scored 11 points. Josh Hairston (Montrose Christian School (Md.) / Fredericksburg, Va.), a future Duke player, rounded out the double-figure players with 10 points.

The red, white and blue, which has trailed for a total of 1:24 through four games, led wire-to-wire against Canada. Appropriately, Rivers got the scoring started with a 3-pointer 52 seconds into the game. By the 3:33 mark the U.S. was up 22-2 and at 2:51 Canada scored its first field goal of the night.

“I love it. I love it,” stated Capel on Rivers’ performance. “It’s just really neat to watch him go through that. Really, the best part about it was watching his teammates. Seeing how excited they are. These are some of his peers, some guys that are a little bit older than him, but just seeing how excited they were for him was really pretty neat.”

Rivers tied the former U.S. 3-point record with his fifth trey to close the first quarter scoring and put the U.S. up 37-10. Less than two minutes into the second quarter, Rivers, who was perfect from beyond the arc in his first nine attempts, had the record with his sixth made three.

For complete coverage visit USABasketball.com

Future Blue Devils Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston make Team USA squad

Austin Rivers joins Kyrie Irving and Josh Hairston on Team USA. Prospects Quincy Miller and Amir Williams also made the team - BDN Photo

Two future Duke Blue Devils were named to the Team USA U-18 roster earlier this afternoon.  Duke's point guard of the future Kryie Irving and Virginia native Josh Hairston  were named to the final roster after participating in the trials.

"When I heard my name it was a big relief, just the amount of talent that was out here and to just represent your country was big time. Everybody who came to the tryouts could have been on this team, everybody from the top to the last person on the list was very talented. I think the coaches put together the best 12 guys that meshed together and play well together so it’s an honor to be a part of that," said Hairston.

Hairston, who was not too happy when his name was not called out for the McDonald's All American and Jordan Brand All Star games, went into the trials with something to prove.

"I wanted to show the coaches I could rebound, that I could talk on defense, that I could run the floor and that I could be a leader. One of the things my dad told me before I came out here was to just go out there and work my hardest and that’s what I did," stated the future Dukie.

Kyrie Irving a will share the point guard duties with Abdul Gaddy and the experience should provide him with some great experience. "We’ve been working hard for about two-and-a-half days so coming out here and performing the way I did, I’m really proud of myself and all the guys that made it. We have a very talented team and we’re going for the gold." said Irving.

Kyrie Irving will be dribbling on Coach K Court in a Duke uniform next season, but first, there is a stop with Team USA. BDN Photo

Irving also mentioned that he was the youngest player on the court. "That’s going to be primary role next year is to be a leader on that team along with Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, so just being a leader and being a point guard.
It will definitely help me. I’m the youngest player here; I’m playing with an older group. These are great players, competitive players, and it’s going to help me take my game to a whole another level."

Three Duke prospects also made the final roster.  Duke is all over Austin Rivers who made the team and is considered by many as a strong Duke lean.  When asked what he brought to the table, Rivers stated," I would say I bring leadership as someone you can count on in a game. Whatever you need me to do, I can do it. If you need me to score, I can score. If you need me to try to get someone the ball, I can get someone the ball. I’d say a little bit of everything. Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it."

Quincy Miller of Quality Academy in Winston Salem and Detroit standout Amir Williams will join the future Dukies and Rivers on the team.

It’s a privilege to be named to the USA team. This is a great experience, a great time for me to go out and represent my country. It’s going to be a wonderful experience for me to play for this team, said Miller who list Duke and Kentucky on his list of schools.

BDN will follow Team USA closely in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more as the team prepares for play.