Duke rising sophomore PG Quinn Cook went for 24 points at the N.C. Pro-Am last evening, with 20 of those coming in the first half. Cook also dished out 8 assists, half of which went to incoming freshman forward Amile Jefferson. BDN caught up to Cook after his team's easy win and here is what he had to say:
The N.C. Pro-Am provides fans an opportunity to get a look at incoming players for the first time, and those who saw Duke freshman Amile Jefferson last evening came away impressed. Jefferson led his team to an easy win with a game-high 29 points, which included six dunks, many of which came off assists from teammate Quinn Cook. Jefferson graciously took the time to talk to Blue Devil Nation after his performance. Here is our latest video offering:
There is always a lot happening around Duke athletics, and this coming week is no different. BDN Monday Musings takes a look around in our latest group of tidbits.
Kyrie Irving injured again
Kyrie Irving suffered an untimely injury when, during a Cavaliers practice, he hit his hand out of frustration -- breaking a bone in the hand -- and will now be out of action until the start of training camp. Irving is, of course, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year who most recently was a member of USA Basketball's NBA Select Team. Here is more on his injury. BDN wishes him a speedy recovery. For the record, according to BDN's recruiting analyst who was recently in Las Vegas watching Team USA's preparations, Kyrie's play was as good as any guard in the USA camp.
The Nike Peach Jam is upon us
One of the more popular stops on the AAU circuit is the Nike Peach Jam, which is held in North Augusta, SC, just minutes from the site of the Masters golf tournament. This event provides coaches with one of their last opportunities to scout the Nike kids. Only the top teams qualify for the tournament, which ultimately crowns the best team on the "Swoosh" circuit. In fact, the importance of the event caused several players to back out of the Nike Hoops Summit this past weekend.
Several key Duke prospects will participate in the Peach Jam, and BDN will be there to bring you all the action. Our most recent offering for premium members is a very interesting interview with big man Jahlil Okafor, who stated on record how bad his team wanted to win it. The Nike Peach Jam was one of the first events that Blue Devil Nation covered, and it's always one of my personal favorites. BDN has now been around for ten years and our message board is celebrating its 5th anniversary this season. Want more great coverage? Join today!
Team USA preps and also entertains the troops
What an exciting summer it is for Duke fans, as they get to see coach Mike Krzyzewski try to mold another gold medal-winning national team. During yesterday's practice several members of our military and their families got to watch their heroes work out at the National Guard Armory in Washington, D.C. “They humble us. I mean they do so much for our country and represent our flag,” said Timberwolves and Team USA forward Kevin Love. “We just go out there and play basketball. So they are the reason we have our freedom.” Team USA will take on Brazil today; here is the team's entire schedule through theLondon Olympics.
Just 47 days remain until the Duke football team kicks it off against Florida International in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 1st at 7:00 EST. There is no update on Blair Holliday, who was recently injured in a horrific boating accident. Please keep his family and Blair in your prayers. But Duke Football will have to suck it up and prepare to start practice, where they will undoubtedly be hampered by the loss of Holliday at wideout, where he was slated to start. In fact, this is the position that will be watched most closely in the pre-season by media and coaches alike.
The ACC Kickoff happens in Greensboro this coming Sunday. This event marks the unofficial media start to the season, as coaches and players meet and the pre-season projected standings and All-ACC teams are released. BDN will be there as always to bring you full coverage, including the comments of Duke Coach David Cutcliffe.
In a move designed to shed $18 million from their payroll, Elton Brand was released by the Philadelphia 76ers. But Brand was quickly picked up and signed by the Dallas Mavericks, who outbid the rest of the league for his services.
Mason Plumlee named to Honor Court
Mason Plumlee was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches 2011-12 Honors Court today. The Honors Court awards the talents and gifts that these men possess off the court and the hard work they exhibit in the classroom. Plumlee, a double major in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology, also received CoSIDA First Team Academic All-America honors last season. On the court, he was named third team All-ACC while averaging 11.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Plumlee also shot 57.2% from the floor and finished the year with 12 double-doubles and a school record 60 dunks.
North Carolina Pro-Am
The N.C. Pro-Am has kicked into high gear on the campus of N.C. Central University, and more Duke players could be participating in the event this week, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. There really hasn't been enough play thus far to warrant us passing on our opinions of the players we've seen, but that will change in the coming weeks. There are several interviews from the event up on the site already, and even more for members on the message board.
Miles Plumlee is a hit
Miles Plumlee was named to the NBA's Orlando summer league's First Team. Check out his video from Dime Magazine.
Syracuse is set to join the ACC
It's official! Syracuse will join the ACC in July of 2013. Check out this link.
With the summer heat upon us, many are vacationing at favorite destinations or kicking back in their air-conditioned homes, trying to stay cool. But if you are a Duke fan, it's hard to relax for too long without turning on your computer or smart phone for the latest updates. When you have a basketball program like Duke to follow, things are always hot, and this summer has been a constant sizzle.
Viva Las Vegas
Along with assistants Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, Duke Head Coach Mike Krzzyewski is hard at work in the dry Vegas heat, and they've settled on who will represent Team USA in the fast approaching Summer Olympics in London, England. In case you missed it, here is the roster that was announced over the weekend. While there is an admitted shortage at the center spot, this team is athletic, long, and quick. While there are a number of high-profile players unavailable due to injury or other reasons, Coach K has nevertheless assembled a team of men who badly want to represent the Red, White and Blue, and that is extremely important. BDN's Andrew Slater is on the scene in Las Vegas bringing you the latest; he will pay a visit to camp tomorrow and will provide his insights for members of BDN Premium, our extended subscription service.
USA U-17 dominates
The U-17 team representing our country rolled past all its competition in a display which truly reflected what teams can do when they play together. Of all the American international teams in the past decade that I've personally seen, this team had perhaps the best chemistry. No less than five players on the team have caught Duke's recruiting interest, including PG sensation Tyus Jones. The kid will not wow you with his athleticism or with his frame. But this stat sheet stuffer always gets it done on the court while playing with a cool beyond his years. Jabari Parker also returned from an injury to help Team USA cruise to an easy win, and Jahlil Okafor was named MVP of the event after the team walloped Australia 95-62 yesterday to win the gold medal. For more on Team USA's U-17 victory, go here.
Speaking of recruiting interest
BDN Basketball Recruiting Analyst Andrew Slater is battling the Vegas heat to cover the Lebron James Skills Academy, which is just loaded with prospects. Julius Randle tops the list of interest for Blue Devil fans, but there are many more kids showing off their skill sets in front of the nation's top NBA and college scouts, in an event that winds down today. Among the players who have the Blue Devils' interest are SF Semi Ojeleye, who told Slater his list would soon be trimmed to a more manageable number. We are also taking another look at Marcus Lee, Andrew Wiggins, Austin Nichols, and the already committed Matt Jones. Live reports from Vegas are on our Premium Message Board (for BDN Premium members) and more interviews are on the way. As always, BDN pays close attention to the national recruiting scene as well, and we'll be sharing all the latest we've gathered from our extended network of sources.
For Duke fans, the Lebron James Skills Academy has been a debut of sorts for recent Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood. The sleek 6'8" newcomer has been impressive. He gave Slater a wonderful in-depth interview, in which he shed light on many issues, including the one-and-done rumors that circulated after a former Mississippi State teammate's comments suggested the possibility. Want to learn all the latest on Hood? Join BDN Premium and you will get just that, with this detailed and informative interview. Here is the Welcome to the Hood piece from Slater.
Other Dukies shining in Vegas as well
Duke got a major shot in the arm when Mason Plumlee decided to return for his senior season, and the big man has been working all summer long on his game. Plumlee seems more focussed, and we have the latest reports from firsthand views of him going up against the nation's best in Las Vegas. And then there is Ryan Kelly, who has been working just as hard as Mason; we will unveil a revealing interview with the rising senior captain later this week.
N.C. Pro-Am starts back on Tuesday
The Pro-Am will kick back into gear this week, and several Duke players are expected to play, though it will be hit-and-miss for a bit. With three players in Vegas and others committed elsewhere, it may be the end of this week or even into next week before Duke is represented in a big way. Still, it will be nice for local fans to get a shot at seeing off-season improvements, and BDN will be in the house to bring you all the updates. We have a long relationship with the promoters of this fine event, and we encourage everyone to head over for some serious summertime fun in one of the nation's top events of its kind. Here is a link to the official site.
Alex Murphy to London
If you have read our past reports, you know that redshirt freshman Alex Murphy has been having his way against the competition while playing for the Finnish National team. Murphy has a good sense of humor and always jokes with BDN about our traditional lead-in, "This is .... with Blue Devil Nation." I can tell you firsthand that Murphy is both excited and confident about this coming season, and that gives us reason to feel good right along with him as the summer unfolds and we look forward to Fall.
Austin Nichols invited to Nike Hoops Summit
Okay, so a lot of players are invited here but we thought we would mention that Austin Nichols, a key Duke prospect, has confirmed that he will be in Washington. D.C. for the event. We have a nice interview with Nichols on the way and, for the record, he earned high praise this weekend from our pal Dave Telep, who raved about his skills.
Andrew Wiggins a Kentucky lock?
Not according to our own Andrew Slater, who was told by the ridiculously talented Canadian that he did not understand where those rumors came from, and that he was still wide open. Wiggins also mentioned that the Duke staff had been calling his coaches. Of course, you can learn more by becoming a member of our site.
Less than 100 days
We are under the century mark in the countdown to the start of the college basketball season. Just sayin'.
Kyle Singler dunk impresses
In case you missed the news, former Duke star Kyle Singler is coming back from Spain and will ball with the Detroit Pistions this season. He had one heck of a dunk recently.
More to come
We took a few days off last week recharging the batteries. With renewed energy, BDN will soon be reporting live from a number of basketball recruiting events, and football will start to come into focus as well, with ACC Operation Football kicking off in Greensboro later this month.
In closing, we ask for your continued prayers for injured Duke football player Blair Holliday, who remains in a coma at UNC Hospital after a tragic boating accident. We will let you know of any changes in Blair's status, and hope all continue to send their best wishes and positive thoughts to his family, while respecting their privacy. Thanks.
Day Two of the Nile EYBL Session II is in the books and it was a long one where the coaches were in the gym all day and night. It's hard to figure out where to start tonight in that my head is swimming from information overload. Let's start with Tyler Ennis who is still [private] on the radar and while he is listed as a PG, he shows off more shooting guard skills to me despite being just 6-3. I spoke with him after his game. And then there is Andrew Wiggins who if NBA rules allowed would go straight to the league. Of course Duke has interest but this will not be an easy get, so I would call that interest somewhat luke warm in that they know it would be quite the battle.
I was impressed with Wayne Selden (2014) today and he's going to be a good one, I secured a video chat with him. Duke has a lot of interest in him but it is too early for them to concentrate on that class which includes Theo Pinson. The interest is there for Pinson but they know he is a long ways from making his decision.
Boo Williams continued their slide and will likely not make it to the Peach Jam or the EYBL finals, dropping to 2-7 with a loss to Mokan. Al Freeman has not been impressive in the event which I said from day one and I have yet to see him use his potential in a good way. When his offense struggles he allows it to effect his whole game and while he had a good game tonight shooting the ball, his other stat totals were again, non existent. I don't think Boo uses him right. Anthony Barber is good, but not good enough to earn an offer at this point. He is a PG that cannot really pass that well and the chemistry with Freeman ia average at best. And Try Williams continues to regress with many questioning his work ethic.
Julius Randle improved his stock and that is hard to do when you are ranked 2nd in your class. His handle is nice for a big man and he dominated when he did take it to the paint. He told BDN he had so many triple teams he decided to take his game to the perimeter and it seems to be working. Yes Matt Jones is better and he told BDN he is now 6-5 but the same weight. I have vid interviews with both.
I spoke with ex ACC official Larry Rose for a good long time and what a chat we had. He is head of MEAC officials now. I laughed at him being ragged in Cameron back in the day.
I watched a bit of Jahlil Okafor and his game is about the same as it was a year ago in that he needs to be more aggressive. A ton of folks really pick my brain about Duke now and I found myself giving disinformation to a couple of the more obnoxious types:)
Semilore Ojeleye. Semi is pronounced Shimi. I sat with Coach for part of his game and he like him a lot as do the assistants. I was tipped off they thought he could be offer material on Friday and had a brief chat with him on video. Great kid. His game? Nice. Great stroke from 3, solid, strong finisher on dunks. Listed at 6-7, but said he is 6-6. And guess who he pulled for when he grew up but don't they all;(. Anyhow, love his game and want him in royal blue. Unique player with incredible background, smart, solid student -- the whole package.
Ish Wainright is a defender supreme who can guard almost anyone and wants all challenges. Coach wants to see more offense from him. He was a beast tonight and hit a three point shot at the buzzer and Team Takeover finally won and that meant we got to talk to him, yay. Yes, that was sarcasm in that his coaches are a trip an then some.
Coach was upset about the injury to Derrick Rose and spoke of the challenges in filling the Team USA roster. Of course. Dwight Howard is out too but all the studs are expected to play. He's been on the road non stop and came in late from Arkansas where he saw Austin Nichols score 35 points, grab 15 rebounds and swat 7 shots away in a single game. Yeah, he's good.
Okay, that's all I have got off the top of my head but I have yet to get to my notes. I will close it out tomorrow before taking that four hour ride back, so do not expect a whole lot on Sunday evening. However, the video interviews will balance well with Andrew and the many interviews he still has. [/private]
For the first time ever, the Boo Williams Sports Complex is full of head and assistant coaches from all the major and mid major schools. By moving the event back a few weeks, they were allowed by the NCAA to have the nations elite play callers come to town. Speaking of the NCAA, changes always seem to come about and during day one of the Nike EYBL Session II, all the games started 45 minutes late. What happened was the NCAA was still in a dead period by definition and the coaches teams and players could come through the door when the games were originally supposed to start.
The Nike circuit is loaded this season and there is also a bevy of Duke prospects which BDN identified two weeks ago. All but one of those 15 players are still on the radar and of course Duke offered four prospects scholarships last week. During day one, [private] we concentrated part of our efforts on watching Marcus Lee, who we first told you held an offer. While we have an interview up from Andrew Slater, I needed to get my first view of him. In short, he's long, athletic, moves well and is a good defender and rebounder, but his offense is a work in progress. Lee sprained his ankle in the second half and did not scratch from the field but his talent is clear. He told BDN that UConn, Texas, UNC, Kansas, Florida, Missouri and Duke were all showing interest and that he almost passed put and was intimidated wjhen he looked down and saw that Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke had made a call to him. That video is coming.
I took in Matt Jones and Julius Randle as well and we have a Randle vid coming as well. Randle dropped 15 and Jones 20 playing just over half the game in a Texas Titan's romp. Randle seems leaner to me and he is in great shape and still plays like a bull in the blocks while also floating out more than he did last season. Jones seems to be improved in an overall manner and I will elaborated more as I get multiple views.
I watched part of Ish Wainright game where his team lost by a point late and that meant his coach would go into a curse-fest while whaling about and would not allow him as was the case last week, interviews. Well, after a loss I understand and we are luck Andrew had such a long sit down with him and good luck ever finding a better interview at any Duke related site. Yes, I am bragging on him a little. In fact, Tom Konchalski was here and he raved about Andrew within 2 second of our annual Boo Williams event handshake. Wainright finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds and I need more views of him before I can get into my take on his game.
Austin Nichols was rolling it up in Arkansas in front of Coach K and Jeff Capel. He had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks with 7 minutes to go in his game. Thins is that he was drawing a lot of attention and I will give you one guess which ugly colored team I am talking about. A guy from a rivals site told me they were at his games and such but I think Duke is in the door with him. Word is he will not pick a school before some visits.
I'll continue to share some updates but the wireless is not working in the arena and that means it is really hard to get to information as quickly as I'd like. Coach K will be flying in any minute now and will join Collins tomorrow when we embark on the marathon day or hoops from dusk to midnight. I will add some more stuff as it comes to me on the message boards. [/private]