Tag Archives: Mason Plumlee

BDN Recap – Coach K shares the latest on Duke Basketball

Coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed the media today and, as usual, his summer session provided a lot of information.  The biggest news to some was that it is now official that Andre Dawkins will redshirt this coming season.  But there was so much more.  In fact, there was so much information that I decided to just share several interesting notes from today, so read on and enjoy.

-Andre Dawkins will redshirt this coming season.  Details were not given, out of respect for Andre’s personal privacy.

 

- Coach K said that last season’s team was not good defensively out front.  The perimeter players were not big enough or long enough to effectively pressure the ball.  However, he expects they will be better able to apply that pressure this season with improved size and length on the perimeter.   Improving the team’s on-ball pressure will be addressed in the off-season, as will reinforcing defensive concepts out front.

- Coach K said this year’s team would be more versatile and would benefit from having three senior leaders in Mason, Ryan and Seth.

- Ryan Kelly has fully recovered from his injury and is currently working out in Las Vegas.

-  In fact, all the Duke players are currently in good health.

- Mason Plumlee is on an internship and is working out in Chicago.

– Alex Murphy left two days ago for Finland to play on the Finnish National Team. His Mom played for Finland’s national team as well.  Coach said that Murphy would get a lot of playing time. Duke will use the 6’8″ Murphy on the perimeter or in the SF role.  K said having him on the wing would stretch the court and allow Duke to do some different things.

- Seth Curry will play off the ball more in order to hunt his shot.  Thornton, Cook and Sulaimon would be the primary ballhandlers if the season were to start today.

- K did not mention anything about Josh Hairston losing weight in the off-season, but did say that Josh could play more on the perimeter than he has in the past.

- Marshall Plumlee is up to 240 pounds, and K believes last year’s redshirt season would help him. He likes his work ethic and enthusiasm, and mentioned his toughness as well.

- Incoming freshman Rasheed Sulaimon has played well and K believes that he, like all players do, will grow from the experience of playing international basketball.

- One peeve that Coach K mentioned was the transfer rate in college basketball.  He thinks it’s just out of control, as more than 450 kids are moving to different schools. As the NCAA is not doing much about the problem, K believes that college hoops needs a governing body to address issues like this.

- Coach said the one-and-done mentality has always existed but that players now leave more quickly when facing controversy or any type of difficult situation.  He noted as well that sometimes kids leave before the book is written, and referenced 2010, where Duke’s senior-laden team blossomed into champions.

- Also on transfers, K believes that transfers are being recruited harder than high school prospects now, and he implied the battles were vicious.  Again, he recommends that studies needed to be done to support controlling this trend.

- He mentioned some teams trying to improve their APR as well, as that measure will have UConn on the sidelines of the NCAA tournament this year.

- Coach was aked if in the future he would recruit differently in light of having lost Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers back to back, after only one year apiece at Duke.  He said there are no real recruiting philosophies that he could describe in the current climate.

- He also said that Rivers and Miles Plumlee were expected to do well in the upcoming NBA Draft, and that the success of former Duke players in the league enhances perceptions of Duke and helps Duke’s image with new prospects.

- Coach said that he faces challenges with Team USA from both the effects of the condensed NBA season as well as injuries.  They have yet to finalize a roster. He glowed when talking about the play of Russell Westbrook, and scoffed at so many analysts who examine his game under the microscope, noting that Westbrook is just 24 years old. He said LeBron James would play for Team USA for sure.  In discussing LeBron, Coach K stated that some kids learn in different ways and that while James has had to learn some tough lessons, he is a special and gifted player.

- When questioned whether it bothered him that N.C. State and North Carolina seemed to be getting more love, he quipped, “I like what we’ve done” and preferred to talk about that.  He gave a bit of a sly smile at that moment, and there is good reason for that. My take is that K was saying, in effect, “let people overlook us.  That’s exactly what we want them to do.”  And if you truly know hoops, then you realize Duke will be just fine this coming season and when it’s all said and done, the Blue Devils will sit in their customary position at the top of the league.

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Mason Plumlee will play as a senior at Duke

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DURHAM, N.C. – Duke junior Mason Plumlee will return for his senior season in 2012-13, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced on Tuesday. Plumlee, an Academic All-America selection in 2012, has collected 769 points, 726 rebounds and 147 blocks in 105 career games (64 starts) as a Blue Devil.

 

“I am really excited about my decision to come back,” said Plumlee. “What it came down to was the people here and the relationships that I have developed. I feel like this is the best place for me to improve and that is one of the most important things to me. Also the way we ended last year is not the way I want to end my career at Duke.”

 

Last season, Plumlee averaged 11.1 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game en route to earning third team All-ACC accolades. He was one of four players in the ACC to average at least 10.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Plumlee finished tied for third in the ACC in rebounding and also ranked third in double-doubles (12) and double-figure rebounding games (16).

 

Plumlee also ranked second on the team in field goal percentage (.572, 143-of-250), while registering a Duke single-season record 60 dunks. The Warsaw, Ind., native led the team in rebounding 21 times last season and 45 times during his career. Duke is 88-17 (.838) over the last three seasons with Plumlee in the lineup.

 

“Mason had a very good year for us and we are excited to have him back for his senior season,” said Krzyzewski. “He is a terrific talent that has improved every year. We look forward to watching him continue to grow and develop as a player and as a leader. Mason has the ability to contend for ACC Player of the Year and All-America honors next season.”

 

With the return of Plumlee, the Blue Devils are expected to have nine letterwinners and four starters back from last year’s team that went 27-7 overall and 13-3 in the ACC. Duke will also have redshirt freshmen Alex Murphy and Marshall Plumlee as well as incoming freshman Rasheed Sulaimon in the fold for the 2012-13 season. Plumlee will pair with fellow rising senior Ryan Kelly to give Duke an experienced frontcourt tandem that combined to average 22.9 points, 14.6 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game a season ago.

 

Plumlee currently ranks 20th in the Duke record books in career rebounds (726), 13th in offensive rebounds (229), fifth in blocks (147) and fourth in dunks (130). He is 231 points shy of becoming the 61st player in Duke history to score 1,000 career points and 275 rebounds shy of becoming just the eighth Blue Devil to grab 1,000 rebounds.

St. Johns v Duke

Decisions loom large for Duke Basketball

Before Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski can map out how he will use his  2012-13 roster,  the dust has to clear on many looming decisions.  To mention that a lot is going on behind the scenes right now within the program is like being Captain Obvious.  The Blue Devils, like other schools, will meet with players individually where they’ll be told what is expected of them next season and how they will be used in what many call exit interviews.

These meetings will at times allow players who are not happy with their projected roles to make a move and or transfer.  While transfers are rare, they are a part of the game and the rumor mill has been full of talk.  Now, I am not saying Duke is destined for transfers, only that one could happen and the public will  not know until GoDuke.com announces them in an official manner.

Already waiting in the wings could be a transfer into the program in Trey Zeigler, a player who is leaving Central Michigan.  Zeigler is visiting several schools including Pitt this week, but the Blue Devils reportedly feel he could help their team.  Zeigler has the ability to guard the 6-5 big guard types and would add some experience but we’ll only know how this one turns out at the end of April or in early May for his decision will not be made until other things are settled.

It’s worth noting that Krzyzewski and Duke have rarely accepted transfers but the ones which have joined the royal blue have been successful.  Roshown McCleod and Dahntay Jones certainly made their impact felt. 

The big key, at the moment, hinges on the decision of rising senior Mason Plumlee.  The question is will he join his eldest brother Miles by signing with an agent to achieve his goal of reaching the NBA or will he come back to Duke to play a year with his youngest brother, Marshall.

Should Mason head to the draft with an agent, it leaves a huge hole in the middle at Duke and that’s when a Blue Devil recruiting target, Tony Parker’s decision becomes oh-so important.  Duke has been recruiting Parker for a good long time and Krzyzewski has stayed steadfast and consistent during the process.  But Parker has been the reason for burgeoning gray hairs in many fans in that his comments are often inconsistent or hard to read.

Oddly, Parker is rumored to be more likely to come if Mason leaves, but it would make sense for him to want Mason around to learn from as a freshman and play beside.  But then there is the possibility that Duke might lose Parker and the middle of the three Plumlee brothers and that would suggest for some tough times in the paint in Durham.

Most Duke fans feel it should be a no brainer for Tony Parker in that Duke has a specific need for a player with his skill set, but if it were only that simple.  Regardless, Parker can all but guarantee himself going to one of the nation’s elite programs and playing right away if he chooses Duke.

As for Plumlee, his decision is a little less clear for perceived results.  He has long been considered an NBA prospect and some feel when you are guaranteed a few million bucks you have to take it, but other factors are at play.  This year’s draft is fast becoming loaded with prospects and can he get a team to guarantee he would be their pick  in the first round if he falls to them?

Should Plumlee return, he will anchor the post at Duke and pardon the pun, but be the big man on campus, likely being considered for many preseason honors and getting a few sleek magazine covers as the Blue Devils’ best player.  On the other hand, who can ever blame a kid for taking the money if it is there for sure?  Personally, I do not feel that his return will hurt his stock for I just cannot see a player with his physical abilities regressing.

Plumlee has until April 10th per the NCAA to announce his decision to enter the draft, but he could actually say he is coming back and still change his mind by April 29th, which is the NBA deadline.  Plumlee has yet to make his decision but it will surely happen soon and Duke fans are sitting on pins and needles in anticipation.

Then the Blue Devils are in contention for the nation’s top player in Shabazz Muhammad, who includes them alongside UCLA and Kentucky.  Duke has an opening for another one and done player but this will not be an easy one to close on and right now most feel UCLA and Kentucky are ahead of the Blue Devils in the process.  My understanding is that Duke has been and will remain in the process and who wouldn’t remain in the chase for a player like Muhammad, who can shift the balance of power instantly?

Another player which would add a different skill set to the roster is Amile Jefferson, a sleek, but slender forward out of Philadelphia.  Jefferson is not the answer in the post for Duke but he is a player which can help in the block per his skill set.  Like Parker and Muhammad, his decision should come around April 11th and that will be a day when the Duke message boards will be non-stop buzzing.

The attraction to Jefferson is the fact he provides different options with his potential and he’s a team player, which is always needed.  Jefferson is also a top-notch student.  N.C. State recruiting types are supremely confident that they are the favorites but we’ll have to wait and see for Duke seems to be in as good a shape as anyone.

There is a lot of talk about the Duke program slipping out there as well, but if a piece or two fall into place or even more, then Duke is a national title contender and no matter what happens, they’ll contend in the ACC.  We live in a time when talking heads can influence society with falsehoods and tainted perceptions and the Blue Devils are a victim of that now more than ever.

In the end, the Blue Devils always seem to push away the critics and force them to start fawning over the program again from the fact they win and do so as consistently as anyone.  Okay, they do so a lot more than most, but reading some of the preseason top 25 projected polls would have you think the sky is falling.

Make no mistake, Duke is a college basketball juggernaut and they won 27 games against a difficult schedule, so to write off them or any of their players would be a mistake.  But it is clear that Duke wants and needs to add to the mix and that is why the pending decisions are critical in many ways.

So strap yourself in for the next few weeks will be a wild ride and if you want more, join BDN Premium where we constantly update what we are hearing provided they are fact based or from consistent sources.

 

BDN Premium – Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update

Rasheed Sulaimon played "Horse" while visiting Duke. Maybe that helped him win the three point shooting contest at the McDonald's All American game? BDN presents another loaded team and recruiting update article for premium members.

Well, it’s that time of year again when AAU ball cranks up and for BDN that means we’ll be hitting several big events. Austin Rivers decision to sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft wasn’t that big of a surprise to us and we all wish him luck. Rivers decision is the first thing that will set the future into motion as the staff will be hot on the recruiting trail.  While many Duke fans hate to see Rivers lead, he can help the program at the next level and they will show that shot against UNC several times early on in his pro career.  He joins Kyrie Irving as players kids will really identify with.

I expect Mason Plumlee will (you must be a BDN Premium member to read the 2000 plus word update, so join today!) [private] enter his name into the draft to get feedback as to his draft status which must be done by April 3rd. Plumlee from all accounts is torn about his decision but the departure of Austin Rivers could help. Had Rivers returned the offense would have been run through him and the Blue Devils would have been his team. His high school coach David Gaines said that he was weighing his options and that one thing he would want is more touches or to be used in a more prominent role, It seems part of Plumlee wants to return and finish what he started and play with his brother Marshall for a year. Marshall could surely use his tutoring and Duke could surely use his presence in the paint. But an equal part of Mason wants to go pro and it may come down to where he is projected in a deep draft. It’s probably even odds right now but that could change.  If I were to guess, I think Mase will probably want to go through his senior season and be a more focal point for the team but I am not majorly confident with the info I have received to date and it is worth noting that I have not talked this  over with some of my usual sources.

Should Plumlee head to the league with Rivers, Duke will be in major need of a big or two. There are two options, one being Tony Parker and the other Alex Oriakhi, the Connecticut transfer. Should Plumlee go, it would be a match made in heaven with Oriakhi. As for Tony Parker, he announced that he would be making a decision on April 11th and I can tell you now that Duke is a definite player. Coach K locked in on his parents early on and there is a very solid relationship and trust between them. While Parker has seemingly bought into all of the anti Duke recruiting rhetoric and squirmed away at the mention of Duke, he may finally be seeing the light and the opportunity he has stepping right into playing time at Duke. Parker showed signs of getting a bit out of shape at the McDonald’s All American drills but who knows the circumstances or that he didn’t have something going on? Anyhow, he has trimmed his list to Duke, Kansas and UCLA. IMO, Los Angeles is too far from home unless all his pals go there and that means it is likely down to two, Kansas and Duke. I think the Blue Devils have proximity in their favor as well and may pull this one out. Their odds are much better than they were a month ago at this time and Parker knows he would plug right in. Parker’s decision may also effect the aforementioned Oriakhi.

Shabazz Muhammad won the dunk contest and he will choose a school on April 11th as well on an ESPN special. His decision likely has bearing on Trey Zeigler, a recent visitor and I expect nothing will happen with him until Bazz pulls the trigger due to available slots. Duke can now show Muhammad that he can be there next one and done freshman and that may be enough to pull him in. Zeigler offers maturity and the ability to guard certain types of players on defense. It will be interesting to see how all plays out, but I feel one will be on the roster at this time. And there is still the shadow of an NCAA investigation over Bazz and this could effect him going to what many felt the leader has been for months, Kentucky.

The Duke coaches will assault the AAU circuit full throttle before July for that is when Coach K will be heading up Team USA and he’ll take assistants Collins and Wojo with him. That means April is an important month and the staff will take in both Nike EYBL sessions and other events I will share at a later date. Jeff Capel, Nate James and Chris Spatola will fill in while the staff builds the team they hope wins gold.

Several Duke Assistants have been considered for other jobs but the info coming in is somewhat shaky so I will not share the rumors. The Illinois job supposed linked three Duke types, Johnny Dawkins who led Stanford to the NIT title game, Steve Wojciechowski and of course Chris Collins. It looks like the job has been filled and Collins was like the next one or two choices had the job remained open. Nothing official while I am typing this though … It is looking more and more like a mid major stepping stone job may be the ticket for some. Back to Dawkins, he would probably like to go somewhere it is easier to recruit but his Stanford team will compete for the PAC 10 the next two season should he stay put and I expect him to do so.

The coaches will be meeting with players to tell them what to work on for the coming season and what role they envision them taking on.  And you have heard a lot of transfer rumors by now and I fully expect some movement.  It’s hard for me to share too much on that front in that it is a sensitive and private issue for the program, but the most rumored kid to leave Michael Gbinije seems prepared to returned and told his AAU coach he knew Coach K knew what he was doing.  It has also come out that Seth Curry can or will graduate and that he entertained going overseas but no firm decision has been made.  It was odd that Austin Rivers seemed to slip and say he was gone in the locker room after the tournament loss, but there was a lot of emotion going on.

I can tell you that there will be a shake up and Duke will try to get back to playing better defense and I expect all players will be challenged and have to earn their time next season.  The coaches, like us. have to let all shake out and each player or prospect move will effect one another with concern to the players/prospects in play.

The Carolina Classic has concluded and we’ll add some late scouting reports and get the thoughts of others before weeks end.  I would say Theo Pinson is the only prospect firmly on the radar and while there are other good players, none of them are past the evaluation mode.  For those new to BDN Premium, the evaluation mode consists of players they are putting feelers out on.  Many kids, like prospect Tyrone Outlaw will get a look and he will visit in an unofficial manner, but it is common for local star prospects to drop by campus.  Jeff Capel is the lead guy for Outlaw but I’m not sure he would make the final cut.  However he does add toughness to the team he will play for and he can guard bigger players.  Outlaw will have to improve his perimeter game to become a real candidate.  Duke has showed some interest in Jaquel Richmond as well but something tells me they may not pursue him as hard as some other names.

Another name which has popped up is Christian Harrison of Greensboro Day.  Harrison grew up a Duke fan and of course says he would accept an offer on the spot.  He’s a nice late bloomer in the rankings but has very thin shoulder width which needs a lot of added muscle.  He can finish very well and is a smooth player but hangs outside a bit too much for my tastes.  His second game was his worst and his defense was awful at times in that game.  He wasn’t playing help D or using his length a lot.  His third game would have one drooling and he played much better after motivational speeches.  I would have to get more views on him to get a real feel.  We will have an interview up soon with him.

The Nike Jordan-Brand Classic is on my agenda where I will see Rasheed Sulaimon play and hopefully one or two more future Blue Devils.  The even on April 14th will allow us to know where Tony Parker and Shabazz Muhammad are going.  There are a slew of UNC and N.C. State guys playing in the event, a game of local North Carolina ballers and an International game.  continues to work Duke prospects as does his future teammate Matt Jones.

The Nike EYBL season starts in April as well and it gets underway with session I  in Minnesota on April 20-22 and then session II in Hampton, Virginia the following weekend.  The event is loaded with Duke prospects and among them are Chicago studs, Jabari Parker, the top rated player in the class of 2013 and Jahill Okafor, the paint eater and key Blue Devil target as well.  Both will suit up for the Mac Irwin Fire again and Parker has been the Blue Devils top target for a long time and as I have said for a year or so now, I feel Duke is in great shape with  him.  Then there is the Texas Titan duo of Matt Jones a shooting guard who has already pledged to Duke and his teammate, the bullish post man, Julius Randle.  If Duke misses on bigs this year, their need for Randle will be dire.  Duke is in good shape and will surely make his final cut and he is right there with Jabari Parker as the most important prospects they will work before Olympic duties.  But rest easy for Duke Assistant Jeff Capel is the lead recruiter for him and that bodes well.    Then there are the two PG prospects, Anthony Barber 2013 and Tyus Jones 2014.    Long time members know I rave when speaking of Jones and I will finally get more views of Barber.  Both are legitimate standouts but Jones to me is special and a winner.  But Jones has the nation after him and he will be a tough get.  Duke will also have their eyes open for other players and by the end of April we should have some new names popping up.  Other names to watch are big man Bee Jay Anya and Theo Pinson to name a few.

By all accounts, Ryan Kelly is healing nicely and he should have plenty of time to have his game together before the season starts.  Duke players had a lot of nagging injuries by seasons end but the Blue Devils do not broadcast them until later and maybe no even then.  Coach Krzyzewski has never been one to share too much in the past.  But it was certainly evident that the loss of Kelly effected the team concept and in hindsight, Kelly added a lot of value to the team.

The take on Amile Jefferson in interesting.  Talk to the NCSU types and they are majorly confident he comes.  Their spin is he is waiting to see what C.J Leslie does, well, I will tell you that he is going pro.  Jefferson has a great relationship with the Wolfpack staff but I feel his heart is with Duke.  I though his decision may be tied in with the McDonald’s game but it seems he will watch what happens with team rosters as well as others now.  Jefferson is a nice young man who is likely having trouble telling certain teams no.  Villanova continues to make the hometown push and they are still hovering about but it is down to the ACC schools and I still feel Duke is in the best shape to get his services.  But it’s recruiting, so who knows 100% sure what might happen.

So, we are all waiting to watch the McDonald’s All American game this evening and to see how things shake out for Duke Basketball.  You have heard me say the following on numerous occasions but it applies more than ever to current situations.  Let it play out.  Freaking out and over speculation is a waste of ones energy.  Watch what prospects do and not what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.

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Duke ACC Notebook – Devils slip past Hokies and now Florida State is in the way

Lance King photo for BDN

The Blue Devils survived the pesky Hokies 60-56 to advance to the semi finals where they’ll take on a talented Florida State team this afternoon.  In the process Duke tied the second longest streak of ACC Tournament victories at 10 consecutive wins.  The Blue Devils defense was the key against the Hokies, holding their opponent to 30.2% from the field.

Duke doubled the production of the Hokies in the paint by a 24-12 margin and their fast break worked as well to a 8 to 3 rate.  But Duke was just 5 of 26 from the three point stripe and that number must improve against Florida State.  The Blue Devils also benefited from going 15 of 18 from the free throw line and that was a huge factor in winning their 27th game of the season.

Tyler Thornton was a vital part of the win as well, despite missing several three pointers.  But the ones he did make were at key moments and he seemed to be there every time their was a loose ball, garnering 3 steals.  Austin Rivers led Duke in scoring wih 17 points and Mason Plumlee played very well scoring 12 points to go with 10 rebounds.

As I hinted to earlier, Duke went small just minutes into the game, rotating the the borthers Plumlee with Ryan Kelly sidelined for the tournament.  You can expect more of that today against the Semionoles winners over Miami.  This will be the rubber match between these two clubs and trust me when I say the Florida State fans travelled well here and they’ve let their presence be known.  Of course, Duke will have all the UNC fans pulling against them as well in that the Heels face rival N.C. State in t he opening game.

There is no doubt that the Duke-Florida State game is likely to go to the wire and it’ll be a tense affair throughout.  The Blue Devils must keep a body on the Seminoles and hold their on in the paint while hitting a better percentage from beyond the three point arc.  So, pull up a chair if you think you can actually sit down during this game and root your Blue Devils on for they’ll need the collective support from the fan base today.

Duke fans were a bit quiet in the arena yesterday and they’ll need to pick up the support as well.  We’ll continue to have post game wrap ups with exclusive video and photo galleries from Lance King, so bookmark Blue Devil Nation now and go up close and personal behind the scenes.  As for our prediction today, we’ll take the Duke Blue Devils 66-64.

BDN Post Game – Mason Plumlee talks of the Duke win over the Hokies

Lance King for BDN

Blue Devil Nation is on hand in Atlanta to bring you our usual coverage of Coach K’s team and here is our first post game video with Mason Plumlee who scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Blue Devils 60-56 win over Virginia Tech.  Plumlee went 4 of 5 from the free throw stripe as well and 4 of 6 from the field.