Tag Archives: Matt Jones

Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update – BDN has the skinny

BDN’s team and recruiting updates have been a hit and the format is now being copied by others, but there is nothing like the original.  We are currently running a special for first time members.  A yearly membership can be had for $85.00, a 15.00 savings.  Our 6 month and 3 month options have been reduced as well and we now offer a monthly rate.  Okay, on to our latest update –

With the Duke Basketball team in China, recruiting has temporarily taken a backseat, but that doesn’t mean the Blue Devils haven’t been active.  With concern to 2012, the picture is quite clear in that Duke has focused in on the players they covet.  BDN Premium takes a look at those targets and gives you an idea of how their recruitment will proceed.

As I have stated before, Duke will ride the Shabazz Muhammad train until the very end.  He visited UCLA recently and our belief is that it is now a [private]two team race between the favored Bruins and the Blue Devils.  I am sure he’ll mention Kentucky and UNLV as well once a decison is made.  No timeline has been set but it wouldn’t surprise us if he made a decision sooner rather than later.  We are hoping for later for that favors Duke and their effort to get another visit.  With a player of Muhammad’s stature, you keep your name in the hat and hope for the best.

Stud big man Mitch McGary recently trimmed his list of schools and Duke made the cut.  Duke feels like they’ve developed a good relationship with his parents and that is always a positive.  This one will be quite a battle down the stretch but the Blue Devils are sure to get a visit before anything else happens.  I think this one will go on for a bit.

I was disappointed in the knee jerk reaction that some Duke fans had with the recent Alex Poythress situation, but both parties have overcome any misunderstanding.  Don’t get me started on fan interactions on Twitter …  Poythress is down to Duke and Vanderbilt in my opinion and a visit is in the works when the Blue Devils return.  If a team sneaks in, it’ll be Kentucky where he is visiting this weekend. Poythress is thrilled by the offer and I think we have a very good shot at landing him.  There is some ground to be made up but Duke is quite a name and playing for Coach K is an honor,

In regards to Perry Ellis, well, Duke never offered him but he continued to list them.  Duke was okay with that and he was a fall back option but he probably wondered where the interest was and dropped Duke.  Ellis never played well in front of Krzyzewski and I think they feel Poythress is more athletic.  They think a lot of Ellis but Duke is going to take their chances with the big four in 2012.

That brings us to Tony Parker.  Who knows what Tony will do.  I don’t think he knows what he will do.  His parents want Duke and he wants Memphis and he seemingly may have fallen for all the anti Duke rhetoric.  At the same time, it would be ill advised for Duke to jump ship and the aforementioned knee jerk reactions by fans would work against efforts.  Duke will see if Tony comes around and there is a chance.  You have to remember, Duke has been on his list from the very start and they have been mentioned in his top three with Ohio State and the Tigers.

In an ideal world, Duke would likely settle on McGary and Shabazz and wrap it up.  But they will take any combination of the guys I have listed and all of the players I have mentioned want to visit Duke.  The Blue Devils will set their strategy for visits upon their return form China and Dubai.

The offer to Bronson Koenig caught many off guard.  The bottom line is that  Coach K liked him and thinks he is a winner and a combo guard.  Yeah, I know his team didn’t win a game when Andrew watched, but who can argue with Coach?  I mean look how Rasheed Sulaimon and Michael Gbinije blew up after Duke got their verbal.  Wisconsin leads for Koenig but Duke is working on a visit and feel they can make up ground.

How will the offer to Koenig effect Matt Jones?  Duke sees Jones as wing-three point specialist.  It helps that he can drive the ball but he still needs work on getting his shot off in traffic.  Duke is losing Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry, so these two shooters firepower would be welcomed in 2013.  Jones will visit Countdown to Craziness and Duke expects the list to grow as the event nears.

Duke will stick with Jabari Parker in a big way and I still think they have a fantastic shot of landing this all around phenom.  The Blue Devils will look to Julius Randle as well but depending on who they end up with in 2012 could change this.  We mentioned a lot of other guys in our last update and very little has changed.  I can tell you that a lot of 2013 kids impressed the staff during the open period.

When the team hits the court in China, all the guys will get some serious minutes.  The hope is that the cream will rise to the top.  Duke will also name their captains after the trip and my thinking is that it will come from Curry, Kelly and a Plumlee.  For the record, Curry is more vocal and outgoing in interviews and he talking more on the court as well.  BDN will talk with some of the players via Skype [phone], so we’ll have those updates coming.   Members can discuss this update on our premium message board.  Remember, registration is separate for the board.  Once you have registered and we confirm your payment you’ll be approved.[/private]

Matt Jones Videos from BDN

You can see Matt Jones light up when Duke is mentioned in one of two BDN Videos below.  One is an interview while the other is a mini clip where he drains a three pointer after a Julius Randle assist.  The two Texas Titan prospects are friends on and off the court.  So check out the videos in BDN’s free section –

Duke Basketball Team & Recruiting Update – A Crystal Clear Picture

The Dynamic duo of Matthew Jones and Julius Randle srike a pose for BDN - BDN Photo Do you want an accurate take on Duke Basketball Recruiting? Well, join BDN Premium and we'll give you a crystal clear picture.

BDN’s Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Updates have set the standard among the sites and sure enough, this concept is now being copied.  We’ll take that as a compliment but when push comes to shove, it is all about the content and we’ll stack ours against anybody.  Here at BDN, our staff is in the trenches at AAU events.  That means our members are getting live streams of information as it happens, making our site well ahead of the curve.

We can lay claim to the fact that we cover more major recruiting events in person than any other site and that has been a running thing for several years now.  We don’t send “stringers,” with limited knowledge of the subject matter to do our work, nor do we sit back and depend on national network guys to do our job for us.  Seriously, do you not want first hand observations from an accomplished staff that has seen the prospects play multiple times?  No knocks here on the National guys in that many are our friends, but their sole focus is certainly not on Duke prospects nor is it a priority to cover them.  There are no smoke and mirrors tactics at BDN folks, nope, we are straightforward and honest when it comes to our coverage and we take pride in that.

If you have yet to try BDN Premium, you don’t know what you’re  missing of late and with some exciting changes on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to check us out.  Our staff is hard working, dedicated and hands on in everything we do.  In our current update we lay out a clear picture of the staff’s efforts.  And before we get on with our update where lots is happening, take a look at how much content we’ve pumped out recently which includes: Two interviews with both Tony Parker and Matt Jones to go with individual interviews with Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Alex Poythress, Perry Ellis, Jahill Okafor, Rasheed Sulaimon and much, much more.  Just today, recruiting analyst Andrew Slater goes in depth with Mitch McGary and we have content laying in wait this week. And our interviews have meat to them in that we don’t lure you in with a premium article featuring a couple of quotes via texting.  Anyhow, let’s move on to another informative and detailed (2521 word) update on the Duke Basketball recruiting scene where we paint a crystal clear picture for our members.  Trust me in that you will absolutely love our update, so if you want to find out where the coaches will be going, who is really on the radar and such, we have the answers for you.  And if you are not satisfied, we’ll refund you within the first 24 hours of joining.

The picture is now crystal clear with concern to 2012 and beyond.  Duke will stick with Tony Parker until his decision is made.  Coach Krzyzewski sat front and center for many of Parker’s games and the big man [private] knew it, cutting his eyes towards the man while playing.  Parker has been a bit up and down with his comments of late but my belief is that Duke is in better shape than anyone else for Tony.  His parents love Duke and if they had their way, this one would be over from what I’ve heard from legitimate sources.  The Parkers sat directly behind the bench this weekend and they certainly saw the Blue Devils’ keen interest.  Duke has been faithful to Tony and his verbal could set other things in motion.  Coach K loves his hands and footwork and wants him to anchor the paint in Durham.  The Blue Devils have made Tony priority 1 on their 2012 wish list.

And if Parker is priority 1-A, then Mitch McGary is 1-B, or you can reverse the order if you’d like.  Duke will go hard after McGary and they feel they have a great chance at the tenacious big.  Sources are now saying McGary may pull the trigger before his high school season and if that is indeed the case, look for a whirlwind of activity in the coming months.  It is safe to say McGary will be visiting Duke and the Blue Devils will be in home with him when the time comes, but that will not happen until the team returns from their venture to China and Dubai.

The Blue Devils were most impressed with Matt Jones and he gained an offer after his play this past weekend.  Of course, as members, you all saw this one coming.  Jones glowed beyond belief when talking of Duke and you will see those videos this week.  We spoke to Jones the other night but kept it short.  He told BDN that he was on cloud nine after Coach K called and that he could certainly see himself there.  He was very excited that Duke moved in and it is fair to say that they went to the top of his list.  Jones has shown steady improvement in his game and he can slash through the lanes and has an outstanding outside shot.  He is a good on-ball defender as well and he sent a game to overtime with a defensive stop in front of Krzyzewski as time ran out.  The only knock I witnessed is that he at times has trouble shaking free for his shot.  He is a great character kid as well and BDN got his AAU coach’s thoughts on that, which is another feature you can look forward to.

His teammate, the hulking Julius Randle, also has an offer and Duke feels they are in good shape there as well.  Jeff Capel has certainly been a help in this one and the thought of a package deal with Jones is most appealing.  But make no mistake about it, Duke loves Matthew Jones as a stand alone player.  Randle was called the best player in the nation on the night he dominated the Memphis front court by someone close to the situation that watched him play.  That was a bit cryptic but easy enough for you to figure out on your own.  Randle was like a bull in a China shop and it is clear that he will not back down from anyone.  I caught several of his games and was most impressed by his enormous upside.  He is a true power player that may or may not fit should Duke get Tony Parker.

The Bull - BDN Photo

And then there is another 2013 product named Jabari Parker.  What a humble superstar he is and you’ll see this on coming videos as well.  Parker likes Duke a lot … a whole lot and the Duke coaches like him a lot, a whole helluva lot.  They are in great early shape with Parker and this one might end in the spring of next year at the latest.  Parker will make an unofficial visit to Durham in due time and we’ll have more on that as it develops.  While UNC and others are on him, Duke has been from the start and that will IMO pay dividends down the road.  Parker is smooth and versatile and at times cannot be stopped.  He is part of the spectacular trio joining Randle and Noel as the best of the best in 2013.

One thing many seemingly fail to see is that Duke has a great jump on 2013 for a reason.  The Duke staff will be tied up with Team USA duties next summer limiting their time on the recruiting trail.  That especially holds true for Krzyzewski and that is why he was so hands-on this past week with the class.  The three aforementioned 2013 players are clearly at the top of the wish list but more names are in the works, specifically Nerlens Noel.  This defensive demon we coined the “Sultan of Swat,” is a most interesting talent and game changer.  Then there is the “Nerlens Noel effect,” which causes players to alter shots for Noel is an absolute terror when it comes to blocking shots.  By the  end of the EYBL he was in every prospect’s head and it doesn’t matter who he is guarding.  In short, he inflicts pain on guys the same age, younger and/or older.  When I joked with Noel about the fact he didn’t send out invitations to his “Block Party,” he loved it.  Form that point on, Noel really opened up to me.  Make no mistake, everybody is on Noel, so Duke will have their hands full as will every other team that vies for his services.  I love me some Nerlens and so does Grant Hill, for he is making his fade rise on the cover of the 1991 Sports Illustrated stylish again;) A side note is that Grant Hill will go along on the China trip and he will be helping to teach the “Duke culture” to newcomers.

Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones, LJ Rose and Rodeny Purvis strike a pose for BDN

Some have attempted to hang me out to dry with a comment on Rodney Purvis which was misquoted, but that is something I am used to from another Duke site.  This time they made sure my name was in the head of a post.  I never intended certain things to go public but when users break the agreement upon signing up all I can do is boot them.  Purvis flat out wants to come in and play right away but Duke has a bevy of wings on the roster and in the works.  Purvis wanted to hang with Rasheed Sulaimon, Matt Jones and LJ Rose this weekend and he is seemingly upset at, well, everything that is said these days.  The mere fact that Duke did not watch him is telling and I can tell you without revealing sources close to the situation that Purvis is no longer an option.  Of course, we were the first to say that in a private forum and now all but one site is on the bandwagon.  I think the offer to Jones may have made him see the light and/or the writing on the wall.  Purvis is a good kid, but his emotion concerns me as does his behavior when he is not on the court.  Would Duke take him if he called and wanted to come?   Make no mistake, Purvis has talent and he is a good kid, so I am in no way beating him down, but he is no Austin Rivers or Kyrie Irving.

We have to watch how we mention prospects around here and even where we’ll be going on the recruiting trail in that it tips off others.  Just this week nobody was on Nerlens Noel until we were seen talking to him.  Yes, people pay close attention to everything we do at events.  It frustrates us at times but what can you do?  All I can say is pay close attention to when information is printed and as a member sit back and know that you were aware of it beforehand.  Noel is sure to pick up an offer soon.

Rasheed Sulaimon played very well at the EYBL finals as well although he saved his worst game for last and a lackluster offensive performance cost him the scoring title.  Still, he finished second and he has improved immensely since a season ago;  he’s like a water bug running all over the place and locks down well on his defensive assignment.  His handle is improving as well and his offense is top shelf.  The Duke staff knew exactly what they were doing in getting this kid aboard early, a testament to Krzyzewski’s eye.  That too should excite one more with concern to Jones.

Wojo was in Wisconsin this week and Krzyzewski was as well before returning to Augusta.  Chris Collins was at home this go round but he returns in the coming week.  The addition of Jeff Capel has been a winner and this staff is, well, pretty darn good.

One kid that caught our eye during the EYBL opening session was  Tyus Jones, a 2014 PG from Minnesota who plays for the older Howard Pulley team.  Once we interviewed him, it was obvious to others he had caught the Blue Devils’ eyes.  Again, our every move is watched by others at events.  We actually interviewed Jones while at Boo, so he didn’t slip up on me at all.  In fact, he stood out and I was amazed to learn he was 2014 for his play was smooth as silk and so far ahead of those in his class.  We have a nice interview coming your way with Jones as well.  I can tell you that he has great character, confidence and his recruitment will go on for a very long time.  Still, both Andrew and myself take pride in giving you background on players Duke likes before it really gets out there.  In short, we anticipate while at the many events, as Andrew did with Jahill Okafor.  What you may not realize is how rare a good interview with Oakfor is, so pay attention to our offerings.

Duke is still keeping an eye on Alex Poythress and Perry Ellis as well.  Neither of them have an offer and both play pretty much the same position.  Duke would likely turn here if they got one of Mitch McGary and Tony Parker but the real need is bangers and not wings.  Still, keep a close eye on these guys as the recruiting evaluation period opens back up.

Just in are the players Duke will watch in Orlando for the AAU National Showcase which runs from the 23rd to the 27th.  Mitch McGary will start there and once it is over go to Kansas City.  Teammates Julius Randle and Matt Jones will be there as well along with Nerlens Noel and Theo PinsonRasheed Sulaimon will play in the AAU Nationals in Orlando which takes place after the loaded Showcase.  And Tony Parker and Alex Poythress will play in both events.  I am trying to swing this event but right now it isn’t looking good.

I am trying to rework my schedule to go to Orlando but a cash crunch may prevent that from happening.  However, Andrew is set to go to Las Vegas and you know his coverage will be top shelf.  In closing our latest update I would like to thank all of you for supporting us through membership.  We would like to give back, so here is an opportunity for you.  If you refer new members to BDN Premium, we’ll give you 15% of their membership provided you e-mail or PM us before they join.  If you have a friend join for a year, that means you get 15$ cash sent to your paypal account.  If it is for six months, you get 9$.  There is no referral granted for a one or three month membership.  This is a limited time offer.  Help us grow our community!

Thanks again for choosing Blue Devil Nation Premium and the future is looking bright around here, so stay tuned for more on that. [/private]

Matt Jones is very high on Duke University

BDN has two interviews with Matt Jones, a kid who is blowing up on the AAU circuit. Here is the first of two and video is coming as well. BDN Photo

From the suburban Dallas city of DeSoto, there hails one of the best shooters in high school basketball, 6’4″ Matt Jones. During the recent Nike EYBL fifteen game season, the polite marksman finished fourth in overall scoring, while averaging 18.2 points per game. Jones, a rising junior, has formed one of the best inside-outside tandems on the AAU circuit with the heralded forward Julius Randle for the Texas Titans, a Dallas-area AAU program which strives to fuse basketball and spiritual training.

At the LeBron James Skills Academy, Matt spoke with Blue Devil Nation about a myriad of topics, including his close friend Randle, Duke’s recent interest in the shooting guard, and Jones’ shooting prowess.

How’s your recruiting going lately?

Oh, recruiting’s fun. Just getting all kinds of calls from all kinds of area codes. It’s just fun. The coaches have been great. I just like hearing about the history and tradition of each one.

So, it’s exciting for you?

Yes, sir.

In terms of interest and offers, where are you receiving them from, respectively?

I have a lot of offers like [private] from Memphis, Kansas, Baylor…teams like that. I’ve gotten interest from a lot more, but, in the end, I just want to go somewhere that fits my game and makes me more of a complete player.

Well, for the audience that hasn’t seen you play yet, how would you describe your game right now? What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses?

Sure, my strengths are my shooting and playing defense. My weaknesses are probably ball-handling a little bit and also being more vocal.

In terms of shooting, do you feel you’re better off of the catch or off of the dribble?

(laughs) Well, I can do both, but..

Alright, what do you prefer?

I prefer to just catch and shoot.

So, five seconds left, you’d rather have someone penetrate and kick it to you on the wing.

Yes, sir, definitely.

Your partner, Julius Randle, compared your game to Ray Allen’s. He basically said you may not be quite at that level of shooting, but you had more of diverse offensive game than you were given credit for. Is he on the right track and is Allen a player that you try to model your game after?

Yeah, well, I like to compare my game to him and just get there and shoot like him.

You were mentioning defense before, how would you assess your defense right now?

My defense is pretty good, but it could get better..

You know that sometimes high-level shooters have a reputation for not necessarily being the toughest defenders.

(laughs) Yes, I know, but, like on my high school team, it’s made me a better defender because, if you don’t play defense, you won’t play. My coach is very strict about that and we’ve all gotten better.

Why don’t you tell the audience how you did this past season at DeSoto?

Oh, man, we were one game away from winning the state. It was tough to take.

Well, next year, you should be strong again.

Yes, sir, we should. We bring back a lot of seniors and I’ll try my best again, sir. We should be strong.

Attending this event and others similar to this, what do you take out of it? This is your first big one, right?

Oh, yes, sir. It is. By playing against these other guys, I’ve learned that I’ve got to be more vocal and keep working on my ball-handling. I’ve got to make those my priorities and keep working on my shot too. I need to be more of a leader than I have been too and just getting guys where they’re supposed to be. Yes, sir.

Then, it’s been a valuable use of your time.

Yes, sir.

I hate to touch on Randle again, but you two are inseparable at all of these camps and tournaments. What’s it been like playing alongside him and enjoying the spacing that he’s provided? You guys have formed one of the best inside-outside tandems around.

(laughs) Absolutely, it’s been good and fun, sir. He just demands so much attention that it helps me.

You guys have a nice rhythm.

Yes, sir. We’ve been playing together since, like fifth grade. He just demands so much attention that when they have to, like, double team him, it just makes my job more easier to shoot it. It’s just pure catch-and-shoot. Yes, sir.

They say that you’re a good student. Does it come relatively easy to you or do you have to work at it? Is it true first of all?

(laughs) It is true and I do work at it. My parents just keep me on my toes. They’re always on me and, if they’re ever slipping, they both always are just cracking down on me. You never have to worry about that.

That’s good to hear. What are your goals for this summer?

My goals for this summer are, well, first to win the Peach Jam, just do really good and help my team to succeed.

Do you feel you have a strong shot at the Peach Jam? I’ve seen you guys play in Dallas and LA, when you got Julius back.

Yes, sir, I think we do. Me and Julius and just the rest of my team are pretty solid. I mean, on the one hand, we’re a young bunch, but you can’t count us out and we know how to play. We’ll fight.

That’s the kind of attitude that I like to hear and, in the end, it becomes about performing in one game at a time at the Peach Jam. In terms of visits, where have you visited recently and what do you have planned?

I’ve been to Missouri and Baylor and I’m trying to get to Kansas and Florida and then some more.

Are those last two this summer?

Yes, sir, those last two are this summer and then I’d like to take some more visits in the fall, sir. Yes, sir.

Who will you turn to for guidance whenever you do make a decision on a college program?

Sure, sir, my big brother, Antonio, my parents, and probably my AAU coaches.

Do you view yourself as a pure two or can you play other positions?

As a pure two, sir.

Will distance be a factor in your decision?

No, I’ll go wherever I feel is best, sir.

You were sort of, well, laughing about it before, but have you and Julius seriously discussed the possibility of going to the same school? Is it sort of a half-serious thing?

Oh, no, we’re both pretty serious about it. I mean it’s definitely something we’ve talked about and a few schools are interested in us both. It’d be great to be able to play with him in college. Like you said, we’ve got a great chemistry out there.

Has Duke expressed interest in you?

Oh, yes, sir. The coaches called. I hope they keep staying interested, sir.

So, if they continue to express interest in you, you’d be interested in them?

Oh, yes, definitely. If they’re serious, I’d like to go out there and visit with my family. I feel that they’re a program that could be a good fit. They’ve got great coaches and a great program. It’s definitely a program that I’m interested in. I hope they keep recruiting me. Yes, sir.

What do you know about the program and the university?

I know they just got Coach Capel and they’ve always had great guards and shooters. Obviously, Coach K is a legend. Just a great coach. It’s a great school with a winning tradition and history. Great players and everything. Yes, sir.

Can you talk about the rise of Texas basketball on a national scale and how competitive it is on the high school level? How do you account for it?

Well, it’s been great to be a part of, sir. We’re a huge state with a lot of people and a lot of the young kids are playing basketball. Football is still big, but maybe more people are going into basketball sir. It’s been great to see some of the success from all the different parts of the state. In high school, it’s definitely tough to win a championship, sir…because you’ve got to go through all of these talented players and teams.

Who’s been the toughest opponent that you’ve had to defend?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I think I’d have to go with BABC or All-Ohio Red. They were the hardest.

I apologize, Matt. That’s my fault. I actually mean which individual player was the toughest for you to defend.

Oh, I’m sorry, sir…Probably J.P. Tokoto. He was real tough for me because he’s big and athletic.

Are those the type of guys that give you problems, the big and athletic guards?

Oh, yes, sir.

Physically, how are you trying to improve your body?

Oh, I’m trying to get a little stronger, but mostly I want to work on my flexibility. I think I need to keep improving that area. I need to get more flexible.

I know Julius had said that he was trying to work on his flexibility as well. Working with a trainer.

Oh, yes, sir.

You’ve got the reputation as an excellent shooter. One veteran scout said he thought you were the best in your class and it wasn’t even close. How do you continue to strive and fight the temptation to rest on your laurels? Julius before was talking about how you were looking to develop beyond being “just a shooter.” How have you tried to balance growing your game, while not losing your bread and butter, your shooting?

Oh, I’ve got to try to do both and I’m never resting, sir. I know that I’ve got to keep pushing myself. I’ve got to improve my shooting off of the dribble. I want it to be as good as when I catch-and-shoot. I want to be comfortable at both, sir. I’m not satisfied. I still push myself hard. Yes, sir.

What would you say is your range? How far out do you feel comfortable shooting the ball?

Oh, yes, sir, I’d say the three-point line. I’m very comfortable out there. I like to shoot it out there.

What are your goals for the next high school year at DeSoto?

I’d like to win the state and keep improving. I think we’ll be pretty good and I’m going to keep pushing myself.

Lastly, what would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?

Well, most people wouldn’t know, but I actually love to bowl. I’m pretty good at bowling. (laughs)

Are you really? What’s like your all-time high score?

Oh, I’m not exactly sure, but I’ve broken two hundred. I’m not sure exactly what it was.

Oh, wow, I guess you are really good. Well, thank you very much for your time, Matt. It’s been really nice to talk with you.

Thanks. [/private]