Tag Archives: Michael Gbinije

Duke Basketball Recruiting Update

BDN Photo
With just two games left in December, the Duke Men's Basketball staff will be hitting the road to check out their main targets in Holiday Tournaments.  Coach K and company will start by viewing [private] Tony Parker tomorrow.  You might want to check out our recent interview with the big man and rest assured we'll follow up with him as the season progresses.

Duke will then take in Michael Gbinije's game where they'll check on their verbals progress to date.  Part of the staff will check out Marshall Plumlee at Glaxo later in the month but the first view of him will come during the City of Palms Tournament in Fort Meyers, Florida and that event is loaded.  Two of the Blue Devils main targets are Shabazz Muhammad and Alex Murphy and both play in the event as does Austin Rivers.

"The Dogg" Nate James will head to Washington, D.C. to see Rasheed Sulaimon and Coach K is likely to go as well in that he wants to see more of the guard in person.

Duke will be looking at some other names as well and we'll share them once we've confirmed the dates.  Duke will likely add some guards to the watch list as well, but they are in no way worried with Rodney  Purvis choosing Louisville.  Like I said before, a lot of names will crop up in due time.   Duke feels as if they are in good shape with Muhammad, Murphy and Sulaimon and they'll work to get closer with Parker. [/private]

High School Hoops 2011 Edition No. 2

This week's edition starts out with player analysis on Marshall Plumlee and Quinn Cook, and then moves on to provide a bouquet of links to box scores and articles discussing the other Duke commits and recruiting targets. [private]

I watched Marshall Plumlee (7'0" 215) and Christ School take on Quality Education Academy via streaming video on the Internet, and I was pleased with some of what I observed. Plumlee ended the game with 10 points, including going 4 for 4 from the free throw line, and four blocked shots.

Quality Education Academy won by a score of 77-65 in a game that wasn't that close. The Fighting Pharaohs dominated the Greenies for the last three quarters after initially falling behind 12-3, but rallying to end the 1st quarter in a 15-15 tie. QEA utilized pressure defense and quick hands to exploit Christ School’s ball handling skills.

Plumlee worked hard in the low post on defense and was effective early in maintaining his position. Christ School played both zone and man-to-man defense in the game. Later in the game, Quality Education Academy repeatedly attacked down the middle of the lane and dished passes to the baseline for easy baskets as Plumlee attempted to step up and defend the ball.

On offense, Plumlee operated mainly out of the high post and delivered a couple of nice passes for assists. He also demonstrated the ability to drive the lane and score or draw a foul and convert from the charity stripe. This is how he scored 6 of his 10 points with the other two baskets coming from a dunk off a pass into the low post and a nice 10-12 foot jump shot in front of the free throw line.

A key point, which must be communicated, is the Greenies are a perimeter oriented 3-point shooting team that makes minimal effort to feature Plumlee in their offensive sets. Watching this game, I believe he made the most of his scoring opportunities.

The broadcast commentator commented while most high school seven footers are clumsy, Plumlee was quick off his feet and athletic. The commentator also remarked Plumlee's weakness on defense was a propensity to leave his feet too often on pump fakes and passes.

He needs to gain much more strength to be effective in the ACC and he will need to work on his left hand. Plumlee caught a pass in the low post and moved across the lane attempting a left handed jump hook, but he missed badly - air ball badly. Moreover, he was whistled for four fouls in the game as the quicker QEA players’ maneuvered by him with ease at times. One of his four fouls was for an illegal screen on an inbounds play and he committed a block attempting to break-up a fast break. The other two fouls were a direct result of him being out of position on defense. On the offensive end of the court, he was not effective rebounding the basketball.

Overall, I was impressed with Plumlee's play. He obviously still needs to improve in several areas; however, he demonstrated good skill sets and athleticism to complement his 7' 0" size, including a length of the court outlet pass off a defensive rebound, so I am optimistic he will be a valuable addition to the Blue Devil roster.

Earlier in the week, Plumlee scored 14 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as Christ School defeated Providence Day School 82-54. The day after the QEA loss, Christ School bounced back with a 94-60 victory over Ensworth. Plumlee’s stat line was nine points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots.

On Saturday afternoon, Quinn Cook (6’1” 160) and Oak Hill took on Quality Education Academy and once again I took advantage of streaming video, which was available on the Internet, at the IHigh website. Cook scored 13 points as Oak Hill came storming back, in the 4th quarter, from a double-digit deficit to defeat QEA 73-71.

Offensively, Cook is best described as smooth. He is comfortable with the ball in his hands and delivers crisp passes to teammates with ease. Cook also demonstrated the ability to attack the middle of the defense with nice drive and dish skills.

Cook orchestrates the offense with purpose quickly passing the ball to teammates or driving with the ball. He does not repeatedly pound the ball into the court without going anywhere, which is a weakness many young point guards demonstrate.

In this game, his outside shot was not falling as he only knocked down one 3-pointer even though he had several open looks. Cook has a reputation as a deadly 3-point shooter, he went 11-26 (.423) this past summer at the FIBA U17 World Championship, so I believe last night was an anomaly. All players have an off game shooting from time to time.

Defensively, Oak Hill switched up between man-to-man, a 2-3 zone, and a half court trap. Cook was aggressive in the zone and half court trap, but in the man-to-man he did not exert a tremendous amount of on ball pressure choosing instead to play off his man a bit. This could be a factor of the specific match-up or perhaps it is indicative Cook is still not fully recovered from his recent knee surgery.

Overall, Cook played a solid game and impressed me as a player who will have an immediate impact at the next level. While Cook did not demonstrate blazing speed a la Kyrie Irving or a deadly outside shot a la Andre Dawkins, he did demonstrate excellent ball handling skills and poise. With Irving most likely departed to the NBA, Cook will challenge to start and, at a minimum, be a significant contributor off the bench as a freshman.

At the Rotary Tip-Off Classic, Austin Rivers (6’5” 180) was named Tournament MVP with 28 points, 10 rebounds and four assists performance as Winter Park defeated Orlando Christian Prep 72-40 in the Championship game on Saturday night. On Thursday, Rivers scored 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting (3 of 6 on threes) as Winter Park defeated Spruce Creek 81-43, in the quarterfinals. On Friday night, in the semi-finals, Winter Park defeated Evans 74-55. Austin Rivers scored 15 points in the game.

In Richmond, Michael Gbinije (6’6” 180) was named Tournament MVP as Benedictine defeated Hopewell, 59-52, to win the Rebel Invitational. Gbinije scored 15 points in the Championship Game. He scored 28 points to lead Benedictine to an 80-76 victory over Meadowbrook in the opening game, while in the semifinals, Gbinije was held to five points, but Benedictine advanced to the championship game with a 59-45 victory over St. Christopher’s.

Rasheed Sulaimon (6’3” 180) scored 24 points on Thursday evening but Strake Jesuit dropped a 59-52 decision to Killeen Harker Heights in the opening round of the Aldine ISD Invitational. On Friday night, Sulaimon scored 20 points as Strake Jesuit defeated Waller 77-41. Strake Jesuit defeated Rosenberg Terry, on Saturday evening, 52-47.

Sulaimon is averaging 22.3 points per game through the first six games of the season. He has 18 assist against only five turnovers.

Rodney Purvis (6’2” 165) scored 18 points to lead Upper Room Christian Academy to a 75-61 victory over St. David's on Thursday night. Purvis scored 14 of his points in the 1st half.

In Wisconsin, J.P. Tokoto (6’6” 180) was held to 11 points as Milwaukee Marquette defeated Menomonee Falls 58-55 on Friday night. Tokoto was in foul trouble early and sat out most of the 1st half. On Saturday night, Tokoto exploded for 23 points including 14 in the 3rd quarter but Menomonee Falls lost to Milwaukee Washington 95-85.

Finally, wrapping up this week’s edition is Tony Parker (6’9” 265) and Miller Grove who defeated Milton 71-61. Milton was considered the number one team in the nation by several polls including USA Today. Tony Parker recorded a 20 points and 12 rebounds double-double in the big win. In this video interview, Parker credited defense as the key to the victory. Miller Grove improved to 4-0.

BDN Monday Musings-Kyrie, Milestones, Motivation, Recruiting and the Cheerleader of the Week

BDN salutes another member of the team behind the team - Photo Rick Crank for BDN

It's time for this week's Monday Musings piece where we think  out loud and  ponder the happenings around Duke Athletics.  This week we talk Kyrie Irving, the December schedule, and recruiting on the Duke Basketball front, Cutcliffe being on the road, a big game for the women's hoops team and we bring you the Duke Cheerleader of the Week.

Will maintaining motivation be a problem for Duke?

Duke just finished a stretch of games that included wins over Marquette, Kansas State, Oregon, Michigan State and Butler leaving us  to question if the Blue Devils can keep up their intensity during the easiest stretch of the season.  In December, players are hard at work in school and on the verge of the Holidays where many will go home for  few days.  It is not unusual for focus to drift but the thinking here is that Duke has too many players wanting to show their stuff and that should prevent too many let downs.  Duke will take on Bradley and St. Louis this week followed by a nine day break before another home contest with Elon and the team will then take another nine day break before travelling just down the road to face UNC-Greensboro.  Face it, Duke will win all of those contests easily and that will push their record to 12-0.  The reason for my confidence is as mentioned that players on the bench will want to show their stuff.  Duke will see to it that certain players get untracked and Krzyzewski's challenge will be to see his team improve before they enter ACC play in that 13 of their next 14 games will be against conference foes.

Kyrie Irving was never a secret but ...

If the ACC media was to vote today for Rookie of the Year, do you think UNC's Harrison Barnes would still outdistance Irving by a 46-9 vote?  I saw the Irving train coming after following the New Jersey native on the AAU trail seeing him play a good 20 or so times.  The youngster is capable of taking over games and he showed that in a game against Michigan State and bounced back with another 20 plus scoring effort versus Butler on Saturday.  What you have yet to see is when he starts dishing dimes [assists]  like they were going out of style and a few double-doubles are ahead.  Irving is as advertised and I can happily say that comes as no surprise to me.  And this just in -- Kyrie just won his third ACC Rookie of the Week honor of the young season.


Cook and Rivers are waiting their turn. BDN Photo

The Duke staff will remain busy during the Holiday's

There are some on the staff who stay up until just before dawn breaks watching film on the opposition.  I know this after being in close proximity of the situation for most of my life.  I also know that they'll be out in force during several December high school basketball tournaments one of which is the State Farm City of Palms event in Fort Meyers, Florida.  Check out this cast of characters which as BDN Premium members know that a lot of Duke's key targets are on hand.   The Class of 2010 No. 1 includes, Michael Gilchrist, St. Patrick; No. 2 Austin Rivers, Winter Park; No. 3 Adonis Thomas, Melrose; No. 8 James McAdoo, Norfolk Christian; No. 23 Shannon Scott, Milton; No. 27 Julian Royal, Milton; No. 58 Dai-Jon Parker, Milton; No. 75 Marshall Plumlee, Christ School; No. 87 . While the Class of 2012 adds No. 4 Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman; No. 5 Ricardo Gathers, Riverside Academy; No. 38 Xavier Johnson, Mater Dei; No. 45 Omar Calhoun, Christ the King; No. 47 Evan Nolte, Milton; No. 71 Rosco Allen, Bishop Gorman.  You can discuss the various tournaments and find out more on recruiting information with BDN Premium members by joining and supporting Blue Devil Nation.

Football coaches on the recruiting trail as well

Duke Football is making its list and checking it twice in December but the recruiting efforts started in November where the staff was out the Monday following the last game.  Duke Coach David Cutliffe will have his  own players for the first time next season and he is looking to make some  key offers in the foreseeable future.  BDN will keep you up to date on the latest on the football front..

The Duke Women face Texas A & M on Wednesday

The Duke Women are flying a bit under the radar now and that's a shame for they deserve more coverage on the Duke front.  Duke faces an early season test when they take on Texas A & M tonight in Cameron Indoor Stadium this Monday evening.

And speaking of under the radar

Duke handed out yet another commemorative to fans with Coach K's 800th win being saluted during the Michigan State game.  His milestones are so many that it barely gives Duke fans a chance to catch their breath and reflect  on his success as he continues to move towards being the winningest collegiate coach of all time.

Click here and follow Blue Devil Nation on Twitter for the best Duke coverage avialable.  And be sure to check out Andrew Slaters interview with Kyrie Irving.

Signing Day – BDN and Tom Konchalski break down Duke’s 2011 class

The Duke Blue Devils Men's Basketball team landed a stellar class for the 2011 season including ESPN's top rated prospect Austin Rivers.  The Florida native told BDN last evening, "I'm looking forward to playing for Duke and want to sign as soon as possible, so I'll send my letter of intent first thing in the morning." Rivers joins Quinn Cook, Micheal Gbinije and Marshall Plumlee in one of the nations consensus top 4 classes.

We elicited the help of Tom Konchalski, the publisher and editor of High School Basketball Illustrated, has been covering high school basketball for more than thirty-five years. The 6′6″ sexagenarian, with an eidetic memory, is a McDonald’s All-American voter and a ubiquitous presence on the summer AAU circuit and the recruiting scene.

Here is a look at the class -

Duke got a stud in Austin Rivers pictured here at Coundown to Craziness with Quinn Cook. Join BDN Premium to check out our interview with Rivers and gain full site access. BDN Photo, Rick Crank

AUSTIN RIVERS - ESPN #1 rated player in his class [6-4, 190 SG, PG from Winter Park, Florida], Lead Assistant - Chris Collins, committed to Duke in September, Plays wor Winter Park H.S. and Team Stat on the AAU ciurcuit.  BDN Articles on Rivers.  Austin originally committed to Florida but reconsidered and ultimately chose Duke over UNC and Kansas.  He is a prolific offensive scorer who is unafraid of anyone or anything, meaning he loves a challenge.  He is friends with Duke PG Kyrie Irving and is the son of Glenn "Doc" Rivers, coach of the Boston Celtics.

Tom Konchalski's take -Well, first of all, there’s no one in high school basketball who has a better skill set, regardless of position. He’s great playing off of the dribble. He can get to the basket. Because he has been parented and coached by a former pro and a current NBA coach, he has a lot of the tricks of the trade. He’s spent intensive time developing his point guard skills at the Steve Nash Skills Camp as well as the Deron Williams Skills Camp. He has a lot of SteveNash’sunorthodox skills. He drives to the basket and takes what I call a half-volley shot, where he takes a half-volley layup in the lane off of the wrong foot to throw off or stay a step ahead of the defenses. In spite of the fact that his left thumb affects his shot far too much..to the point where he almost shoots a two-handed jump shot, just by repetition, he’s made himself into a lethal three point shooter. Somewhat streaky, but he’s a lethal three-point shooter when he gets into a groove. When I first saw him, as a ninth grader, I thought he made his teammates better. I thought he saw the court really well and made his teammates better. I think he’s gotten a little caught up recently with playing one-on-one. I think he looks for his offense too much. A player who is highly touted always in the back of his mind wants to be the number one player in his class and he’s absolutely a contender to be that, but I think because of that he’s tried to change his game.  At the next level, he’s got to change it back and return to making plays for others, instead of only for himself. In the event that he and Kyrie play together, I think they’ll share the ball and whoever gets the ball will just take it up and initiate the offense. Duke has played that way in the past and quite well.

Andrew's take - Rivers is as dominant a scorer as currently exists in high school basketball. He is dangerous at all three levels on the court. He's both willing and capable of pulling up for a deep three, either in transition or if there is small opening in a half-court set. His three-point shooting has become more consistent, but he's still got a tendency to be relatively streaky with this aspect of his game. Fifteen feet and in, Rivers has a preternatural ability to dissect a defense with either hand (although his dominant hand is clearly his right one) and frequently draw contact for additional points as he slices to the rim. He's added strength in the last year, which has enabled him to finish plays at an even higher rate close to the rim and withstand the frequent contact he receives on his drives and patented floater. His defense has improved, but he's more developed and committed on the other end of the court. Rivers has become much more explosive over the past year as his body, which now stands at a prototypical size for a shooting guard at 6'5," has begun to match his considerable skill. Four things have helped set him aside from even the other elite players in this class: an incredibly competitive nature, an advanced knowledge and adaptability of the game for his age, a comfortability with the spotlight and scrutiny, and a consistent level of professionalism, maturity, and openness to coaching that set him aside, even as a freshman going at the LeBron James Skills Academy.

Mark's take - I talked with Austin last evening and he was oh-so excited to officially be a Blue Devil.  Rivers has as much confidence as any player I have seen in my ten years of following the recruiting scene.  He should rock Cameron with his moves but will have to improve a bit on the defensive end.  Rivers said he is working on his post up game now and if you are a BDN Premium subscriber you will read later today.  I have seen Rivers play in about 24 games and each time he plays hard and he always wants to win.  He is now growing into his body and once he adds a little more muscle, good luck stopping him at the college level.

Quinn Cook rounded out Duke's talented class of 2011 - BDN Photo

QUINN COOK -Ranked #24 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN [6-1, 180 PG Washington, D.C.]  Lead Assistant - Nate James, Committed to Duke in November.  Plays for Oak Hill Academy and D.C. Assault AAU team.  BDN Articles on Cook.  Cook chose Duke over North Carolina and UCLA and had many suitors.  He transferred from DeMatha to Oak Hill Academy this season.  Good friends with Nolan Smith.

Tom Konchalski on Quinn Cook- I love him, but I don’t know how he could coexist with Kyrie Irving, if he’s still there.  He has great court presence, when I saw him this summer. Kevin (Armstrong) and I went down and watched him play and he just took over in the second half. He had seventeen second half points and not only did he score, but just made big plays and really took over the game completely. He’s DeMatha’s next really great player. {Quinn has since transferred to Oak Hill. He's not a particularly great athlete. He’s smaller and he’s got to get stronger as well, but most kids who are sixteen year old juniors don’t have really have a major college body either. I love Quinn Cook.

Andrew's take - Quinn is a stabilizing guard with a very advanced understanding of the game. He's a duel-threat point guard, capable as either as a pass-first point guard, as he demonstrated recently in leading the United States team in assists and, more importantly, to a Gold Medal at the FIBA World Championships over the summer in Germany, or as a scoring point, as he demonstrated in matching what was then a career-high thirty points in a win for DeMatha in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference final in March. Cook has tremendous court vision and a very good sense of spacing and pacing. He's comfortable running a highly uptempo offense, but also capable of adding the patience, three-point shooting, and occasional penetration often necessary in pressurized, late game, half-court sets. Quinn is a very good leader and a well-liked, supportive teammate, who has improved his on-court communication skills over the past two years. Cook is not an explosive athlete, but he will give his teammates and coaches every ounce of his body, as he is well aware of just how fragile life can be. Defensively, he's a capable and willing defender, but not necessarily a shutdown defender. Although he sustained a partially torn ACL in August, his initial results at his new school, Oak Hill, have been impressive, including setting a new career high in points in just his second game for the Warriors.

Mark's take -I've seen Quinn Cook play in 15 games over three seasons in AAU Basketball.  My very first viewing left me more than a little impressed for Cook was playing with the older DCA team at Boo Williams.  That day he put the team on his back in a semi final match up and willed them to a win.  Cook not only led his team as a floor general, he got into the lane and scored 24 points, 14 down the stretch.  Cook is a pure PG who has played with top notch competition and he's a good addition for Duke and the program.  Nate James worked with him and he was assisted by Nolan which helped land the talented prospect in Durham.

As Plumleegains strength, he'll be a load. During the N.C. Pro Am he went head to head against veteran players and held his own. Photo property of BDN

MARSHALL PLUMLEE -Ranked #44 in his class by ESPN.  [6-11.5, 215 Warsaw, IN] Lead Assistant - Steve Wojciechowski, committed to Duke in July.  Plays for Christ Scool in Arden, N.C. and Indiana Elite on the AAU trail. BDN Articles on Plumlee.  Chose Duke over Butler, LSU, Virginia and other suitors.  Very mobile big man rated the 4th best center in the class of 2011 by ESPN.  His brothers Mason and Miles will join him at Duke next season.

Tom Konchalski on Marshall - He’s big. I’ve only seen him play with Indiana Elite. His father played for a friend of mine down at Tennessee Tech. They‘re very nice people.  I haven't seen him play in  lot of games, so will reserve comment.

Andrew's take -Marshall is a mobile seven footer who hustles at all times. He's more of a traditional low-post player than either brothers Mason or Miles were at a similar point. Like a lot of big men his age, he's been more dependent upon scoring off of dribble handoffs, offensive put backs, and vanilla post moves, when the guards make a concerted effort to get him the ball. I felt that he didn't receive enough offensive touches this summer on his Indiana Elite team, but that can be the nature of AAU basketball. He's expected to have an increased role at Christ School this season, which should be helpful for his development. Some players take time adjusting to the college game because they are suddenly playing with comparable talent, but I think this aspect will be an easy transition for Marshall as he has played on quality teams on both the high school and AAU level. As with many players his age and position, he needs to add more muscle in order to be able to withstand the constant physicality that he'll deal with at the next level. Marshall's a solid rebounder and shot blocker, but he's capable of improving in both facets. Marshall is a relatively good free throw shooter for a big man as well. For a center, he's relatively good at passing out of a double team, but still has room for improvement. Like his older brothers, he's been a supportive and friendly teammate on both programs. He can be hard on himself, but I think his best days lie ahead and it will be interesting to see his post skills, both low and high, develop in the coming years. Of the four players, I feel like I don't have as clear a read on Marshall's potential as the the other three players.

Mark's take - Hey, I'll take all the Plumlee's that hatch!  Marshall suffered a bit from lofty expectations bestowed upon him where it was said he'll be the best Plumlee.  He'll be the tallest of the Plum 3 crew and he has a bundle of potential.  He will run his own race at Duke and while he may not contribute in his first season, he'll develop and be a load when he gains some experience.  Of the three Plumlee's, he'll be the youngest coming out of high school when he lands at Duke.  He always plays hard and runs the floor well, but does not have the reach of say, his brother Miles but is very coachable which is always a good attribute.

Michael Gbinije does it all well. Here, he rocks his Blue Devil hat while attending Countdown to Craziness - Photo BDN, Rick Crank

MICHAEL GBINIJE -Ranked as the #25 player in the class of 2011 by ESPN.[6-6 194, Chester, VA.] Lead Assistant - Nate James, committed to Duke in March.  Plays for St. Benedictine H.S. and Team Takeover on the AAU circuit. Gbinije was a great get for the Duke staff in that he is the epitome of a team player.  He is very effective  on the court and should score high in Duke's True Blue ratings of efficiency.  Averaged 17,5 ppg and  6.0 rpg as a junior.  One of 10 Micahel Gbinije articles at BDN.

Tom Konchalski's take -Gbinije is a good player, very skilled perimeter player. There are some guys who are more explosiveve, but he has very good skills and size. He plays within the flow of the game and generally lets the game come to him. He plays with a very good AAU team and a good high school team, Benedictine, and so he doesn’t have to do everything himself. It’s not as if he has to be a volume shooter for the teams to be successful. I think he will be a very good player for them.

Andrew's take -Mike Gbinije is a silent killer of a wing. He can fill out a stat sheet and has no glaring weakness. As with the aforementioned Rivers, he's capable of connecting on shots at all three levels, with a mid-range game that helps to differentiate him from other wings. Gbinije is currently a slightly above-average defender, who is more focused on containment, with an eye open to the occasional opportunistic steal and open-court layup. He's got a very good frame at 6'6" and is capable of rebounding in traffic. The only real debate is how far does he want to take his game and how committed is he to reaching his potential. He brushes the fine line between rarely forcing ill-advised shots and not being aggressive enough as a scorer, which doesn't allow him to reach his productive capabilities. As with Quinn Cook, Gbinije is a steady hand, who rarely gets rattled and is capable of giving Duke minutes off of the bench as a freshman. Although he lead Team Takeover to the inaugural NIKE EYBL title at the Peach Jam, he will probably benefit initially from not being the primary focus of defenses, as I believe he can initially be a solid, complimentary player at an elite program such as Duke with the ability to grow his role and responsibilities later.

Mark's take -This is one cool customer on the court who makes his team better.  He plays within himself and has a tremendous all around skill set which could earn him immediate time.  Gbinije got better and better as he progressed and earned his way into the consensus top 30 playersrankings  and has since been a mainstay.  The kid never get flustered and keeps playing no matter what happens.  He was a quiet assassin down the stretch for his AAU club Team Takeover and his play led his over achieving team to great things.  In short, he is very efficient.

Nobody covers AAU Basketball with the depth and consistency as does BDN Premium.  Our staff has seen the prospects play in person numerous times, so we can give you a very accurate take on all future and prospective Blue Devils.  Join today and we'll keep you in the loop on all things Duke and you'll see that we are on the scene not only at the Duke games but all thge major recruiting and skills development events.

Boost Mobile Elite 24 Recap

VENICE BEACH - From the concrete jungle of New York to the sunny beaches of L.A, the Boost Mobile Elite 24 concluded the summers AAU schedule with an All-Star game in Venice Beach.  While we didn’t have Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane running the courts, we did have the top 24 high school prospects in the nation.

The event kicked off Wednesday with a Midnight Run at the Hanger Athletic Xchange, also known as the HAX.  Starring in the game were the elite high school prospects along with some of the youngest talent the NBA has to offer.  Reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans teamed up with DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Bobby Brown and recent #1 draft pick John Wall to take on the youngsters. While the game was full of crossovers and fadeaways, one in particular has gotten fans across the internet buzzing.  Austin Rivers, the 6’4 guard from Winter Park High School in Florida, crossed up recent #1 draft pick John Wall and took it straight to the basket for a lay in. Regardless of the big play, the pros dominated most of the games they played in.

The second day of the event offered a training and combine session followed by a scrimmage.  Conducting the training session was current Denver Nuggets strength and conditioning coach, Steve Hess.  Now, if you’ve never met the guy, all you need to know is he is one of the most intense people you will have ever met. While most players struggled with the core exercises, one particularly stood out, 2011 point guard Myck Kabongo.  Ending the combine session was Brandon Jennings discussing his struggles to get to where he is, as well as reminding the players to keep an open mind when it comes to signing a shoe deal. While no one completely dominated the scrimmage, there were a few standout players. 2012 prospect Shabazz Muhammad did show off some of his strong inside moves.  The talented wing-forward grabbed multiple rebounds inside showing off his strength, which lead to easy put backs. The other standout was 2011 Findlay Prep point guard Myck Kabongo.  Myck displayed his advanced dribbling skills and excellent court vision often making passes you wouldn’t think possible.

The third day offered the skills and dunk competition.  2011 guard Brad Beal of Chaminade College Prep School in St. Louis, Missouri, won the skills competition over Oak Hill point guard Quinn Cook. The dunk competition featured 8 contestants including Deuce Bello, Jahii Carson, Amir Garrett, Nick Johnson, LeBryan Nash, Norman Powell, Gabe York and Stephen Maxwell.  Deuce Bello edged out local prospect Stephen Maxwell in the finals, although his most impressive dunk was in the second round when he teamed up with fellow Westchester Day player, Quincy Miller. Quincy, seated under the net, bounced the ball and Bello completed a full windmill over Miller to bring the Venice Beach crowd to their feet.

Concluding the Boost Mobile Elite 24 event was the All-Star game on Saturday.  Clear and sunny skies offered the perfect weather for an outdoor basketball game.  While the crowd on Friday was much more laid-back, Saturday’s crowd created a much better atmosphere. There was a certain buzz in the air throughout the game.  The game offered a typical All-Star feel, big dunks and little to no defense, except in the final minute.  Kyle Wiltjer, who committed to Kentucky at halftime, was the games leading scorer with 20. In the end, The Raymond Lewis East Squad beat The Marques Jackson West squad 131-128.

Stay tuned for more interviews with Duke recruiting targets which will be feature this week in BDN Premium, your inside source for on the spot coverage Duke Athletics.

Monday Musings – ACC Operation Football, media guides, future schedules and AAU Basketball

BDN is at ACC Operation Football today while Andrew wraps up his AAU coverage in Las Vegas. Busy week ahead, so stay tuned.

Are you ready for some football?  You better be for ACC Operation Kickoff got underway in Greensboro, North Carolina.  For many fans, the media gathering  signals the start of ACC Football season. 

 The votes are already in for the projected order of finish in the conference and the player of the year and the results will be released at 3:30 today.  I went with Florida State in the Atlantic and Virginia Tech in the coastal but it wouldn't surprise me if Georgia Tech, Miami or North Carolina won the Coastal for they are that even.  Could all of them go 6-2 in the conference?  We'll soon know.

- Electronic media has a huge presence in Greensboro and there are signs that we are in the infancy of a new age of convergence.  There will be some trial and error in the effort to merge new and old but in the end it's a necessary progression.  But there are concerns and you can bet that the ACC will control who they allow access to for it seems everybody has a team blog these days.

One change is the fact that Duke will no longer print a glossy media guide.  That's right collecting purist's, those yearbooks are for now a thing of the past.   I'll miss those old black and white glossy guides but there is an upside.  Duke has produced the most informative guide in the conference for pure information.  No photo's or glitz, just information.

 In April, the NCAA passed a law which no longer allows schools to send traditional media guides to prospects or recruits.  For many schools, this was an opportunity to show off their program.  I doubt that's the reason for Georgia Tech and Maryland's bare bones offerings. [I had a little crow for breakfast for Georgia Tech's offering is here today as is Maryland's]

Maryland produced it's basketball media guide on DVD-R and put out a few pages for football.  But as paltry as there information for media is, it's still better than Georgia Tech who provided a few stapled pages from a copier that could use some ink.

North Carolina trimmed their 2011 Media Guide down as did some of the other school but those I have not mentioned were all  average or above average in their offerings.  Okay, let me get to the point.  Media members need hard copies to facilitate their best work.

You see a lot of stuff on PDF files, but have you ever tried to open that during or after  a game while still being able to access to your article? The navigation is awkward at best especially for long documents.  May the hard copies live forever.

- The Duke Men's Basketball Coaches are winding up their viewing of AAU events this week.  Coaches James and Collins are in Orlando for the Showcase and  AAU Nationals.  As you may have seen in our tweets or updates if you are a member, Kryzyzewski took in Murphy and Muhammad in Las Vegas while juggling his Team USA duties.  Lot's to come for members of BDN Premium this week.

- And be sure to tune in to ESPN 3 at 7:00 EST tonight, for Michael Gbinije and Team Takeover will face Each One led by Austin Rivers. 

Here is a look at the 2011, 2012 Duke Football schedules -

2011 Duke Football Schedule

Home - Richmond, Stanford, Tulane, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest

Away - Florida International, Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia

2012 Duke Football Schedule

Home - Florida International, Memphis, N.C. Central, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia

Away - Stanford, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest